Cymbal maker Robert Paiste dies

Robert Paiste (pronounced PIE-Stee), grandson of Paiste cymbal founder Michail Toomas Paiste, has died at the age of 84. No cause of death has been revealed but the company made the announcement on Wednesday (Nov 16th).

“It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Robert Paiste, family member, visionary cymbal maker and perennial company principal,” the company writes.

“In the four generations of family members to guide the company, Robert was a foremost presence. His contribution was of immense importance, and he shaped Paiste in major ways.

“Robert’s life-long focus was the development and production of cymbals and gongs. As an uncompromising perfectionist, he established the benchmarks for quality, fidelity and consistency that are the hallmarks of Paiste today.

“Along the way, his work led to numerous innovations, inventions and patents, and among his many accomplishments, the Formula 602, the 2002, and the Signature Series continue to stand out in the cymbal world.

“It’s not just the sound. It’s the vibration, the touch, how it feels, and how it speaks to the drummer.”

“Robert’s contributions to the realm of cymbal and gong instruments in fact transcended his activities within the Paiste Company. Through his efforts, he shaped and influenced the direction of the entire field in the past half century. Never satisfied, he forever thought of new directions and possibilities to create instruments, indeed, he lived his life for sound.”

“Sound is vibration, and vibration is energy,” Paiste once said. “Life energy is vibration and sound, also. So, for us, sound is part of a very deep, basic truth. We are not the only ones who feel like this. There are so many musical-minded drummers who get the same exciting feeling from playing their cymbals. It’s not just the sound. It’s the vibration, the touch, how it feels, and how it speaks to the drummer. It’s a wonderful feeling to produce something, hand it over to the drummers, and see them get the same response. There’s a deep truth behind it.”

Robert was born in Estonia, the family’s country of origin. Due to the disruptions during the mid 20th century, the family moved through Poland into Northern Germany. In the late 1940s, he joined his father Michail in cymbal and gong making. In 1957, he moved to Switzerland where he found the company’s new and present home base. Robert and his brother Toomas led Paiste throughout the second half of the 20th century. Together, on the foundation of their father’s and grandfather’s work, they built a cymbal company of world-wide significance.

Drummers who have endorsed Paiste cymbals include Don Henley, Mick Fleetwood, Stewart Copeland, Tool’s Danny Carey, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, Journey’s Steve Smith, U2’s Larry Mullen Jr., Ian Paice, ZZ Top’s Frank Beard, Toto’s Jeff Porcaro, Chris Slade, Tommy Lee, Tico Torres, Queen’s Roger Taylor and many more.

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: