This VS That

Over the years I've been a musician, run drum shops, worked for manufacturers, written about drums, and various other aspects of the wide ranging music business. Through all this I've come into contact with a lot of different people, and I've observed a lot. I also tend to frequent various online drum forums, and one of the things that I keep seeing is the argument of "This VS That." What I particularly mean is people who proclaim one brand of drums/cymbals/heads/etc. are the only one worthy of being used. 

I'm all for brand loyalty. In fact, I make no secrets about my endorsements of Paiste and Balter Mallets, but I never tell anyone that Paiste or Balter are the only choices you should make when buying gear. And I also don't look down upon others who use something else. In my career, I've owned and played cymbals from Zildjian, Sabian, Meinl, UFIP, Pearl, and a few other companies. They were all great cymbals, or I wouldn't have played them. In fact, I still own some of them because, well, I like them. 

Now let's take a trip back in time to when I was a 12 year old budding drummer. My cymbal choices were: Zildjian, Paiste, K.Zildjian from Turkey, and a few student brands. These were generally available in thin, medium, heavy, and hi-hat models. Not much of a selection. Today, beside the afore mentioned brands, we also have Meinl, UFIP, Bosphorus, Crescent, 2 Agops, TRX, Diril, Wuhan, Silken, and a lot of other choices. These cymbals come in rides of all types, crashes of all types, hi-hats of all types, splashes, China, stacks, with holes drilled in them, etc. They also come in a wide variety of bronze alloys. Each company not only has all these various models, but has 5-10 different lines of cymbals made with different hammering/lathing, to create a wide variety of sounds. 


To declare that one brand is the only brand worthy of being played is foolish. Yes, I do play one brand, and that is a personal choice. But I never tell others that they are wrong because they don't play the same brand that I do. In fact, I always check out the different brands—I'll be at PASIC in Austin, TX next week, and you can bet I'll stop and play everyone's cymbals at the exhibits. I have to admit that I love a lot of the cymbals being made today. The quality level and creativity behind them is so high today. I'm just amazed at what's out there. The same can be said for drums, drum heads, sticks, hardware, percussion, etc.—it's an embarrassment of riches today! We drummers are so lucky to have so much excellent gear available to us today.

So in conclusion, play what you want, what you love, but don't deny others the same. Just because someone else's musical vision is different than yours does not invalidate their choices. And this sort of thinking just takes us away from what we are here to do: make music. 

~ MB


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