How to date Paiste cymbals? Are there any differences between the serial numbers of the Paiste cymbals from different times? When did Paiste imprint serial numbers on their cymbals? If you have an old Paiste cymbal that still has a serial number on it, and you are curious to know about its year of manufacturing, then you are in the right place, as we are going to discuss how you can date Paiste cymbals using its serial numbers.
Pre-Serial Era Stamps
So, when did Paiste start to apply for serial numbers on their cymbal products? According to the company’s history, Paiste only started to imprint serial numbers on their cymbals in the year of 1972. Before this year, there were really no exact ways to determine when the Paiste cymbal was manufactured. Most of the Paiste cymbals before 1972 come with the so-called pre-serial era stamps that help you determine the possible year of when the production of a particular Paiste cymbal occurred.
1972 To 1981 Paiste Cymbals (Black Label Era)
At the start of 1972, Paiste also started to imprint serial numbers on their cymbals. The Paiste’s cymbals that are manufactured in their Swiss plant come with a stamped serial number that has six digits. To determine whether the Paiste cymbal was made from 1972 to 1981 or known to many as the Black Label Era, you should first check the serial number’s first digit. Depending on what is the first digit on the serial number, it also tells when the cymbal was made.
The first digit of the serial number means the year when the cymbal was made. So, if it starts at 2, it means that the cymbal was manufactured in 1972. If it starts at 0, then it means that the Paiste cymbal was made in 1980. Lastly, if the serial number starts at 1, it means that the cymbal was made in 1981 and not in 1971.
Paiste cymbals, such as the 602, 2002, Sound Creation, and many more, do not have any serial name above the serial number that is imprinted in the cymbal in this period. The Paiste Nottwil cymbals also have their serial numbers placed on the lower lines in the years 1972 and 1973. It was only in 1974 that Paiste decided to only put serial numbers on the company’s professional lines for the rest of the Black Label Era.
Paiste’s Swiss 404s and 505s did not come with any serial number until the mid-1981 only, when the company decided to transition the cymbal series to colored logos. So, to review, when the Paiste cymbal comes with a six-digit serial number that has the number “5” as its first digit, it means that the cymbal was made in the year 1975.
1981 To 1986 Paiste Cymbals
From 1981 to 1986, Paiste changed its style in how it imprinted its serial numbers in its manufactured cymbals, as they came along with a series name in this period. One of the new additions is that Paiste decided to include the company’s name in the cymbals and imprint it above their serial number.
So, if you have a cymbal that comes with a Paiste 2002 serial name and has a six-digit serial number that starts with the number 2, then it means that the cymbal was made in the year of 1982. If the serial number starts with 6, then it means that the Paiste cymbal was manufactured in the early months of the year 1986.
In this period, Paiste also changed some of the label colors for many of their series, such as Formula 602, Blue, 2002, Red, 505, Green, and many more. Paiste’s RUDE and Colorsound 5 Series also do not have any series names imprinted on their cymbals.
1986 To 1989/90 Paiste Cymbals
In 1986, Paiste also launched new cymbal lines, such as the 3000, 2000, 1000, and many more. The difference in the serial numbers that were imprinted in the cymbals in this period compared to the past is that the name “PAISTE” was found in the cymbals and is located above the serial number, but they all come without any series name.
Like how Paiste did their serial numbers before, all the cymbals that were made in this period can be determined with the first digit of their six-digit serial number. So, if your cymbal only has the PAISTE name without the series name imprinted and has the first digit of 9 in its serial number, it means that the cymbal was made in early 1989.
1989/90 To 1995 Paiste Cymbals
From late 1989 to early 1990, Paiste changed how it imprinted its serial number to its cymbals again. In this period, the company name on the Paiste cymbals was changed to the high/low style, which will make it look like ‘pAisTe.” However, there are still no changes in how to determine the year of when the cymbal was manufactured, as you just still have to look at the first digit.
So, if you have a cymbal that comes with an imprinted name of “pAisTe” without any series name and has a six-digit that starts with the number 0, then it means that the cymbal was made in the year 1990, but if the serial number’s first digit starts with the number 4, then it means that the cymbal was manufactured in the year 1994.
1995 To 2011 Paiste Cymbals
In the year 1995, Paiste decided to change its serial number from six to eight digits. There is still no series name, and its company name is imprinted in capital style, looking like “PAISTE.” To determine the manufacturing year of the cymbal, you will have to check the first two digits of its eight-digit serial number, as the first two digits represent the year of its production. So, if the serial number on your cymbal starts on the first two digits of 96, then it means that the cymbal was manufactured in the year 1996.
In the year 2005, Paiste also started to include in its imprinting the phrase “MADE IN SWITZERLAND” at the bottom logo of the cymbals in the company’s 2002 series line.
2011 To Present Paiste Cymbals
In the later period of 2011, Paiste decided to use a laser-etched serial number on the cymbal’s bottom side. You will also notice that the serial numbers are not stamped on the top side of the cymbal from this point forward, but you will still have to look at the first two digits of the serial number to check the manufacturing year of the cymbal. The phrase “HAND MADE IN SWITZERLAND” is also encircled in the cymbal’s logo.
So, if you have a Paiste cymbal that comes with this logo and has an eight-digit serial number with its two starting digits of 12, then it means that the cymbal was made in the year 2012. If its first two digits start with 19, then it means that the cymbal was made in 2019.
So, how to date Paiste cymbals? From 1972 to 1995, the serial number on the Paiste cymbals only had six digits, and the first digit tells what year the cymbal was made. From 1996 to present, Paiste started to use eight digits in its serial numbers, and the first two digits will also tell you when the cymbal was manufactured.