Monday, March 04, 2013

Got my Chick cymbal

The original, signed by Roy Haynes.
The nice thing about Paiste cymbals— most of them— is that when you hear a sound you like, you can duplicate it almost exactly by just buying the same type and model of cymbal. They're very consistent, even across decades; my circa mid-60's 20" 602 medium ride, though a little played-out, is obviously the same basic cymbal as the current reissued 602s.

So after many years of listening to Chick Corea's Now He Sings, Now He Sobs and Return To Forever I was very excited the other day when the type of cymbal used on those records, an 18" Paiste 602 Flat Ride— in this case a 1975 Medium Flat— arrived in the mail. There seem to be some differences of opinion as to what the cymbal was, exactly— whether it was a medium or a thin. I always thought it was a 22", based on a random comment by my brother, but the consensus is that it was an 18", and comparing my cymbal with the recordings that makes sense.  My medium is definitely on the lighter side of that category, and crashes better than you would expect, and is still a very light-sounding instrument. Chick's cymbal is a “pre-serial” model, meaning it was manufactured before Paiste started stamping serial numbers on them.

Continued after the break:

So in the practice room at least, I'm now rocking a twin “Holy Grail” set up, with Roy Haynes/Airto on the left and Paul Motian/Al Foster/70's Dejohnette on the right with the 22" 602 Dark Ride on the right. Now I just need to come up with an extra thousand bucks to get my Billy Higgins cymbal— a 22" 602 Medium Ride— and some Sound Creation Dark hihats...

In other cymbal news, my general switch to heavier cymbals is going quite well. Working a jam session on the weekend I got to hear several excellent players play that 22" 602 Dark, and it sounded great out in the room. Compared to the very delicate things popular now, it's a very imposing cymbal from the player's position. I'm becoming convinced that the bigger-sounding cymbals, even when you play them softly, provide a better cushion for the band to play with confidence— I've been noticing that as drummers have been playing quieter, the bands have been sounding more timid, stuck in the soft end of their range.

Another interesting acquisition was a pre-serial 17" 602 Medium ride. I never would've had any interest in such a small ride, until I read that Connie Kay used a 17" Zildjian medium-heavy. It's kind of a stiff little cymbal— the experience of playing it is not unlike that of playing an A. Zildjian Ping ride— but I think it will make a nice bossa nova cymbal. I got it for next to nothing, at any rate.

Also having good experiences with older (like, c. 1970) New Beat hihats— and the Sabian equivalent, the AA Regular hihats— after buying a couple of sets blind for myself and a student. I've been using 13" Bosphorus Turk  Original (meaning light) hihat for a number of years, and the NBs feel somewhat barbarously heavy next to them at first, but they are moderately pitched, and I can get a nice sizzle out of them. And there's never a question of being heard. The Sabians especially seem to be selling very cheaply right now.


Unknown said...

There is so much mystery as to size and weight of the "Now he sings now he sobs cymbal". But the consensus is that it is an 18 602, I've read medium and light, there's the rub. Which one is it, does anyone know?

Todd Bishop said...

I understand it was a light- I think I linked to some source for that elsewhere on the blog. I don't know how Paiste was labeling the light ones at that time- it might by called just 'flat ride', or maybe 'thin flat ride'. The cymbal is still in Chick's possession, and I think Jeff Ballard used it on an album fairly recently- there could be more information on it lurking in Ballard's interviews.