One thing I’m really aware of is just how lucky I am to get to work with drums all day everyday for my job. But these past few weeks have been NEXT LEVEL. I got to go to the ZILDJIAN FACTORY!!!!! That’s right! Cymbal mecca!
Zildjian are one of the oldest family run businesses in the world and very obviously and clearly the market leader in cymbals. They’re synonymous with drums, drumming and music in general and this trip showed us just why!
Based in Norwell, Massachusetts and steeped in history, the entrance to the building greets you with Avedis’ desk where you move into the coolest lobby. A selection of drum kits are laid out in front of you – Ginger Baker, Tre Cool, Travis Barker and Ringo’s kits all donated to the Norwell lobby as a kind of museum exhibit.
After a quick hello and tour around the offices, the real action began with a tour of the Factory where the beautiful bronze is made.
Our tour guide was none other than Zildjian’s head of R&D and all round cymbal guru, Paul Francis. Paul has done just about every job there is to do when it comes to making Zildjian cymbals. Having started out lathing to become R&D genius, he gave us an awesome tour – explaining the history of the company from 1618 until now to guiding us through the whole process and even lathing some cymbals for us!
Paul took us through every facet of how a cymbal is made. The secret melting process is where we started (and no, we didn’t learn the secret I’m afraid). After this is done, they weigh the castings to determine what kind of cymbal they will be and then it’s onto rolling.
Cymbals are placed in the oven (which cooks at 1500 degrees) and then rolled to the appropriate thickness. This can be done up to 12 times to ensure they’re the correct specification.
From this point each cymbals goes a dedicated and specific process which is determined and shaped by what cymbals are being made, right the way through to testing and finishing and eventually into your hands to make your gigs sound sweet!
The experience of visiting such a prestigous brand and operation was 2nd to none. It was a real privilege for us to be asked to visit, for our input and to see these wonderful instruments being made.
We had an awesome time with our industry pals and a massive thanks goes out to the guys at Headstock distribution for taking us over and to everyone at Zildjian, in particular Andy Schlosser and Rick Van Oppen, who looked after us during our stay!