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Sabian Cymbal

September 14th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

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Sabian Cymbal

The well known Avedis Zildjian Company is the world's largest manufacturer of cymbals and gongs. Founded in 1623 in Istanbul, Turkey, it is also the oldest family-run business in America (Family Business Magazine), at nearly 400 years old.

The first Zildjian cymbals were made by an Armenian alchemist named Avedis Zildjian, who was looking for a way to turn base metal into gold. While of course he had no success at this, he did create an alloy combining tin, copper and silver into a sheet of metal that when struck, would make musical sounds rather than shatter. The Sultan himself gave Avedis the name Zildjian, meaning "cymbal maker" in Turkish. Zildjian started his company in 1623, but kept the manufacturing process secret. Sixteen generations later this secret is still kept from the prying eyes of the world and especially other cymbal makers. This closely guarded secret is known only to the heirs of the Avedis Zildjian Company.

The Zildjian Company started out making noisemakers to intimidate enemies of the Ottoman Empire, but by the 19th century had turned their trade into making cymbals as musical instruments. In 1908 Avedis Zildjian III left the old world and moved to Boston, and in 1926 Aram Zildjian negotiated exclusive rights to distribute Zildjian cymbals with the drum maker Gretsch. By 1928 Avedis III and Aram were manufacturing cymbals in Quincy, Massachusetts, competing with the K Zildjian company in Turkey which eventually closed in 1970. Avedis III is responsible for many of the modern innovations in cymbals. He created drum-set cymbals, and gave them their names: ride, crash, splash and hi-hat.

Jazz drummers including such legends as Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Louie Bellson, Cozy Cole, Papa Jo Jones, and Shelly Manne, all used Zildjian cymbals and do many well known drummers today. Avedis III's son Armand developed personal relationships with many of the top drummers of his time, hand-picking cymbals to best suit each drummer. This became the basis for Zildjian's Artist relations department, and earned Armand the title of "Father of Artist Relations."

In 1968, the Avedis Zildjian Company bought the K Zildjian Company and all European trademarks, and opened a second manufacturing facility, the Azco factory in Canada.

The Quincy plant made cymbals using the traditional method of hammering, with a drop hammer. In 1970 the Azco factory developed the modern method of pressing cymbals into shape. In 1977 Armand was appointed President by his father. Shortly after, his brother Robert split from the company and began to produce Sabian cymbals, another populat cymbal amongst drummers today.

Armand was honored with a number of awards during his long career. Following family tradition, he passed the secret of the famous cymbal alloy on to his daughters, Craigie and Debbie, both of whom run the business today.

Zildjian cymbals are some of the most sought after cymbals on the market today and some Zildjian K ride cymbals from the early 1950's and before can go for as much as $1,500 each on auction sites such as eBay.

Sabian Cymbals Demo @ Guitar Showcase Part-1

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