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Signature Rides

Distinctive tones crafted for some of the top drummers on the company’s roster.

This past year Paiste collaborated with some of its top artists to craft a handful of unique cymbals. These new models include the 20″ Signature Vir2ocity Duo ride for prog-rock legend Carl Palmer, the purple-finished 22″ Signature Dry Heavy ride for Tool’s Danny Carey, the 24″ 2002 Swish ride for studio great John “JR” Robinson, and the 20″ Masters Mellow “Blue Bird” ride for French jazz drummer André Ceccarelli. Let’s check them out.

20 Signature Vir2ocity Duo

A 1989 inductee into the Modern Drummer hall of fame, British drummer Carl Palmer is one of the pioneers of the adventurous, over-the-top progressive rock style that emerged in the 1970s. His creative drumming with Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP) and Asia remains highly regarded for its blend of jazz-inspired technical virtuosity and dramatic arena-rock bombast.

Palmer’s 20″ Signature Vir2ocity Duo ride features two playing zones. The area of the bow near the bell is raw and unlathed to provide a high-pitched ping. The outer region is hammered, lathed, and polished to produce deeper overtones while remaining clear and articulate. The bell is lathed and polished and possesses a loud, piercing, and separated sound.

This is a heavy ride cymbal that’s designed for louder situations. The stick sound is strong and defined, and the wash is tight and controlled. Even when hit hard with large sticks, the sustain stays in check, so the articulation remains super-clear. The difference in tone and clarity between the inner and outer sections of the bow is subtle but noticeable. And the bell has a very stout and satisfying sound.

22 Signature Dry Heavy

Tool’s Danny Carey cites Carl Palmer as one of his biggest influences, so it comes as no surprise that his 22″ Signature series Dry Heavy ride is also designed to provide maximum articulation, controlled wash, and a strong, separated bell. Compared to Palmer’s cymbal, Carey’s ride—which features a cool purple finish for a distinctive look—has a stronger attack, and the wash is a touch more complex while remaining focused and contained. (The Vir2ocity ride has a breathier undertone, whereas Danny’s ride has a denser, tighter timbre.) I was able to easily articulate quick double strokes at all volumes on Carey’s signature ride; there was minimal wash to blur the attack. And jumping from the bow to the bell produced two powerful and clearly defined tones. This ride would have no problem cutting through the most intense, dense mixes.

24 2002 Swish

This medium-weight swish ride, designed for studio legend JR Robinson, is made from Paiste’s famous b8 2002 bronze. The b8 alloy gives this cymbal a medium-bright timbre with silvery high-end overtones, while the 24″ diameter, subtly upturned edge, flat bell, and rivets contribute to its exotic, complex character. This cymbal has a massive sound that can swell from a rumble to a roar when played with mallets, or it can be struck forcefully with sticks for an explosive, trashy crash. When played on the bow, you get a funky, Mel Lewis–style tone that drives the music with more energy and complexity than a regular ride. The bell has a subtle and integrated tone that blends with the trashy sustain rather than cutting above it. If you play a lot of heavy shuffles, or if you need an alternative sound to stoke the fire when the intensity level rises, give this big guy a try.

20 Masters Mellow “Blue Bird”

This medium-light Masters series ride was designed with French jazz drummer André Ceccarelli and is meant for subtler playing that lives mostly in the lower end of the dynamic spectrum. It has a long, warm, and airy sustain, a smooth and clean stick attack, and a deep and integrated bell tone. It’s hammered extensively to bring out more complexity without losing clarity. This is a silky, smooth ride with a soft and buttery feel, a mellow and pleasant sustain, and a rich bell. Fast, delicate ride patterns sparkled with a musical voice, and the Blue Bird can be pushed a bit harder to get a wider texture without the sound becoming overwhelmed with excessive wash. The Blue Bird ride also doubled well as a big crash in louder backbeat-oriented applications where I needed a complex vintage-type tone that wouldn’t choke out when hit with more aggressive strokes.

Michael Dawson