What puts the crash in the clash
Since the dawn of rock â€˜nâ€™ roll, top drummers have made a pilgrimage to the Zildjian factory, based in Norwell, Mass., to acquire the undisputed king of cymbals.
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Zildjian is the oldest family-run business in the United States, dating back to 1623, in Turkey.
Jason LaChapelle, the Marketing Communications Manager at Zildjian, says that cymbals were initially used in the military, and not in regular music-making until the 18th century. Opera composers were some of the first to integrate them into their scores.
One of the company's big breaks was that of Ringo Star. "The sixties really was the big boom, when the Beatles came aboard. Ringo went on TV with his Zildjians, and the next thing you know, we were backordered for months."
"When we combine the copper and tin in the factory, it is done in such a way that the bronze retains the musicality to it. The castings actually ring out if you hit them or drop them on the floor when they are just cast, and bronze really shouldn't do that. It is just a thick piece of metal that doesn't have any musicality to it. So (company founder) Avedis Zildjian, back in 1623, discovered a way to combine the copper and tin in such a way that it made this brilliant metal."
"The way the alloy is combined in the melt room is the family secret." Only seven people in the entire company are allowed into this room. "Not even the head of R&D knows the secret," says LaChapelle.
In a world of increasing raw materials costs and low labor costs overseas, Zildjian stands steadfast as the sole cymbal maker in the U.S. "We are very happy to be here in Massachusettes, and we love the fact that these are the only cymbals made in America. And we think it is worth it to have the factory here as opposed to overseas where we wouldn't have any control. So, to us, it is the only way to make the best cymbal that we know how."
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