SABIAN’s foundry is the sacred ground on which the journey of every SABIAN cymbal begins. It’s also the first step in a meticulous factory process, carried out by skilled metallurgists and craftspeople replicating a secret, century-old tradition of combining precise amounts of copper and tin with traces of silver to create an 80/20 bronze alloy.
This special blend has been carefully refined by the family over several generations, to produce a metal that embodies musicality, flexibility, and durability. The process is as secretive as it is intricate, with the recipe guarded in a room accessible only to a small handful of key personnel.
“Nothing else matters if we don’t have that right formulation and combination,” said Mark Love, SABIAN’s Director of Research and Development, of the secret recipe. “If we get off even 1%, we have problems. The guys that have been doing it for a long time can tell that, if they’ve got this blue, shiny look to them, everything is working perfectly. I’ve been here forever and I still don’t know the recipe. It’s a need-to-know basis, and I don’t really want to work in there, so they can keep their secrets,” Love joked.
Inside the foundry, copper and tin with trace silver are subjected to intense heat, with temperatures sailing as high as 2100 degrees Fahrenheit [1150 degree Celsius]. This thermal induction process enables the metals to fuse together rapidly, resulting in a liquid form that is ready for the next stage of the cymbal-making journey. It’s a mesmerizing sight for those metallurgists and craftspeople working behind the scenes, as the intensity of that heat can render 700lbs of metal from a solid state into molten liquid in just 20 minutes, before being formed into metal castings.
“Once they have the castings poured and they dump them onto the grates, they have to physically shovel them into bins,” Love said. “They’re heavy on a shovel, and you’re all suited up in these full body suits and masks, working in high temperatures. It’s fire and flames and steaming hot, so it’s hard work.”
The result of this intensive, time-honored process is a metal alloy that acts as the secret sauce in SABIAN’s innovative line of product offerings, creating unparalleled musicality, flexibility, and durability that allows them to push the boundaries of cymbal-making. The SABIAN team has mastered the art of creating cymbals that resonate with drummers across different genres and skill levels, delivering the perfect blend of tone, sustain, and projection. That all begins in the fires of the foundry, before moving onto to the oven room, which by comparison is quite cool.