Tuesday, December 10, 2013

An Avedis Zildjian Cymbal ad from the 1960's

This ad appeared in Downbeat magazine in the early 1960's, and it best signifies how much the drum business, and the cymbal business in particular, has changed over the years. Back in the day, Downbeat would publish certain issues that would feature musicians and the  instruments that they played. Thus, there would be a percussion issue, a keyboard issue etc. The percussion issue, not surprisingly, would be loaded with ads from drum companies featuring drums and hardware. Ludwig, Slingerland, Rogers, Gretsch, Camco, and Premier all participated.

But cymbal manufacturers were  different, simply because there weren't that many companies. Almost all professional drummers played either A. Zildjian or K Zildjian. Yes, there were a few others, UFIP, for example, but these companies existed on the fringes. Paiste cymbals started a distribution deal with Ludwig drums in the mid 60's. But I vividly remember my drum tutor, Max Mariash, insisting that A. Zildjian cymbals were the only choice for the serious drummer.

A close inspection of this ad indicates how many drummers  used A. Zildjian cymbals at the time. Leading the pack was, of course, Buddy Rich.  But  Louis Bellson, Gene Krupa, Max Roach, and Roy Haynes are featured in the first two lines of the ad!  The rest of the drummers featured are a "who's who" of  professional drummers.

Today, the situation has been turned upside down. First of all, drummers have numerous choices in the marketplace. Paiste, Sabian, Murat Diril, UFIP, Wuhan, and Meinl are just a few of the better known companies. In addition, there are many small custom companies that are trying to grab a piece of the pie.  And it seems like each company has various lines that are tailored to different genres of music.

All in all,  it can be quite confusing. But there's no doubt that drummers today have many more choices than the giants of yesteryear.