Specialized pairings designed with two of today’s most distinct and discerning players.
It’s been thirty years since Meinl first teamed up with one of its endorsing artists to develop some signature models. While that original collaboration, the Tri-Tonal series, has since been discontinued, the company went on to work with other top players to develop an array of rides, crashes, effects, and hi-hats, most of which are still in production today. Recently, award-winning drummers Thomas Lang, Benny Greb, Anika Nilles, Matt Garstka, Luke Holland, and Matt Halpern were brought into Meinl’s R&D department to create some specialized stacks and auxiliary hi-hats. This month, we’re checking out Lang and Greb’s new offerings.
18″ /18″ Super Stack
Top clinician Thomas Lang is a longtime Meinl endorser and has collaborated with the company several times over the years on different signature products, like the Generation X Filter Chinas. The most recent concoction, the Classics Custom Super Stack, comprises an 18” bottom cymbal with ten holes cut into the bow and an 18” China top that has large holes cut in the bow and small holes cut into the flanged edge. Both cymbals are brilliantly finished and are made from B10 bronze, which is inherently bright and loud.
Designed to be used with both cymbals positioned upside-down, the Super Stack offers a range of tones and textures depending on where you strike and how tightly the cymbals are held together. For loud, aggressive, midrange barks, you can strike the China on the flange with the shoulder of the stick. Softer playing on the bow or edge with the tip of the stick elicits slightly subtler yet still trashy tones. The length of the decay can be adjusted from a super-tight and focused “zap” to a more sizzling rattle via thumbscrew tension. If your musical situation requires something that’s super bright, fast, and cutting, the Super Stack is for you.
8″ Crasher Hats and 16″ Sand Hats
Benny Greb has also been developing signature products with Meinl for a number of years, with his first creation being the popular 12“/14” Generation X Trash Hats. More general-use Byzance Vintage Sand rides, crashes, and 14” hi-hats followed. Now the Greb collection includes oversized 16“ Sand Hats and tiny 8” Crasher Hats.
The 16” Sand Hats comprise a heavy B20 bottom that’s traditionally hammered and narrowly lathed and then sandblasted on top to give the cymbal a hazy appearance and a slightly muted tone. The top cymbal is very thin and flexible and is lathed on the underside only. The top has a raw finish that’s also sandblasted. These hi-hats parallel the crispy, articulate tone of the popular 14” version but have a much lower pitch, softer feel, and wider foot chick. They have plenty of presence to cut through denser pop, fusion, and electronic tracks while occupying a lower register that allows them to sink deeper within the mix, rather than sitting on top.
The 8″ Crasher Hats, on the other hand, are designed to produce high-pitched, articulate sounds that are a cross between a controlled hi-hat, a crasher, and a shaker. There are four pieces to the Crasher Hats: a raw B20 Byzance bottom, a raw unlabeled middle cymbal, a B8 bronze disc, and a Byzance top. These cymbals are to be used on an auxiliary hi-hat stand but without using the bottom felt and tension screw on the clutch. Played quietly, the Crasher Hats have a subtle cabasa-type tone that blends perfectly with soft ghost notes on the snare and foot chicks on the regular hi-hats. Hit more aggressively, the Crasher Hats have a bit more bite but without any high overtones or lingering sustain. Check out some recent footage of Benny from the past year to hear this unique combo used to great effect. They’re incredibly fun and inspiring.
We will take a look at the rest of the Artist Concept stacks in an upcoming issue.