Zildjian announced today it is acquiring Mike Balter Mallet Company, the world’s largest percussion mallet manufacturer. This adds to the cymbal maker’s stick repertoire following its merger with Vic Firth merged in 2010.

“The transition of the Balter brand to Zildjian… will occur over the first half of 2018, allowing the company to offer, in conjunction with its Vic Firth line of products, the most complete and diverse line of mallets for percussionists of all ability levels,” Zildjian said in a press release. The transition includes sales and marketing.

In addition, manufacturing for Balter mallets will move from Prospect Heights, Illinois to the Vic Firth factory in Newport, Maine.The move could have a positive effect on the products, says Dan Wiseman, director of brand activation for Zildjian. “We expect improvements to be made across all product lines,” he tells Drum! magazine via email. All Mike Balter products will keep their existing branding and no changes will be made to the existing products, he adds.

Wiseman confirmed that Zildjian will continue to make sticks and mallets under the Zildjian name, meaning that Zildjian, Vic Firth and Mike Balter sticks and mallets will all be owned by Zildjian and made in the same factory.

“We look forward to bringing the Mike Balter brand into the Zildjian family and continuing its legacy of innovation,” Zildjian CEO Craigie Zildjian said in a statement.

“We’ve long respected Mike as a first call percussionist and drummer who founded his own business to address a void in the marketplace, and grew his company to become the leading maker of mallets worldwide,” she said. “Over the past 40 years, Mike has developed the broadest selection of mallets in the industry, including signature series models for such renowned artists as Louie Bellson, Joe Locke, Tony Miceli, Christos Rafalides, Keiko Kotoku, and Emil Richards.”

See below for our Behind-The-Scenes story from last year about Vic Firth.

Photo: Craigie Zildjian, Mike Balter and Debbie Zildjian. Photo courtesy Zildjian.

Behind The Scenes At Vic Firth