In the early 17th century, Avedis I (the first) was an Armenian alchemist in the city of Constantinople. While attempting to create gold by combining metals, he discovered a secret alloy that had unique sound properties, perfect for creating cymbals. Avedis’ cymbals had such extraordinary clarity, sustain and power that the Sultan invited him to live in the palace and create cymbals for the famed Janissary bands. In appreciation for his craftsmanship, Sultan Osman II awarded Avedis 80 gold pieces and bestowed on him the family name ‘Zildjian’, or ‘cymbal smith’ (Zil is Turkish for ‘cymbal’, dj means ‘maker’ and ian is the Armenian suffix meaning ‘son of’.
In 1623, Avedis was granted permission to leave the palace in order to start his own business outside of Constantinople. For the next 200+ years, the Zildjian family continued to produce their unbranded “Turkish Cymbals”. In 1851, Avedis Zildjian II decided to manufacture and display cymbals bearing the family name at the World’s Fair in London. Throughout the late 1800’s, Avedis (and the eventual successors Kerope and Aram), displayed Zildjian cymbals across Europe, winning multiple awards, decorations and medals for excellence.
Though not very profitable, the cymbal business and family’s secret alloy eventually passed to Avedis III, who had immigrated to America. Avedis, already a successful candy manufacturer, was unwilling to return to Constantinople to take on the family business, but he convinced his uncle Aram to move the company to Quincy, Massachusetts in 1929.
Unfortunately, the Great Depression hit just months after opening the new cymbal factory. However, Avedis became friends with many of the first professional drummers at the dawn of the swing era. Through his close relationships with artists such as Jo Jones, Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich and many others, Avedis began producing for the first time many of the cymbals we know today – models such as splash, ride, crash, hi-hats and sizzle cymbals – were all invented and named by Avedis Zildjian.
The Zildjian family tradition of fine cymbal craftsmanship continues through continual innovation, production improvements and exploration of new sounds with today’s top artists. Throughout 16 generations, the family secret alloy continues to be at the heart of the world’s finest cymbals – and the Zildjian company’s unflagging passion to carry on the family tradition will continue serving drummers and percussionists for years to come.
Since then, the family and the company have strived to make legendary cymbals for the masses. Here’s a look at the latest in their line of crashes, rides, hi-hats, and more.
A Family: Bright & Sweet
Zildjian’s classic sound is embodied by A Zildjian and immortalized in countless recordings by the greatest drummers of all time. Known for their versatility, these bright cymbals range from paper thin and delicate to extra heavy and cutting. Recent adjustments were made to the curvature and weights of many current models to capture the sweet spot of the classic A sound, producing crashes, rides, and hats that reflect today’s musical styles.
The choice of renowned rock, metal and fusion drummers, A Customs feature a brilliant finish and radical hammering techniques that deliver a crisp, sweet, sophisticated A Zildjian sound, but with a contemporary feel. A Customs are not too dark and not too bright with a fast response and clean attack.
A Avedis, this addition to the Zildjian “A” Family is a vintage recreation of the timeless sound and feel heard and played on thousands of top hits from the 30’s through the 60’s, from swing to bebop to the explosion of rock & roll. Named in honor of Avedis Zildjian III, the father of the modern American cymbal, this legendary sound has been remastered and is now available for a new generation of drummers.
Best Sellers: 14” A New Beat HiHats, 21” A Sweet Ride, 14” A Custom Mastersound HiHats, 16” A Custom EFX, 18” A Avedis Crash, 20” Crash/Ride
Featured Cymbals: 21” A Sweet Ride, 16” A Custom EFX, 18” A Avedis Crash
K Family: Dark & Rich
K Zildjian cymbals continue to inspire drummers today with their deep, warm, and expressive sounds developed by Kerope Zildjian in 19th Century Turkey. Elaborate hammering and lathing techniques work the Zildjian alloy into versatile cymbals that are dark yet well suited for a wide variety of musical genres from jazz to rock.
Drawing from the spirit of the legendary K Zildjian range, K Custom cymbals are dark, rich and dry and enable today’s drummers to utilize complex K sounds in a more modern musical environment. They feature traditional K hammering, plus a variety of additional modern hammering techniques that produce unique sonic capabilities. Recommended for modern jazz, studio, country and medium rock, K Customs are designed with today’s diverse music scene in mind.
The Kerope line draws from Zildjian’s rich history and cymbal making expertise to bring forth the most authentic vintage K recreation to date. These hand crafted cymbals look as they sound – dark, and complex. Each cymbal is meticulously hand crafted using a 14-step process that encompasses the best of everything we have learned in 390 years of cymbal making.
The legendary K Constantinople is the pinnacle of the Zildjian cymbal line, renowned for its perfect blended sound quality. Complex hammering contributes to the cymbal’s unique sonic identity and dark tones that can be at once cutting and smooth. Made in small batches using a 14-step process, every K Constantinople has its own signature voice.
Best Sellers: 16” K Sweet Crash, 21” K Sweet Ride, 14” K Custom Special Dry HiHats, 17” K Custom Hybrid Crash, 20” Kerope Ride, 20” K Constantinople Medium Thin Ride Low
Featured Cymbals: 16” K Sweet Crash, 14” K Custom Special Dry HiHats, 20” K Constantinople Medium Thin Ride low
FX Series: Colorful & Personal
Experiment with a variety of effects and accents with this unique, innovative line of cymbals from Zildjian. Add exotic colors and character to your sound with an Oriental China Trash or a Trashformer.
Best Sellers: 10” Trashformer, 20” Crash of Doom, 12” Spiral Stacker, 18” Oriental China Trash
Featured Cymbals: 10” Trashformer, 12” Spiral Stacker, 18” Oriental China Trash
Z Family: Bright and Cutting (Great Sound on a Budget)
Your introduction to the Zildjian family of cymbals, ZBT (Zildjian Bronze Technology) delivers a bright, intense sound that cuts through the mix. Each ZBT cymbal was created using Ziljdian’s extensive experience in cymbal making and features extensive lathing with a traditional finish
Planet Z cymbals are a great entry to the Zildjian Family, designed to be versatile, inspiring instruments. Each cymbal is precision crafted in the U.S.A. from a proprietary Nickel Silver alloy, so no matter what style of music you play, you will discover new sounds and new directions with Planet Z.
Best Sellers: ZBTP390-A 5 Cymbal Set-up, Planet Z PLZ4PK Cymbal Set-up, 16” ZBT Crash, 14” ZBT HiHats
Featured Cymbals: ZBTP390-A 5 Cymbal Set-up, Planet Z PLZ4PK Cymbal Set-up
S Family: Versatile and Bold
The Zildjian S Family is a versatile collection of bright and expressive cymbals built with a balanced frequency response, making it suitable for a variety of musical styles. The S Family will redefine your expectations of what a B12 alloy cymbal can deliver.
Best Sellers: 20” S Medium Ride, 16” S Medium Thin Crash, 14” S HiHats
Featured Cymbals: 20” S Medium Ride, 16” S Medium Thin Crash, 14” S HiHats
L80 Low Volume Series: Real & Quiet
The L80 Low Volume cymbals are up to 80% quieter than a traditional cymbal without losing the authentic Zildjian feel. They are ideal for small drum lesson rooms, low volume gigs or anywhere you can’t be loud. Play later. Play longer. Play where you want to.
Best Sellers: Low Volume LV468 4 Cymbal set, Low Volume LV348 4 Cymbal Set
Featured Cymbals: 20” Low Volume Ride, 14” Low Volume HiHats
Gen16 Acoustic/Electric Cymbal System
The Zildjian Gen16 A/E System utilizes the Buffed Bronze cymbals with their volume-reducing hole pattern, a Direct Source Pickup and a Digital Cymbal Processor (DCP) to bring new experiences to the world of hybrid/e-drumming. This innovative system provides the ability to shape acoustic cymbal tones and apply DSP effects such as EQ/Filtering/Pitch Shifting to create new textures not commonly available in traditional acoustic cymbals. This is done without any worry of feedback, crosstalk or phasing that can occur with traditional microphone setups.
Unlike cymbal trigger pads, Zildjian Buffed Bronze cymbals may be played with sticks, rods or mallets. They can be brushed and choked like traditional cymbals because they are real cymbals.
Best Sellers: Gen16 Buffed Bronze 14” HiHats, Gen16 Buffed Bronze 18” Crash/Ride, Gen16 Buffed Bronze 20” Ride
Featured Cymbals: Gen16 Buffed Bronze 14/18/20 DS Cymbal Set