Paiste Combo Hi Hats review

Copeland-approved hats from Swiss masters

  • £372

MusicRadar Verdict

A signature set of hats befitting the great Stewart Copeland.


  • +

    Superb response.


  • -

    Small size won't suit all.

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Here we have a new signature set of hats developed by Paiste for Stewart Copeland.

Copeland's fiery style was honed in The Police and his florid reggae-inflected hi-hat licks have been admired ever since.

His signature 12" Combo Crisp Hats are titled The Rhythmatist after his 1985 solo album and filmed African odyssey, and are designed with his dancing style in mind.


Copeland's 12" hats are novel in that Paiste has used different alloys for the top and bottom cymbals. The top is cast from B20 '602' bell bronze (CuSn20) and the bottom from Paiste's Signature alloy, which is closer to B15.

Both are certainly heavy cymbals, but the alloys and finish look similar in colour, the top cymbal having slightly broader lathing underneath.

The top also has a smaller, peakier bell, while the bottom's bell is broader and rounder, more typical and handy for seating the pair. Copeland's buccaneering Rhythmatist logo adds a final flourish.

Hands On

Although the two cymbals are similar in weight the top is significantly deeper in pitch than the bottom, which is high and pingy.

The B20 bronze of the top hat has a slightly warmer tone than the bottom Signature bronze, known for its brilliance. Thus the bottom provides the cut while the top gives the smoother, darker playing surface.

The result is that played closed there is still a loud and clear stick sound, while the pedalled 'chip' is urgent and incisive.

The difference in the two cymbals is exaggerated also by the bell profiles, the top cymbal's rather smaller bell having a tinklier sound. But let's not forget these are small 12" hats and so are always going to be agile and tightly focused.

Whether played closed or open, jazzy 10-to-10 style, they are always fleet and assertive, like Copeland himself. But the lower pitch of the top cymbal makes sure they retain a warmth, so there is no danger of them ever being thin and tinny.

They respond well to numerous styles, from old-fashioned Papa Jo Jones swing right up to post-electro Mark Guiliana or Chris Dave cutting-edge beats. Being small they are also suited to life as a secondary pair, or perhaps mounted on a remote pedal centrally, Bill Bruford style.