ZILDJIAN: 13'' A Pocket Hi-Hats and 21'' A Custom 20th Anniversary Ride

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Publication: Modern Drummer : MD
Author: Dawson, Michael
Date published: May 1, 2012

New additions to Zildjian's alt-purpose A and A Custom lines include a set of super-funky and articulate 13'' Pocket hi-hats and a limited edition 21'' ride cymbal commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the award-winning A Custom series, which was originally developed in the early '90s in collaboration with drumming legend Vinnie Colaiuta.


The unique-looking Pocket hi-hats ($284.95) were originally released as part of the gospel/praise-and-worship Inspiration Pack, which also included a 12'' A splash, a 16'' A Custom Fast crash, and a 20'' K Custom ride, but now they're available separately for use by any drummer looking for a bright, quick hi-hat sound.

Both cymbals are unlathed and have a brilliant finish, and they feature large crater-like hammer marks throughout the bow. The bells are unhammered. The top cymbal is said to be thin, but it felt firm and didn't have much flex when I struck it or tried to bend it with my hands. Playing the top cymbal by itself gave off a ringing, bell-like sound with a long, pitchy sustain. The bottom cymbal is very heavy and firm, with no noticeable flex. It also had a long, pitchy sustain when stuck by itself, coupled with a clear, strong attack.

When played as a pair, the Pockets produced a glassy semi-open tone, a super-quick stick attack when held closed, clean open barks when struck with the shoulder of the stick, and a strong foot chick. Riding in the fully open position produced a sound that was a bit too bright and short for my personal tastes, but for funk/hip-hop grooves involving a lot of quick hi-hat chatter and fast open/closed figures, these cymbals really excelled.


Available only in 2012, the 21'' A Custom 20th Anniversary ride ($314.95) comes with a cream-white logo, and it has a special A Custom trademark etched above the regular Avedis Zildjian imprint. Like all A Custom cymbals, this ride features symmetrical hammering, tight lathing, and a brilliant finish. Its medium-thin weight is lighter than other A Custom rides, so it had a bit more wash and could double as a big, full-sounding crash. The large bell had a strong, chime-like sound that would work just as well for quick Latin patterns as it would for driving rock grooves. Crash-ride enthusiasts will love this cymbal's long, glassy sustain, while the simmering ride sound is best suited for low-to moderate-volume situations or for recording work. This special model was made in a 21'' size to pay homage to the late Armand Zildjian, who preferred odd-size cymbals.


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