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  #1  
Old 02-11-2020, 11:01 PM
Peedy Peedy is offline
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Default Cymbal Ink and the Evolving Understanding of Weight

I admit to the habit of collecting and using vintage cymbals, leaning toward rather thin examples. I've been curious for some time about how our understanding of cymbal weights have evolved over the years. Specifically terms Inked on cymbals like PAPER THIN, THIN, MEDIUM THIN, MEDIUM and HEAVY.

I propose some group think augmented with photos, years and varying views on the subject if anyone has a similar curiosity.

We'll need four things.

1. Photo of the weight Ink.
2. Photo of the stamp.
3. The year or years you think the cymbal was made - and your justification if you think it's needed.
4. Weight in grams

The bottom line is that what they would have called "Paper Thin" in 1935 is waaaay different from they'd call the same thing in 1975. It can made buying vintage cymbals a little tricky.

First post on the subject to follow and we'll see if I'm the only one who's been thinking about this.

Pete
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Old 02-11-2020, 11:08 PM
Peedy Peedy is offline
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Default Re: Cymbal Ink and the Evolving Understanding of Weight

This is a 1955 A. Zildjian inked 18 inch "THIN" and weighs in at 1265 grams. The stamp is the lightest pressing I've ever seen on a cymbal but my dating comes from the fact that it's clearly not a Trans Stamp, has a 7/16 mounting hole and sports a large bell that Zildjian was playing around with at the time (25% larger by volume).

I'd be especially curious to see how it compares to Early and Trans Stamps along with the 70s and 80s. K Zildjians would be interesting as they were in direct competition with each other.

I've also got a "MEDIUM" A. Zildjian that I'll post tomorrow.

Pete
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Last edited by Peedy; 02-12-2020 at 05:24 PM. Reason: Forgot to add diameter - 18in it is
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Old 02-11-2020, 11:40 PM
mlayton mlayton is offline
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Default Re: Cymbal Ink and the Evolving Understanding of Weight

Pete..great subject. That particular stamp appears to be a 70's thin stamp from what I am seeing. I can't make all the of the stamp. But the vertical misalignment of the H in turkish and the E in made point towards that.

Mike
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Old 02-12-2020, 12:07 AM
zenstat zenstat is offline
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Default Re: Cymbal Ink and the Evolving Understanding of Weight

I've been working on this for the last few years. Both on models and weight class ink. I've got examples from catalogs, flyers, price lists, and hundreds of cymbals with weight class ink still on them, sometimes with model ink. These are in my database of about 3000 A Zildjian cymbals. What follows is an early draft of what I'm working on but I haven't included all the actual images here as there are too many. We should get together.

From the early days at Avedis Zildjian they were producing cymbals in different diameters and weight classes. The weight classes were named

Paper Thin
Thin
Medium Thin
Medium
Medium Heavy
Heavy

and these names were put on the cymbals using ink stamps. The differentiation began with different weight ranges for the castings depending on what diameter and weight class cymbal was to be produced. Orders were taken by weight class, and the ink stamps on the cymbals provided stock keeping and order information. The ink stamps survived when cymbals were shipped to retailers, but seldom survived the following years after the cymbals were in use. However, enough have survived to allow us to reconstruct the specific weight ranges associated with the weight class names.

These names are still in use today although you will find that Paper Thin replaces Ex. Thin in some eras. Also the word Fast appears in ink alongside Paper Thin. In 1958 the range is extended

Ex. Thin (seen in mid 50s)
Paper Thin
Thin
Medium Thin
Medium
Medium Heavy
Heavy
Ex. Heavy

and they give an explicit ordering of Ex. Thin vs Paper Thin. There is also an Ex. Heavy category added at the top of the weight range. There is also the complication of category (band and symphony) vs dance:

Quote:
Weights of Cymbals: Each category of Avedis Zildjian cymbals is available in the following weights: Extra-thin, paper-thin, thin, medium-thin, medium, medium-heavy, heavy and extra-heavy. Inasmuch as there is a distinct difference in the weights used for dance work compared to those used for band and symphony work, it must be pointed out that all cymbals must be classified according to category before their weight can be classified, (i.e. certain heavy dance cymbals can be equivalent of a medium band or symphony cymbal in actual weight and at the same time completely different in playing characteristics. Medium-heavy for band is entirely different than medium-heavy for dance.)
Although the early days were mostly about weight classes, there were a few specific models. By 1949 there were Flange models (aka Bop Flange) and the Swish. The Swish patent was applied on Feb 7, 1938 and granted as US 2189095 on Feb 6, 1940). There was also a Ping model which was around from the mid 1950s. The 1958 list includes Crash (usually 14-18 and thin, med thin, paper thin), Splash (usually 7-11 and thin)

Weight doesn't capture everything about how a cymbal of a specific diameter will sound. The other factors include

bell shape
bow curvature
edge taper
edge shape (eg flange)
lathing style

The Ping model is an example of an early model where weight wasn't seen as the only distinguishing feature. The Ping was described retrospectively in 2016 as

Quote:
In the 1950’s, the Ping Ride was the first heavier-weight Ride cymbal designed with a higher bow for increased stick articulation with little to no wash. Now one of our most popular cymbals, the Ping Ride was developed from the demand of drummers who needed a cymbal that had a distinct “Ping” sound and could cut through the Big Bands of the day.
Although the Ping tended to be heavier than a Medium, they weren't specifically all Medium Heavy weight class in the 1950s. The difference was the higher bow. The descriptions actually changed over the years with the Ping moving up a class.

from 1958

Ping Cymbals: Usually eighteen through twenty-four inches in diameter and medium to medium-heavy in thickness. A Ping cymbal is designed to control the cymbal over-tones so that they do not overpower the stick sound.

from 1969

Ping Cymbals: Usually eighteen to twenty-four inches in diameter and medium-heavy to heavy in weight. Ping cymbals are specially designed to control cymbal over-tones so that they do not over-power the stick sound. They produce the graduated range of pingy cymbal sounds associated with modern drumming.

This raises an interesting question which we will return to: how did the weight categories change over the decades?

By circa 1970 there are models like the Mini Cup and Pang which are available in more than one weight class as in this table which also shows the named of models starting to appear. Note that Ping is in two weight classes. So is Mini Cup Ride, and I've documented two different weight classes in the actual cymbals from the 70s and 80s.



In the 1960s the crash cymbal started to be differentiated as a separate model. Up until that time drummers used an Ex. Thin or a Thin if they wanted a cymbal which opened up more as a crash. Drummers used a Medium Thin if they wanted a Crash Ride balance between riding and crashing in a single cymbal. A variety of models appeared starting in the 1970s. Some of these had different shapes so they are recognizable whether the ink on them has survived or not.

What weights are associated with the Weight Categories?

There is a commonly used set of weight ranges for 22" cymbals credited to LuvMyLeedy of Cymbalholic. The names have changed a little, but for discussion of Avedis Zildjian cymbals I prefer to stick to the Zildjian names which match the ink from the 1930s to the 1970s.

Ex. Thin (Extra Light) 1900 - 2100
Thin (Light) 2100 - 2300
Medium Thin (Medium Light) 2300 - 2500
Medium 2500 - 2800
Medium Heavy 2800 - 3100
Heavy 3100 - 3500
(Very Heavy) 3500+

Do these weight categories match the weights of cymbals with ink still on? From what production eras?

*working on that now*

What about weight categories for other diameters?

*working on that now*

The ratio of areas vs other scaling methods explored here:

https://www.drumforum.org/threads/zi...ats-12.169540/

https://www.drumforum.org/threads/to...l-tone.169249/

and the bad news is we have a lot more work to do to get a quality theory of weight and diameter.

How do the weight categories change over the decades? (beyond "they got heavier")?

I propose to make comparisons within a weight class like 18" and 20" Medium (what have I got the most of?)

Do the LuvMyLeedy weight categories work for other brands? Thinking Paiste, American Ks, Old Ks, Sabian, modern Turkish cymbals. I've got thousands of cymbals from other manufacturers in my other databases but I won't be looking at those until we get a handle on the analysis of just the A Zildjian cymbals.
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Last edited by zenstat; 02-12-2020 at 12:10 AM. Reason: image in place
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  #5  
Old 02-12-2020, 12:08 AM
zenstat zenstat is offline
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Default Re: Cymbal Ink and the Evolving Understanding of Weight

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peedy View Post
This is a 1955 A. Zildjian inked "THIN" and weighs in at 1265 grams. The stamp is the lightest pressing I've ever seen on a cymbal but my dating comes from the fact that it's clearly not a Trans Stamp, has a 7/16 mounting hole and sports a large bell that Zildjian was playing around with at the time (25% larger by volume).

I'd be especially curious to see how it compares to Early and Trans Stamps along with the 70s and 80s. K Zildjians would be interesting as they were in direct competition with each other.

I've also got a "MEDIUM" A. Zildjian that I'll post tomorrow.

Pete
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlayton View Post
Pete..great subject. That particular stamp appears to be a 70's thin stamp from what I am seeing. I can't make all the of the stamp. But the vertical misalignment of the H in turkish and the E in made point towards that.

Mike
I agree that is a 70s stamp. But trademarks went on up to a few years after a cymbal was made. Other production clues tell you what production era it is from. The trademark tells you what trademark was applied on the day. The smaller hole suggests later 50s. I would like to know more about the bell: diameter and height. And how do you measure volume and a 25% increase? That one looks to me like an 18" cymbal with the special cup.

The bells in use are mostly these named dies which were used:

Mini cup 3 7/8" diam 1/2" tall
Small cup 4" diam 5/8" tall
Medium cup 5 1/4" diam 3/4" tall
Special cup a bit over 5 5/8" diam 7/8" tall
Large cup 6" and 1" tall

but as Mike will agree there are some other ones yet to be cataloged. He's been helping me with making progress there. Also what diameter is that cymbal? That would help to give context to the bell size. The Small cup was generally the one used on cymbals up to 17", and then the Medium cup comes in at 18". Not always, but mostly. The "not always" is a topic for further discussion of the different models.
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Last edited by zenstat; 02-12-2020 at 11:02 PM. Reason: cup diameters updated
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  #6  
Old 02-12-2020, 02:39 PM
Peedy Peedy is offline
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Default Re: Cymbal Ink and the Evolving Understanding of Weight

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlayton View Post
Pete..great subject. That particular stamp appears to be a 70's thin stamp from what I am seeing. I can't make all the of the stamp. But the vertical misalignment of the H in turkish and the E in made point towards that.

Mike
Canít be a 70s stamp given the 7/16 mounting hole. Plus Iíve got the cymbal here and itís really tough to make it all out in person let alone from the best pic I could manage.
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Old 02-12-2020, 02:58 PM
Peedy Peedy is offline
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Default Re: Cymbal Ink and the Evolving Understanding of Weight

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peedy View Post
Canít be a 70s stamp given the 7/16 mounting hole. Plus Iíve got the cymbal here and itís really tough to make it all out in person let alone from the best pic I could manage.
Home sick today and I think I found a better angle for photo.
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Old 02-12-2020, 03:24 PM
zenstat zenstat is offline
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Default Re: Cymbal Ink and the Evolving Understanding of Weight

Your stamp image is sufficient quality to meet the diagnostic criteria for a 70s stamp. The alignment of H and E is enough to give a unique id. Back when there was confusion about how to tell a late 50s from a 70s stamp I did a large enough study to prove that that alignment is reliable. It is enough on its own.

Your stamp annotated is attached. No question if you compare it to my examples:

http://black.net.nz/avedis/avedis-gallery.html#50vs70

In addition to the other things I've been working on I have also been looking at time lags (years between manufacture and the trademark applied) particularly around the transition times between different production eras. There isn't a problem with a late 50s cymbal getting a 70s trademark applied but it doesn't happen very often.

I'm still waiting for confirmation of the diameter, but I suspect that your Thin is an 18" and has the Special Cup. The Special Cup wasn't something new they were experimenting with. I've already traced it back to the mid 50s. It was in use on 22" cymbals. What was different is that in the very late 50s Zildjian started using it regularly on 18" cymbals which were destined to be Crashes. That being said, there is a subtle shape difference between the Special Cup die in use in the mid 50s and the Special Cup die in use in the very late 50s and after. I'm still working on how to document that in a way I can include here. I test the difference on my cymbals using a contour gauge, but you need hands on both cymbals to do that.

Examples of weights for 18" cymbals

period designation weight
2013 Medium Thin Crash 1163g
1998 Medium Thin Crash 1194g
2002 & Cie Vintage Crash 1196g
2002 & Cie Vintage Crash 1207g
60s Thin 1208g
2002 & Cie Vintage Crash 1214g
2002 & Cie Vintage Crash 1220g
78-82 Paper Thin Crash 1226g
2012 Fast Crash 1227g (before 2013 reset)
60s Medium Thin 1233g
2012 Paper Thin Crash 1273g (before 2013 reset)
60s Fast Crash 1285g
78-82 Medium Crash 1310g

This gives some context for where yours fits in, but I've got hundreds more. There just doesn't seem much point in doing anything until you answer my simple question about the diameter of yours. If it isn't an 18" cymbal then I should be focused on the results for some other diameter.

No need for better photos of the trademark. What we could use is better photos of the cymbal from top and bottom and a closer look at the lathing on the bell. Those are the helpful things when it comes to production era.
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Last edited by zenstat; 02-12-2020 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:21 PM
zenstat zenstat is offline
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Default Re: Cymbal Ink and the Evolving Understanding of Weight

I realize I also forgot to mention that the THIN ink on yours looks like the thicker version which came in maybe in the 1960s? The ink sequence is another whole topic under study. To help check my impression it would help to have a photo which includes the trademark stamp as well as the ink. Like the one I've attached which is an 18" 1337g with a 70s trademark stamp and THIN CRASH ink. Is yours the same as THIN as used in the THIN CRASH markings? There is an earlier THIN which is different. And of course by mid 1982 things changed with there just being a single ink stamp which incorporated both weight class and model, along with the diameter info under that.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:52 PM
Peedy Peedy is offline
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Default Re: Cymbal Ink and the Evolving Understanding of Weight

Quote:
Originally Posted by zenstat View Post
I realize I also forgot to mention that the THIN ink on yours looks like the thicker version which came in maybe in the 1960s? The ink sequence is another whole topic under study. To help check my impression it would help to have a photo which includes the trademark stamp as well as the ink. Like the one I've attached which is an 18" 1337g with a 70s trademark stamp and THIN CRASH ink. Is yours the same as THIN as used in the THIN CRASH markings? There is an earlier THIN which is different. And of course by mid 1982 things changed with there just being a single ink stamp which incorporated both weight class and model, along with the diameter info under that.
Thanks Steve. I always want to leave open the possibility of being wrong as my wife frequently tells me I am. Photos . . .

Also want to reiterate that the bell is significantly larger than other 18s I've own and still own. Actually about the size of my 20in mid 60s ride crash. I'm familiar with Zildjian doing that for a couple of years in the mid 1950s. But still.


Pete
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