SABIAN, a cymbal of innovation for 40 years

Posted on April 15, 2022 | By Alexander Chafe | 2 Comments

Made in a small town in New Brunswick, SABIAN cymbals are loved by musicians across the globe. Celebrating 40 years of operation in 2022, the brand is known for its innovation and is one of four major cymbal producers worldwide.


Early production at the SABIAN cymbal factory in Meductic, N.B. (left), and a SABIAN truck (right) ready to deliver cymbals. (photo credit: Reverb)


Family Business

SABIAN Cymbals was founded in Meductic, N.B. in 1982 by Robert Zildjian. The name was inspired by his three children, Sally, Billy and Andy, using the first two letters of their names.

The cymbal factory in Meductic was first established in 1968 and operated by Zildjian, a family-owned cymbal business with over 400 years of history. SABIAN was the result of a legal battle between Robert and his brother Armand for the family business. Armand was given control of Zildjian and production in the U.S., and Robert was given the factory in Meductic, N.B., which he used to start his own business.



The process of manufacturing cymbals at SABIAN. (video credit: SABIAN Cymbals)



Let’s Get it Started

SABIAN production started with their AA and HH lines of cymbals. Due to an agreement with Zildjian, SABIAN wasn’t able to distribute to the U.S. for one year. After a successful first year in business (making 45,000 cymbals), in 1983 they began delivering cymbals across the U.S. by truck. From there, business continued to grow.

The company had its first collaboration with an artist in 1989, producing a cymbal with Jack DeJohnette, and continues to work with artists on specific models today.

To meet the growing demand, the SABIAN factory expanded by 5,000 square feet in 1991. One of their best-selling product series, AAX, was produced in 1993 and in 1996 SABIAN opened a larger second factory in Meductic to meet demand. By this time production had reached 900,000 cymbals. Both factories remain in operation today, with head offices on the second story of the new building.


The Evolution extension of one of SABIAN’s best known product series, HHX. (photo credit: Reverb)


Go Your Own Way

SABIAN is known worldwide for its innovation. From punching holes in cymbals, burying cymbals in dirt and continuing to use traditional practices like hand hammering on certain lines, SABIAN doesn’t shy away from trying new ways to help drummers produce their sound. They’ve also gotten creative with promotional tactics: The Vault Tour premiered in 2004 (later rebranded to Meet the Masters), where SABIAN takes part of their cymbal production process on the road for everyone to see.

Artists from around the world choose SABIAN, including Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Peart of Rush and Frank Ferrer of Guns N’ Roses.



A message from Andy Zildjian, SABIAN President, about the company’s 40 years in business. (video credit: SABIAN Cymbals)



The Modern Day

Today, SABIAN is still in family hands and led by Robert’s son Andy Zildjian. Recent company news includes a successful product launch in collaboration with Jojo Mayer, and becoming a member of the Green Economy in 2022.

Speaking about SABIAN’s commitment to artists, Andy is quoted on SABIAN’s website saying “We will always do our part to create the best instruments to help you have your voice. To play your way.”

Making innovation look cymbal for 40 years (and counting).


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2 responses to “SABIAN, a cymbal of innovation for 40 years”

  1. What an incredible story and business! Thanks for sharing it.
    Back when I was playing drums in Brazil, I exclusively used Sabian cymbals because of its superior sound quality. It’s interesting to think that now I reside in Toronto, Canada 🙂
    Congrats, and keep up the good work, guys!

  2. I played the First Sabian cymbals at The North SEA Jazzfest 1982..I was in the booth with Mel Lewis…u lent me a Ride for my Live Recording LP,it was Great…I am a Sbian Artist ” MARIO GRILLO..MACHITO ORCHESTRA EST. 1939 NYC.

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