Paiste unofficial** cymbal production/history timeline: 1900 - 1986
Paiste "unofficial" cymbal production/history timeline: 1900 - 1986
- 1 Paiste "unofficial" cymbal production/history timeline: 1900 - 1986
- 2 1901-1916: St. Petersburg, Russia
- 3 1917-1939: Tallinn, Estonia
- 4 Late 1930's* (estimated) - 1977: STAMBUL series
- 5 1939-1944 Gdynia, Poland
- 6 1945: German refugees and German production facility
- 7 ~1948 - 1959: ZILKO series
- 8 1949: Chinese Cymbal production
- 9 Early 1950s:
- 10 1957: Swiss production facility
- 11 1956 - 1965: "Ludwig 3 star"series, Sales/distribution in the U.S.
- 12 1957/59-1963: SUPER FORMULA 602
- 13 1959-1962/3: Standard series
- 14 1962: Ivor Arbiter's Drum City
- 15 1963 - 1977: DIXIE series
- 16 ~1963 - 1994 (reissued 2011): FORMULA 602
- 17 1962 to early 1965: "Dynastar"
- 18 1963: CuSn8 "B8" bronze:
- 19 1964: Pierre Favre joins Paiste sound development
- 20 1964 - 1978: SUPER series
- 21 1965 - 1973: STAMBUL65
- 22 1965: Ludwig starts distributing Formula 602's in the U.S.
- 23 1965 - 1973: "Ludwig Standard" series
- 24 1965: Paiste's first "golden era"
- 25 1966 - 1973: STANOPLE series
- 26 1966 - 1979 Formula 602 Joe Morello Set
- 27 1967: Formula 602 Sound Edge hi-hats
- 28 1967: 1st. flat ride
- 29 1967: Chinese Cymbal with "Turkish bell"
- 30 1967: 1st. splash and bell
- 31 1967 - 1976: Seven sound set
- 32 1967 - 1974 (2005 reissue): GIANT BEAT series
- 33 1969/70: Ludwig starts distributing the Seven sound set and Giant beat series in the U.S.
- 34 1970: Fredy Studer joins Paiste sound development
- 35 1971 - 1986**: The 2oo2
- 36 1974: Distribution in the U.S. by Rogers
- 37 1976: 2002 bell, splash & flat ride
- 38 1975 - 1977: Formula 602 22" Dark Ride
- 39 1978 - 1986: 4o4 series
- 40 1978 - 1986* (German factory offered 505s until 1993!): 5o5 series
- 41 1978 - 1984: Sound creation series
- 42 1979: 101 series
- 43 1979: Paiste Percussion set
- 44 1980 - 1986: Paiste's second "golden era"
- 45 1980: Invention of un-lathed cymbals: RUDE
- 46 Early 1981: All series: end of the Black Label era
- 47 1981: North American distribution center, Brea, CA. (greater Los Angeles area)
- 48 Early 1981: Beginning of the "colored labels", all series
- 49 1981 - 1983: Expanded models
- 50 1984 - 1986: Colorsound 5 series
- 51 1985 (1984 based on serial #)- 1994 based on serial #'s: Sound Creation New Dimension series
- 52 1986: End of an era, the great phase out
1901-1916: St. Petersburg, Russia
The origins of the Paiste company lie in Estonia. The word Paiste means to "shine" in Estonian, a symbol that continues today in various logos of several cymbal series.
The Estonian born musician and composer Michail Toomas Paiste (1872 - 1930) founded a publishing house and a music shop in St. Petersburg Russia in 1901 where musical instruments (including brass cymbals) were also manufactured and repaired.
The business flourished until the Bolsheviks took power during the October Revolution in 1917, at the same time Estonia declared its independence from Russia.
1917-1939: Tallinn, Estonia
Michail Toomas returns to his native country, and re-opens his business in the city of Tallinn, Estonia
During this time,Michail T's son Michail M. (1907 - 1963) is attending military school in St. Petersburg around, he is separated from the family for several years, during this time he had been able to travel to such exotic places as China and Japan, this has exposed him to exotic cultures, music as well as the cymbals and gongs of Asia.
After Michail's return to the family around 1924, he begins to help his Father design and manufacture cymbals for concert and marching bands.
"Michail M." takes over the business completely in 1928 (his Father passes in 1930), his objective is to improve on his Father's cymbal design and production. Seeking to meet the rapidly evolving demands of “modern music” and the emerging drum set, Michail M. begins to develop his own special concept for Turkish style cymbals, It's during this time that he also develops the first gongs. The resulting instruments receive awards and international recognition as they begin to be exported to Europe, the USA and overseas.
Note: As early as 1932 there is the possibility of contact and a relationship with the Ludwig drum co.
Late 1930's* (estimated) - 1977: STAMBUL series
A brave new world: The STAMBUL enters the market possibly in the 1930's (no documentation exists).
One of Paiste's longest running series: The Stambul was an upper class cymbal for the era and prior to the F602 release, where it took a second place position after 1959.
Stambul's are made of nickel silver "NS12" until approximately 1970/71, it was then produced from CuSn8 "B8" bronze until phase out and transition in to the 505 series in 1978. (*) prewar catalogs and documentation are nonexistent, so we cannot supply a specific start date.
Estimated Production timeline:
?-1939 (Tallinn, Estonia) Possible early Stambul production.
1939-1945 (German occupied Gdynia, Poland) Relocated during WWII, inconsistent small production: brass allocated only by the German Nazi government.
1945-1948 (Schleswig-Holstein area, Germany) Town unknown, Relocation after WWII, 1st. production out of an abandoned barn.
1948/49-1951 (Burg-Dithmarschen, Germany) Michail receives 150 marks from "Wirtschaftswunder" ("economic miracle") program for restarting his business and buys a permanent factory.
1951-1978 (Schacht-Audorf, Germany) Location of the current German factory, production restarts once again.
1957-1978 (Switzerland & Germany) Robert establishes Swiss factory, production is now from both locations.
1939-1944 Gdynia, Poland
The beginning of World War II and the advancing Russian red army (Estonia was annexed by the Soviet Union in August of 1940) forced Michail M. and his family to leave for German occupied Poland.
Work was impossible for the first two years, but Michail manages to re-establish the family business.
The company struggles with a wartime shortage of raw materials and difficulty in maintaining international relations, but manages to survive.
1945: German refugees and German production facility
According to a Robert Paiste interview, Michail M. and his family fled from Krakow Poland (Jan. 1945) and the advancing Russian red army as refugees.
As is still common today, refugees are allocated to a certain area (in this case to the Schleswig-Holstein area in n. west Germany), Neither Robert nor Toomas could remember the name of the German village they first lived in.
An excerpt from an Estonian drum magazine: "In 1945, the family moved on to Rendsburg in northern Germany as war refugees. There they stopped in front of an abandoned hay barn where they set up cobbler like production and started up business for the third time. Although there was a war all around, the barn attained significant production for Germany, what was left was suitable for small exports. Then they moved again to a permanent factory next door. The good reputation already created for Paiste in the past did not place special demands on marketing work."
About 1948, Michail M. set up his factory in Burg-Dithmarschen (see 1950 address below) also, the first catalogs of record are produced (1950). According to the 1964 catalog: in 1951 they moved to Schacht-Audorf outside the city of Rendsburg (this is the current location of the current German factory).
For the third time Michail M. begins to produce cymbals and gongs. (Michail would spend the rest of his life here living with his wife Lilia in a small house next door and running the factory until his passing in 1963).
Today all gongs and budget cymbal series are manufactured in the German factory by approx. 30 employees.
Historically, most of the top lines of cymbals (with the exception of the 602 series) were produced in the German factory specifically for the German market (the lower lines were distributed worldwide starting in the 1980's).
This would include: 2002's, 404's, 505's, Stambul65's, Stambul's, Dixie's, Stanople's, Ludwig / Ludwig Standards, Super, etc.
~1948 - 1959: ZILKO series
Paiste needs a beginner's cymbal: Around 1948/49 Paiste launches the lower-priced ZILKO series.
These new cymbals are made of brass MS63 in Germany from 1948 to about 1957, and then from nickel silver "NS12" as the ZILKO standard when the Swiss factory opened in 1957.
It is likely the line was discontinued in 1959 and replaced by the NS12 "Standard" only to be revived as the "Arbiter Zilko standard" in the early 60s for sales through Dallas Arbiter for distribution in England.
1949: Chinese Cymbal production
Paiste is the first company in the world to produce and integrate authentic style Chinese cymbals into the setup of drummers for modern music (previously, they had offered them in "marching pairs").
Production increases and German drum makers and music distributors (Sonor, Trixon, Tromsa, Deri, etc.) begin carrying Paiste Stambuls (and sometimes Zilkos). Exports resume.
1957: Swiss production facility
After fleeing from the communists for several times the young Paiste brothers did not feel safe in Germany. Toomas (1939-2002) and Robert (1932-2016) said that they wanted to move to Canada or the U.S, but at that time could not because the immigrant "quotas" were full for these countries. On a holiday trip to the Lucerne region of Switzerland, Robert and Toomas realized this would be an ideal location. Switzerland as a neutral country, had survived two world wars unscathed and is a lot safer from the advance of communism than Germany was.
The facility was opened in the name of Michail M. Paiste but he was not involved, in fact Robert initially traveled by himself, picked the location and opened up the first workshop in a single room were he started to make cymbals. Toomas joined him in 1960 after finishing school.
It should be noted that Robert founded the Swiss factory across lake Sempach from where their future B20 alloy supplier "Metallwerke Dornach/Swissmetal" was located (Paiste had not used B20 alloy up to that point, little did he know they were the only foundry and mill that produced B20 bronze in all of Switzerland and possibly all of western Europe!) A new era began under the direction of Robert and Toomas at Nottwil, located on Lake Sempach in the district of Lucerne Switzerland.
In 1970, a new factory was built next to the original one, in 1995 Toomas took over the role of President from Robert. Since 2003, the company is headed by Toomas’ son, Erik Paiste.
1956 - 1965: "Ludwig 3 star"series, Sales/distribution in the U.S.
Coming to America: With its new production facility in Switzerland, Paiste intends to eliminate trade restrictions and enter international markets: The Ludwig Drum Company becomes the distributor for the US market.
This can be described as a great business success for Paiste: Ludwig had sold mainly Zildjian cymbals from their first catalog starting in 1912 until now.
Robert Paiste recalls that the Ludwig family sent "care packages" to the Paiste family after W.W.II, Robert also states that Bill Ludwig Sr. already had contact and a relationship with Michail Pasite before the war.
Bill Ludwig Sr. took a trip to Nenderoth, Germany to visit his childhood home around 1956, afterwards he attended the Frankfurt music fair where met up with Michael M. Paiste, they knew of each other before the war, the rekindled relationship soon developed into orders for 20,000 cymbals per year! From the 1957 catalog, a less expensive PAISTE series is offered in addition to the higher-quality Zildjian, under the name "Ludwig".
Ludwig cymbals (which were rebranded Stambuls) are first made in Germany (with the addition of "CHICAGO" on the stamp), then later in Switzerland once it was up to speed, all were made of Nickel Silver alloy NS12.
Also of note: In 1953, Ludwig began importing Paiste Gongs to the USA.
1957/59-1963: SUPER FORMULA 602
The shape of things to come: Robert Paiste had been experimenting with cymbals made of B20 bell bronze starting in 1957 when he 1st. opened the Swiss plant.
In about 1959 this (new to Paiste) B20 alloy first came onto the market under the name "SUPER FORMULA 602", the stamp of this series still looks very similar to the STAMBUL series stamp.
It's likely that the "super 602" was more of a prototype development, which was refined over the next few years.
Just over the horizon was the iconic formula 602, I wonder if Robert knew this would turn out to be their longest running series?
Today, "Super formula's" are extremely rare, extremely valuable and extremely collectable!
1959-1962/3: Standard series
The "Standard" used Nickel Silver alloy NS12.They were the lower budget line at the time designed to replace the Zilko and or the Zilko standard.
We have proof of its existence from the cover of the 1959\60 catalog, which only identifies three lines: Super Formula 602, Stambul and Standard, this was when the Swiss factory first opened.
1962: Ivor Arbiter's Drum City
Paiste cymbals are available in 1962 at the opening of Ivor Arbiter's Drum City in London, up to 4 rebranded lines carried by 1966.
Arbiter Custom Formula 602 = Paiste 602
Arbiter Custom = Paiste Stambul
Arbiter Zilko = Paiste Dixie
Arbiter Zilket = Paiste SUPER (or was a distinct student line but probably at SUPER level)
1963 - 1977: DIXIE series
The Fledgling: The DIXIE series is a new entry-level series replacing the Standard and made of nickel silver "NS12". The Dixie was introduced as a lower-priced NS12 series below the Stambul.
Production of the Dixie in Switzerland seems to have started around 1962/63 and the line makes its first appearance in the 1963 Paiste (Swiss) Catalog.
Around 1971, Dixies were upgraded to the new CuSn8 "B8" bronze. DIXIE's were phased out and transitioned into the 404 series by 1978.
The logo doesn't contain the word “Paiste”, only “DIXIE” and the crescent moon with a star, below it: “Made in Germany” or “Switzerland”.
~1963 - 1994 (reissued 2011): FORMULA 602
The one and only: After two years of experimenting with B20 Bronze, the FORMULA 602 series saw the light of day in the cymbal world around 1963.
This is Paiste's first world class cymbal, it can now compete directly with the current world standard: Zildjian!
These traditional bronze cymbals offer something very special in terms of sound quality and refinement, they overshadow everything Paiste had produced until then.
The FORMULA 602 series, which has its roots in jazz and acoustic music, gave Paiste their first big wave of international fame.
Ludwig introduced and started distributing 602's in the North American market in 1967, this further increased Paiste's sales and exposure to the largest consumer market in the world.
Clive Bunker playing a shiny new set of 602's in 1970 @ the isle of Wight festival.
1962 to early 1965: "Dynastar"
Formula 602s and Paiste Gongs available in the USA through Bonne Music/Halifax Distributing Company of Syracuse, NY.
1963: CuSn8 "B8" bronze:
In 1963 Paiste began to experiment with CuSn8, a bronze alloy with a high copper content (92% copper and 8% tin), also called B8.
In the 1970s, this somewhat more reddish alloy became known as the "2oo2 bronze".
The B8 alloy is more elastic and malleable than the traditional B20 bell bronze, it is also easier to work (roll, hammer, turn) than B20.
B8 has unique sonic qualities compared to any other alloy: the large amount of copper gives a "sweetness" to the fundamental pitch and overtones, a definitive high frequency "ring" is also present that cuts through and makes this alloy instantly recognizable to the trained ear.
B8's unique sonic qualities are perfect for cutting through loud amplified music!
1964: Pierre Favre joins Paiste sound development
At the Paiste drummer meeting in Frankfurt and 1964. Pierre met the Paiste brothers who invited him to visit their factory in Nottwil. Since Pierre has always been interested in cymbals, he was most enthusiastic about accepting their invitation during the visit. The Paiste brothers were so impressed with his keen interest and attentive attitude, they offered him a position on their staff to take care of the most important task: cymbal development, quality control and to establish an education/drummer service dept.
1964 - 1978: SUPER series
It is believed that the SUPER was first made in Germany sometime between 1960 and 1964, after the Paiste Standard line was discontinued.
The Swiss factory also made "NS12" Supers for a short period of time (1967-1971?) before both factories switched to B8 version starting in 1971.
Production of the B8 Super ceased by 1974 in the Swiss factory, the cymbal was still available from the German factory until 1978 when it was replaced by the 101.
The name “Paiste” is not found in the logo, the word “SUPER” is to the left of the crescent moon and star and below it: “Made in Germany” and later “Switzerland” (some logos just show the name "Super").
1965 - 1973: STAMBUL65
A star is born: The Stambul ’65 was Paiste's first series entirely made of the B8 (2002 bronze) alloy.
Released in 1965, the series was an important development that paved the way for the groundbreaking Giant Beat line and subsequently, the crowning achievement of Paiste’s use of B8, the legendary 2002. The majority of Stambul ‘65s were made in Nottwil, but it’s not uncommon to see examples from the German factory as well, especially the marching cymbals. In addition to the stamped logo, Stambul65's made after 1971 will have a black ink Paiste logo and series name stamp at the 12 o’clock position above the bell. The red ink type stamp at 3 o’clock should be on all examples, no matter the year of the production. Hammering and lathing closely resemble the 602 series of that era. Considered very collectable and still modern sounding, a great addition to one's current cymbal setup.
1965: Ludwig starts distributing Formula 602's in the U.S.
The largest consumer market in the world now has access to Paiste's premier line of cymbals: the Formula 602.
Key in getting the partnership off the ground was Robert Yeager from the pro drum shop in Hollywood California. He acted as technical adviser, both Bob Yeager and Bill Ludwig Jr. felt the Paiste 602 cymbals were too heavy, Bob spent a week at Paiste to "reset the standards of thickness" throughout the 602 line.
This would come back to bite them in the worst way: Ludwig claims they lost about a million dollars replacing cracked 602's, their customers were all hard hitting fledgling rock drummers, Ludwig had specified too thin of a cymbal to cope with the abuse from these young drummers!
This episode damaged Paiste's reputation in the U.S. for decades and still affects them today.
1965 - 1973: "Ludwig Standard" series
Around 1965, the Ludwig STANDARD series (with the new logo) were added to the catalog and these can be classified as an upscale entry-level line (again, they were rebranded Stambuls).
Ludwig STANDARD cymbals are initially made in Switzerland and then from 1960 onwards in Germany, they are also made of Nickel Silver alloy NS12.
By 1975 we see the Last appearance of Ludwig Standards in limited size options (probably leftovers after the companies parted ways).
1965: Paiste's first "golden era"
There was a huge explosion of creativity and new models starting around 1965 through the mid 1970's along with the development of the B8 alloy into Paiste's crowning achievement: the 2002.
Ludwig opens the north American market for the Formula 602 and several other series
Creation of the STAMBUL65 series
Creation of the Giant beat series
Formula 602 Joe Morello Set
Formula 602 Sound Edge hi-hats
Chinese Cymbal with Turkish bell
The Formula 602 flat ride
The Seven sound set (includes 1st. bell and splash)
Creation of the 2002 series
The Formula 602 22" Dark Ride
Formula 602 crotales
2002 cup chimes
2002 flatride, bell and splash
Paiste drummer service
1966 - 1973: STANOPLE series
Paiste brings the STANOPLE series onto the market in 1966. These cymbals are initially made in Germany, later in the new Swiss production facility, it's been determined that these were rebranded NS12 Dixies.
They were made from "NS12" until possibly the last couple years of production, there is evidence that some late model post 1970 Stanoples were made from CuSn8 "B8" bronze.
Stanoples are mainly offered in the USA, from 1966 through the Ludwig Drum Company. We don't know exactly how long they were produced, but STANOPLE cymbals can be found listed in the Ludwig catalog until 1973.
The stamp has either: "STANOPLE, Made in Germany, Paiste" or "STANOPLE, Made in Switzerland, Paiste" under the crescent moon and star.
1966 - 1979 Formula 602 Joe Morello Set
Hey Joe, what do you know?: Late '65, early '66: Once Ludwig took over the distribution of Paiste cymbals, Joe Morello was approached by Bill Ludwig to endorse Paiste.
Since Joe played and endorsed Ludwig Drums, he was the obvious choice for a signature cymbal set baring his name.
Paiste catalog: "In personal collaboration with Joe Morello, this beautiful melodically coordinated set was created"
A custom set of Formula 602 cymbals made to Joe's specification (the 1st. artist model!) comprising of 14" sound edge hi hats, 17", 18" and 20" sizes.
Visual cues show much finer lathing and possibly different hammering compared to the standard 602's
1967: Formula 602 Sound Edge hi-hats
Invention of the wavy edge hi-hat bottom cymbal - The Sound Edge hi-hat
Another Paiste invention that defined rock drummers sound from the early 70's through the 80's.
1967: 1st. flat ride
Invention of the bell-less flat ride cymbal (originally called the "space sound"). Included in the "seven sound set"
From a 2006 Robert Paiste interview: "The Flat Ride is the first and the last cymbal that more or less came out of a gag. That was with Joe Morello, he visited here once and at that time there were these new super thin Swiss watches, he was fascinated with his new super thin watch that he had just got. He said, "why don't you make a cymbal like that?" I wondered, what does a cymbal without a bell sound like? Well, we were making gongs, but I didn't relate to that, we built prototypes, which surprised us very much with the sound." Thus became the flatride!
1967: Chinese Cymbal with "Turkish bell"
For the first time in 1967, Paiste uses a Turkish bell on a Chinese cymbal, included in the "seven sound set" another Paiste innovation.
1967: 1st. splash and bell
Included in the "seven sound set"
1967 - 1976: Seven sound set
Seven sound set: "A set of seven cymbals each in a new unusual sound-color. Sound colors the demanding drummer is looking for to enrich his personal cymbal set."
1967 - 1974 (2005 reissue): GIANT BEAT series
We will rock you: The sound of early 70's rock, John Bonham recorded more Zeppelin albums with Giant beats than he did with 2002's!
1967 Paiste launched the Giant Beat cymbals, which are characterized by warmth, strength and brilliance drummers had not known before.
The first generation of Giant Beats were printed with white ink at 9:00 O'clock starting in 1967 until early 1972.
The second generation of Giant beats featured Black ink (at 12:00 O'clock) and a slight change to the way they were stamped from 1972 to early 1974.
1969/70: Ludwig starts distributing the Seven sound set and Giant beat series in the U.S.
1970: Fredy Studer joins Paiste sound development
Fredy was a key member of sound development from 1970 to 1978, he then was freelance in sound development until 2016. Fredy was instrumental in creating and developing all of Paiste’s classic cymbals though the 70’s and into the 80’s and 90's (and even into the 2000's!) with Robert Paiste. Fredy’s swan song was engaging and facilitating Vinnie Colaiuta's switch to Paiste after they had worked together on the “Modern essentials” Formula 602’s development for two years!
Fredy was also head of Paiste's "Drummer service", he is credited for signing some of the most famous names in music history: Jack DeJohnette, John Bonham, Ed Blackwell, Paul Lovens, Carl Palmer, Tony Oxley, Al Foster, Stewart Copeland, Airto Moreira, Paul Motian, Jon Christensen, Sunny Murray, Terry Bozzio, Vinnie Colaiuta just to name a few!
1971 - 1986**: The 2oo2
A new world order: Paiste's crowning achievement, their pinnacle of B8 development: the 2002 series.
No other cymbal manufacturer has matched the refinement and sonic balance of this series using B8 alloy.
Over the last half century or more, Paiste's ability to produce top of the class sounding multiple lines of B8 cymbals will never be matched by any other manufacturer.
The most successful line of Paiste cymbals reflected in sales numbers, unrivalled by any other line.
Top Rock 'n' Roll drummers of the '70's incorporated 2002s into their set ups; virtually every English rock drummer from that era used 2002's with few exceptions!
1970's 2002 artists:
(**)The outcry from drummers and dealers was substantial, many were still asking for and still ordering 2002's.
The 2002 line was actually still available and never officially canceled, it was even listed on US/European dealers paperwork and available for order.
What Paiste did was to scale back the production of 2002's to a limited amount of stock, this allowed their factory labor to focus on the new lines.
The 2002's were still available and could be ordered in from Swiss factory; they just weren’t marketing them in ads, the 3000/2000 etc. were the new thing.
By late 1987, Paiste put out an updated flyer to dealers mentioning the line was still active. In 1988 it even made an appearance in Modern Drummer, listed in some drummer's setups.
1974: Distribution in the U.S. by Rogers
According to Bill Ludwig Jr's book "The making of a drum company": Ludwig canceled their contract with Paiste around 1971/72. The relationship didn't end well, Ludwig had specified "thinner" than standard 602 models to be shipped to the U.S. Understandably, they had issues with cracked cymbals. Ludwig supposedly replaced 4,000 cymbals free of charge (Paiste claims they reimbursed Ludwig), there's a big disparity in what actually happened between the two parties.
Robert and Toomas flew to Chicago to inspect the cymbals, they were also taken to a show, after watching the drummer crack a cymbal on stage during the performance, they informed Bill Ludwig the drummers were hitting the cymbals too hard and were not designed for such abuse! Eventually Ludwig stopped all new orders and ended up giving away the rest of their inventory.
There's a multi year gap during this time where it must have been difficult to buy any Paiste cymbal in the U.S, it is unknown if Paiste used an "interim distributor".
Rogers, or rather its owner (CBS), takes over the distribution in the USA. Part of the deal was Paiste would also distribute Rogers drums in Switzerland.
Initially, you will only find a limited selection of the 2oo2 series listed in the Rogers 1976 catalog. Subsequently, the 1979 catalog also listed the new SOUND CREATION series along with a very limited selection of the 404 series. It should be noted the Formula 602 series was listed as "special order only, 100 day turnaround" and the new 505 series was not listed at all!
1976: 2002 bell, splash & flat ride
The '76 catalog lists a 2002 bell, splash & flat ride for the first time.
1975 - 1977: Formula 602 22" Dark Ride
The enigma: The infamous, the one and only, the Formula 602 Dark Ride: by far the most desirable collectable cymbal Paiste has ever produced.
Heavy hammering and a darker tone are some of the characteristics that hark back to the old Zildjian K's, Jon Hiseman and Jack De Johnette are credited with early development.
Quote from the 1976 catalog (translated from German): "The basic character of the cymbal is deep and dark with a lively, constantly mixing, full, deep cooking bottom. The ride intensity can be increased by strong hits with the stick flat on the cymbal surface to short, sharp crash effects."
When Rogers started distributing Paiste cymbals, they listed the dark ride with the 2002's, because of that, they asked Paiste to remove the "Formula 602" name from above the bell of the cymbal.
These versions are called "transition" models because they were sold after Rogers started distribution but before the inception of the Sound Creation series.
In 1978 the Sound Creation series appears and the Dark Ride is included in that series from then on.
1978 - 1986: 4o4 series
The little cymbal that could: The successor to the Dixie series, Paiste 404s were released to the general public in 1978. It appears the line was first developed in the Swiss factory staring sometime in 1974.
Most experts consider the 404 superior to any lower line/entry level cymbal Paiste has produced since.
Multiple sources state that Paiste was losing money on the 404 line because they still required a substantial amount of hand labor to produce (subsequent models had thier lathing "stamped" into them!).
1978 - 1986* (German factory offered 505s until 1993!): 5o5 series
The poor man's 2002: The 505 is very close sonically and in production quality to the 2002.
The successor to the long-running Stambul series, Paiste 505s were released to the public in 1978 and slotted in under the 2002.
505's were not available in the U.S until ~1981 when Paiste opened their North American distribution center (Brea), by then they had the printed "green stamp" logo along with an expanded selection of models and sizes.
The same sources state that Paiste was also losing money on the 505 line because they required a substantial amount of manual labor and skill to produce (they were 35% cheaper than an equivalent 2002!).
1978 - 1984: Sound creation series
What's old is new again: a whole new series is developed along similar lines of the 602 dark ride, the Sound creation series.
Heavy hammering and a darker tone are some of the characteristics that hark back to the old K Zildjian's.
Paiste beat Zildjian to the punch by three years (10 years if you include the 602 dark ride) with thier dark sounding heavily hand hammered new series.
Zildjian had to buy the "K" rights and import the cymbal smiths who were making them from the Azco plant in Canada (at the time they were producing "Azco Canadian K's")
"Sound creation is an entirely new collection of individual cymbal sounds which has unmatched variety in pitch, texture, color and feeling, these sounds cooperate with the drummer in his efforts to express himself in music and thereby stimulate musical creativity".
"The name on each Sound Creation cymbal describes the sound, type, feeling and character for which it was created".
The 602 dark ride is renamed an included in the series.
1979: 101 series
The original 101 was an entry-level Nickel-Silver line made in Paiste's German factory replacing the SUPER as the company's low budget offering.
The 101s received an embossed logo with black ink type stamps for the first two years of production.
Starting in 1981, the cymbals got silk screened logos in a pretty teal color for the rest of the run. Paiste would later revive the 101 name for its budget brass cymbals.
1979: Paiste Percussion set
1980 - 1986: Paiste's second "golden era"
Subjective opinion: this era contains the most diverse, highest overall quality and easily available models (virtually every model and size is still attainable used in good condition) for the vintage enthusiast/collector.
1980: Invention of un-lathed cymbals: RUDE
Combat rock: Under Robert Paiste, the policy of constant development pushing the boundaries of the products further creating cymbal sounds for every drummer's needs saw the birth of this legendary series.
This gave the modern drummer another tool to further explore with its raw, forceful character and its unrefined looks to match the loud, vigorous nature even of today's heavy music: hard rock, heavy metal, punk, new wave.
Early 1981: All series: end of the Black Label era
1981: North American distribution center, Brea, CA. (greater Los Angeles area)
We love L.A: Paiste's availability, use and popularity increases dramatically in the U.S.
In 1981, Paiste gained a foothold in the world's largest music market in the world with the founding of Paiste America, Inc. in Brea, California (sout east of Los Angeles, close to disneyland).
Toomas lived in the U.S. (Yorba Linda, close to the dist. center) for some time in the 80s and was instrumental in founding and developing the sales/distribution branch.
Formula 602's and 505's are now fully available in the U.S. along with the full range of 2002's and 404's. this coincides with the "colored label" era.
Early 1981: Beginning of the "colored labels", all series
Taking cues from the new 1980 Rude models with it's large printing of the logo, size and model name; Paiste applies the same labeling format to all it's current models at that time.
Many users and collectors believe this was Paiste's second "golden era": all of their classic lines had expanded models and sizes, every model from the 404 to the Sound creations are considered collectable today.
All lines (with the exception of the 101) included substantial hand labor to manufacture them (later lower line cymbals had some processes automated by a computer instead of manually operating a machine).
1981 - 1983: Expanded models
All the lines had an increase in selection: creating an incredibly diverse choice of models and sizes.
1984 - 1986: Colorsound 5 series
In living color: "Paiste first pioneered color coated cymbals with COLORSOUND 5 in 1984 as a means for artistic expression during the time period when popular music became visual in music videos on television."
Origins: The Color Sound 5 idea started when Nick Mason asked for gray cymbals to accompany Pink Floyd's the “Wall” Tour in 1981. Robert tried several ways to color bronze. Galvanic way: just a pale yellow or a bad looking maroon. Chrome plating: harsh, brutal sounds, and the chrome cracked! Spraying the color on choked the sound, Robert told Nick to forget about gray cymbals. As usual, Robert kept trying, he found a special transparent lacquer used on copper wires used to make bobbins for electric motors.
Originally, it was supposed to be 5 colors, but white was not coming out as intense unless the cymbals were sprayed several times, causing the sound to choke, so Robert decided only 4 colors rather than 5.
With the creation of MTV, new music trends and the explosion of "music videos", Colorsound cymbals were created at the right place and the right time!
Initially there were only four colors (not five): black, blue, green and red, later as custom orders: white, yellow, turquoise and purple. The line was absorbed into the 2000 line during the "great phaseout" of 1986.
1985 (1984 based on serial #)- 1994 based on serial #'s: Sound Creation New Dimension series
Last of the greats: The last of the second "golden era" cymbals to be released.
Cymbals with the specification * New Dimension * are a "special further developments intensifying existing sounds keeping up with the development of styles in music".
Comparing lines side by side: the original series tend to be unevenly spaced hammering with deeper hammer marks. The new dimension version are more evenly hammered using wider hammer marks.
The exception being the dark china: in the original series they are hammered very evenly, new dimension version they have deeper hammer marks and are more unevenly hammered.
It is believed that the larger hammering and pattern carried on in later generation series in the late 80's and 90's.
This was Paiste's most expensive line: 54% more expensive than the 2002's, 20% more expensive that the 602's!
The Formula 602 and Sound creation lines were discontinued in 1994 because "Swissmetal" (the supplier) stopped making B20 blanks, it’s assumed it wasn’t cost effective for them at that point as Paiste would have been a small customer.
The end of Paiste's second "golden era", gone are the 2002*(see footnote in the 2002 section), Rude, Colorsound 5, 505, 404, even the 101 series, all to be replaced by the 3000 (the "new Coke"), 2000, 1000, 1000 Rude, 400 and lowly 200 series. The Formula 602 and Sound creation lines run until 1994 (they were discontinued because "Swissmetal", the supplier stopped making B20 blanks).
With the new B15 alloy and several lines based on it, it seems Paiste was ready to move on.
There was also the cost saving factor: subsequent lower level replacement lines (200, 400, 1000) required much less labor and most importantly, cost to produce.
Most if not all of the lower models where stamped into shape requiring minimal hammering and some even had thier lathing "stamped" into them, what hammering was done was done with an automated machine process.
This is where we get off the Paiste train: the author had grown up during this era and had discovered/played each model when new (and purchased many as well), he doesn't think Paiste's subsequent replacement lines offered the model sizes and value for money (quality) especially of the lower lines that this "golden era" did.
Of course they went on to do great things over the next couple of decades and now endure intense competition, but the music of my youth was created with these groundbreaking classic lines of cymbals, music that will never be replicated again!
(**)All the info, dates and history were carefully researched from dozens of sources and to the best of our ability, that said, we cannot guarantee %100 accuracy of this timeline.**
Credits: William Ludwig II: "The making of a drum company", Todd Little, Steve Black (owner of wiki page), George Fludas (Bonham info), Mark Carlson, Nils Lillig, Daniel Plasko, DeSeven S Opitz ("Paiste Line History WIKI-non-official Facebook page"), Franz Neuwirth at NF Drums, Ed Clift, Fritz Steger, Sean Walton, Paiste's official page, google, Getty images.
Thanks to Pierre Favre and Freddy Studer who took time out to answer a few questions to clear up a an old mystery or two!