If you guys pay any attention to our socials you’ll have seen that myself and Jake recently hopped on and off a plane for Germany to visit the Meinl cymbals factory. I mean, there was far more to it than just a plane. A couple trains, a car journey, THEN the plane and ANOTHER car journey but we made it in one piece ready for our adventure. I suppose the burning question on everyones lips is…how was the schnitzel? VERY good, actually! So was the beer, according to Jake. The best part naturally was what we actually came over to see…the cymbals!
Lourens & Joe from Meinl were our guides on this adventure, and after short drive from the airport, just over the brow of some beautiful German countryside poked the synonymous Meinl logo staring out into the world. Our tour began at Meinl Headquarters, made up of three large buildings closely grouped together. Firstly, the facility is INCREDIBLE. The first building we were shown around was their administration building where Lourens and the team handle enquiries from literally all over the world! The coffee is amazing too, incase you were wondering. There was Meinl memorabilia on almost every wall within the office space, from t-shirts of past Meinl Drum Festival events signed by all the artists, to the first prototypes of some of their most popular ranges and so on. They don’t let these achievements slow them down though, that office is as tight as a drum (get it?!) and everyone works as a cohesive unit to make sure everyone is looked after and all problems are solved.
Next we got taken into my favourite part, the showroom…or “candyland” as we later nicknamed it. Every product Meinl produce & distribute around the world was within this room including some extremely unique show pieces such as a cajon in the shape of an acoustic guitar body. Press clippings, show pieces and prototypes developed by Mr Roland Meinl himself lived in this very room, a real sight to behold! After around an hour or so in this facility, which included an impromptu jam-session (seriously, they have a specific room JUST for jamming. It’s what everyone does on their break) and a great evening out with Lourens & Joe we got some rest in preparation for the next day, the hand-selecting process…
Meinl’s cymbal manufacturing facility lives just across the road from their main office, which was formally full of offices before they opened their new digs across the road. Upon arriving at the reception over to your left hand side was a tall black gloss wall with the loose outline of a door in the centre. “Byzance Vault” inscribed directly in the centre. At first I was expecting a magical incantation or a goblin to arrive with keys to unlock the door like the bank of Gringotts but instead Lourens very casually opened the door to reveal exactly what you’d expect…a room FULL of the most beautiful Byzance cymbals. This was just a brief tease of what was to come as first we had to see how these cymbals are manufactured!
One striking fact I discovered very quickly during the factory tour was just how much care goes into crafting these magnificent cymbals. A pair of hands touches every one of these cymbals before you even see them, from foundry reserve all the way down to their budget HCS line, and seeing a sand ride “pre sanding” was truly incredible. There was no cameras allowed within the manufacturing area itself but to be honest the cymbals sound so good that it really shouldn’t matter seeing HOW it’s made. Each one has their own unique characteristic, a fact we discovered when we finally got to play some cymbals in the vault. Each range has a distinct tone, but each individual cymbal has little nuances that make them all just a bit more individual and special which made selecting a cymbal, even one in the same range and size surprisingly different. However when it came to the crunch, I think we choose some absolute gems from the bunch. We walked out with such a stacked trolley that me & Jake are applying for the Supermarket Sweep reboot!
These cymbals made the journey across the water and available for you to come and do your nosy either in Glasgow or Leeds. Special thanks of course to Lourens out at Meinl HQ and to Joe our Meinl representative for hooking us up with the tour! Expect a full in-depth breakdown of exactly what we picked up in due course! In the meantime, come on down and try out some hand selected beauties!