Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Seattle meet wrap-up

Well, it was small but mighty. The cymbal meet in Seattle confirmed a lot of things I already felt about the Cymbal & Gong instruments, and gave me a lot of valuable information from some drummers whose experience and opinions I totally trust. Most of the conversation happened between me, my brother John Bishop, and Seattle drummers Don Berman and D'Vonne Lewis— all serious players with many decades of experience playing in a lot of different situations, and having played a lot of cymbals in our careers. 

Here's the upshot, with regard to people's feelings about the Cymbal & Gong cymbals: 

They are the K sound

We got to compare the Holy Grail series directly with several decent Turkish-made K. Zildjians— they were clearly the same family of sound, with a very similar harmonic profile. The Ks were all about 40-80 years older than the C&Gs— which dulls a cymbal, dries it out. It's not necessarily a bad quality, it's just what happens to cymbals over time. I'll sometimes order a heavier-than-normal patina on Holy Grails to replicate that quality. The Ks each had their funky idiosyncrasies, which were apparent when you hit them once, but not so noticeable once you were playing them— with the examples we played, at least. The Holy Grails were more lush, like pristine examples of the same type of cymbal.

There were some other modern jazz cymbals present, and none of them that we played were close. 

Jazz drummers love the Mersey Beat
The 20" Mersey Beat Crash/Ride has been a popular item on my Germany trips, but I hadn't gotten too much reaction about them at home. I have difficulty describing the Mersey Beat's strengths, except that a lot of  players love them. They're bright timbred, live, light-medium crash-rides with four rivets, and just an all-around outstanding all-purpose cymbal. You would not think that just a straight cymbal sound would be hard to come by... until you visit a Guitar Center, and play fifteen things in a row that you hate. I feel that they're moderate-duty cymbals; I was surprised that my brother thought they would work great in a big band setting as well. 

No dogs
We're so used to not liking cymbals, everyone was a little bit stunned to play fifteen different cymbals, and have them all be totally valid— the cymbal you were hunting for on your last ten visits to the drum shop. 

Few reservations
On my Cymbalistic site I give pretty detailed playing notes on each of the cymbals I sell. I was interested to see that some of my reservations about certain cymbals were not shared by the other drummers. Everyone had their favorites, but the there were no this is great buts about any cymbals. 

My sound, not the cymbal's sound
We got to talking about our dissatisfactions with other cymbals we've played. There are so many heavily characterful cymbals around now, a feeling has been brewing— they don't work that great as instruments. The feeling was that they box you in, by being that one too-distinctive thing that colors your performance in a way you may not want all the time. As Peter Erskine said about relentlessly amazing drumming, a relentlessly characterful cymbal can be like bad wallpaper. Cymbals are supposed to be vehicles for what you play on them. I cymbal can have a beautiful sound, but we need a certain amount of transparency.   

Some video of the meet is coming. 

Hop over to my cymbal site, Cymbalistic, and check out these wonderful cymbals, made by Cymbal & Gong. There have been a ton of orders the past two weeks, so my stock has been decimated, but I have a lot of new cymbals in, and will be posting video this Thursday and Friday. 


Michael Griener said...

The Mersey Beat I bought from you in 2018 is still my favorite cymbal and I've used it at almost every gig since.
I even sold my Spizzichino after I got it and switched to C&G completely.
The best thing I can say about them, and this is the best thing you can say about any instrument, is that they become so much a part of the music that you don't even notice them anymore.
I can concentrate on making music and not think all the time about what a great cymbal I'm playing.
Cymbal & Gong cymbals are the most musical cymbals I know, and in fact, I haven't heard one yet that I wouldn't take to a gig.
I can't say that about any other cymbal company that I know.
Looking forward to welcome you in Germany next year and I will make sure to order some more cymbals just for the heck of it.

Todd Bishop said...

I didn't know you sold the Spizz! There's a guy in Nova Scotia right now selling all his Agop 30th Anniversary and Paiste Masters to get a huge order of C&G. He already put a bunch of money into Spizzes and old Ks as well.

That first Merseybeat was so random-- I think someone else used it on a tour, and then returned it to Tim. I played it for three seconds and then bought it because it was discounted. Great that it has become your main axe.

Thank you for that comment-- I need to put it on the site, it's the best description of the strength of these cymbals I've seen yet. The meet was kind of hilarious-- the guys are so used to going to whatever drum shop and rapid fire hating everything, they couldn't quite handle all the cymbals being really good!

The reactions of players are so great. Still my favorite thing is Andre coming in at the end of the Dresden meet and two minutes later running up to buy that 22".

Really looking forward to coming back to Germany-- hopefully Omicron will allow it-- plans are developing...