RE­VIEW ufip ef­fects cym­bals

From £125 A se­lec­tion of in­di­vid­ual met­als from the Ital­ian cym­bal­smiths

Rhythm - - DRUM LESSONS - Words: Tom Bradley

Per­haps a lesser known brand on th­ese shores, UFIP’s Tus­can crafts­men have in fact been pro­duc­ing cym­bals since the 1930s. With a now steady dis­tri­bu­tion in the UK thanks to The Mu­sic Ship­ping Com­pany, the brand could be­come a more com­mon sight on drum kits around the coun­try.


For re­view we have an in­ter­est­ing as­sort­ment of ef­fects-style cym­bals. Th­ese in­clude a 12" Samba splash, 18" Blast crash and a 20" Flat ride which are all part of UFIP’s Ex­pe­ri­ence Se­ries. The black sheep of the col­lec­tion is the rather un­usual and in­trigu­ing Xim­bao FX which is part of the Per­cus­sion Se­ries. The Ex­pe­ri­ence Se­ries was de­signed as an ex­per­i­men­tal range “from new sound re­search and co­op­er­a­tion with en­dorsees”. The range also in­cludes Bell crashes, Real Chi­nas, Hand cym­bals, Col­lec­tor rides and Blast hi-hats.

The 18" Blast crash (also avail­able in 17", 19" and 20") is treated to a dou­ble ham­mer­ing process, us­ing both tra­di­tional and ma­chine-ham­mer­ing pro­ce­dures. The highly buffed, bril­liant fin­ish makes the cym­bal’s sur­face out­ra­geously shiny and the mas­sive ham­mer­ing marks re­flect the light beau­ti­fully. De­signed to “fit into all mod­ern mu­sic styles”, UFIP says Blast cym­bals are per­fect for jun­gle, drum’n’bass and elec­tro.

The 20" Flat ride (also avail­able as an 18"), as the name sug­gests, is bell-less but also has an ex­tremely low pro­file. Like all UFIP cym­bals, it has been forged us­ing a unique ro­to­cast­ing process. This in­volves the B20 bronze be­ing spun at around 1,000rpm, cast­ing the metal by means of cen­trifu­gal force. This re­sults in a thicker bell than that of a nor­mally cast cym­bal. Not quite so rel­e­vant in the case of this flat ride of course! The rides are avail­able in Class (as re­view) or Nat­u­ral fin­ishes.

The 12" Samba splash has curved back edges, es­sen­tially mak­ing it a mini-China, and is also avail­able in 10", 13" and 14". De­signed in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ital­ian per­cus­sion­ist Luis Agudo, th­ese hand-made spe­cial ef­fects cym­bals were cre­ated with Latin styles in mind. Last but not least we have the Xim­bao cym­bal from the Per­cus­sion Se­ries. Avail­able in small, medium or large sizes, th­ese quirky ef­fects cym­bals are like noth­ing we’ve seen be­fore. The large Xim­bao, which very much re­sem­bles a mas­sive slice of pep­per­oni pizza, was once a 16" cym­bal that has been cut back leav­ing the bell in­tact and then lib­er­ally pep­pered with over-sized riv­ets. Th­ese riv­ets also have thick metal wash­ers top and bot­tom which will no doubt dry the cym­bal out and make the note su­per-short. The medium and small mod­els use tam­bourine jin­gles rather than riv­ets.

Hands On

The Blast crash does ex­actly what you’d ex­pect. Not only does it have the abil­ity to com­pletely ex­plode when struck but it also builds and swells per­fectly. Fan­tas­ti­cally re­spon­sive, it opens up straight away with a

Fan­tas­ti­cally re­spon­sive, the Blast Crash opens up straight away with a brash, white-noise in­fused dark­ness that quite quickly fades from the mix

brash, white-noise in­fused dark­ness that quite quickly fades from the mix. There are some rather gong-like over­tones in there too and the dry­ness is def­i­nitely an ac­quired taste. The bell is mighty and has a slightly dryer tonal char­ac­ter­is­tic due to its con­trast­ing, tra­di­tional patina. This soon be­came my favourite cym­bal from the col­lec­tion and has been taken out on a lot of gigs. It works fan­tas­ti­cally for ac­cents but doesn’t fare so well as a main crash due to its spe­cial­ist na­ture. Also, don’t for­get your earplugs with this one!

The Flat ride has a sweet­ness to it and a fan­tas­tic stick def­i­ni­tion – par­tic­u­larly with my small-tipped jazz sticks in hand.It’s dryer than ini­tially ex­pected, partly due to the deep spi­ral lath­ing pat­tern swirling around its sur­face. When crashed there is a lot of at­tack which doesn’t al­low for much wash. In fact, the Flat ride seems to re­act more like a crash than a ride. The cym­bal is sur­pris­ingly quick and doesn’t linger when I make the switch back to the hi-hats. It’s also rel­a­tively quiet which could be use­ful to some. It’s prob­a­bly not best suited as a main ride but cer­tainly has some po­ten­tial to squeeze into a funk or jazz set-up as a sec­ond ride or crash/ride.

The Samba splash is not quite as sub­tle as one might ex­pect and pos­sesses the ver­sa­til­ity to fit into much more than just the Latin styles it was in­tended for. Like most China-type cym­bals, the splash is pangy in na­ture but also has a wide dy­namic range, work­ing well for stabs and ac­cented hits. It be­comes down­right fierce at higher ve­loc­i­ties and can cut through with the in­ten­sity of a much larger cym­bal whilst pos­sess­ing a higher pitch due to its mod­est size.

The Xim­bao sounds as un­usual as it looks. The thick­ness of the cym­bal gives it ag­gres­sive and, quite frankly, un­pleas­ant over­tones which, when com­bined with the 15 large riv­ets, cre­ate a sound akin to an 808 open elec­tronic hi-hat. The Xim­bao would be best suited to elec­tronic mu­sic or per­haps even part of a hy­brid set-up.

Ham­mer­ing Ro­to­cast

The Blast crash fea­tures both hand and ma­chine ham­mer­ing All UFIP cym­bals are cast in a cen­trifuge from B20 bronze

Flat ride Samba splash Riv­ets

The bell-less ride also has a very low pro­file and fea­tures a unique, swirling lath­ing pat­tern The mini-China is avail­able in 10", 12", 13" and 14" sizes The Xim­bao has 15 over­sized riv­ets which in­clude large metal wash­ers top and bot­tom

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