"People who make no noise are dangerous."
--Jean de La Fontaine

Monday, May 8, 2017

New Cymbal Acquisitions

22" Sabian HH Vangaurd

The Vangaurd is a new series in Sabian's HH line. If you haven't tried them, you are missing out. This 22" cymbal (the Vangaurd series does not use names like ride or crash) is incredible. In many ways, it has become my favorite ride. Oops! I mean cymbal. It has a great wash with plenty of stick definition, but it's the shoulder crashes that will bring you to your knees. I love that it's thin enough to be bendable but not so thin that it's uncontrollable. This is a fantastic cymbal! (2153 grams)

18" Sabian HH Vangaurd

This 18" Vangaurd is very cool. It has the same characteristics as it's big brother above but in smaller form. As a crash cymbal, this thing is amazing. It has a beautiful crash which dies quickly making it perfect for most situations that need a crash. I have been a little disappointed with it's capabilities as a ride though. It is simply too thin to hold up to much stick work, even at low volumes. It might work well if you ride it on the edge like a crash/ride, but I rarely play music where such playing is appropriate. (1125 grams)

10" HH Splash

I don't use splashes often, but I was working on a piece that needed a smaller splash sound than what I owned so, I picked this one up. It sounds like a splash. Nothing fancy or surprising. I do love the new HH hammering. (262 grams)

22" Sabian Artisan Elite Ride

Call me crazy if you want, but I believe Sabian is releasing cymbals from the Artisan series too early. Hear me out. I think it's a supply and demand thing. I have several Artisan cymbals which were sent to me from the factory. All of them have arrived sounding "meh." However, if I let them sit for six months or so, they completely change and sound amazing. You're rolling your eyes aren't you. I thought I was crazy too, but it happened so many times that I asked around. All of my friends who own Artisan cymbals reported the same thing. The cymbals sounded fine, good enough to purchase, but after a few months, they went from being a tolerable cymbal to a masterpiece. I'm not talking about subtle changes either. I realize cymbals change after they've been played awhile and they refine as they build a patina. I'm telling you after about six months, I have a completely new cymbal. Feel free to call me crazy in the comments.

Anyway, this cymbal looks amazing and sounds ok. I'm hoping for some transformation over the next few months and I'll report back to you with a full review. Until then, this cymbal is in quarantine. (2315 grams)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

New Sabian Hi Hats

14" Sabian AA Apollo Hats

I understand the nomenclature Sabian has been using with the "Big and Ugly" series, but I wish they would have come up with a better name. There's nothing ugly about these hats. I didn't know what to expect when I first saw these hats but I have been very pleased with their sound. They are semi-bright, but do not sound like rock hats, although they could be used as such. This particular pair has a great Papa Jo sound which I can't wait to try out on my next big band gig. They look amazing and sound even better. (872/1123 grams)

14" Sabian Vanguard Hats

These hats are so dry that I was a little afraid of them when I first heard them. They have a great chick and a very controlled stick sound. They do not splash well so they're not for loud gigs. In quieter situations, these hats have been outstanding. I love using them with a piano trio. The most amazing thing about this pair of hats is the incredible hammering. The bells have hammer marks (see picture below) which can only be described as dents. I'm talking deep hammering here, which of course is the secret to their dry crisp sound. If you're interested, play a few pairs before you buy. I bet there's some variance between pairs and the sound they make may not suit every player. (865/966 grams)

14" Sabian HHX Manhattan Jazz Hats

These are my favorite "all-around" hats right now. They have a beautiful chick, splash, and stick sound. They are bright enough for pop music but dark enough for most jazz gigs. They really sound great behind the tenor saxophone. I recommend checking these out if you're in the need of some quality hats. (919/961 grams)

Orchestral Cymbals

I realize it has been a while since I have written a post about gear. I have several in the pipelines. Please stay tuned. During the last year or so, I have added a ton of cymbals to my collection. This post is going to cover some of the plates that I use for orchestral work.

16" HH Viennese 

This is a beautiful pair of cymbals! They have a shimmery crash sound which is neither too dark or too bright. While a pair of 16" hand cymbals may seem too small for many people, I find that they are actually quite versatile. These cymbals are great for pit work, musicals, small operas, use with brass bands, and other types of chamber percussion work. (1380/1413 grams)

18" Artisan Medium Light

Out of the bag, these cymbals look gorgeous. The raw bell against the dark bronze color of the cymbals is really striking. They sound unlike any pair of crash cymbals I have played before. They have a dark, complex sound which is pleasant but unique. The closest comparison I can make, is that this pair of cymbals sounds like cymbals you might hear in symphonic recordings from the 1930s and 1940s. I have used these cymbals in various situations over the last year and they always sounded fantastic. They are becoming my favorite "all-around," cymbals. (1921/2007 grams)

18" Sabian Artisan Traditional Suspended                                                                             This cymbal is really surprising. Much like the pair above, the cymbal is complex and sounds from a different era. The cymbal appears too heavy to work as a suspended cymbal, but it responds perfectly. I have used it in several situations and the cymbal has a great crash. It can be explosive or subtle when struck with mallets. It's an expensive cymbal so there may be better options depending on your budget but, man does this plate sound good! It's worth every penny. (1390 grams)

18" Sabian AA Molto Suspended

This is the perfect "all-around" suspended cymbal. It sounds great with mallets, sticks, and even brushes. It is very easy to control when rolling and explodes with a beautiful shimmer. One interesting characteristic of this cymbal is that it has a tiny lip at the edge. You can't see it but you can feel it. It is uniform around the edge and is kind of like a Chinese cymbal but in no way that pronounced. I have to believe that this particular characteristic has something to do with the overall sound. If you can only afford one suspended cymbal, I would suggest this for your consideration. (1392 grams)

20" Zildjian A COS Medium Heavy

This pair of cymbals is a little older. I use them when I need a bigger crash sound. They sound especially good in wind band settings. (2287/2275 grams)

20" K Constantinople Suspended 

This cymbal is one I use in special situations. It is very big and washy. I have to be careful or it will get away from me. Especially when rolling on it with mallets. It works really well when I have to use sticks and mallets for the same piece. (1825 grams)

Saturday, May 6, 2017