Monday, August 6, 2012

K Custom Session Cymbals

A few years back my brother gave me a complete set of Zildjian K Custom cymbals, which consisted of a pair of 14" hi-hats, an 18" ride that has since been dropped from Zildjian's catalog for some reason, and a 16" crash cymbal. Later I added a 20" K Session ride cymbal to which I had Zildjian install a 3-rivet cluster.

I do not use crash cymbals, so I cannot comment on it. And since the 18" ride is no longer available, anything I can say about it is moot (although I did think it was a little too bright for my tastes - back then, anyway.)

The 14" hi-hats are versatile in my opinion. versatile. The only two other multi-purpose pairs I like more are the Armand 14" hats and the A. Zildjian & Cie "Vintage hi-hats.

They have a strange design based on an old pair of Istanbul K. Zildjian hats Steve Gadd used to own. The top is heavier and slightly smaller than the bottom (the top is 13-15/16" and the bottom exactly 14"). This configuration gives the hats a surprisingly responsive feel, and I like the sound - especially with the top hat loose in the clutch.

Unlike the ride cymbals in the K. Custom Session series, which sound great out front, but terrible behind the kit, these hats are great sounding to both the drummer and audience. And they can project if needed, or will give subtle notes if played softly. This quality makes a pair perfect for just about any music genre or playing style. They also pair nicely with other cymbals from not only Zildjian (both A and K series), but other brands too.

The 20" K Session ride cymbal, even with the factory-installed rivets, took some time to get use to.

One of the barriers to liking this (and its 18" sibling) is they sound clangy from behind the kit. Out front they actually sound pretty amazing and they also record very well.

Also, unlike other Zildjian K. Custom series, the Session series is consistent. Mine sounds practically identical to one owned by a fellow drummer. And hearing him play is what inspired me to dig out mine, which frankly had not been getting much use over the years.

This cymbal will not project, so for loud music it is not a great choice. There is a lot of definition with a slight wash when playing it, and the bell is very strong. It also crashes well.

It is versatile enough to work with jazz and blues and other quieter types of music. It may work with classic rock, but will definitely not cut through if you play heavier rock or metal.

When I received my set it came with a cymbal bag and a DVD. I managed to track down the DVD, which features Steve Gadd explaining how and why the K Session series came about. Here is the full length video, which rounds out my thoughts in this series:

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