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It is often hard to tell when a specific cymbal was made. There is an excellent series of articles from expert Bill Hartrick at cymbalholic.com called Trademark Stamp Chronology
discussing the diverse types of stamps that can be found on A as well as K Zildjian cymbals.
Avedis Zildjian Genuine Turkish Cymbals Made in USA
Description: Earliest and most versatile Zildjian series, the 'classic Zildjians'. Includes roughly two dozen models (see 1980 chart) in sizes from 6" to 24". Finishes include Traditional (lathed), Brilliant (mellower, because of the ridges rounded off), and the raw (unhammered and unlathed) Earth Ride.
Hammering: Even and dense, medium deep/large marks, nowadays machine-hammered
Lathing: Sharp-ridge even pattern, now machine-lathed
K. Zildjian Istanbul, Made in Turkey
Zildjian Constantinople stamp. This is presumably older than the Istanbul cymbal.
Description: These are the famous cymbals from the Zildjian factory in Istanbul, run by Kerope Zildjian. When he died, the factory closed and some spinoffs were started by former employees, namely Istanbul. The K. Zildjian trademark was later continued by the American Zildjian branch. Their cymbals, however, are different.
Hammering: Highly irregular, intense hand-hammering, including the cups.
Lathing: Fairly shallow hand-lathing.
Modern K logo
K. Zildjian & Co, Genuine Turkish Cymbals, Made in USA
Released:After closing of K. Zildjian, Istanbul
Description: Generally darker, lower pitched, and more complex than A. Zildjian, but considerably less complex and dirty than the original Kerope/Istanbul Zildjian cymbals. Today mostly machine-made.
Hammering: More irregular and deeper than A. Zildjian, nowadays machine-hammered
Lathing: Classical ridgy pattern, now machine-lathed
Description: Pretty small intermediate series consisting of 16" and 18" crashes, 20" and 22" rides, 18" and 20" China Boy, 14" and 15" Hi-Hats and Power Hi-Hats, respectively.
Hammering: Similar to A. Zildjian?
Lathing: Similar to A. Zildjian?
Released: Late 1970s?
Description: Loud, raw, metallic cymbals for loud music. Obviously inspired by Paiste's RUDE series. Models were limited to 16/18" crashes and chinas, 20/22" rides, and 14/15" Power Hi-Hats with half-round cutouts on the bottom cymbal's edge to prevent air lock. Completely machine-made.
Hammering: Very even, light, sparse, automated hammering
Description: Heavy, loud, cutting cymbals with focus on volume and projection. Aimed mostly at heavy metal players and available only in Brilliant finish. These cymbals are completely machine-made. Models include 16/18/20" Light/Heavy Power Crash, 20/22/24" Light/Heavy Power Ride, 18/20" Power Smash (china), 13/14" Dyno Beat Hi-Hats (both top and bottom extra heavy), and a 12" Splash.
Hammering: Very even computer automated hammering with especially designed hammer peens in unusual shapes: 5-point star, 6-point star, closed hex, open penta. Zildjian claims all of these produce different sounds.
Lathing: None (or very fine and polished down)
Closed hex and 6?-point star hammering patterns on Z Dyno Beat hi-hats
5-point star hammering on a Power Smash (china type)
Description: Made from B8 sheets with production techniques similar to the A Custom process. Brilliant finish, centered, smooth sound, without much complexity but with power. Intermediate level instruments. Models in sizes ranging from 6" to 20", including three weights of crashes, two rides, two hi-hats, splashes and chinas.
Hammering: Machine-hammered with special, oval peen hammer. Very dense around bell, less in middle of bow, sparse near edge. Similar to A Custom.
Lathing:Even, broad and shallow machine-lathing.
Edge machine hammering/lathing
Description: Brilliant finish combined with old lathing techniques and modern, oval peen hammering result in a more centered, 'modern' sound. About a dozen models in sizes ranging from 8" to 22".
Hammering: Machine-hammered with special, oval peen hammer. Zones of different density clearly distinguishable.
Description: Thin cymbals, buffed finish combined with micro lathing and deep hand-hammering result in a bright/dark, trashy and exotic sound.
Hammering: Deep irregular machine-hammering
Lathing: Very fine and regular machine-lathing
More on the following series to come...
- K Constantinople
- K Custom
- ZBT Plus
- Z Custom
- Sound Effects
Go to company/brand overview