In several gear evaluations over the past three years I’ve praised the purity and tonality of the hand-hammered cymbals from the Paiste Traditional line, which initially exploded on the scene like a blast from the past back in 1996. However, the Avedis Zildjian Co. has answered Paiste in kind with an impressive series of classic-style instruments and futuristic retro designs in its A. Vintage, K. Constantinople and K. Custom lines. None of these, however, could prepare me for the radical experience of playing six new Constantinoples-three 20-inch and three 22-inch models in Thin High, Medium Thin High and Medium Thin Low weights-which evoke a sense of something ancient and completely distinct from any other Zildjian cymbals. There is nothing generic or ordinary about any of these cymbals, including some I sampled at local retailers-each is an event unto itself.
When I queried Zildjian cymbal maven John King as to the distinguishing characteristics of the cymbals’ weights, he said, “The overall profile or bow of any cymbal determines what the color of overtones will be-i.e., high-profile mid to upper midrange emphasis of overtones versus a low profile’s more low-end body of overtones. A heavier weight will offer more stick articulation and a higher pitch of overtones. Conversely, lighter cymbals will offer more spread of overtones and possess a lower overall pitch-all other things being equal, of course.”