My Spoons are Tuned, My Cymbals Ring
Cymbals, bells, gongs, and anything metallic one suspends for the purpose of creating sound and music have held my fascination as long as I can remember. I have always been transfixed by church bells and the towers that they are housed in, and the older they are, the better. I made my playhouse into an actual belfry once when I was very young and dutifully chimed the hour, even going as far as to play the ubiquitous Winchester Quarters melody that is so common when bells sound out the time of day. I accomplished this by suspending various lengths of pipe and bits of metal and any other scraps that I could scrounge up around the garage with twine. How proud I was of this, and what joy it brought me to be up above the world with my makeshift bells! I have not lost this enchantment, and indeed my cymbals are the lifeblood of the WhiteCatPink sound. Every live show I go to, the first thing I will invariably do is check out the drummer's cymbals and I will carefully observe how he or she uses them in the music. Cymbals are such a personal choice, and there is such a variety to choose from, so it always intrigues me as to the choices drummers make. 'Wow, I wonder why he's playing that one? What made her choose this brand of cymbals?', etc. The brand I played for years and years was Zildjian, a very old Turkish brand, and I swore I would never play anything else, until I began exploring an Estonian brand whose production facilities are currently located in Switzerland and Germany, called Paiste. Check out their website here. The term 'Paiste' means something like 'shine' in Finnish. It should be noted that I am not affiliated with Paiste in any way, nor am I endorsed by this brand. I have just cultivated a love affair with them, through listening to and eventually playing them. I took notice when a lot of the drummers that I respect started playing Paiste, and a lot of my favorite drummers have played Paiste cymbals throughout the years, most notably Nick Mason of Pink Floyd and Phil Collins of Genesis. The thing that made me finally switch and fall completely, abandonedly in love with Paiste was the glassiness and crisp projection that the cymbals offer, along with clear distinction in tones between the cymbals, and a certain high frequency 'ring' that is noticeable when the cymbals fade out after being struck. I will spare the reader the involved scientific details of the alloys of choice employed in cymbal making, but I should make note that the most common are B8 and B20 bronze. B8 bronze is made up of 92% copper and 8% tin, whereas B20 is 80% copper and 20% tin, with trace elements of silver and other precious metals in both. The copper is what gives the cymbals their ring. B20 bronze is the alloy of choice for Zildjian, Sabian, Istanbul, and other brands, considered superior by these brands to B8, and thus the latter alloy is relegated to their cheap, entry-level cymbals. But Paiste, in their brilliant wisdom, figured out how to make professional cymbals out of B8 alloy, as well as B20, and the resulting B8 lines are gorgeous examples of sonic mastery. What I have found about the professional Paiste B8 lines is that they are loud, bright, and project better than B20, and they sit at a bit higher frequency which is good for the WhiteCatPink electronic sound. Also another thing tha I adore about these cymbals is the consistency in production, so that, when I go to the website and try out cymbals, if there are some that I like, I know that I can order these specific cymbals and get the exact same models, which is not the case with the other brands like Zildjian and Sabian, because of their manufacturing processes. This is in no way intended to paint these brands in an inferior light, because they, too make excellent cymbals. Too, some people find the consistency of Paiste equally unsavory. Paiste just has the specific qualities and nuances that the Cat favors. Plus, the European vibe and efficient manner of production that Paiste features fits in perfectly with the sound that I am after, and blends well with the Kraftwerkian mechanization of the WhiteCatPink aesthetic. For those who are interested, I play a pair of 14“ 2002 Sound Edge hi-hats, a 10" Twenty splash cymbal, 16", 17", and 18" 2002 crash cymbals, a 20" 2002 Medium, a 20" Giant Beat Multi, a discontinued 20" 3000 Reflector Novo China cymbal, and a 22" Alpha Rock ride cymbal. This array allows me to cover a broad spectrum of sound. I love smaller splash cymbals, like 8" and 6", but they tend to get lost in the WCP sound. So the smallest cymbal I currently have is 10", though since Paiste sits at a higher frequency, it sounds like a beefed up 8" splash anyway. That said, my love of cymbals continues and they play the most important role in creating the sound I am after. Take notice of the drummer's cymbals next time you are at a live show. You might just find yourself getting obsessed, too!