My search for the perfect Jazz ride is what ultimately lead to the creation of Bronze Pie. Years ago, I spent many hours lurking around on Cymbalholic.com reading post by and about cymbalsmiths such as Craig Laurenston, Robert Spizzichino, Matt Bettis, Mike Skiba and Matt Nolan, I was trying to learn as much as possible about what was involved in making superb cymbals. That site was wonderful, between the knowledgeable players, enthusiast and cymbalsmiths it was pure inspiration to me. I set out on modifying cymbals, for better and worse, some down right tortured in the quest for fundamental cymbal knowledge. Then to hammering some stainless steel because it's so readily available. Yeah, I wanted an old Zildjian K, but couldn't justify the cost. Next up was a cymbal made by Robert Spizzichino, then he passed away RIP, so that put his cymbals out of reach. I do admit to cymbal snobbery here. Acquiring those two cymbals were what kept me up at night, and admittedly overlooking the wonderful cymbals being made by todays best cymbalsmiths. I eventually purchased two wonderful Matt Bettis cymbals and that cured my obsession for a handmade cymbal for a while...the term cymbalholic will resonate with those that have the condition. The horizon just moved further away.
Of late there is a sort of renaissance in Turkish style hand hammered cymbals, and at first they were great, some remain so, but now many new Turkish brands have come to be and in my opinion, some are falling short of once higher standards due to a getting price point product on the market and playing into the hype of handmade cymbals. It's inevitable and fulfills a need in the cymbal market. A gateway cymbal to better instruments so to speak. There are super sweet cymbals coming from Turkey today by a few top companies that are making superb instruments. Drummers are desiring the complex and individually unique sounds that only hand hammering by craftsmen can create. With a bit of experience, it's not hard to hammer out a cymbal blank into a playable cymbal, but to make a truly great cymbal can be an allusive endeavor. The learning curve is huge. The major brands have put the traditional process of cymbal making to the side and moved on to faster and more predictable methods of making cymbals. From the prospective of a large company, I can understand the motivation to drop making cymbals by hand to meet market demand. Hand hammering and lathing is an art form that takes years to master and it's slow when done with intention, skill and focused attention to creating the desired sound characteristics. Training craftspeople is another major obstacle. Many fine cymbals are made using the latest in automated production methods. In some instances it's the only way some cymbals can be produced just by the nature of the design or alloy. Sometimes it's a combination of both methods. Just because there was a hammer and a person swinging it doesn't equate to a superior instrument. It's the knowledge and experience of the craftsperson that matters.
As we know, old K's are difficult to find and the price...Yike's! A good vintage K ride is going to set you back $2000.00 so is a Spizzichino cymbal. I doubt I'll splurge to that degree anytime soon. I have no problem with paying a premium for a hand crafted cymbal and have purchased a few, to me these cymbals are works of art. I will eventually come around to owning cymbals made by the above mentioned cymbalsmiths given time and circumstance. This is where Toshio Koide entered my life through wonderfully good luck.
My wife is from Osaka Japan, and we make trips to visit her family time to time and when I'm there, I like to visit music stores and marvel at the prices for vintage American music gear. While in a drum shop in Tokyo, I was checking out old K's, and Spizz's and I noticed a cymbal made by a Japanese company. I asked my wife to translate the tag and she said "this company is only a few blocks from my home". When we returned to Osaka, I got on a bike and was off to find this cymbal company. I found it but it was closed for a holiday. I circled it like a shark in hopes of seeing somebody, since most family businesses are on the first floor and residences on the above floors there was a chance I'd catch somebody but no luck. I returned home and sent an email to request a meeting. That was five years ago. Since then I've visited his shop every trip and developed a relationship with Mr. Koide. He has kindly given me time to visit, purchase cymbals, learn about his cymbal making process, and even be involved with making his cymbals. With every visit to his company I would express how much I wanted see his cymbals offered in the USA. On one particular visit I met a fellow, Haru Yashida, who was also a cymbal enthusiast and a buyer for a large music store in Japan. He also had the same desire to bring Koide cymbals stateside. We felt that we should make this become a reality, so we teamed up and moved forward with that idea. We were very excited about the prospect of bringing Koide Cymbals to market in the USA. Finally, we have been able to join together and make this dream manifest. Until now Koide cymbals have not been available stateside. We are proud to be able to offer these wonderful instruments to musicians in the USA.
Koide cymbals are unique. His process for manufacturing them is not bound entirely by tradition. Toshio Koide is the second generation of a family owned metal fabrication company, which also manufactured copper timpani kettles as one of their products. Mr. Koide uses his own alloys developed from experience, testing and research to create cymbals that have sounds on either side of what is considered the mainstay as well as cymbals that harken to Turkish tradition and current modern cymbals styles. His alloys are patented and produced in a high tech foundry to his specs, and the blanks are produced in his factory for all the cymbals Koide Cymbal Co. produces. Each cymbal series is made by an individually unique processes to bring about distinctly different sounds. How they are shaped, alloys used, hammering patterns, lathing, over-hammering and quality control are all combined to bring about cymbals that are stand alone instruments. This is a low volume studio with three employees that are dedicated giving each cymbal the time needed to meet the specifications of each cymbal made. I've watched these artisans make cymbals with amazing skill and attention. No cymbal is pushed through the process, each cymbal has to meet certain specs and the quality is superb. It's my desire to help you find the cymbal you're searching for in a Koide cymbal. Please contact me if you have any questions or request.