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Paiste 26″ Giant Beat and 2002 17″ Sound Edge Hi-Hats

by Michael Dawson

Massive models for larger than-life grooves.


This year Paiste introduced a slew of new cymbals, including an entire line of heavily hammered 2002 Big Beats, signature rides for top artists like Carl Palmer and Danny Carey, and some massive hi-hats and rides in the 2002 and Giant Beat series. We were sent a pair of huge 17″ 2002 Sound Edge hi-hats and a mammoth 26″ Giant Beat crash/ride. Both are made by hand in Switzerland from B8 alloy. Let’s check them out!

Paiste Sound Edge Hi Hats17″ 2002 Sound Edge Hi-Hats
Paiste patented the wavy-bottom hi-hat design in the 1970s and implemented it in the 2002 Sound Edge hi-hats to give a well-defined and controllable sound with a sharp, full foot chick. John Bonham used 15″ Sound Edge hi-hats for the majority of his time with Led Zeppelin (he used Giant Beats in the early days with the band), but these classic cymbals are now available in a 17″ version for an even more massive sound and additional low-end power without the loss of crispness and projection.

These hi-hats are firm and hefty, so they require a fairly strong stroke to set them into motion. The open and half-open sound is deep yet shimmery, so it fills out a wide range of frequencies. The closed stick tone is crisp and dense, and it has an interesting low pitch that is reminiscent of a detuned sample of traditional 14″ hi-hats. The foot chick is strong
and wide, which blends well with full-volume ride grooves and tribal tom patterns. These are big, bold hi-hats for big, bold beats.

26″ Giant Beat Ride
Paiste Giant Beat CymbalThis is a truly giant beast, even for the Giant Beat series, which also includes 22″ and 24″ crash/rides. I use 24″ rides often and have no problem positioning them comfortably or adjusting my touch to control the sustain. The extra 2″ of real estate on this 26″ Giant Beat, however, make it feel downright massive. (Good luck finding a cymbal case large enough to fit it!) That said, its volume and wash aren’t nearly as overwhelming as I expected. In fact, I found the 26″ Giant Beat to be incredibly warm sounding and dynamically expressive, even when played at low volumes with small sticks. It has a clear, pearly “ping” that articulates fast rhythms well, and its sustain is deep and rich without becoming too washy. You can crash the edge or roll on it with mallets to get a huge, swelling “whoosh,” and the bell is strong and low-pitched. When played side-by-side with a 24″ Giant Beat, the 26″ blends seamlessly and has a similarly smooth, clean sound, but with fewer high-end overtones, a more defined ping, and a richer bell. Like the rest of the Giant Beat series, which was originally launched in 1967, the 26″ is made by hand from B8 bronze alloy.