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Istanbul Agop - Gear4music Gets a Factory Tour

Gear4music visits the Istanbul Agop cymbal factory
Gear4music visits the Istanbul Agop cymbal factory
SHOP NOW | Istanbul Agop Cymbals

Gear4music was recently given the honour and privilege of visiting the Istanbul Agop headquarters! We sent one member of the team to see the creation process of these traditional Turkish cymbals first-hand. Read more and see what we learned!

Istanbul Agop - handmade cymbals from Turkey

It’s one thing to know that Istanbul Agop cymbals are handmade. It’s quite another thing to see them being made in person. To witness the absolute care and craftsmanship that goes into making every cymbal. To experience, first-hand, the transformation of raw materials into fine musical instruments.

This year we were given that very chance. Andy Richards, a seasoned drummer and member of the Gear4music team, recently had the honor of visiting the Istanbul Agop factory. He gained a real insight into this tight-knit family of cymbal smiths, returning home with warm memories and a plan to upgrade his personal cymbal setup to Istanbul Agop!

Tom Meadows was also involved in this trip! As an Istanbul Agop player, Tom recently came to our studio to demo these cymbals, so we thought we'd have a chat about professional drumming and the music industry. Watch the interview here.

Instanbul Agop

What’s the story behind Istanbul Agop?

Istanbul Cymbals was founded in 1980 by Agop Tomurcuk and Mehmet Tamdeger. Agop began his career as an apprentice cymbal smith from the age of nine, and gained his experience working in the original K factory in Istanbul until its closure in 1978.

At this time, traditional handmade cymbals were on the decline. They were gradually being replaced by modern, mass-produced cymbals. Agop was keen to buck the trend; he preferred the traditional, handmade approach that had been passed down through the ages. Using ancient Turkish methods, Agop created the cymbals that would soon establish the Istanbul family.

When Agop passed away in 1996, his sons Arman and Sarkis continued their father’s legacy with the Istanbul Agop brand. Agop’s business partner, Mehmet Tamdeger, also took the Istanbul name, but formed a separate company; Istanbul Mehmet.

Today, the traditional and contemporary cymbals from Istanbul Agop are handmade using the same techniques of centuries past. To this day, these premium Turkish cymbals are used by some of our generation’s finest drummers.

Instanbul Agop

The Istanbul Agop cymbal creation process

As part of our tour, we got a chance to witness the incredible craftsmanship that resides in the Istanbul Agop factory. Each cymbal undergoes a rigorous process of creation and testing, resulting in the premium handcrafted products we supply to our customers.

Each cymbal starts in the melting pot. A centuries-old alloy recipe, known only by the company owners, is created at temperatures of 1000°C. The resulting B20 alloy is cast into molds at 700-800°C; this process creates a ‘blank’. Each blank is subsequently heated and rolled several times to determine the thickness of the cymbal.

Instanbul Agop

The blanks are heated again and pressed to create the bell. After being tempered, the blanks are placed in cold water to strengthen the alloy. The blanks are then put through an annealing process which strengthens the material before being cut into shape.

Highly skilled craftsmen then hammer the cymbals using centuries-old techniques to give each cymbal its own unique sound. The cymbals are sent for lathing which determines the thickness and overall tone. Un-lathed cymbals remain darker, dryer and dirtier sounding.

Finally, the cymbals are smoothed and sent for testing. If a cymbal does not meet Istanbul Agop’s rigorous visual and audio tests, it doesn’t make it to printing.

Instanbul Agop

The people and the players behind Istanbul Agop

The lasting impression of our Istanbul Agop visit was a feeling of family. This family encompassed the company owners, the cymbal smiths, and the very musicians who join the Istanbul Agop brand.

Gear4music was fortunate to share this trip with acclaimed drummer and Istanbul Agop endorsee Tom Meadows. Tom has visited our studio several times to demo gear, and he has worked with an incredible roster of artists including Kylie Minogue, Will Young, Leona Lewis, Duffy, Girls Aloud and many more!

Instanbul Agop

We were also lucky to meet co-president of Istanbul Agop, Arman Tomurcuk. Arman was hugely welcoming and allowed us to try out the entire Istanbul Agop cymbal range.

Every person in the Istanbul Agop community shares the same passion, the same respect for tradition, and the same enthusiasm for the end goal – making music. Where many modern companies evolve into huge organizations, Istanbul Agop manages to keep a sense of its roots, and that feeling permeated our visit to the factory.

Istanbul Agop Turk Custom Series

Instanbul Agop

During our trip, we were particularly interested in the Istanbul Agop Turk Custom Series. These cymbals are very dry and raw, producing trashy, dark sounds with a quick decay - something that is hugely popular in today’s drumming world.  

These cymbals form part of the deep history and tradition of Turkish cymbals that continue to lead the way in sound and design. Istanbul Agop cymbals are available today at Gear4music with our two-year warranty as standard, plus 30-day money back guarantee!

Special thank you to the wonderful people at BR Distribution!

Shop Now | Istanbul Agop Cymbals

Read More | See the latest Music Gear News at Gear4music

By Matt Wilkinson

Posted on 15 Jul 2019 16:01 to category : Instruments News

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