Zildjian 22″ Constantinople Flat Ride

Note: In researching the model for this review, I found out it has been discontinued. However, there are still plenty available around the web.

Zildjian’s Constantinople series was created to replicate and expand upon the coveted Old K sound heard on so many seminal bop recordings of the 1950s and 60s. Designed with the input of Elvin Jones and other jazz luminaries, the Constantinople series is largely comprised of thin, dark cymbals with a very distinct look that separates them from the rest of the Zildjian family. These cymbals seem to have a bit of built-in mystique among much of the drumming community, extending their appeal beyond the jazz market to which they were originally marketed.

Despite their heavy reputation, I’ve struggled with Cons in the past. I should say that I’m rarely a fan of new cymbals. Not so much new as in modern, but new as in unused. I often find new cymbals overly bright with way too much happening in the wash (not always the case, but enough to make shopping for new cymbals difficult). With that in mind, I’ll try to review new cymbals with my mind as open as possible.

When I first received the Zildjian 22” flat some time ago, I was fairly impressed with the overall playability, but this is not a pie without problems. The cymbal had a low, smoky, clean stick that was audible in most situations, but never over bearing. The crash is big and symphonic, offering a welcome change to the trashy crashes of my other thin rides. Heavy playing produces a long, low hum that allows the cymbal to fill up a little extra sonic space without drowning out other instruments, but it can quickly get away from you. Lay into the bow a little too much and you’ll quickly lose the cymbals otherwise excellent definition in a din of hummy rumble. Finally, when four or five inches from the edge, playing too hard creates an unattractive hollow thunk behind the initial click.

Fortunately, the cymbal settled quite a bit with time. The click became more pronounced, and the low hum settled to a reliable bed of deep wash. Everything is a little darker and smoother. Perfectly suited for supporting piano, the Zildjian 22” flat really aged into a great, complimentary cymbal.

The cymbal has also been drilled for a cluster of three rivets very close to the edge. With all three rivets installed, the attack is much more prominent, and the crash is wilder, less controlled. The aged Constantinople can go from whisper to (moderate) roar in a split second, making it a great second ride in the far right position.

Overall, it took a little while for me to warm up to the Zildjian Constantinople 22” flat, but it’s grown up very nicely. After a little mellowing and a lot of time under the stick, the cymbal really came into its own. It’s always in my bag for quieter gigs, and despite my initial concerns, it’s one of the few cymbals I own that I haven’t considered selling.

Played with wood tip Vic Firth Bolero

Played with nylon tip Vater Manhattan 7A

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