The art of Turkish cymbal making dates back to the 16th century, the time of the Ottoman Empire. The Istanbul brand name was adopted by a cymbal works established by two cymbal smiths, Mehmet Tamdeger and Agop Tomurcuk, who had over three decades of cymbal making experience. After Agop Tomurcuk’s unexpected death, Mehmet decided to continue the production of cymbals under his own name Istanbul Mehmet cymbals.
Mehmet claims to have learned his art from Mikhail Zilcan, the grandson of Kerope Zilcan after whom the Zildjian K series was named. A lot has changed since then, but his belief in the richness and the character of a handmade cymbal remains.
Machines don’t have ears. That’s why Istanbul Mehmet continues to make their cymbals according to the ancient tradition, sweating out the perfect cymbal, one by one, in search for that beautiful combination of wash and ping, smokiness and fire, cushion and blunt trauma, that will make any cymbal junky swoon.
If you’ve never heard it, and you are a drummer, you’re missing out on a piece of your own history. As a drummer you must - are required- to know what a hand made Turkish cymbal sounds like.
And here is the cream of the crop, the Mehmet Tamdeger 60th Anniversary ride, which is made in tribute to Mehmet’s teacher and ex-employer, Mikael Zilcan and to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of cymbal making.
The Mehmet Tamdeger 60th Anniversary ride is 100 percent guilty of being fantastic, jazzy, handmade cymbal, with a sound of tradition echoing across the ages. Obviously lovely for jazz music, they can be put to work in some instances of rock and soul.
These Istanbul Mehmet cymbals are like history in hand and candy in the ear. Find an excuse for ownership and exercise it. Then keep the cymbal for long, long time. You won’t regret it.