Zildjian are in fine form at the moment, giving nods back to their rich history and taking cues from eras of sound that drummers are constantly striving to find in their own cymbal set ups. When Zildjian released the Kerope range they paid homage to the old K sound - that Jazz sound. Now, they’ve released the new Avedis line in honour of Avedis Zildjian III. Not to be confused with the newly designed A Zildian series – a force in their own right – the new Avedis range is a tip of the hat to the rockers and show bands of old, Zildjian have really created something special.
Using the every secret alloy blend, Zildjian describe these cymbals as 'a vintage recreation of the timeless sound and feel heard and played on thousands of top hits from the 30’s through the 60’s, from swing to bebop to the explosion of rock & roll'.
This sums up the brief perfectly because as mentioned, the Vintage sound is so in at the moment but for a lot of players, the K and Kerope cymbals may be a little too dark so the Avedis range aims to fill the gap, offering vintage, but the other spectrum. The range is rather simplistic in a lot of ways. There are three hi-hat sizes to choose from – 14”, 15” and 16” and all other cymbals are simply referred to as crash/rides available in sizes from 18” - 22” of which, this naming convention is very correctly matched to their nature.
The cymbals feature a matte lathed finish with minimal hammerings and even scorings. They are manufactured with a process that effectively ages the cymbals and finishes them with a nice patina that also looks a little purple in some lightings. They certainly look vintage and very cool. Each cymbal has a moderate profile and larger, pronounced bells. They’re also very well designed from the typography perspective. The label is actually Avedis’s signature, scanned from his 1939 passport and the Zildjian stamp/serial is rolled in the old way rather than laser etched as is usually the way these days. Each cymbal also has its own individual weight printed under the bell so players can choose appropriately and the Zildjian logo on the underside is hollow, as was the way back in the day.
The cymbals feel wonderful. Yes, I know it’s slightly cliché, but they do feel aged and used. I don’t know how Zildjian do that but it’s nice. The Hats are just great. They’re clean, bright and crisp, yet thin and responsive, and very musical too. The bigger you go, the lower the pitch and the broader the sound. They’re thin, so open and slushy is really great. The 15”s were my pick – the best of both worlds.
The crash/rides are all similar in their makeup and vibe. Not one stood out as heavier or with a dramatically different character to the next. The big 22” was an obvious choice of ride for me. The bell was really cutting, the body of the cymbal yielded a super light wash with light stick definition, a lot of nice sustain and a bright tone. I could hear instantly that this cymbal could cut the jazz thing in the Buddy Rich era or the rock thing for Ginger Baker. It’s a familiar sound and still one to love.
The smaller I went, the characteristics remained the same, the pitch just changed. Great bells and a shimmering tone overall – bright, yes, but also warm and useable thanks to the lathing and that patina. They’re very loud cymbals that project well, but they’re not harsh at all, which is contrary to what I was actually expecting. Some vintage cymbals can be harsh on the ears but these aren’t. The only downside is that perhaps there’s a little too much wash on the rides for every situation but I’m really nit-picking there.
Overall, I just love this range of cymbals. I’m a big dark cymbal fan but sometimes a little brightness helps carry your sound, particularly for hi-hats or rides and these Avedis cymbals are a great blend of old and bright. There’s a place for these in my set up and I’m sure other drummers will feel the same.
Hits and Misses
Musicality in spades
Beautiful shimmering vintage sound
Versatile across so many styles
Good Zildjians aren’t always cheap
Might be too light and washy for some players