While you can easily find excellent cymbals from the major popular brands, you may be missing out if you don’t look around within some of the smaller ones as well. Bosphorus cymbals have been on my radar for a while, and I’ve learned to appreciate what they offer after doing a bit of research into their product line. In this article, we’re going to look at the best Bosphorus cymbals.
The cymbals aren’t as easily accessible as the ones from major brands, but they’re amazing options to consider if you can freely find them.
Bottom Line Up Front
Bosphorus is a small cymbal company based in Turkey. All of the cymbals are handmade, giving them a unique edge over cymbals that have been mass-produced with machines. If you’re looking for high-quality cymbals with excellent craftmanship, here are some of your options from the brand:
My Top Picks at a Glance
- Bosphorus Traditional Series – Most universally applicable cymbal line.
- Bosphorus Turk Series – Best dark cymbals with earthy appearances.
- Bosphorus Master Series – Best vintage cymbals.
- Bosphorus Syncopation Series – Best aggressive-sounding cymbals.
- Bosphorus Master Vintage Series – Best dry cymbals.
- Bosphorus Jazz Master Series – Best cymbals for jazz.
- Bosphorus Gold Series – Best cymbals for heavy styles of music.
Tips for Buying Bosphorus Cymbals
Comparing Bosphorus Cymbals with Other Brands
Bosphorus work quite differently from most other cymbal brands. They’re a lot more personal, giving you a closer line to the creators of the cymbals. The company was started in 1996 by three expert cymbal smiths, and they’re still running the show today.
Under them, they have a tight-knit group of workers who all make it their goal to provide high-quality cymbals to all drummers who buy them. Something that I find incredibly interesting about Bosphorus is that it’s hard to categorize their cymbals.
With other brands, it would be easy to point out which cymbals are for beginners, intermediate players, and professionals. Bosphorus, on the other hand, have a selection of high-end cymbals that are good for everyone, no matter their playing level or budget constraints.
I’ve found that it’s a lot easier to categorize their cymbals into music style appropriateness. If you know what musical style you want cymbals for, it will be easier to find relative options in the Bosphorus product lineup.
Another unique thing about Bosphorus is that every single one of their cymbals is handmade. Yes, you read that correctly. There’s a person behind the production of each of their cymbals, rather than a large factory line of machines doing the work.
The handcrafting process leads all their cymbals to have slightly different tones, even if they have the same name. The benefit of this is that a lot of personal effort is put into each cymbal you buy from them. You may also love that their cymbals are always unique.
However, just note that the cymbal you hear in a demo may not sound like the one you buy after seeing that video. The tones will be similar according to the series of the cymbal, but they’ll rarely be the same. Some drummers like that, while others don’t. I think it’s fantastic as I’m a big fan of every drummer having a personal sound with their cymbal setup.
One of my favorite ways of checking how cymbals sound is by watching professional drummers play them. More specifically, the artists that are backing the company and solely using their products. Bosphorus has an artist roster, and you can find all the drummers that endorse them on their website.
The reason I love watching the artists play the cymbals is that they’ve spent a lot of time with the brand to find the perfect cymbals that suit their preferences. This gives you a glimpse into how Bosphorus cymbals can boost your personal sound.
What I found when checking out these artists is that most of them are jazz drummers. It makes sense, as jazz drummers tend to gravitate toward handcrafted cymbals more than most other drummers do. Jazz drummers also love vintage, dry, and dark tones, which Bosphorus cymbals exhibit brilliantly.
One of the most popular artists on the Bosphorus roster is Ari Hoenig, who is a legend in the current jazz world. Watching a few videos of him will show you just how this brand’s cymbals can sound.
The cymbals aren’t just limited to jazz drummers, though. There are plenty of drummers on the roster who use heavier Bosphorus cymbals that work well in more aggressive musical settings.
You’ll find that Bosphorus cymbals are a bit more universal in their prices. You don’t really get very cheap or very expensive cymbals with this brand. The price range is a lot smaller, giving you way more options within certain budgets.
This makes it a bit more difficult to determine which cymbals are good for which levels of players, so I’d suggest not looking at it through that lens with Bosphorus cymbals. Know that the smaller cymbals with lighter weights are going to be more affordable than the larger cymbals with heavier weights.
Bosphorus have dozens of cymbal options to choose from. To condense the following list as much as I could, I selected cymbals that cover varying musical styles. No matter what type of music you play, one of the options below will fit.
Remember, all these cymbals have been handcrafted, making them all sound amazing. They also feel amazing to play, thanks to their expert craftsmanship.
Also, I haven’t grouped these cymbals in packs, as it’s easier to buy Bosphorus cymbals individually. Each option I’ve listed is a full series of cymbals. Within each one, you’ll find a long list of cymbal types that share similar tones that the series offers.
Best Bosphorus Cymbals
Bosphorus Traditional Series
The Traditional Series is the most universally applicable line of cymbals from Bosphorus. You’ll find cymbals of all types here, and I’d say it’s the best option for drummers who play a bit of everything. If you play jazz, you could get a set of lightweight Traditional cymbals with darker tones. If you play rock, you could get a heavier set with brighter tones.
The cool thing is that you can use the cymbals to play both styles as well. They’ve highly versatile, covering most bases quite well.
These cymbals don’t have as much stick definition as some of the other options from Bosphorus, so you may want to consider another series if you’re not looking for extended washiness.
- Very versatile line of cymbals
- Great for drummers who play multiple styles of music
- “Classic” cymbal sound that most drummers love
- The cymbals may be too washy for drummers who like lots of articulation
Bosphorus Turk Series
Speaking of stick definition, the Bosphorus Turk Series cymbals take it to the opposite end of the spectrum. These cymbals are dark and demonstrate loads of articulation. Every single note you play comes out distinctly, no matter where you hit on the surface of the cymbals.
When I see cymbals like this, I typically assume that they’re going to sound quite dry due to their unlathed surfaces. However, these Turk cymbals sound dark and warm, and they’re excellent for drummers who want to do some clear-sounding cymbal work.
They’re a bit less versatile in their sound, so some drummers may find them a bit too specialized in what they deliver.
- Amazing dark tones
- Incredible stick articulation
- Unlathed cymbals always look interesting
- Not very versatile
Bosphorus Master Series
The Bosphorus Master Series cymbals are slightly higher-quality than the previous two options. These cymbals stand out to me because of their vintage sounds. Finding older vintage cymbals is great, but you never quite know how much life they have left in them. So, I’m always sold when a brand makes new cymbals that share the same vintage tones as the aged cymbals.
All the cymbals in the Master Series are incredibly thin. When playing them, you’ll see how they wobble when being crashed on. In terms of tone, these cymbals are dark, but they’re backed with a warm washiness that sets them apart from the Turk Series cymbals.
- Epic vintage tones.
- The cymbals are thin, so crashing on them feels great.
- The cymbals are a bit softer than many of the other options I’ve listed
- Volume of the cymbals may be lost in louder settings
Bosphorus Syncopation Series
The Syncopation Series cymbals have tones that are far more aggressive than the other cymbals listed here. These have been through a more extensive hammering process, bringing harsher sounds out of them.
While the word “trashy” would be the typical describer of cymbals like these, I don’t find the Syncopation cymbals to be as trashy as cymbals from other brands. You’d usually use one or two trashy cymbals in a setup, as more than that would create an overwhelming sound.
However, the sound is a lot more complex and musical here, and I can easily see a drummer using a full set of these cymbals. You also get two options in this series. The SW cymbals have been sandblasted and have more stick articulation, while the lathed versions are a bit brighter.
- The cymbals are trashy but not trashy enough to be overwhelming
- You get lathed and unlathed options in the same series
- Great cymbals for heavier jazz settings
- Not every drummer will like the trashy tones
Bosphorus Master Vintage Series
The Bosphorus Master Vintage Series cymbals are some of the highest-quality options from the brand. If you were to ask me what their best cymbals were, I’d say it’s these ones. All their cymbals are excellent, but these cater to my preferred taste in tones the most.
The main tonal quality you’ll find in these cymbals is dryness. They have less sustain than the other Bosphorus cymbals, meaning they get out the way incredibly quickly when you play them. They also have amazing stick definition.
It’s a bit ironic that I listed the standard Master Series cymbals as the best vintage option considering the name of the current cymbals we’re speaking about, but I’d say these cymbals thrive most in their dryness.
- Some of the best cymbals offered by Bosphorus
- Fantastic dry tonal qualities
- Great stick definition
- Not a great option for drummers who like lots of sustain
Bosphorus Jazz Master Series
You may have noticed by now that most Bosphorus cymbals are excellent options for jazz drumming. However, when the brand themselves puts the word ‘jazz’ in the name of the line, you’ll know for sure what these cymbals are intended for.
I’m putting the Bosphorus Jazz Master Series cymbals here as the best option for jazz. If you’re unsure of what cymbal qualities you need for playing jazz, it’s a safe bet to go with a set of these puppies.
They have a beautiful, versatile sound, and they open up quite nicely when you hit them aggressively. They’re perfect for playing softly and then letting loose when a jazz song builds to its climax.
The one downside of the cymbals in this line is that I wasn’t able to find them being sold as easily as I was with the other Bosphorus cymbals.
- Great option for drummers who play jazz
- Good for both soft and loud settings
- Beautiful tones
- Not as readily available as the other lines of Bosphorus cymbals
Bosphorus Gold Series
If you’ve read until this point, you may be asking where the cymbals are for the rockers and metalheads? The Bosphorus Gold Series cymbals have you covered. These are some of the brightest and heaviest cymbals offered by the brand, and they’re perfect for loud and vibey musical settings.
The great thing about them is that they’re handcrafted, just as all Bosphorus cymbals are. The bright rock cymbals from other brands are typically ones that have been made by machines, giving these a unique advantage.
These cymbals are ideal for drummers who don’t play jazz. They’re loud, proud, and will boost the energy when your kit is set up on a stage.
- Excellent cymbals for metal, punk, and rock
- These are handcrafted, which isn’t the norm for bright cymbals
- They have impressive levels of volume
- Not great for softer music settings
Answer: The Bosphorus company is a lot smaller than the major ones like Meinl, Zildjian, and Paiste. The brand only started in 1996, making it a lot younger as well. These two factors make the brand less popular than the major ones.
However, the largest contributing factor to this is that all Bosphorus cymbals are handcrafted. Because of this, the company doesn’t produce and distribute cymbals as fast as the big companies do.
I’d say this is both a good and bad thing. It’s bad in the sense that Bosphorus cymbals aren’t as easily accessible. It’s good in that the people at Bosphorus put intense pride into their work, and every cymbal has been made with delicate care. Owning a set of Bosphorus cymbals has become a bit of a niche with a smaller community of drummers.
Answer: No. The great thing about Bosphorus cymbals is that you can find amazing options for affordable prices compared to the options from the bigger brands. There are dozens of cymbal lines offered by Bosphorus, and all of them have fairly similar prices.
The brand doesn’t offer any entry-level cymbals, so you won’t find options that cost less than $100, but you won’t find cymbals that cost over $500 either.
Answer: This is a bit of a tricky question. Cymbals should typically last up to ten years, but that only happens if you play them using excellent technique. If you want your cymbals to last long, you should hit them diagonally to the shoulder. Hitting them straight on is what usually causes them to crack.
You should also make sure not to tighten them too much at the wingnut. Having them too tight will put more stress on them when they’re played.
Even if you do all the right things, you may have cymbals that don’t last as long as you’d like them to. In that case, it could be a factory fault.
Answer: Bright cymbals have high pitches. They sound very lively, and they tend to be heard easily when you play with other musicians. Dark cymbals have low pitches. Their sound is less aggressive, and they blend with other instruments instead of piercing through them. Bright cymbals are often a lot heavier than dark cymbals, causing their volume to be a lot higher.
Answer: These are cymbals that have been made without the use of an automated machine. A cymbal maker will sit and construct the cymbal using tools to get everything done. Handcrafted cymbals are often seen as superior to cymbals that have been made on a product line. This is because they have more individual sounds and are often more musical.
While jazz drummers tend to gravitate toward Bosphorus cymbals, they’re fantastic options for everyone. I play plenty of jazz, but the main reason I like this brand is that they offer affordable cymbals with qualities that you’ll only find in expensive cymbals from the major brands.
If you’re interested in getting one or two cymbals from Bosphorus, check out all the options from the above list. I found the easiest place to buy them is on Amazon, but you may be able to find a few in your local music store.
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