Your Guide to Buying Used Zildjian Cymbals

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Your Guide to Buying Used Zildjian Cymbals

Created by Avedis Zildjia in 1623, Zildjian Cymbals are the most popular type of drum cymbal in the world. As the number-one brand, it is estimated that almost 65 per cent of the world’s cymbal market is controlled by this one company that provides the best-sounding cymbals available even today.
Completely family run, Zildjian has supplied drum cymbals to the world’s greats including Roy Haynes, Buddy Rich, and Ringo Starr.

The Secret of Zildjian Cymbals


The quality of the sound produced by the Zildjian Cymbal comes from the unique alloy used for the creation of every instrument. A secret blend of copper, tin, and sometimes silver is used to ensure that these top quality cymbals provide the perfect pitch and resonation. In fact, the alloy is so secret that there are only a few people in the entire world that know its exact formation.

Types of Zildjian Cymbal


Zildjian use their years of experience to create the world’s leading cymbals in every sector of the market. However, different types of Zildjian Cymbal create very different effects:

Crash-Ride Cymbals

Usually either a 16” or 18” size. The crash-ride cymbal is a slightly tapered, medium-sized instrument which combines the benefits of the crash and the ride cymbal in one. This is used mainly for introduction drum kits as most traditional sets will have a separate crash and ride cymbal.

Crash Cymbals

Used with a stick or mounted on a stand, the crash cymbal is used for ad hoc accents within a performance. Typically produced between 14” and 18”, sizes can range from 8” to 28”. On a standard drum kit, the crash cymbal is usually positioned on the left hand side opposite the ride cymbal. Where more than one crash is used, it is common for the drummer to position them throughout the kit where they are most accessible.

Ride Cymbals

Usually found on the right-hand side of the drum kit, the ride cymbal is the key cymbal for maintaining the ride pattern or underlying rhythm of the music. The sound of the ride cymbal resonates after the cymbal has been struck and will change pitch depending on the material of the mallet used with it. This cymbal has a unique bell shape. The stronger the bell, the less accuracy is required to create the same tone. This is especially useful when the instrument is being repeatedly used to maintain a very fast beat.

Hi-Hat Cymbals

The hi-hat is formed using two individual cymbals which are designed to crash together to create the desired tone. These cymbals are mounted on a stick and controlled by a pedal. This pedal can crash the top cymbal into the bottom cymbal repeatedly or draw and hold them together to create a single tone. Most standard hi-hats will contain to cymbals of the same size. However, specialised drummers have used differing sized cymbals within the hi-hat to create a more custom sound.

Splash Cymbals

A splash cymbal provides a distinct audible effect. Most commonly sized at 10”, there have been splash cymbals as small as 4”, though any splash over 14” is usually considered a crash cymbal. This type of cymbal is traditionally struck firmly so that the splash effect is loud but relatively short.

China Cymbals

Also known as trash cymbals, the short sharp sound of the china cymbal provides a short but significant accent tone that sounds like a gong being struck. Though some china cymbals are bell shaped, it is only really the gong sound that sets it apart from its compatriots.

Electric Cymbals

Zildjian are relative newcomers to the electric cymbal market but are now using their experience of acoustic cymbals to create an impressive collection. Similar to any electrical equivalent, these cymbals are created to provide a realistic sound which can then be tempered by graphic equalisers and sound control to provide a very precise feedback.

Zildjian Sheet-Bronze Cymbals

Sheet-bronze cymbals are made from a single piece of sheet bronze that is then cut to the correct size. Each template is then moulded and hammered in to shape to create the desired resonation.
The difference in price and pitch of Zildjian sheet-bronze cymbals depends on the alloy used and the specifications of the individual instrument. Sheet bronze has a more consistent and higher pitch that of a cast-bronze cymbal and is traditionally more economical.


The range of Zildjian impulse cymbals was created for use within the heaviest rock bands that were looking for a clear, powerful sound. Though no longer in production, impulse models are still highly sought after in the used-cymbal market.


The entry sheet-bronze cymbal produced by Zildjian. The ZBT cymbal has a higher copper mix than the ZHT and, when new, has a highly polished finish. The sound is clean and crisp and provides excellent resonation. Specialist ZBT Pluses models were also created but these have since been taken out of production.


Though the ZXT has the same 92 per cent coffer and 8 per cent tin alloy as the ZBT, the sound emitted is much more powerful. The highly polished finish is still apparent but this mid-level cymbal is more musical and can provide a much clearer sound to the discerning drummer.


Both the original Scimitar Cymbal and the Scimitar Bronze were created by Zildjian towards the end of the 80s and the start of the 90s. This model represented the changing needs within the music industry, but was replaced by the Amir models which then followed.

Amir / Amir II

No longer in production, this cymbal is still available in the used Zildjian Cymbal market. In terms of quality of sound and production, the Amir would sit between the ZXT and ZHT and well maintained cymbals still provide an excellent sound for the drummer of today.


The Edge and the Edge Plus represented the top end of the cymbal market during the height of the 90s. This line of cymbals creates a very powerful sound which was only discontinued when the ZHT cymbal was created to fulfil the changing needs of the high end cymbal market.


The ZHT provides the top end cymbal for the Zildjian Bronze Cymbal line. It has a much lower copper content to the alloy with and 12 per cent tin. This improved construction creates a much more pronounced and bolder sound. This high-end cymbal is a must have for the most experienced of drummers and exhibits a much more traditional finish which fits in better with a well-used drum kit.

Pitch Black

One of the most visually distinctive of Zildjian cymbals, the pitch black is one of the only cymbals produced by Zildjian to this date that has carried a colour. Only the underside of the hi-hat was left untainted by a full black covering. Though this cymbal was not well received when it came out in 2008, it does still remain a very distinctive instrument which is highly sought after by true Zildjian fans.

Zildjian Cast Bronze Cymbals

Traditionally a cast bronze cymbal will have a louder and heavier sound than its sheet bronze counterpart. Each cymbal is created from a molten alloy which is then cast into a special mould to create the sound of choice. In terms of Zildjian cymbals, each piece is cast from an alloy which contains elements of silver alloy within a mix of 80 per cent copper and 20 per cent tin.

A Custom

Designed in conjunction with world renowned drummer Vincent Colaiuta, this cymbal catches the eye. It has a light shining coat and is thinner than the average cymbal which makes it highly responsive. The A Custom line also includes the ReZo series of Zildjian Cymbals.

K Custom

Primarily used in jazz bands, the K Custom is created with an intricate technique of machine hammering to create its rich sound. This range also saw the introduction of the K Custom Hybrid which provided a brilliant finish to the inner part of the cymbal but a more natural shine around the outer edge.

K Zildjian

Created in the style of the original hand hammered line that was produced from Zildjian himself. Today, a machine is used to produce the dark hammered glow to this cymbal which also reflects the deep sound that is produced when it is struck.

Avedis Zildjian

For hard and fast Zildjian fans, this original cymbal is a must have. It produces that unique quality of Zildjian tones from the days when these cymbals first saw the light of day. The Avedis Zildjian were then recreated in the 1980s and 1990s in the form of the Avedis Platinum which saw the A Zildjian coated in silver and decorated with a blue or black logo for a truly distinctive look.


The FX line was used to produce the special effects Zildjian cymbals which are now so popular. This includes the splash, trash and china cymbals which create the distinct accents within a performance.

Z Zildjian

Many called this cymbal rough and ready. It was completely unlathed and thick making it ideal for punk or heavy metal bands before the introduction of the Z Custom cymbal in the late 1990s.

Z Custom

Taking over from the Z Zildjian, some saw the Z Custom cymbal as the loudest cymbal on the market during the 1990’s. Not for the weak, this is also one of the heaviest cymbals ever produced by Zildjian, but the effect from the strike is still superb.


The most recent heavy weight Zildjian cymbal. The loud powerful sound can hold its own in almost any situation. The Zildjian anthem for this line of cymbals has always been ‘Power, Projection and Playability’ and the Z3 has them all in spades.

Zildjian Cymbal Accessories

Though the Zildjian corporate have always been focused on the production of high end cymbals, they also create a variety of drum accessories for the modern drummer. This includes a full line of drum sticks which are fully endorsed and bare the name of this famous institution.

Reducing the Wear on Zildjian Cymbals

As cymbals have been created to be hit, they can take quite a lot of pressure before they begin to show signs of wear. However, it is possible to reduce the level of impact on a cymbal without compromising on the quality of sound by changing the way the cymbals are used. Simply by using glancing blows which are angled off the vertical, the amount of impact absorbed by the surface of the cymbal will be reduced and can increase the longevity of the instrument.

The Lustre of a Zildjian Cymbal

The age of a cymbal will be one of the main contributors to the lustre or sheen that the cymbal exhibits. As a cymbal ages and oxidation appears, the sound that the cymbal produces will also change. When a cymbal is newer, the sound will be much cleaner and more crisps. However, as a cymbal starts to oxidise, the sound can become will have a more subtle sound.
Many professional drummers will purposely oxidise a new cymbal to create a duller pitch. When this is done, the cymbal is considered raw.

Find Zildjian Cymbals on eBay

There are a great range of Zildjian Cymbals on eBay of all types of quality and size. To find Zildjian Cymbals on eBay, select the Musical Instruments category from the home page. Within this category opt for the Cymbals sub category. Zildjian can then be selected as the brand of choice.


For any dedicated drummer, a Zildjian Cymbal is one of the true iconic pieces of equipment to own. And though a new cymbal will be out of the price range of many, buying a used Zildjian Cymbal is a great way to the value that such an outstanding piece of craftsmanship can bring. And only by using the best will it be possible to create that ultimate sound.

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