I’ve been searching for the ultimate ride cymbal for a long time. Today I was checking out some guy’s splash cymbals, and he also had a ride cymbal he picked up at NAMM this year on the Vault Tour that he was looking to sell. It’s a 22″ Sabian Vault Artisan Light. He was very emotional about it, claiming it’s the best ride he’s ever heard. After playing the cymbal, I could understand why. I fell in love with it, hashed out the numbers with him, and got it for a steal.
What’s the Vault Tour? I just found out…
Last year, Sabian embarked on a tour of drum shops in the US. All the shops are independent but belong to the “Five Star” partnership. The partnership started when a load of drum dealers got together to discuss business and trends. However, the group grew and there are now 35 members who can all call themselves a “Five Star Drum Dealer” across the US. All the members must meet some requirements – exclusively a drum shop, must own a store (not exclusively internet sales), must have been in existence for over 5 years, must meet a specific minimum turnover etc. The partnership allows for ideas to swap and better buying power from the manufacturers. Anyhow, it seemed logical for Sabian to take a tour out to 7 of these shops and hear “from the horses mouth” what was thought of the gear, which directions they ought to be looking in and what could be improved.
The Tour itself was completely self contained. At each store, a truck would turn up with generators, cymbal hammering equipment, staff and rack loads of prototypes from Sabian’s vault (hence the name). At each store customers could talk with the Sabian staff, try out and purchase Sabian prototypes and try hammering cymbals. I get the feeling that the prototypes went down best (one lucky guy bought 18 of them), and these cymbals represented Sabian’s research and development over the past few years. Every time Sabian creates a new model cymbal, various versions are made to try and hone down the ideas to get closer to the finished product. When an artist can hear a sound in their heads, there can be quite a few prototypes. All these prototypes can logged and stored in the vault along with notes about their manufacture, hammering and lathing so each cymbal can be recreated in the future if needed. Now, what one person might hear as a not-quite-what-they-wanted super heavy crash could be another person’s perfect ride (for instance) as the cymbals are not named. These prototypes were the cymbals that Sabian took with them on the tour and that the lucky tour visitors could buy.
Another major part of the tour was to find out what the visitors thought Sabian cymbals were covering sound-wise and which areas were under represented. This partly led to the Artisan rides in the Vault series (though Sabian had been looking at the “ultimate” ride area for a while). So, as you can see, everyone ended up happy – the visitor to the tour (who were normal customers like you and I) got to hammer cymbals and buy complete one-off cymbals and Sabian got loads of information about customer requirements. It must be said, a fabulous bit of PR.
*Source: Mike Dolbear
Below is the Press Release announcing the Artisan Rides this year:
Artisan Ride Cymbal Joins Sabian’s Vault Series
January 27, 2005
SABIAN has introduced the Artisan Ride to its new Vault collection. Cited by the company as ‘the ultimate traditional cymbal… a limited-availability, super-premium model,’ the Artisan Ride revives numerous centuries-old cymbal making elements, including ‘high-density’ hand hammering.
According to SABIAN master product specialist Mark Love: “With the Artisan Ride we have created a cymbal that has eluded drummers for ages. It puts out a glassy and well-defined stick ‘click’ with an aggressive hotbed of dirtied-up, dark-edged tone bubbling underneath. It has a piercing bell and great crash capability. The elements are so intense that the sound almost sizzles with heat.”
‘High-density’ hand hammering is the key to that sound. This traditional, labor-intensive style of cymbal making enhances the tonal complexity of the Artisan Ride by increasing the amount of hammer dimples dotting its surface. It boosts playability and increases the responsiveness of the bronze.
Continued Love: “The Artisan Ride involves an exceptionally high level of skill at every step, and includes many elements of cymbal making that even the most traditional cymbal companies have long abandoned. Our metal — secret-process B20 bronze from a formula invented almost 400 years ago — is the finest, but ultimately, it’s the human touch; no machine can create the personality we hammer into every Artisan.
“If ever there was an exclusive luxury cymbal, Artisan is it. Each is a statement of individuality… a one-on-one connection between the cymbal maker and the cymbal… a moment in time when the roots of cymbal making come together with the high standards of SABIAN quality. Creating these cymbals is extremely time consuming and requires many years of skill, so there will only be a limited number hammered annually. This is a total cymbal in every sense of the word, thus the ‘Artisan’ name.”
The Artisan Ride is available in 20″ and 22″ Light and Medium models. The Light Ride produces a defined, low-pitched stick sound and wide tonal spread, while the Medium Ride has a more defined, crisper ‘click’ and a slightly tighter tonal spread.
Available in Natural and Brilliant Finish, the Vault Artisan Ride is quality-protected by the SABIAN Two-Year Warranty Program.
For more information, visit their web site at www.sabian.com.