Sabian Factory Visit
Author: John Goldsmith Date Posted:30 May 2016
A Visit To The Sabian Cymbal Factory
Having played and been around drums for 50 years, being offered the opportunity to see the famous Sabian cymbal factory in action was an offer to good to resist, all be it on the others side of the earth.
The Sabian plant is near Fredericton in New Brunswick Canada, in a small and picturesque town named Meductic.
The Sabian cymbal company was established by Bob Zildjian when he became disillusioned with the direction of the famous family company that we are all so familiar with. Bob and his two sons and daughter chose a location that had been for many years their favourite hunting and fishing spot.
High-quality cymbals are cast and made from an alloy of copper and tin mixed approximately 80/20 respectively. There is magic that is worked in the process as that part of the factory as off limits.
The cast ingots arrive in the new factory building directly across the road. The are then heated in massive gas fired ovens and fattened to the required size then the bell is formed in a press while that are still hot.
It's a very hands-on labour intensive process all the way through. The edges are trimmed and then Grooved by hand. The men performing this process have been with the company for many years and skilfully take just the correct amount of metal off exactly where they need. The dull Gray pressings suddenly become bright cymbals.
There are two different hammering methods machine and hand. Both require skill as even in the machining process the cymbal is guided by hand.
We were all given a try at hand hammering cymbals and now appreciate the artistic talent to perform this laborious process. The cymbals are polished and buffed.
There are many things that affect just what type of cymbal is being produced. The weight, thickness, bell shape, just where along the radius the metal is removed and the amount and position of the hammering.
We were able to witness first hand just how a finished cymbal can be adjusted as we spent two days closing 40 cymbals each for our five stores. We cooperated with each other discussing just what we thought our customers would love.
We chose a cross section of rides and crashes of all types along with splashes, ozones, and hi-hats.
The artistic talents of the factory based cymbolagists were invaluable in the U.S. Completing the task and all leaving happy that we will soon have in our stores a range of hand picked cymbals something that hasn't happened for a very long time.
The amazing thing is that these cymbals will not cost any more than the standard models. Why did we take two days? As you can imagine, the fatigue that one's ears experience when you hit cymbals for many hours. The second day with fresh and experienced ears was equally enjoyable.
It's worth mentioning that Bob's son Andy Zildjian is the companies CEO today and witnessing the long-term relationships that exist you know you are dealing with a very dedicated and passionate team.