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Chad Smith announces he is no longer playing Sabian cymbals

Chad Smith
(Image credit: Erika Goldring/Getty Images)

Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer, Chad Smith has announced that he is leaving Sabian after 35 years of playing the brand’s cymbals.

He made the announcement via social media with a photo of a handwritten note, stating that he’s “decided to go in a new direction”, before going on to thank and praise the Sabian team for their support during his career. 

The note was also shared by Sabian, suggesting that the split is amicable and reads, “Ladies and gents - Well…after 35 years of playing Sabian cymbals I’ve decided to go in a new direction.” 

"All involved in the Sabian family have been nothing short of incredibly supportive in every step of my drumming career. I’ve enjoyed all of their friendship, service and cymbals along the way." 

"I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for taking a chance on a scruffy kid from Detroit all those years ago. I am forever grateful. Onwards and upwards! Much love always, Chad Smith."

The move from Sabian is a rare one for Chad, who has remained loyal to the brands he endorses, and follows his last major gear change from Pearl to DW Drums in 2016.  

Chad Smith has been closely connected with Sabian for his entire tenure in the Red Hot Chili Peppers, having released a number of signature cymbals including the Sabian Explosion Crash and Holy China ranges.

Despite the announcement that he has decided to change brands, there’s no official confirmation of which cymbal company he’ll be playing from now on. But there's some strong suggestions. 

First, Chad has been spotted using Paiste (the cymbals favoured by one of his heroes, John Bonham) sporadically since at least 2018, most recently this past weekend where he paid tribute to Taylor Hawkins during RHCP's headline set at the New Orleans Jazz Festival (you can see the Paiste logo on his ride as well as the Sound Edge hi-hats above). 

Then throw in the fact that Chad's brother, Brad is VP of MI Products at Hal Leonard - the company that has distributed Paiste in the US since 2018 - our money is on the Swiss.

Meanwhile, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist, Flea recently revealed that he and Chad don't hang out outside of the band, stating that they instead, "talk by playing."

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.