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Sabian AA Holy China | A deep dive into this incredible china cymbal

sabian aa holy china

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The Sabian AA Holy China has become a favourite amongst drummers. Holy China is a beast of a cymbal that has a distinct sound and unique look. 

Since its original release in 2010, the Holy China has won many awards and the line has been expanded with more sizes. Let’s take a look at the Sabian AA Holy China and all the models available.

What is the Sabian AA Holy China

The Sabian AA Holy China is a B20 bronze china cymbal with distinct holes and a raw bell. The cymbal was designed with Chad Smith who had one aim in mind. A loud china cymbal. 

Sabian have sure delivered on this brief by using several techniques that were still new in 2010. At the time of release, this was a unique cymbal in the market and has stood the test of time still being extremely popular today.

How does the AA Holy China get its sound?

The Sabian AA Holy China is made from Sabian’s signature B20 bronze. The Sabian AA line of cymbals aim to give you a tight and controlled sound but with intense volume when hit hard. 

Several distinct features give this cymbal its unique sound.

To raise the pitch of the cymbal it features a higher profile. 

To get more volume and sustain an array of holes have been cut into the bow of the cymbal. You will notice the holes are smaller than what you will see on most cymbals. This creates a smooth attack with less distortion vs larger holes. All these small holes give the AA Holy China its unique look which inspired the name.

The large raw bell adds a bit of extra cut to the sound, and let’s be honest, looks awesome. 

Here is a great demo playing all the different sizes available.

Even though they have a trashy and powerful sound, they are still very musical. 

What sizes are available?

The Sabian AA Holy Chinas are available in a wide selection of sizes. The cymbals are treated as two different models. The AA Hol Chinas and the AA Mini Holy Chinas.

Sabian AA Holy China Models

The Holy China comes in different sizes. 17″, 19″ and a monstrous 21″. These cymbals are available in a natural finish or a brilliant finish. The finish of the cymbal doesn’t affect the cymbal sound much, it is more down to how you like your cymbals to look.

Sabian AA Holy China models available

Sabian AA Mini Holy China Models

The Sabian AA Mini Holy Chinas were released in 2017 and expand the sonic range of the original Holy Chinas. The cymbals have all the same characteristics of the main range, the raw bell and holes. They have an extremely short delay making them great for quick accents.

The Sabian AA Mini Holy Chinas are available in 8″, 10″ and 12″. The cymbals are also available in either a natural or brilliant finish.

Sabian AA Mini Holy China models available

Sabian Holy China Prototypes

Before the release of the AA Mini Holy Chinas, some Holy China prototypes were available in limited numbers. These we made in sizes 14″ and 15″. They sounded great but didn’t get a full release. If this is something you are after you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for some second-hand ones hitting the market. 

Where can I buy the AA Holy Chinas?

Due to its popularity, the Sabian AA Holy Chinas are available from online music stores or your local music shop.

Here are our top picks for ordering online.

Our thoughts

If you are looking for a china cymbal that has a distinctive look and powerful sound the Sabian AA Holy Chinas are one of our top choices. I would say the natural finish chinas are some of the best looking available.

It is used by numerous professionals and has become a favourite china cymbal amongst drummers. 

This is a china that is worth adding to your collection.

The author

I’ve been playing the drums for over 15 years and I still love them! I am mostly a metal drummer but I am currently working on groove and applying rudiments to the kit!

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