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How Good Were Zildjian Z Custom Cymbals? (Pro Drummer’s Take)

Zildjian is the oldest musical brand in the world. They’ve been making cymbals for hundreds of years, and the company has stayed in the Zildjian family ever since it was started. 

With such a rich history, it’s a no-brainer that Zildjian is the most popular cymbal company on the market. It’s also fairly common for the brand to release various lines of cymbals at stages and then stop their production. 

A popular line of cymbals that got discontinued is the Zildjian Z Customs. The A and K Custom cymbals are still booming, but the Z Customs disappeared fairly quickly. 

A lot of drummers feel nostalgic about this old cymbal line, so we’re going to answer whether they were actually good cymbals or not.

What Were the Zildjian Z Custom Cymbals?

The Zildjian Z Custom cymbals were a line of cymbals with very reasonable price tags. They were slightly more expensive than the beginner lines like the ZXT, ZHT, and ZBTs, but they were more affordable than the A and K cymbals from the brand.

They were made from B20 bronze, which is what made them superior to those beginner cymbal lines that we just mentioned. 

All the cymbals in this line were very heavy, and that was their main physical quality. They were fairly divisive, as some drummers loved them, while others would never use them on their kit.

Tonal Qualities

The Z Customs were the loudest, brightest, and pingiest cymbals that Zildjian offered. They were only intended to be used by rock, punk, and metal drummers, as those are the only styles where these cymbals would sound natural. 

In any other musical style, they would sound way too aggressive and harsh (like the failed Zildjian Pitch Black cymbals). This is why they were such divisive cymbals. 

However, they sounded brilliant in live bands where the volume was pumped and all the guitars were distorted. 

Every cymbal in the line was high-pitched, so you’d get cutting tones that were piercing. 

Here’s a clip of a full set of Z Customs being played:

Zildjian Z Custom Cymbal Set Test

How Popular Were the Zildjian Z Customs?

The Zildjian Z Custom cymbals were nowhere near as popular as the cymbal lines on Zildjian’s current lineup. The biggest reason is that these are one of the least versatile cymbal lines that the brand has ever released. 

They only worked well for heavy musical styles, and they sounded completely out of place when being used for softer styles. 

This led to drummers choosing different cymbals if they played in various groups that performed in different styles. 

With that being said, they weren’t too popular amongst rock and metal drummers either. They weren’t pro-level cymbals, so drummers in those styles would mostly gravitate toward higher-end cymbal options anyway.

Why Were the Zildjian Z Custom Cymbals Discontinued?

The main reason is that they weren’t being sold as much as the popular A and K cymbals. However, Zildjian has also stated that they always aim to create cymbals that best match the state of the current musical world

With the world mostly shifting away from rock music being popular after the early 2000s, Zildjian decided to focus more on making cymbals that thrive in pop settings

Most drummers these days also don’t stick to one style of music, so they’re always looking for cymbals that work in various musical styles. That gives even more reason to stay away from cymbals like the Z Customs.

How Good Were the Zildjian Z Custom Cymbals?

They were decent, but again, only in very heavy musical settings. The people that are nostalgic about these cymbals are used to hearing them being played in rock and metal bands. 

If you heard a set of Z Customs being played in an Imagine Dragons song, they would sound way too loud, even though Imagine Dragons is somewhat of a rock group. 

They just don’t offer as much depth as the other options on Zildjian’s lineup.

Better Modern Options Compared to the Z Customs

If you’re looking for a good set of cymbals and you’re considering a set of Z Customs, here’s our advice on a few alternative options. 

Zildjian A Custom Cymbals

The Zildjian A Custom cymbals are the top alternative option to the Z Custom cymbals. The A Customs are also bright and cutting, but they’re nowhere near as aggressive and forceful.

These are the higher-quality cymbals that rock and metal drummers use, as they easily cut through dense mixes, and they sound fantastic in a band setting.

They’re also a lot more versatile than the Z Custom cymbals ever were.

Zildjian A Cymbals

The Zildjian A cymbals are an even more versatile option. These have been a popular option from Zildjian for decades, and you can hear them being played on countless records. 

They’re a bit more musically complex than the A Customs. They’re not as bright, and they don’t cut quite as much. However, they’re still explosive enough to sound effective in heavy musical settings.

Zildjian K Custom Cymbals

If you’re looking for something completely different, Zildjian’s K Custom cymbals are a great option. These are often regarded as Zildjian’s best cymbal line, and they have fantastic dynamic ranges

Some of them are dark and smooth, while others are dry and buttery. The common tonal quality amongst all the K Custom cymbals is that none of them are bright and cutting

This makes them the most versatile cymbals available from Zildjian, as you can use them in a much wider array of musical settings.

Where to Find Zildjian Z Custom Cymbals

Zildjian Z Custom cymbals are surprisingly easy to find. A lot of music stores around the world still stock old ones that were never sold when they were being produced

You’ll also find them being sold on platforms like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay.

Final Thoughts on the Zildjian Z Custom Cymbals

The Zildjian Z Custom cymbals were popular around the early 2000s, and that’s when a lot of us got into drumming by listening to all the big rock bands at the time. That’s a huge reason why drummers are nostalgicabout these cymbals. 

However, you’ll find that they’re not great when you sit down and analyze their tonal qualities. Zildjian discontinued them for a good reason

It’s still fun to look back on them, though! They remind us of the times when drummers like Travis Barker and Trè Cool were the most inspirational players around.