Zildjian Z Custom Cymbals Review (2024 Edition)

Zildjian Z Custom Cymbals Review

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Zildjian recently reintroduced the Z Custom cymbals to their lineup. These aren’t exactly new, though, as they were some of the brand’s most popular cymbals in the early 2000s. 

I remember loving these cymbals when I was a lot younger. They were bright and powerful, making them the perfect option for heavy drummers. 

They went out of production for a while, but Zildjian did a great job of listening to the thousands of requests to bring them back. 

In this review, I’ll be checking out a few of the options in the modern Z Custom line. I’ll see how they sound in different playing situations, and explain which drummers will love them the most.

Zildjian Z Custom Cymbals

Key Features

  • B20 bronze alloy
  • Lighter and thinner than original Z Custom cymbals
  • Star shape hammering
  • Brilliant finish
  • Full-bodied, powerful, and bright sounds


Sound Quality


Zildjian Z Custom Cymbals Ratings

Sound Quality








What’s New?

Zildjian has revitalized the line with some new features. Firstly, these modern versions are thinner and lighter, allowing them to respond quicker. They have a bit more flex, which I personally feel makes them feel much better to play. 

Zildjian also uses an updated computerized hammering process to enhance the durability and sound quality. They’re hammered with a star-shape pattern, and it controls the brightness a bit to make the cymbals more musical rather than harsh. 

They’re topped off with a brilliant finish to make them shine and enhance the overall punchy volume. 

With all these features, I’d comfortably say that these are a big upgrade to the original Z Customs from all those years ago. 

Z Custom 14” Hi Hats

The first thing I noticed about the Zildjian Z Custom 14” hi-hats was their darker tone. While these are definitely bright and powerful, they have a lower pitch than I assumed, which I really enjoy. 

When striking the edge, I got a sharp sound that was incredibly distinct and strong. When I moved to striking the surface, the sounds were a lot more tight and articulate. 

I’ve played many hi-hats that have the same combination of sounds between the edge and surface. The difference with these is that they’re much louder. 

They truly come to life when you open them up, though. As you lift your foot off the hi-hat pedal, the immense amount of wash you get is fantastic to hear. You get a seriously strong sound that covers the entire kit. 

When you play open hi-hat notes, the sound gets a bit brighter than when you play closed hats. So, the tonal range is great. 

The last thing to mention is that the sound you get when closing the hats with your foot is very strong. It can easily be heard when you’re keeping time with your left foot, even when you’re crashing around on all of the other cymbals. 

Overall, I’m impressed by these hi-hats, and I’d comfortably say that they’re the most versatile cymbals of the bunch.
When the Z Customs were popular decades ago, I remember hearing drummers mixing top and bottom hi-hats with other lines, so it’s worth trying that out as well!

Z Custom 17” Crash Cymbal

The 17” Z Custom crash is the brightest cymbal of the group. It has a very intense explosive sound when you strike it. It then takes a few seconds to decay, filling up the space quite forcefully. 

17” crash cymbals are typically quite thin, so I love how thick this particular cymbal is. It offers a great change of pace for drummers who are just looking for something loud and bright in this size. 

16” crashes are always the go-to option for quick and loud accents, but I like how this cymbal adds a bit more tonal depth to the mix. 

Even though it’s bright, I found it to be quite responsive to varying levels of stroke intensity. When I hit it softly, it still produces a full range of musical tones. 

However, you get the best and most effective sounds when you strike it hard. That’s how these Z Custom cymbals were designed to be played, after all. 

Z Custom 19” Crash Cymbal

The Z Custom 19” crash has very similar tonal qualities to the smaller 17” option. However, it’s slightly lower in pitch, and it rings for a lot longer. 

This crash cymbal is an absolute powerhouse instrument, and provides a huge explosion and powerful crashing tones.

If there was a big chorus with open space that needed energy from the drums, this is the cymbal I would play to bring the intensity. 

With all that said, these cymbals are actually lighter than I expected. They designed them thinner to weigh less so that they respond quicker. I prefer how they flex and feel to play too.

Since it’s a larger crash, I found that playing the bell also sounds great. It’s a fantastic alternative to the massive bell on the Mega Bell ride, which I’ll talk about in a bit. With that bell being so big, this gives you a standard playing option, adding versatility to this Z Custom setup. 

Z Custom 21” Mega Bell Ride Cymbal

The giant bell is the first thing you notice when looking at the Z Custom 21″ cymbal on a drum kit. It’s much bigger than most bells, looking almost alien-like. 

The bell is the loudest part, packing a seriously strong punch when you strike it. It has a bright tone, sounding high-pitched and piercing. It’s such a strong feature of this ride that I’d say it’s the deciding factor on whether you’ll enjoy the cymbal or not. 

In every setup I’ve tried this cymbal in, the bell of the ride is the loudest and most aggressive part of the kit. 

The cymbal gets a bit less aggressive when you move to strike the bow, but it’s still very loud and focused compared to most other ride cymbals.

Because of this, I found that it sounded too aggressive when trying to crash it on the edge. Playing it that way could possibly work in a louder-than-life chorus, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it. 

This is the exact kind of ride cymbal you want when playing blast beats and heavy breakdowns. Since it’s so thick, it’s also very articulate. You can hear every note clearly, no matter how quickly you play them. 

Who Are These Cymbals Good For?

I’d mainly say that these cymbals work well for rock, metal, and punk drummers. Those styles are all loud with dense musical parts. In most other musical settings, the Z Customs will sound far too aggressive. 

However, I think they could fit into fusion, electronic music, and some pop too.

But they’re a perfect option for heavy drummers. While the loud and bright tones are the main reason, they’re also designed to be durable enough to take a beating. 


The Z Custom cymbals are priced in the same category as the A and A Custom cymbals from Zildjian. This makes them slightly more affordable than any of the cymbals in the K or K Custom lines. 

Up to this point, Zildjian As and A Customs have been the cymbals of choice for heavy drummers. With the Z Customs having similar price tags, I think they’re incredible options to consider for drummers who want something even brighter and more powerful. 

The overall value of each Z Custom cymbal is incredibly good, especially if you’re a drummer who likes to play hard. 

Zildjian doesn’t offer a full Z Custom cymbal pack yet, but I’m sure they will introduce it in the future. That will definitely make the value even better. 

With that said, I found that it worked really well to just have one or two Z Customs in my setup mixed with other cymbals. That gives you a great mix of bright and dark cymbals to cover a wider range of sounds. 

Final Thoughts

I think it was a brilliant move for Zildjian to bring back the Z Custom cymbals. They sound just as good as they did in the early 2000s, and there are so many styles of music that will really benefit from having these tones. 

If you’re a rock, metal, or punk drummer, I recommend checking these out. They may just be exactly what you’re looking for.

Zildjian Z Custom Cymbals At A Glance


  • Excellent cymbals for heavy styles like rock, metal, and punk
  • Big quality improvements compared to the original Z Custom cymbals
  • Highly durable designs for heavy hitters


  • Not versatile, as they’re too bright and aggressive for many softer styles of music
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