When I returned to drumming last year, I spent a considerable time looking at both drum and cymbal options. Some choices fell into place easily, such as the Pink Floyd kit, naturally that required Nick Mason's trade mark Paiste Signature cymbals.
I'd also always really liked what Sabian did and a number of their cymbals were selected with 'my sound' in mind. Ironically, at the other end of the price scale were Stagg and to some people's dismay, I found 3-4 of their small effects cymbals ideal for what I wanted, both in budget and tone!
However, over the past 18 months I have found many of the cymbals lacking in certain tones when a musical shift in pace, volume or mood presented itself, so my search started once again.
While in Scotland last month, I finally found time to visit a store that had been on my radar for a few years.
|The RWJ Drum Store sits just a few blocks north of the High Street in Perth on Atholl Street and at first glance is quite unassuming, not the usual large glass fronted music store, so it could be easy to miss if you didn't know what you were looking for. |
I walked in and was immediately warmly greeted by the owner Kevin. The word UFIP smacked me in the face in every corner that I looked. Now I'd heard the UFIP name many times, but knew nothing beyond the name.
Now I am not one to walk into any store and start playing everything in sight, quite the opposite which I often regret, but Kevin and I started chatting and we found a common ground early on and an hour quickly passed by.
Feeling somewhat guilty about taking up so much of his time, I enquired about the UFIP range at which Kevin's eye's lit up.
He proceed to ask me what I wanted from a cymbal and when I gave him a little background as to what I played and why, the size of his smile grew quickly.
Striking a familiar Sabian (a Stage crash) he proceed to then strike a UFIP Bionic, very impressive it was too. He then moved to the across the bow which created a lovely crash / ride and made his way to the Bell - at that point my jaw hit the flaw -It was like hearing a church bell across a sleepy Italian City!
I think Kevin knew by my reaction that he would be selling me one of these cymbals at some stage, however Kevin is incredibly passionate about UFIP and if I had the time, he would gladly have demonstrated every one of their range for me.
We moved on to some 14" Bionic Hi-Hats and to my amazement, the tonal range from the two differently weighted cymbals was greater than my entire Paiste collection! This really was an epiphany of epic proportions, had I finally found what I was looking for?
Time got away from me and unfortunately I had to depart, but we exchanged details and I said I would be back in a few months to explore this further.
|As I walked down Atholl Street, my mind was already in over drive and I wanted to boot up my computer there and then to explore this further, but I was only able to grab a few minutes later in the day before I headed 150 miles to the other side of Scotland.|
However, I always know when something is instinctively right, so I made a point to be back in Perth a few days later! Kevin once again was the perfect host and we spent 3 hours doing back to back comparisons and from this I was able to narrow my wish list down, although I was still staring at over a dozen cymbals and percussive plates and bells!
My epiphany had indeed seen me find what I had long been searching for, an entire range that ticked every box for every tone and more that I had previously only dreamed about.
Kevin kindly offered me the chance to visit the UFIP factory in Pistoia, Italy to see the cymbals casting process and to hand pick my own set, Something I'll be doing as soon as my schedule allows.
So why are the UFIP cymbals so special?
The word 'Rotocasting'® was new to me, but it is something the likes of Zildjian and countless drum companies have wanted a piece of, but all of whom have failed to wrestle free the rights to this unique process.
As we know, most other cymbals are created from a flat sheet of metal and hammered into a shape to create the end tone. Using the 'Rotocasting'® technique, UFIP use centrifuge-casting.
|This removes all the impurities in the alloy bronze while at the same time, generating a greater thickness of the bell and thus allowing the movement of sound waves along the cymbal's surface. So great is the sound wave that you can actually shape the wave with the cup of your hand!|
Their tag line of 'Earcreated Cymbals' is bang on the money. As mentioned previously the range of tones form individual cymbals is quite simply astounding.
I tried Sabian, Paiste and Zildjian's back to back with the UFIP equivalents and in most cases, my whole perception had changed to such an extent, that my current cymbals reminded of my early cymbals such as Zyn.
Harsh words? perhaps, but such is the difference. Make no mistake, Sabian, Paiste and Zildjian do make good cymbals, however, UFIP make perfect cymbals!
Extensive research since my second visit to the RWJ Drum Store, who also have an on line presence as www.cymbalcentre.co.uk, has seen me divide my planned purchases into two groups of a main set and an effects set.
The UFIP range also made it's debut at the National Drum Fair in Birmingham this weekend and Kevin had kindly sent down a number of cymbals for me to specifically try back to back with those I'd already chosen and as a result, the main set is now only missing one cymbal from being a complete set.
I hope to travel to Pistoia and to have some cymbals cast specifically for my requirements, but if time does not allow, I know the sizes, weights and range and will enlist Kevin's help to put the set together for me.
As to what will be in my first set? You will have to wait and see..and then hear!
The level of anticipation to obtain and starting working with the UFIP cymbals is akin to a five year old counting down the days to Christmas. That moment can't come soon enough for me!
As an aside, while studying the UFIP range, I have also been introduced to some phenomenal Italian drummers, several of which have inspired me greatly already...but that is a whole new story....
My sincere thanks to Kevin for opening my ears to this epiphany and to David at the NDF for all his assistance.
Check them out for yourselves - UFIP - Earcreated Cymbals, play the difference! www.ufip.it
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