Dateline: October, 2010. Location: Waco, Texas. The event: David Crowder’s Fantastical Church Music Conference Music by: David Crowder Band, Gungor, Leeland, John Mark McMillan, Jars of Clay, Hillsongs London, The Civil Wars.. and others!
What’s new: The introduction of Heartbeat brand cymbals..the first cymbal line designed primarily for the Gospel market!
Heartbeat cymbals are a natural evolution from Heartbeat Distributors, a Canadian musical instrument distributor located in Canada. They have been distributing cymbals made in Istanbul (and other gear) since 2003.
With many of their artists and customers in the Gospel music industry, the boys at Heartbeat wanted to provide that niche with something that was missing… custom cymbals! While there are a number of Christian drum companies and builders mixed in with the multitude of drum companies over the world, cymbals are different. There are basically two giants in the industry (Zildjian in the US and Sabian in Canada), a couple of European makes (Paiste in Switzerland, UFIP in Italy and Meinl in Germany), and a number of boutique companies in Turkey and some start ups in China.
“We have supplied many Istanbul (Agop) cymbals over the years to our Christian artists and churches throughout North America, but we wanted to do more than that… we wanted to develop a line specifically for the needs of those particular customers,” advises Noel Walker, Heartbeat president.
Now it’s a reality! “We started with five basic series,” says Walker. “Classic, which is a traditional Turkish fully lathed darker sounding series, reminiscent of older Turkish Ks; Studio, which is like the Classics except with a raw bell and raw stripe on the top to give a quicker decay (something that many churches will appreciate!); Custom, which is a unique cymbal mainly unlathed except for the edges on the top and bottom, providing a very controlled sound with good projection, Rock, like the Classics but brilliantly finished and lathed providing louder and more cutting volume; and finally the Raw series. These unique cymbals feature unlathed body but lathed bell to provide minimal wash and resonance, but strong volume.”
Heartbeat cymbals are hand made in Istanbul to Heartbeat’s specifications. The cymbal makers are part of the company that includes some of the original staff that worked at the Zildjian K company over 30 years ago when it was located in Istanbul.
“Hand made and hand hammered cymbals provide a different sound than the machine made cymbals that most people are used to these days,” offers Walker. “That wasn’t the way it was thirty years ago when pretty well all cymbals were hand made.” “Also, every hand made cymbal sounds slightly different from each other, while machine made cymbals are made to sound exactly the same!” What is unique is that because Heartbeat only sells their Heartbeat cymbals direct, they can keep the price down. For example, WMG checked on line and found a very popular US instrument retailer selling a machine made Zildjian A Custom 18″ crash at $259.95 on sale (list price $453.00) Heartbeat’s hand made 18″ crashes (any series) list at only $419.00 and the church direct price is $179.00!
Some artists that have chosen to play Heartbeats already include: Calum Rees (Brian Doerksen), Travis Nunn (Chris Tomlin), Gareth Gilkeson (Rend Collective Experiment), Dustin Ragland (Charlie Hall), Simon Kobler (Hillsongs United), Jake Dorsey (Jason Lovins), Simon Parker (Noah Cleveland), Al Sergal (Jason Upton), Josh Mitchenson (These Kids Wear Crowns), Travis Blackmore (Manafest).
So what cymbals does Heartbeat recommend for churches? “Well, alot depends on the type of music, the building, the audience…. there are many things to consider,” states Walker. “But, we always start with the Classic series. Not too loud or bright, good projection, good resonance, nice wash. Then we go from there. Want a quicker decay and a bit quieter cymbal? Go for the Studio series. Want something with less wash, minimal resonance, but good projection? The Customs are ideal! Playing to a mainly younger, uptempo audience and need more projection? The Rocks are the answer! Want to mix in some unique sounds? Add in some Raw series!” “Of course, you can mix and match any of our cymbals with each other. They blend very well!
While Heartbeat is a distributor and usually works through stores, studios, music schools, etc. for selling retail, they do sell Heartbeat cymbals directly to churches, worship bands and offer endorsements to artists that meet their criteria. Heartbeat also works with Paw Music Ltd., an online retailer that promotes Heartbeat cymbals directly to the public.
Here is a link to Paw Music’s Heartbeat cymbal collection. http://www.pawmusic.com/collections/cymbals/heartbeat
There are mp3 music samples of the cymbals on Heartbeat’s web site: http://heartbeatdistributors.com/products/heartbeat-cymbals
Heartbeat has launched a new web site exclusively devoted to Heartbeat Cymbals. You can find it here: http://www.heartbeatpercussion.com Not only are there sound files for the cymbals, but artists pages and ministry pages showing what artists, churches and worship bands are using. Some have embedded videos as well. Worth checking out!
Also, Heartbeat has introduced another series, the Vintage series. These are more focused towards jazz players, but offer a quieter, darker sound which works well in small room venues.
June, 2013 Update:
Heartbeat has added another new series..the Epic series. Fully lathed like Classic, but warmer, darker and more buttery sound. Another great product. Not just for churches, these are great for jazz gigs or just when you want a darker and washier sound. Heartbeat continues to develop new models and series as it expands beyond it’s church focused roots.