Avedis Zildjian – where it all started. The A Line of Zildjian cymbals have been a staple for so many drummers for years. They’ve always been here – amongst the darker and perhaps more exotic Ks, as well as their close cousins the A Customs. Through it all, the As have remained a fantastic and natural all-rounder and a great place to start when you get into the realm of cast cymbals. They’ve added a really interesting set of splashes to the family and they’re called Flash Splashes. When the A line was re-engineered in recent years, the response was incredible and I was one of the converted. Zildjian had managed to refine an already good sound and offered some truly cracking models. So when they announce any new cymbal model, everyone pays attention.
Master drummer Peter Erskine ought to know a few things about cymbals and he had a definitive hand in creating these new splashes. The theory is that statistically, there are three types of splashes – the traditional ‘ragtime’ kind (think the end of the trad jazz tune), the percussive type splashes (where a drummer might have multiples set up in sizes as small as 6” for use as an actual substitute for a drum per say) and the bell like splash that has little ring and a very short ping. The Flash Splash aims to bridge the gap between the old school and the new school.
The A Zildjian B20 Cast Flash splashes have a unique look for an A Zildjian. They take on the similar make up as the Akira Jimbo Hybrid line with a lathed natural finish combined with an unlathed brilliant finish bell. They certainly look the part and it’s this look that starts to put images into your mind as to what they’ll actually sound like. I think all drummers do this – see a drum or cymbal and imagine the sound they’ll make just by the look of the instrument. The thing is, for me, these splashes were actually different to what I was expecting but in a good way. They’re really good.
DID I MENTION THER’YE GOOD?
Compared to a standard A splash, or even a K Splash that has the same make up for the whole cymbal, the new A Flash Splash is brighter with a longer sustain and more delicate edge. The bell especially gives two distinct sounds on the cymbal itself – not that this is how you would necessary play it, but the sound does combine the bright cut from the polished bell and the thin, light, washy sustain from the bow of the cymbal. It’s great to play within a set up because of the way the cymbals blend and the frequency. They open up very quickly with little to no effort at all (the paper-thin weight helps this) but they also cut (the heavier bell helps this), so as you can imagine there’s a lot to like.
Overall, I loved these new Flash Splashes. There’s just the right amount of everything in them and they really appealed to the way I play. I’m not the hardest hitter but I was really able to modulate the output with how I played them. Softer hits yielded more wash as apposed to the abrupt cutting accent when struck harder. Basically, they don’t just lose all their quality because they’re not being smacked. There’s a very versatile instrument here that would suit a variety of styles and entice the drummer to move away from using them as just an effect type cymbal. They are brighter than you’d expect an A to be though and they do have a modern sound rather than traditional, but I suppose this is the whole point. Peter Erskine describes the sound as a bit ‘dangerous’. I can see where he’s coming from but considering these Flash Splashes would suit any style or situation, I’d say they sound a bit ‘awesome’. The ability to make a splash cymbal that doesn’t just sound like a bell and one that is actually versatile as a splash in itself is a truly great thing. I don’t just think that Zildjian has nailed it with these Flash Splashes but I think that they could just be the best splashes they’ve made yet. Big call? You bet, but they’re really that good.
For more details on Zildjian products, head to austmusic.com.au.
Hits and Misses
What a splash should sound like
Balanced gorgeous tone
Wish they did these ages ago
Might be too thin for some players