BY NICOLAS GRIZZLE

Sabian has launched its new online Custom Shop to help drummers all over the wolrd build the cymbal of their dreams.

Though it was announced in January, the Custom Shop went live just this month. On the surface, it looks like it was well worth the wait. The website is well done and the process has some real thought behind it. Sabian guides users through each variable in a cymbal’s DNA: type, size, profile, weight, hammering, bell size, bell treatment, lathing (top and bottom), enhancements like holes and rivets, and finish (top and bottom). The process is only available for their B20 bronze alloy, but that still gives about 29 million different cymbals one could make with all these options.

Drum caught up with Sabian’s director of research and development and master cymbal designer Mark Love at NAMM in January, where the company debuted its Custom Shop idea. “We’ve done it forever — custom cymbals — but this is more focused and [available] online,” he said. “Anybody can do it.” In other words, it’s not just for endorsers anymore.


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The way it works is pretty simple. You build your custom cymbal through the guided steps on Sabian’s Custom Shop website, then consult with a Sabian Sound Specialist (ooo, sounds fancy) to finalize and confirm the details. When you’re ready to pull the trigger, you make the order through your local music store and pick it up when it’s ready in 8-12 weeks. You can save your progress in building your cymbal at any stage and come back to it later.

It was fun to build from scratch and see it all come together, as the process shows the progress on your cymbal every step of the way. Each step has one or more videos of Love discussing and demonstrating the differences between options. The depth of his knowledge comes through in the bite-sized explanations. He answers questions you might have always wondered, like “how does hammering style affect my cymbals?” And, “What’s the difference between top lathing and bottom lathing?” Or maybe, “What does a brilliant finish do besides make my cymbals extra shiny?” It’s worth going through the process just to test your own knowledge about cymbals.

And who knows, you might just end up buying your own signature cymbal. For any of my friends or family looking for that perfect holiday gift, my custom 21” ride came out to $649, which includes shipping (hint hint). What would be your “signature” cymbal, Sabian or otherwise? Post in the comments below!

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