Most cymbal companies have a line of cymbals that come and go very quickly. These cymbals don’t get as much love as the company originally thought, so they stop getting made.
Just over a decade ago, Zildjian was selling a line of cymbals called the Pitch Black Series. They were available for such a short time that most drummers weren’t able to get them. There were a few clips of Travis Barker playing them at a stage, and that initially boosted their popularity.
However, they were gone very quickly after that, and there are only a few floating around the world at this stage. We’re going to answer whether these cymbals were good or not.
- 1 What Were the Zildjian Pitch Black Cymbals?
- 2 Were They Good?
- 3 Why Did They Get Discontinued?
- 4 Should You Get Them?
- 5 Other Zildjian Cymbal Lines That Were Discontinued
- 6 Better Current Cymbal Options
- 7 Final Thoughts on Zildjian Pitch Black Cymbals
What Were the Zildjian Pitch Black Cymbals?
The Zildjian Pitch Black cymbals were a line of beginner cymbals that Zildjian offered for a short time. They were essentially the same cymbals as Zildjian’s ZHT line, but they were painted black to give them a cool aesthetic.
Zildjian’s ZHT cymbals aren’t around anymore either, but they were the most popular beginner cymbals around at one stage.
The ZHT cymbals were very loud, and they had bright tones that weren’t all too musical. The Pitch Black cymbals had almost the same tones. There were slight differences due to the Pitch Black cymbals having layers of black paint on them.
Were They Good?
No, the Zildjian Pitch Black cymbals were not good. Since they had the same tones as the ZHT cymbals, they sounded very harsh, and they didn’t have any tonal complexity to them.
You’d get a shrill sound when hitting hard, and you’d get very weak tones when you played them softly.
Also, the paint was known to get scratched off the cymbals after a while, so they’d end up losing the clean black appearance after being cleaned a few times.
At the time, it was only beginner drummers who enjoyed the idea of them. All experienced drummers were wondering what Zildjian was thinking by adding a further aspect to cymbals that only beginners would like.
Here are a few clips of them being played. You’ll only find very old clips on YouTube, showing you how rare these cymbals are.
Why Did They Get Discontinued?
They didn’t sell very well, which led them to be taken off from Zildjian’s product lineup very quickly. The idea of having black cymbals was very appealing, but no one wanted to get a set of them that sounded like trash can lids.
People have also theorized that the ones that Travis Barker played were made from the ZHT Series, leading them to sound a lot better than the Pitch Black cymbals that were being sold on shelves.
Cymbal companies will always stop the production of a particular cymbal line if it doesn’t gain enough popularity. They end up losing money if they keep producing them.
Should You Get Them?
You may find a few Pitch Black cymbals still being sold. Music stores buy stock from cymbal brands, and then they’ll keep the cymbals in the store until they get sold. There’s a small possibility that a few music stores will have these.
However, it’s more likely that you’ll find drummers selling these on used gear marketplaces. If you’re wondering whether you should get them, here’s what you need to know.
You should definitely not get them if you’re looking for a set of cymbals that sound great with your drum kit. There are much better sounding cymbals available.
The only reason that anyone should get them is if they have an appreciation for Zildjian’s product history. These cymbals haven’t been in production for over a decade, so it’s quite cool to own a few cymbals that will most likely never be made again. They’re more of a collector’s item.
Other Zildjian Cymbal Lines That Were Discontinued
Zildjian Z Custom
The Zildjian Z Customs were some of Zildjian’s heaviest cymbals. They had similar qualities to the heavy ZHTs, but they were far more musical in their tones.
A lot of pro rock and metal drummers used these, and they sounded very big in band settings. Quite a few drummers still love them, but they’re very hard to find.
Here’s a clip of them being played:
The ZXTs were also a beginner line of cymbals from Zildjian. They were incredibly bright, but they lacked the musical and dynamic responsiveness that drummers need from cymbals these days.
The most infamous versions of the ZXT cymbals were the Titanium line. These were made from titanium, and they sounded awful. Imagine playing drums with giant sheets of heavy metal that haven’t been treated. That’s kind of what they sounded like.
Better Current Cymbal Options
Zildjian S Series Dark
Zildjian recently released Dark versions of their popular S Series cymbals. If you want cymbals with a cool dark aesthetic, these are much better than anything we’ve mentioned so far. They also have darker tones than the standard S cymbals, and that makes them a lot more versatile.
It’s great that Zildjian offers these, as most dark cymbals from other brands are a lot pricier.
Here’s a clip of a full set being played:
Used High-End Cymbals
A lot of people were drawn to the Pitch Black cymbals due to their low price tag. It’s the same reason why drummers look to buy the current Zildjian S Series cymbals.
However, you can get much better sounding cymbals if you look for used options. Cymbals tend to mature with age, meaning that they sound better after a few years.
A good way of saving money is by buying cymbals from secondhand marketplaces. You can find some sweet deals, and you may just get a set of professional cymbals for the same price that you’d spend on brand new beginner cymbals.
Final Thoughts on Zildjian Pitch Black Cymbals
The Pitch Black cymbals from Zildjian may have been a good idea on paper, but there weren’t too many drummers that enjoyed them. That’s why they were discontinued so quickly.
Were they good? Not at all. Zildjian has created some amazing cymbals over the years, but they’ve also missed the mark a few times, and the Pitch Black cymbals are a good example of that.