By $tephan A. Kohnke
Drums / Dot Dot Dot
So, I’m a cynic. Probably more than the next guy and I am definitely WAY more superficial. I know how to play my instrument, but I want, no, NEED it to look cool…I was searching the web looking for cymbal companies to apply for an endorsement to, and I came across Saluda. I was familiar with the name through their Ebay presence, but I didn’t have any first-hand experience with their product. I didn’t even know anybody who had played them.
As I do when trolling for endorsements, I went directly to this page (linked from their landing page): http://www.saludacymbals.com/c/get_endorsed.html . It outlines very clearly, their various levels of endorsements. Not to be the bearer of bad news, but let me hip you this little bit of reality: NOBODY RIDES FOR FREE. As they delicately and succinctly put it on their endorsement page: “…please understand that less than 1% of all endorsed drummers from all combined drum/cymbal companies are offered free/complimentary products. So, it is rare for anyone to get a full, free ride. Only the biggest of the big name drummers in the world get free deals. Many big name drummers don’t even get a full/free ride. ” I know we all would like to believe that we’re the next big thing, and we deserve free stuff because we play in front of tens of people. But especially in this economy, it is unreasonable to expect a manufacturer to give you stuff unless you’re a 1%er. So, I read the endorsement qualifications, figured I fit in there somewhere, crossed my fingers for a nice discount, and pressed on.
Back to the point. I normally would not advocate buying anything, especially cymbals, without hearing them first. But, being that I was in a pinch (almost all of my cymbals had cracks in them, yes including my ride and hats), I figured I’d just have to take the risk. I investigated their site and found cymbals the likes of which I had never seen before: http://www.saludacymbals.com/c/nemesis.html . As I mentioned, I am unabashedly superficial and immediately thought: “look at these weird, cool looking cymbals. I should get some of these.” So now, I’ve got their product picked out that I’m interested in, and I am pretty sure I qualify for an endorsement on some level. PLUS, Saluda has a cymbal trade-in program for your existing stuff (even broken ones!). Wow, I love these guys already. But there was the rub: Do I really want to buy cymbals sound unheard? Even when they look that cool? Well, if I’m going to follow through with this endorsement thing, I’ll probably need to talk to someone there about what I want to buy, so I figured I’d feel them out at that point. This brings me to the owner of Saluda, Jamie Lambert.
Now I’d like to think I know something about cymbals. But next to Jamie; I don’t. In fact, I’d put this guys cymbal acumen against anybody in the world…not even kidding…dude knows his plates inside and out. Which is good, because not only does he own the company, but he makes the cymbals himself. This is something I didn’t know when looking at the website. I thought they had piles sitting around and you order sizes and finishes and out the door they go. OH NO. Each cymbal is made to order. So you HAVE to talk to Jamie to spec out what you want. Of course, never mind sound unheard, now the onus is on YOU, the orderee, to be able to accurately describe the sound you want. And the more specific the better. So we had our talk, I was blown away by what I didn’t know about cymbals, and after describing what I thought I wanted in as much detail as I could possibly muster, he sent me what I ordered. But it wasn’t what I wanted…
Apparently, I didn’t do a good enough job describing what I wanted. The crashes are fantastic and I will be crushed when I someday, invariably, break them. But the hats and ride were both too light. Not a problem. I sent them back and got what I wanted. EXACTLY what I wanted. And the pricing? Extremely reasonable for hand-crafted instruments designed and built to my specifications (even when they were wrong the first time)…so long story short: I got an endorsement with Saluda and I couldn’t be happier, prouder, or more satisfied. The cymbals sound amazing and look great and I do highly recommend them to any drummer out there looking to make a change or find themselves an endorsement. And no, I am not getting anything free from them for writing this…yet…