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Istanbul Mehmet Legend Cymbals

When I envision the perfect-sounding set of traditional jazz cymbals, my aural senses home in on a soft-metal alloy, hand-hammered to create a sensuous wash of sound. This sound must also include a sweetly defined stick articulation. The key element for this set of dream cymbals is for each cymbal to have similar characteristics of sound and feel and maintain that sultry spread of subtle overtones that define most emotionally stirring, traditional-jazz cymbal stylings.

It’s nearly impossible to find such a perfect set of cymbals in today’s mass-produced, prefabricated era. But Turkey’s Istanbul Mehmet has maintained the integrity and craftsmanship of the handmade, hand-hammered cymbal manufacturing process. Its Legend Series cymbals sound as true to the perfect-sounding set of traditional-jazz cymbals as you will find anywhere.

The Istanbul Mehmet Legend line includes a 21-inch ride (with two sizzle rivets), a 19-inch crash ride, a 16-inch crash and 14-inch hi-hats. The ride, crash ride and hi-hats all sound, feel and respond with the same defined stick articulation from the soft metal and maintain the wash of warm overtones from the hand-hammering process. The 21-inch ride and 19-inch crash ride work magnificently as crash or ride cymbals. The 14-inch hats are to die for when playing in the jazz idiom, producing a well-defined chick and crisp stick articulation. There’s something about this soft hammered metal that just feels sexy and mysterious to play.

The 16-inch crash stands out, however, as being a bit more thick and dry sounding. Its tonal qualities are more sharp and direct, lacking the same subtle spread of sound as the other cymbals in this set. It seems that the main reason for the sound variation of the 16-inch crash from the other Mehmet Legend cymbals is that it doesn’t have the same hand-hammered construction. In fact, the cymbal doesn’t look hand-hammered at all from its top. From underneath, the cymbal reveals its subtle hammered markings, but they are much less defined than the other cymbals in this line.

Overall, the beautiful sound of the Mehmet Legends is well worth the cymbals’ cost because they’re priceless for creating the traditional jazz sound.

Originally Published