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Since all the way back in the 17th century, Turkey has been the hotbed of cymbal making. Istanbul Mehmet takes its name from revered cymbalsmith Mehmet Tamdeger, who studied under the master artisan Mikhail Zilcan. Mehmet originally worked together with fellow smith Agop Tomurcuk under the name 'Istanbul,' and struck out on his own as Istanbul Mehmet after Tomurcuk passed away in 1996. Today, Mehmet's cymbals are still handmade according to centuries-old Turkish traditions, but the company's ears have definitely turned toward sounds that are adapted to modern genres of music.
Some of the most versatile Istanbul Mehmet cymbals are the Traditional series. Running the gamut from jazz to heavy metal, these fully lathed cymbals provide a dark, responsive tone that encompasses all styles. Derived from the Traditional line are the Radiant and Session cymbals, which fall into Istanbul Mehmet's Modern series. Radiant cymbals have more weight to them, with a penetrating sound that's well-suited to rock and pop. The Session series is designed to find a middle ground between the Traditional and Radiant lines, combining the mellowness of the Traditionals with the brilliance and attack of the Radiants. That makes the Sessions a great choice for musicians who want to keep the same cymbals even when switching genres from one gig to the next.
For something a little more exotic, take a look at the Custom Series cymbals: the Turk and Sultan lines. Turk cymbals are unlathed, leaving all of their hammer marks plain to see. These cymbals blend precision with a dry, compact sound and the overtones that characterize hand-hammered cymbals. If you want to blend some of that woody tone with the bright sound of the Traditional series cymbals, then the Sultans may be the cymbal for you - they're a hybrid of the two.
Three of Istanbul Mehmet's cymbal lines are specifically tuned for jazz: the Mehmet Legend, Nostalgia and Origin Dark Series. Check out the Mehmet Legend if you like your cymbals thin-lathed with rich, natural warmth. If you prefer something tighter and smoother with a more woody sound, the Origin Dark Series are a good choice. Or, for a vintage sound, the Nostalgia series is second to none.
Istanbul Mehmet also has the seal of approval from drumming legends Horacio 'El Negro' Hernandez and Carmine Appice, with a signature series of cymbals for each. Horacio Hernandez noted that, all too often, when the sound of a cymbal's bell was right, the bow would be off, and vice-versa. The 'El Negro' cymbals address that with a balanced sound, owing partly to their distinctive brushed finish and raw bell. Carmine Appice's signatures, the 'Realistic Rock' cymbals, are heavy hand-hammered cymbals that deliver power and projection but also well-behaved precision when you need it.
Whichever Istanbul Mehmet cymbals are right for you, it's just a matter of getting set up and putting them to work. Once you break these cymbals in, you'll quickly hear the benefits brought by generations of tradition-building.