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Go Back   Drum Forum at Drum Set Connect > Drum Forums - All About Drums > Cymbals


View Poll Results: Who makes the most musical sounding Cymbal?
Zildjian 19 45.24%
Sabian 14 33.33%
Paite 9 21.43%
Meinl 3 7.14%
Istambul Agop 0 0%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 42. You may not vote on this poll

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  #11  
Old 01-31-2010, 05:49 AM
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Re: Secret Formula For Cymbal Making Re-discovered


Has no cymbal manufacturer thought about adding other metals to the alloy since the Sufi?
Has no cymbal manufacturer since then tried adding gold? Wouldn't it just be good cymbal-making practice to try adding different metals to the alloy and see what happened? Hmmm.
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  #12  
Old 01-31-2010, 06:42 AM
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Re: Secret Formula For Cymbal Making Re-discovered


Under "cymbal alloys" Wikipedia says "some bell, gong, and cymbal makers use small but significant amounts of other elements, notably silver, gold, and phosphorous.
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  #13  
Old 01-31-2010, 06:54 AM
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Re: Secret Formula For Cymbal Making Re-discovered


I'm sure they have tried other metals, one that comes to mind is Nickel which is a 20th century discovery. Some manufacturers use Nickel to harden or stiffen the alloy, but it makes them very sharp sounding, too clashy.

Most Turkish cymbal makers use Tin for this purpose, as did the Sufi.

As for Gold... at $1,000 an ounze I don't think many people would be throwing Gold into the mix on a whim, just to experiment...
Unless of course they had heard the rumours about the Sufi using Gold, which was a very closely guarded secret, held by a select few cymbal makers... who took the secret to the grave with them.
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  #14  
Old 01-31-2010, 07:16 AM
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Re: Secret Formula For Cymbal Making Re-discovered


Name one cymbal manufacture, out of the dozens world wide... that uses Gold as part of the alloy mix. If they did they would certainly boast about it.

Google will tell you if there is such a manufacturer... but don't waist your time, because not a single contemporary cymbal maker uses Gold. Silver?..sure, but pray tell what does that do for the sound?

Gold was used by the Sufi as their artisan cymbal makers experimented with different metals. Gold is soft and heavy and has no structural grain... think about it, I believe Gold was responsible for the glorious sustain and huge dynamic sound I heard from the 400 year old Sufi cymbal in Konya.
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  #15  
Old 01-31-2010, 05:37 PM
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Re: Secret Formula For Cymbal Making Re-discovered


I hope you're right, man. My hat's off to you. You've made a true search, going to Turkey, hearing the secrets from the local people, finding the ancient cymbals, and actually playing them -- and hearing them. I'm just sittin' here in a chair.

But I listen to the thoughts that come into my head, thoughts like this:

I know nothing about cymbal-making, but I do know a little about knifemaking, and in knifemaking the alloy is not as important as the heat treatment. A knife made of mediocre steel but properly heat-treated will outperform a knife of the best steel that is not heat-treated or that receives inadequate heat treatment. A cymbal containing gold might make a better alloy, but wouldn't the real secret lie in the heat treatment? (When the Zildjian company moved from Turkey to the USA, they still bought their coal from the same company they had used when in Turkey -- that shows concern about heat treatment.)

Point of fact. It is my understanding that Zildjian has never claimed to possess the secret of the "ancient cymbal makers." Their claim is that Avedis Zildjian 1 stumbled on a good cymbal alloy while trying to create gold from base metals. The Zildjian secret alloy is what he stumbled upon -- not some ancient cymbal maker's secret. And in fact, much of the world agreed that these were better cymbals than the others that existed at the time.

Point of fact. Ancient cymbal makers existed in Mesopotamia and China too, not just Turkey.

You point out that gold is $1,000 an ounce. But in our history gold at that price is the exception, not the rule. Gold has spent decades not being a decent investment and at a much lower price.

I don't know any cymbal makers who use gold today, but then, I've never researched it. The Wikipedia article says some do. And mostly, I just believe gold has been tried as an alloy at one time or another as cymbal makers experiment to improve their products. Are you saying this has never happened?

Like I said, I hope you're right. I hope you end up with the best damn sounding cymbals in the universe. I'll buy 'em. And I've got to hand it to you -- you're goin' for the gold!

Last edited by dtxtremeiiispecial; 01-31-2010 at 06:08 PM..
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  #16  
Old 01-31-2010, 08:03 PM
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Re: Secret Formula For Cymbal Making Re-discovered


I have no agenda of any sort... neither am I an affiliate for Zildjian cymbals... What I am though is a student of history, a researcher and a music graduate... So I have to tell you that the Avedis Zildjian company have done an excellent job at writing their own history, and using a fanciful story to promote their product successfully world wide.

This was largely through the efforts of the genius advertising talent of Hermon Jennings in the 1920's. Before that, no such story was told.
The vast Ottoman empire was held together through scrupulous record keeping, and that tradition still holds true in Turkey today. Yet in Turkey there's simply is no record of the fairy tail history of Avedis Zildjian, as portrayed by the company today.

Hermon Jennings famous saying was: "Stories sell".

However the stories invented by the Zildjian family business is nothing short of self promoting propaganda, and like all propaganda, it's a stretch of the truth. Think about it... what was Avedis Zildjian doing in America 400 years ago?... Selling cymbals to the Native Indians?... Get real.

Sure Zildjian makes great cymbals, but they have also made junk. I still have two Avedis Zildjian cymbals made in the 60's, and frankly they are terrible sounding. But unless you were willing to travel to Turkey, there weren't to many choices in those days.

I hate to burst your bubble, but the so called Zildjian secret, sudenly changed in the 1940's from being a secret alloy to a secret mixing process, when metallurgy advanced enough to allow any alloy to be precisely analyzed. The original Avedis Zildjian cymbals were 80% copper and 20% tin, period. Just as they largely still are today in Turkey.

Since the 50's though there has been a lot of experimenting and tinkering with the alloy, by adding things like Nickel, Zink, Silver and even magnesium. Every contemporary cymbal manufacturer has special rooms with hundreds of experimental prototypes that never saw the light of day.

So to summarize:
The biggest secret at the Zildjian factory, takes place in the smelting room. This is where they sprinkle "Zink" in power form, as they mix the molten components together to form the slug. This method has been used by goldsmiths for centuries, it enables the different metals to flow together evenly into an amalgam and allows for a more consistent product.

Be careful not to fall into the trap and buying into the advertising hype put out by manufacturers.

Ford still sells more cars than Mercedes world wide... but does that make ford a better car?

Last edited by Drum Master 1; 01-31-2010 at 08:29 PM..
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  #17  
Old 01-31-2010, 11:04 PM
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Re: Secret Formula For Cymbal Making Re-discovered


Drum Master 1,
Well, we are both students of history, I see.

Point of fact: Avedis Zildjian 1st was not in America 400 years ago. The Zildjians never invented a story like that. Nobody has ever said he was in America 400 years ago, except you. Avedis Zildjian 1st lived and died in Turkey. No Zildjian ever came to the USA until the 1920's. So what's all this about selling cymbals to the Native Americans?

Let's get off Zildjian and talk about Paiste. In an online blurb titled "The Paiste Cymbal Alloys'"
Paiste says, "The exact sound property of the alloy is a combination of factors. The ingredient metals are a key factor . . . . The other important factors are grain size, the grain structure, and alloy hardness. These factors are determined in the casting, rolling, and annealing [heat treatment] process. They need to be fine tuned very carefully, because the wrong combination will not work . . . . Moreover, this is just the starting point. because the actual determination of cymbal sound involves the shaping (through hammering) and tapering (through lathing) of the disks into their final shapes. During this process the particular frequencies and harmonics desired in the final cymbal are selected from the vast sound potential inherent to the alloy."

I'm saying the alloy alone doesn't determine the sound, even an alloy with gold in it. There are plenty of other factors. So to get the "orgasmic" sound you heard in Turkey, you will need to duplicate more than just the alloy.
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  #18  
Old 02-01-2010, 12:30 AM
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Re: Secret Formula For Cymbal Making Re-discovered


Woo... I hear some angry tones, I must have struck a nerve...look I don't mind you pushing your barrow and putting affiliate links in your posts to make a Dollar or two... But please get your facts right, and stop embarrassing yourself. You've already admitted you know nothing about cymbal making. Anybody can copy and paste info from a manufacturers website.

So lets tone it down a notch and listen to someone who does know, someone who has nothing to sell and no axe to grind. Then you might learn something.

I'm sorry if that sounds condescending, but here's the facts:

Paiste cymbals do none of the things you just mentioned. Their manufacturing process is unique and quite different. They press their cymbals from industrial alloy sheets that is supplied to Paiste in huge rolls, to their specifications. The same way car panels are stamped out. This process means that they get uniformity right across their range. Even the hammering is mechanical and even.

This process is like stamping out saucepans, but its cheap and their price reflects that. Also every cymbal of a given size will sound identical. That ideal from a manufacturers point of view, but unfortunately they sound nasty, a lot like my Grandmothers tin tray I used to thrash as a kid.

However, cymbals are a musical instrument, an extension of the drummers expressive self.

The true magic in cymbal making as you pointed out, is the shaping of the sound through hand beating by a craftsmen. Who apply the same devotion to their craft as did Stradivarius when he hand built violins.

So yes, their are many factors involved in making a great cymbal, but most drummers understand that...right? So theirs no argument there.

As far as Zildjian goes... sure they make a good cymbal... but just not great, or the best... Like I said...I'm sorry that raises your blood temperature, but sometimes people only believe what they want to believe.

The best cymbals are still hand beaten and come from Turkey. But you have to be prepared to sample dozens to find the one with that magic sound.

Last edited by Drum Master 1; 02-01-2010 at 12:56 AM..
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  #19  
Old 02-01-2010, 12:49 AM
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Re: Secret Formula For Cymbal Making Re-discovered


Well, thanks, Drum Master 1. It's nice to hear the truth about cymbal making from one who really knows all about it -- except where Avedis Zildjian lived. Signing off this thread.
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  #20  
Old 02-01-2010, 01:44 AM
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Re: Secret Formula For Cymbal Making Re-discovered


Easy gentleman, no need to trash such a great thread with ill feelings.

It is clear that drummers (like so many other kinds of people) are brand loyal and many have even been marketed into believing that a certain brand is the best. The bottom line is that perfect sound is in the ear of the beholder.

Most manufacturers high end cymbals are of good quality and sound depending on what you are looking for, so I think this argument is counter productive. The real issue here is can robotically hammered cymbals (or mass produced cymbals) sound as good as hand hammered cymbals, and I believe the answer is yes (this is of course the opinion of just one person).
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