REDISCOVERING BONHAM’S PERSONALITY THROUGH PAISTE
Here on Beato’s Blog you won’t find many product reviews so, if one comes along it must really be about something special. Well, with my new pair of 15” 2002 Sound Edge hi-hats, it’s just that; a special pair of cymbals. Hence, I have to say something about them.
The 2002 Sound Edge hats were made popular and famous by none other than John Henry Bonham. (Indeed, Bonzo also used 15” hats as well). Bonham has always been (and continues to be) one of my favorite drummers. Bonham was not only innovative, brilliant, powerful, dynamic, and utterly tasteful in what he did, he also had great sound. A lot of that sound can be found in the hi-hat work that Bonham did whether that was on the infectious shuffle pattern from Fool In The Rain or the epic open pattern in the intro to Rock and Roll. Bonham’s personality (at least for me) came through his hi-hats amongst other parts of his kit. I think the best example of Bonham’s high-hat personality stems from his live performance from The Song Remains The Same (released in 1976, this film captured three live performances from 1973 at Madison Square Garden).
However, regardless of your choice of performance the sounds and feel that Bonham emanated from those high-hats were, in my opinion, nothing short of spectacular. They were riveting and there was a “feel” that Bonham got across from his hi-hat work. Check out the studio version of The Lemon Song starting at the 3:00 mark and you will see what I mean.
So, when I spoke with Andrew Shreve at Paiste a few weeks ago I was intrigued when Andrew asked me what type of sound I wanted to get from my new pair of would be hats. I responded that I wanted a “Bonham” sound. Without hesitation Andrew told me “you definitely want the 2002 Sound Edge hats and you won’t be disappointed.” That was an understatement. Andrew furthermore convinced me that 15” hats would be the way to go. Andrew assured me that a 15” pair would not be too large for what I wanted. Again, right on the money.
So, getting deep into my first gig with my new 2002’s I started to discover what, in part, made Bonham so diverse and what also made him sound like Bonham. No doubt Bonham is a legendary player and I am not suggesting by any stretch of the imagination that by merely employing any piece of equipment or instrument, in and of itself, that you too will become a legendary player. However, what I am suggesting is that certain equipment or certain instruments can make a big difference. Without any doubt, Paiste’s 2002 Sound Edge hi-hats fall in that category. They are indeed that certain set of cymbals.
I am unable to explain how these hi-hats project what they project but I can tell you this. Give them a chance and you will hear a penumbra of sounds. Perhaps the most noticeable facet of these hats is they cut. . .above everything. They are bright cymbals whose appearance matches their sound. Their ability to cut above everything is nicely matched by the ability of these cymbals to also lay low if you need that kind of sound ala The Rover. Thus, these cymbals are easily capable of manipulation which for a drummer, is a great thing. Being able to manipulate your instrument leads to many sounds.
The 2002’s are also very crisp. If played with either just the foot or in the closed position they give a nice crisp “tsssst” sound. Now take the brightness of these cymbals and the crispness that they give off and you have a cymbal that can deliver that iconic intro from Rock and Roll. Speaking for many of us, I know just how pleasantly shocking that song was the first time I heard it and a lot of that was driven by the Bonzo intro.
The 2002’s also deliver a great sound when opened while playing them. This gives a nice sound like you might hear in the The Four Seasons’ December 1963. And that’s a key point. Despite the fact that Bonham popularized these cymbals (at least for me) I don’t play in a rock band like Bonzo did. I play in a dance band and the 2002’s work equally great in that setting as well. The versatility of 2002 Sound Edge hats cannot be underestimated.
Overall I really don’t have a bad thing to say about the 2002’s. Andrew you were right. You got me my sound. Paiste’s 2002 Sound Edge hats certainly deliver and for just a second, I was able to get a glimpse into Bonzo’s world to feel how he did it. Maybe Paiste should reverse the name and call these cymbals the Edge of Sound because they sure did take me there. If you haven’t tried these cymbals I highly recommend you do.
Editor’s Note: To hear Andrew explain more about Paiste cymbals and his status as a performer, please check out our blog on him. You can read it here.
KEN “K BO” BIEDZYNSKI