Stuff That Works - a review of the Zildjian Zil-Bel. I have both sizes.
This was exactly what I wanted as an addition to my kit. I bought it without actually hearing one, but I was not disappointed. Zildjian said this about the Zil-Bel, which they have as part of their EFX Sound Effects line: "Bright, singing musical tone ideal for special accents and effects."
It sure is bright and the clear tone lingers for a long time after you strike it. I mounted it on top of my 16" ZBT Splash using a Gibraltar SC-MCSA6 - which is a 6 inch extender that screws right into the top of the Splash. (BTW - Gibraltar makes a dozen different ways to attach something like the Zil-Bel to your existing cymbals. Really - they sent me a little brochure with my extender.)
|6" ZIL-Bel atop my 16 inch Splash.|
Anyway, the Zil-Bel performs as promised. I like mine mounted upside down because it seems to me that the tone is louder and has a longer sustain by having the bell curve up to the ceiling. The folks at Zildjian put the decals on both top and bottom of the Zil-Bel so it looks good either way. The sound cuts through (uhm, like a bell??) the rest of my kit and makes for some cool accents. I found a way to get a Leslie speaker effect by striking it and then moving a cupped hand up and down above the bell - try it, you might like it.
I bought the small version, 6 inches in diameter, and I plan on adding the larger one soon - looking forward to hearing the two of them in combination because it is my understanding that Zildjian makes them to be struck simultaneously - the sounds weave together.
You can listen to sample of it here: ZIL-BEL-Small
1/7/12 Update - I just added the bigger Zil-Bel to my kit this week. The two of them sound great - as advertised Zildjian has tuned them to harmonize very well. I cannot believe how long the decay is on this big bell. Great clean sound that lingers. I mounted it on top of my splash on the right side of my kit:
One note of caution - the bigger bell is HEAVY. You cannot see from this picture, but I ended up using some weights strapped to the bottom of my cymbal stand to counterbalance the bigger one.
I am very happy with these two bells - either of them sound great on their own and they compliment one another when struck together. Enjoy.