COMING, END OF JUNE: Becken Deutschland

Dresden meeting, 2018

AT LAST: Our new Germany visit is NEXT WEEK, from June 27 to July 11!

We will meet a lot of drummers to hang out, deliver pre-purchased cymbals, and show as many extra cymbals as we can carry, for you to play and purchase.

We will also travel to Istanbul on this trip, to visit Cymbal & Gong’s manufacturers.

Here are the meets we have planned:

Berlin – Wednesday, June 29 – THOMAS RÖNNEFARTH PERCUSSION
Quitzowstraße 52, 10559 – 1-5pm

Dresden – Thursday, June 30 – Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber
Wettiner Pl. 13, 01067 – percussion department – 11am-1pm

We can also meet in the Frankfurt airport on June 27 (3-5:30pm, @ Paulaner on the Squiare) or July 11 (evening, @ airport Sheraton), to deliver pre-ordered cymbals.

Get on our mailing list to get updates, and to let us know what you’re looking for.

To get the cymbal you want: A lot of cymbals will be pre-bought, or reserved before the trip, so contact us soon and let us know which cymbal you want. If you don’t see what you want in our current stock, I can go to C&G HQ and try to find it for you.

A quick visit to Cymbal & Gong – four 22s

I made a quick visit to Cymbal & Gong HQ today, briefly getting sounds from four excellent 22″ rides for one of my friends in Berlin.
1. Kervan (R) ~2250 grams / Janavar (L) ~2550 grams
2. American Artist (R) ~2350 grams / (L) ~2450 grams
He was seeking a 22″ Special Janavar similar to “Vivian”, which has been reserved by another drummer in Germany– but this one is about 300 grams heavier, and performs more like a light-medium ride. It’s a very cool cymbal, but probably wouldn’t respond well to the heavy patina. With rivets it might sound more like a Billy Higgins-type cymbal.

The 22″ American Artist cymbals are assertive jazz rides, very much like my own main 22″ cymbal. My cymbal seems rather aggressive in the practice room, but played live it’s just a nice, present sound.

Janavar, Cymbal Foundry, Midnight Lamp

A quick rundown of some cymbal lines, by Cymbal & Gong, that we’ll be seeing more of in 2022: Janavar, Cymbal Foundry, Midnight Lamp, and Second Line.

Janavar series are B20 cymbals inspired by a famous European B8 line of the 1960s. Originally meant to be light-weight cymbals for pop music, we find them to be great in a range of applications. Generally they have a full, non-clangy bright sound.

We’re making some Special Janavars in 20″ and 22″, with a heavy patina with green highlights, that makes them excellent contrasting cymbals in a set with Holy Grails. They remind me of brighter jazz sounds of the 50s/60s, perhaps on Milestones, or Bill Evans’s Vanguard recordings, or on some CTI recordings of the early 70s.

 

Cymbal Foundry series is a bit harder to nail down, but they’re really good cymbals. The line was originally created in partnership with a drum shop, and may be getting a name change, after that relationship expired. They’re generally clean and straightforward, in moderate conventional weights, but not without complexity— it could be described as a more complex 602-like sound.

We’ll be doing a Billy Higgins tribute ride cymbal (think Pat Metheny’s Rejoicing), that is moderate-medium 22″ ride with six rivets, and a light patina.

 

Midnight Lamp is Cymbal & Gong’s name for a Turk-style cymbal. We special order a design that is slightly different— we get them thin, with the bells unhammered, and with no lathing at all. The regular Midnight Lamp has a slim lathed band at the edge, which adds some highs to the cymbals’ sound. I think our version has a more dusky, chocolaty sound.

The 18″ Jazz Ride is a popular item of this line— it’s a tight little cymbal excellent for rehearsals, recording, and other intimate playing. Or for drummers who just want a tight, dry sound.

 

Second Line series consists of two cymbals:  14″ and 16″ Swish or Chinese cymbals. Very thin, with a traditional bell. Cymbal & Gong has been prototyping Swish-style cymbals for several years, but largely hasn’t gone into regular production of them, until now. They are essentially effects cymbals, but are very expressive, with surprising sound possibilities, with echoes of Ed Blackwell.

The ones we’ve played have been outstanding examples of this type— they have that wild energy we want from them, while blending well with a regular Cymbal & Gong set up. Instantly responsive in a range of dynamics, and blessedly non-obnoxious. The larger prototype Swish cymbals have the same excellent qualities, and we hope to see more of them as well.

Janavar feedback

We just heard back from the buyer of an an 18″ Janavar crash cymbal— which was never listed on the site, and so there is no video, unfortunately! Cymbal & Gong’s Janavar series is a Turkish-made B20 cymbal inspired by a 1960s European B8 line, that was revived by its manufacturer in recent years. They are lush, moderate-weight rock cymbals, that are good for all kinds of music. We have a patinated 20″ Janavar crash-ride “Grayson” for sale on the site now, which would make a great left side cymbal for jazz drummers.

Here is what our buyer says about the 18″ Janavar crash:

The Janavar is… quite simply the best crash cymbal I’ve ever owned. Modern crash cymbals, no matter the weight, have a “clang” when hit softly. Heavier weights never lose it and lighter weights won’t let go of it until struck with enough force, at which point the room is filled with chaotic high-frequency radiation and the floor manager is giving you the stink-eye. That’s not an issue playing an outdoor rock gig but won’t do during dinner service or to the discerning ear of a studio microphone.

In contrast, the Janovar blooms and shimmers and all the player has to do is manage the amount of energy input via the stick. I would find myself moved to get in the practice room just to hear it again. It’s truly exceptional.

Billy Higgins special!

Here’s a special-order cymbal which we’ll be seeing more of— a Billy Higgins tribute cymbal! A bright 22″ Medium Ride with six rivets.

For this we used a Cymbal Foundry ride— Cymbal & Gong’s series of basically clean, modern-sounding cymbals— gave it a patina, and installed six rivets, evenly spaced, 1.5″ from the edge:

At 2675 grams it’s about 325-500 grams lighter than the actual model of cymbal Higgins used, and a good deal easier to play, and integrate into a set up of jazz cymbals.

Compare the sound with Billy Higgins’s cymbal on Tears Inside, from Pat Metheny’s album Rejoicing:

Or on Don Cherry’s album Art Deco:

Look for another one of these with the next shipment from Turkey in early February! There are also 20″ and 24″ Cymbal Foundry rides on hand right now if anyone wants a similar effect in a smaller or bigger cymbal. Write us to get yours!

Seattle cymbal meet – 12/13/21

It was small but mighty. We had a little meeting of drummers in Seattle this week, to hang out and play some cymbals. It 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 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:

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.

Jazz drummers love the Mersey Beat
The 20″ Mersey Beat Crash/Ride has been a popular item on my Germany trips, but I have difficulty describing their strength, 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. 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. D’Vonne purchased the one I brought, and everyone was enthusiastic about it.

No dogs
We talked about playing cymbals in a store, which is often an exercise in rapid fire rejection. We are 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 this 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— see my description of the Leon Collection cymbal “Aramis”, for example, which D’Vonne also purchased. Or the 17″ Turk “Daichi”; I reported that it seemed a little stiff as a crash cymbal, but you can see in the video that it handled quite well in that role. I felt Aramis was too washy for many ride applications, my brother and D’Vonne disagreed.

My sound, not the cymbal’s sound
There are many heavily characterful cymbals available now, but there’s a feeling that they don’t always work that great as instruments. Players expressed the feeling was that they box you in, coloring 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, not be the content themselves. I cymbal can have a beautiful sound, but we need a certain amount of transparency.

A little video of people playing the cymbals, with apologies for the poor sound quality:

Here are the cymbals being played— cymbals listed as NEW will be posted for sale by 12/15-16:

0:00 – D’Vonne Lewis playing (l-r):
14″ Holy Grail hihats – “Eugene”
17″ Turk medium-thin crash – “Daichi”
20″ NEW Merseybeat crash-ride – unnamed, purchased by DL
22″ Leon Collection crash/ride – “Aramis”, purchased by DL

1:57 – John Bishop playing (l-r):
14″ Holy Grail hihats – “Eugene”
17″ Holy Grail crash – “Jake”
22″ NEW Holy Grail jazz ride – unnamed
20″ Janovar with patina – “Grayson”

2:42 – Don Berman playing (l-r):
14″ Holy Grail hihats – “Eugene”
20″ Turkish K. Zildjian ride – owned by Bishop
20″ Turkish K. Zildjian ride – owned by Berman
20″ NEW Cymbal & Gong Holy Grail jazz ride – unnamed

4:14 – Don Berman playing (l-r):
Same as above with different unnamed new 20″ Holy Grail on the right.

5:09 – John Bishop playing (l-r):
14″ Holy Grail hihats – “Eugene”
18″ modified Turkish K. Zildjian ride – owned by Berman
20″ NEW C&G custom crash-ride – unnamed
20″ Holy Grail ride – unplayed on this segment

5:41 – John Bishop playing (l-r):
15″ NEW Holy Grail hihats – unnamed
16″ NEW Second Line – unnamed
20″ NEW C&G custom crash-ride – unnamed
21″ NEW Holy Grail jazz ride – unnamed

26″ Holy Grails now available!

26″ Holy Grail alongside 14″ Swish cymbal

Cymbal & Gong is now making 26″ Holy Grail ride cymbals on a special order basis!

Price will be in the range of $600, expect to pay more than usual for shipping.

There are a few on hand and available right now but we don’t expect C&G to carry these as stock— they will only be manufactured a few at a time, and all cymbals will go immediately to dealers, so there may be up to a 12 week wait for this very special item.

Contact us if you have questions, or would like to order!

Six 16″ Holy Grail thin / med. thin crashes

A customer requested a 16″ Holy Grail Crash, and I went over to Cymbal & Gong HQ in southeast Portland and played a few. Weights are from 941-958 grams, and all were excellent, responsive for crashing, but good for light, jazz-style riding as well. I purchased the 949 gram cymbal for sale on this site— that video and description will be coming soon. The others will be at C&G HQ until someone buys them— if you like one, send me a note, and I can find out if it is still available.

 

Over at our CRUISE SHIP DRUMMER! site, a user noticed that the last cymbal, @942 grams, sounded like Art Taylor’s cymbal from the beginning of Played Twice, from Thelonious Monk’s album 5 by 5. I think you might find some of the others are pretty close, too.

Michael Griener playing Cymbal & Gong

Here are few videos from Michael Griener, a very active drummer and teacher in Germany. He has been hugely encouraging and directly helpful in me developing this little business, and in getting Cymbal & Gong cymbals to drummers in Germany. He has been a big fan of the Leon Collection and Mersey Beat cymbals especially, and in these videos you can hear a lot of them, masterfully played.

Here he is using a Merseybeat ride, Leon Collection crash and hihats, and a special 22″ Dizzy-style China prototype, with rivets and a large chunk rudely cut out of it by Cymbal & Gong’s proprietor, Tim Ennis. Plus a bell and some splashes by another brand:


Geoff Goodman Quintet – Noch eins für Heinz

“I replaced Billy Elgart in that band recently–” – MG
“That’s extremely cool!” – TB


Sofakonzert #1: Stephan Abel & Band spielen “The New Standard”


Into The Shed vol. 41 feat. Rudi Mahall/Michael Griener

Uschi Brüning sings Billie Holiday
“She used to be the most famous singer in the GDR (East Germany).” – MG