Signature, 2002, 602, and RUDE Additions

by Michael Dawson

Specialty/artist-designed models and a ride for all occasions.


Swiss cymbal maker Paiste does a commendable job of balancing its catalog of creative, specialty products with more general offerings for all types of drummers. This month we have a small collection of cymbals to review, two of which were designed in collaboration with top Paiste artists Stewart Copeland (12″ Signature “Rhythmatist” Combo Crisp hi-hats) and Dave Lombardo (22″ RUDE Reign Power ride). We also have the 10″ 2002 Mega Bell and the Formula 602 22″ Medium ride.


22″ RUDE Reign Power Ride
Paiste RudeLegendary drummer Dave Lombardo pioneered speed metal drumming with his aggressive, caffeinated style in Slayer. The cymbals that Lombardo and many other hard-hitting drummers relied on for the past thirty-five years are the heavy, cutting, and durable RUDE series. These cymbals are made from CuSn8 bronze and have a unique unlathed finish. Lombardo’s new signature cymbal, the 22″ Reign Power ride, is based on the ride the drummer used on his debut recording with Slayer, Reign in Blood. It is very heavy and produces a cutting, metallic “ping” that cuts through loud and clear at any volume. The bell is large and also produces a strong, commanding tone. What impressed me most about this ride was not just its power but also its musicality. It doesn’t have the gonginess that plagues many other “rock” rides, and its ping is pitched a bit lower, which makes it sit better in the mix without losing power and without assaulting the ear.

10″ 2002 Mega Bell
Paiste Mega BellMade from Paiste’s famed CuSn8 bronze, the heavy 10″ Mega Bell is a special effect designed to deliver a piercing tone with a very long sustain. It has a bright yet warm tone with a lot of woody attack that can cut through the loudest rock mix, but it can also be played more subtly for subdued percussive effects. And it responds well to mallets, eliciting a meditative timbre. Percussionists and heavy metal drummers alike will no doubt find some interesting uses for this unique, clear-tone instrument.

12″ Signature “Rhythmatist” Combo Crisp Hi-Hats
Paiste RhymatistSince taking the drum world by storm with his impassioned, reggae-inspired drumming approach with the iconic new wave band the Police in the late-’70s and ’80s, Stewart Copeland has gone on to become a successful classical and film composer. He still plays the kit, though, and his trademark sticky, tricky hi-hat technique remains intact. These cymbals, the 12″ Combo Crisp duo, are designed to emphasize articulation and to cut through at all volumes. Interestingly, Paiste mixed bronze alloys for these hi-hats. The medium-weight top is made from the company’s CuSn20 bronze, which is said to increase warmth and fullness, while the heavyweight bottom cymbal is made from Signature bronze for added brilliance and precision.
The closed sound of the Combo Crisp hi-hats is very dry and articulate, so double strokes spoke clearly at all tempos. (Peter Gabriel’s “Red Rain” came to mind.) The foot chick is fast, chunky, and strong, and the open sound is bright, focused, and powerful. Funk, fusion, reggae, and contemporary pop drummers will love how these hi-hats speak quickly and then get out of the way, while metal, rock, and progressive drummers will enjoy using these as an auxiliary sound for playing fast, syncopated figures.

22″ Formula 602 Medium Ride
Paiste Medium 602Contrasting this collection of unique specialty items is the 22″ Formula 602 Medium ride, which is designed to be an easy-to-control, clean-sounding, all-purpose cymbal. Formula 602 cymbals are handmade from CuSn20 bronze with the same methods the company has used for since the 1960s. Every drummer needs to own a general-purpose ride cymbal, and the 22″ Formula 602 Medium fits the bill perfectly. It has a warm, musical tone with clean, sparkling articulation, a full, rich wash, and a clear but unobtrusive bell. You can swing it, rock it, crash it, or brush it, and it responds with aplomb. If you need a bit more control, a 20″ version is available. And if you desire more wash, there’s a 24″. But for my money, the 22″ is the one that fits best for everything.

Alloy: proprietary recipes of B8 and B20 bronze
Price: 12″ Combo Crisp hi-hats: $710; Mega Bell: $244; Reign Power ride: $642; 22″ 602 Medium ride: $975