Paiste Formula 602 22" Dark Ride

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1977 Paiste catalog
April '78 interview with Jack De Johnette

Group: Rides
Type: Dark Ride
Size: 22 Inch
Series: Formula 602
Weight: 2889g - 3475g (median 3240g) n=41
Used Prices: needs update
List Price: (from Rogers catalogs) $288 in 1977 is equivalent to about $1,505.07 today, $446 in 1979 is equivalent to about $1,945.52 today, $475 in 1980 is equivalent to about $1,825.59 today
Years of production: 1975 - 1978, with a few mysterious versions that lack serial numbers

Production History: 602 Dark Rides were produced in the 1975 to early '78 era based on serial number dating, there are currently 8 non serial 602 Dark Rides documented.

The history of the Paiste 602 and Sound creation dark ride

The dark ride was Fredy Studer's brainchild:

From a 2022 interview: "I told Robert since the first half of the seventies that Paiste needs a darker sound which would hopefully turn on Jazz drummers. So far they were not attracted to Paiste because the sound was too bright and too clean for them. To be honest, I came up with the idea for the 22" Dark ride because I wanted to have a cymbal like that for myself! I bought many different records for Robert and the two of us were spending nights (including beer and good red wine) listening to many Jazz players and their cymbal sound (like Tony Williams, Steve Gadd, Al Foster, who became a Paiste endorser later on, Elvin Jones and many more). This helped Robert to understand what sound I was talking about."

Jack De Johnette is also credited with early development or as a "beta tester".
There are the Rogers U.S. distributed Dark rides which all come from 1976 and 1977 based on serial numbers, the differences to the European versions are the lack the words "Formula 602" at the bottom of the embossed stamp and ink stamp, but other than that, the hammering, lathing and ink look like the European 602 Dark Rides. The U.S. distributed Dark Rides correlate with Rogers taking over Paiste distribution in the USA. The Rogers price list and catalog from that period shows that Rogers placed this 602 model in among their 2002 catalog offerings and did not mention the Formula 602 series by name (see below). At this point Rogers only distributed and sold 2002's, 602's were available by 1979 but special order only. This would explain why the words Formula 602 were left off the embossed stamp and the ink.
Paiste actually used the archaic super formula 602 "plain stamp" on the Rogers U.S. distributed Dark rides (see below).
In 1978 the Sound Creation series appears and the Dark Ride is found in that series from then on. There is one 602 Dark Ride from 1979 which is consistent with production tapering off rapidly at that time. Also, there is one 1981 Dark Ride cymbal with serial PAISTE 602 142560 (see below), it has the 602 Dark Ride hammering characteristics but no embossed stamp at all, most likely a leftover that was stamped with a serial in mid '81 and sent to a distributor!

Sound files:

Five Vintage Paiste Dark Rides - 22" - 602, Sound Creation, Flatride
FORMULA 602 22" DARK RIDE 1976 3222G.
1975 serial European dark ride: Weight: 3268g Serial:541688
Formula 602 Dark Ride Two Side x Side: left is 3400g and right 3100g
1977 Rogers Formula 602 22" Dark Ride 3310g
1975 European dark ride
Formula 602 22" Dark Ride 3229g
Old K. Zildjian 22" & 602 Dark Ride: K. Zildjian at 2900g and 602 Dark Ride at 3100g.
1977 602 Dark Ride

Paiste's Description:

<<<Paiste Dark Ride>>>

Artist/song where it can be heard:

Barry Altschul, Erich Bachträgl, Alex Bally, Dan Brubeck, Jerry Chardonnens, Jon Christensen, Pierre Courbois, Jack De Johnette, Pierre Favre, John Gilston, Marc Hellman, Jon Hiseman, John Marshall, Alex Riel

Notice below that there are two distinct embossed stamps:
From the data we have gathered, the European 602 Dark Ride uses the outline version of the full stamp (black label era stamp).
The Rogers U.S distributed 602 Dark Ride (formerly known as "transitional") uses a version which has TRADE underneath the E of Paiste (archaic super formula 602 "plain stamp" from '57 to about '62).

  • On the European Dark Ride, most have ink saying Paiste Formula 602 above the bell.
  • On the Rogers version, the "Paiste" name ink is there, but the Formula 602 is left off.

We are not certain if any of the "outline stamp" versions were sold in the US, research is ongoing!

European 602 Dark Ride with the 1970's "outline stamp" and full ink:

Rogers 602 Dark Ride with the "plain stamp" and without the 602 name ink stamp:

1975 (beta version) European dark ride

Below is a gallery of 1975 European dark rides, you will notice the hammering is very different from the late '75 and early '76 and later models. From what we have observed, Paiste was still using the same size tooling (hammerhead) as they did for the standard 602's, the difference is in the intensity (depth) and in the amount of hammering (more dense). Once you get into late '75 and early '76 (based on serial numbers), you see a substantial change with larger hammer marks midpoint and towards the edge of the cymbal and small hammer marks around the bell.
From picture evidence, we believe this new "two stage" hammering process carried on through to the Sound creation series in 1978 and formed the basic hammering format for a substantial portion of cymbals in that series!

602 dark ride oddities:

Factory refinished European 1975 Dark ride: notice the black ink instead of standard 602 blue ink (stamped over the outline emboss/stamp), this was common for cymbals refinished in the 90's because Paiste was no longer using blue ink on any of it's labels.

602 dark ride with no emboss/602 stamp, it also has a 1981 602 serial number from the "blue label" era, most likely it sat for four years and then was stamped with a serial when it left the factory in 1981!

602 Dark ride gallery

Special thanks to: Erik Van Huyssteen, Doug Caban, Sean Walton, Paco Drummer, Daron Nelson

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