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In Gear: Jack DeJohnette

The drum legend on cymbals, keyboards and other essential equipment

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Jack DeJohnette at home in the Catskills

Jack DeJohnette is famous for his dry, dark cymbals, so famous that the cymbal manufacturer Sabian has asked him to create several models. The Jack DeJohnette Signature series was a very dark earth cymbal without any hammering or lathing. “Because it’s so dry,” he explains, “it doesn’t obscure the rest of the band and allows everyone to play with more definition. When I started playing those cymbals, they were the antithesis of what everyone else was playing, so they sold very well.”

His Encore cymbal for Sabian was wetter than the first, but not as wet as most cymbals. Most remarkable is his Vault 3-Point Ride, which has three different concentric rings on its hammered surface: an inner ring that’s lathed for a pointed sound; an unlathed middle ring that’s dry and “glassy”; and an outer ring that’s lathed for a fuller vibrating sound. He’s now testing the prototypes for Vault 3-Point versions of crash and hi-hat cymbals. As for his drums, he says, “I’ve been a Sonor endorser for more than 30 years, because they’re the best out there.”

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