Guide to Zildjian Cymbals

Not sure which member of the Zildjian family is for you? We've outlined the unique characteristics and contrasting features of each cymbal variant below! From the K Custom, to the Constantinople and L80 series, there's bound to be a cymbal here that suits your percussion preferences.


Zildjian are arguably the most recognisable cymbal manufacturer on the planet. They have been innovating and refining cymbal production for nearly 400 years – remaining at the top of their game across the whole of their storied history. This longevity has positioned them as a first choice for many professional drummers and enthusiasts alike.


Using their centuries of knowledge and experience, Zildjian have created a range of a depth and breadth that is almost unmatched by their competitors. They continue to develop cymbals of incredible tones and finishes that excite and inspire drummers across the globe.

The History of Zildjian

Zildjian is potentially THE brand that is more synonymous with drumming than anybody else, and it’s easy to see why. During 1618, an Armenian alchemist named Avedis was working out a formula for the creation of gold. However, he struck it in another way completely. He stumbled upon a material that became the bedrock for one of the finest cymbal materials ever known to man. This top-secret alloy is still used to this day, and is present in every single cymbal that comes out of the Zildjian factories.


Fast forward to 1623 and the Sultan of Turkey bestowed the name Zildjian upon Avedis; the word literally meaning “cymbal smith”. This was the year that the company officially formed and began to perfect their cymbal creation on a larger scale. Initially, these cymbals were created for the Sultans Janissary soldiers and palace bands – but they’ve since been used for pioneering moments in classical, Jazz, Big-Band, Rock, Pop, Hip-Hop and many other styles down the years.

The company didn’t just leave an indelible mark on cymbals as we know them either, but the vocabulary and conversation around drumming itself too. Avedis Zildjian III introduced the terms crash, ride, and effects – in an effort to help drummers to describe the exact sound they were searching for.


Now during current day, Zildjian remain at the forefront of cymbal production and continue to do their utmost to produce equipment of the highest quality. Attention to detail is paramount. 15 people work together to make every single Zildjian alloy cymbal, while specific ranges are pored over and handcrafted using an intense 14-step process. Each cymbal is then sonically tested by a team of experts (with a combined experience numbering nearly 100 years) to ensure that they meet the lofty standards you’ve now come to expect from their products.


Just a few of the drummer’s past and present endorsed by Zildjian include Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Jay Weinberg (Slipknot), Buddy Rich, Ringo Starr and Ben Thatcher (Royal Blood). Prestigious company indeed.  

About the A Series Cymbals

Style: Versatile All-Rounder with a sweet, bright sound.


An A Series cymbal is an iconic choice. It can be heard in a multitude of classic recordings (across a number of contrasting genres) from some of the world’s greatest drummers. This is due to their impressive versatility. A bright and sweet sound is projected across the range – no matter if you select from a thinner model or a heavier, thicker variant.


A steeper curve gives these cymbals a higher profile, while each one is cast from a B20 bronze. This is the most commonly used kind of bronze in cymbal manufacturing, as it offers a much wider frequency range when compared to other metals. This leads to tones of great clarity that will cut through with impressive articulation in just about any band setup.

About the A Custom Series Cymbals

Style: Smooth, Glassy Tones for Studio Recording.


The A Custom series is characterised by a brilliant finish and an equally brilliant sound. It is slightly lower profile than a standard A Zildjian and has been carefully and symmetrically hammered. The end result is a set of cymbals that is bright, sweet and smooth sounding – with an overall glassier tone. This makes them especially well suited to studio recording scenarios.


Each of the cymbals are characterised by a sharp attack without an extended amount of sustain. It makes for a higher volume which isn’t overpowering. The sound really doesn’t outstay its welcome. You can comfortably use these cymbals for a multitude of different styles of music and drumming too thanks to their excellent balance.

About the K Series Cymbals

Style: Consistently warm, dark & rich.


The K Series pays sonic tribute to the original, iconic K cymbals that were produced in Turkey during the 19th century. They are warm, rich and dark just like their precursors; however, they are far more consistent. Every strike offers you the same thick, enveloping sound – making for a set that can be applied especially well to rock, jazz and country music. This is proven by the drummers (of contrasting styles) that use them. Steve Gadd (Eric Clapton), Dave Weckl and Carter Beauford (Dave Matthews Band) are just a few of the legendary names that have made the K Series their number one choice.


Clarity and brilliant projection are present in each of the ranges hi-hats, crashes and rides. The rides ping and shimmer, while the crashes dark tones resist becoming muddied. The hats are precise and sensitive, with a wash that isn’t too overstated.

About the K Custom Series Cymbals

Style: Dry & Dark, Highly Playable.


The K Custom series is one of the most popular ranges of cymbals that Zildjian make. You’ll find drummers using them across pretty much all genres due to their versatile nature and amazing playability. They project a dark, dry sound which is generated due to the unique manner in which they are constructed. A combination of traditional K hammering and modern hammering techniques has led to the aforementioned tones, plus a whole host of unique, striking finishes.

About the Constantinople Series Cymbals

Style: Perfectly Balanced & Blended Tones.


The Constantinople range sits at the higher end of the Zildjian price spectrum. They’ve been described by the company as the “pinnacle of Zildjian craftsmanship” and its easy to see why. Made in small batches, a complex 14-step hammering process (leaving deep hammer marks) has produced cymbals with gradual curves and a perfectly blended, balanced sound.


The production style means each model features an almost unique sonic personality of its own too. Rich, dark tones are the main characteristics – however, this can appear both smooth and cutting across the breadth of the range. They were originally designed as the perfect companion for jazz drumming, but they have since outgrown that tag and are now used regularly in pop, funk and even rock.

ABout the Kerope Series Cymbals

Style: Truly unique with dark, classic tones.


The Kerope series is named after Kerope Zildjian – the man at the helm of the company during one of the most successful periods in the brands entire history. They are authentic recreations of their iconic vintage K models. Each cymbal here is meticulously handcrafted and is made using a 4-step hammering process that utilises techniques from their storied past. This contributes to a range of cymbals where each and every one produced in the factory is truly unique. These distinctions between separate models even extends to each bell being unique to that particular cymbal (with each bell being hammered out one at a time).


This level of attention to detail leads to complex, dark sounding cymbals with a low profile and a smart patina finish. Their classic tones make them especially suited to jazz, big-band and swing music.

About the ZBT Series CYmbals

Style: Cutting, Bright, Beginner Cymbals.


The ZBT series is an ideal choice if you’re a beginner drummer, or you’re working on a budget. Their extremely reasonable price point doesn’t mean that they lack quality though. The use of a B8 alloy – utilised by many cymbal manufacturers for their entry-level offerings – brings the price down, while producing an intense, cutting, bright sound. Each cymbal features a traditional finish and has been through an extensive lathing process.

About the S Family Series Cymbals

Style: Bold, Dynamic & Budget Friendly.


The S Family of cymbals is made from a B12 alloy. B12 sits between B8 (used for entry-level cymbals) and B-20 (which is used for the majority of Zildjian’s other cymbal products). While not featuring as wide of a frequency response as B20, B12 excels with its balance instead. It has spawned a range which is bold, dynamic and versatile.

Each member of the S Family has been subjected to an enhanced lathing and hammering process, as well as receiving an eye-catching brilliant finish. This doesn’t just mean that these cymbals look good either. These design and production considerations result in a sound that shimmers and shines – with open and bright tones emitting from each individual model in the range.

About the L80 Series Cymbals

Style: Low Volume, Ideal for Practice.


These L80 cymbals are designed to offer the same playing feel as traditional cymbals, however they are 80% quieter. This makes them ideal for practicing at low volumes – which is especially useful in places like a flat where you don’t want to annoy the neighbours! The lower volume is achieved due to the 1000’s of holes found on the cymbals surface. These let air flow through its body while you play, instead of driving the sound away from where you’re sat.

The Best of the Rest

Gen16 Series


These buffed bronze cymbals offer a more authentic acoustic tone, while also minimising the overall volume. Special holes reduce sound pressure levels by up to 70% (when compared to a standard cymbal), making them an ideal choice for practice situations. The cymbals can also be fitted with Zildjian’s Direct Source Pickups and Digital Cymbal Processor. This allows you to pass each cymbal through an EQ – letting you craft your sound further.


FX Series


The FX range is there to add tonal and sonic variety to your cymbal setup. New and intriguing sounds are on offer, including china’s, stacks, bells, splashes and much, much more!