For years I’ve been playing Zildjian K Custom Dark Cymbals exclusively. After many cymbal changes for a good 15 years I finally ended up with a set that I’m extremely pleased with. This is it:
- Zildjian K Custom Dark Crash 18″
- Zildjian K Custom Dark Crash 16″
- Zildjian K Custom Dark Ride 20″
- Zildjian K Custom Dark China 17″
Then oddballs in the bunch are:
- Zildjian K Custom Hybrid HiHat 13-1/4″
- Zildjian K Custom Splash 10″ (Not dark)
I absolutely love this set of cymbals. It’s the most musical set I’ve ever put together. Their crash sound is adamant and the overtones are pleasant. They avoid the overly bright tones that plague many cymbals. They sound great with nylon tip sticks and really show their dark nature with wood tips. They are incredibly versatile and work with just about every genre. I love how they sound great at low volumes when you are just barely brushing them, yet they hold up to some heavy bashing too. I’ve beat the crap out of mine and I’ve yet to crack one, and I’ve had this set for over 3 years! I’m not recommending you bash yours, as I know how to hit hard without breaking cymbals. It’s all in the hitting angle and follow-through.
Anyway, if you are considering a new set of cymbals or just a new crash or ride, I highly recommend you give the K Custom Darks a try. They are not jazzy like the really K’s. Think of them as K’s with balls. They are what you choose when you want the musicality of jazz and blues but want to rock out with them. Not only that, but the hammering patterns on them are unique and organic. They don’t look like machined-hammered cymbals (even if they are, I’m not sure). They also clean up great if you take care of them and store them in a case when not in use.
The Zildjian K Custom Dark cymbals are not thin cymbals, yet not light either. Thin cymbals work better for quiet music and they crack if you hit them hard. Thick cymbals are too loud for quiet music. And, while you might think they would be more durable, I find them to crack quite easily as well. I think it has to do with the lack flexibility of the thicker alloy. Then the thin ones crack for obvious reasons, they are lightweight and thin, therefore more weak. I find the medium weight cymbals like the K Custom Dark to be the most durable type of cymbal. They are heavy enough to be strong, but not too heavy and thus flexible enough to avoid stress cracks.