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Paiste AG
TypePrivate (Aktiengesellschaft/AG)[1]
IndustryMusical instruments
Founded1906; 116 years ago (1906) in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
Number of locations
Key people
Erik Paiste, CEO and president of the supervisory board
ProductsCymbals, gongs, and metal percussion
    • Schacht-Audorf (German subsidiary)
    • Paiste America (since 1981)
    • Spain and Estonia (both 1995)

Paiste (English pronunciation: /ˈpsti/ PY-stee, Estonian pronunciation: [ˈpɑiste]) is a Swiss musical instrument manufacturing company. It is the world's third largest manufacturer of cymbals, gongs, and metal percussion. Paiste is an Estonian and Finnish word that means "shine".

Apart from cymbals and gongs, Paiste has also manufactured other percussion instruments such as crotal bells, finger cymbals and cowbells, later discontinued.


The first Paiste cymbals were produced in 1906 by Estonian musician Toomas Paiste in his instrument repair shop in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire, to customer orders. Toomas had served in the Russian Imperial Guard, and retired in 1901 to open a music publishing business and music shop.[2]

The cymbal-making aspect of the business expanded with the passing years, despite the disruption of several moves necessitated by war:[3] first to Tallinn, Estonia, in 1917, where Toomas' son Michail M. Paiste decided to concentrate on cymbal production and export.[3] In 1940, the family and the cymbal-making operation moved to Poland, where they continued under extremely difficult conditions, and in 1945 to Germany.[3] Finally, in 1957 a new headquarters and production facility was established in Switzerland.[3] The business was continued by Michail's sons, Robert and Toomas (born Kurt), with both the Swiss and German operations as the main manufacturing centres. Since 2003, the company has been headed by Toomas' son, Erik.[2] Robert Paiste died in 2016, aged 84.[4]
More here: Paiste unofficial timeline 1900 to 1986


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Paiste has developed several innovations to cymbal design and manufacture. Among these are:

A Paiste Alpha China cymbal
A Paiste Alpha China cymbal

Many of these innovations were used by other manufacturers when the applicable patents expired. For example, almost all of the larger modern cymbal companies offer a flat ride cymbal and an alternative to the Sound Edge Hi-Hat.

Notable Artists



  1. ^ Entry at the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce, SOGC
  2. ^ a b History on Paiste website, 16 Nov 2019
  3. ^ a b c d Ludwig, William Frederick (2001). The Making of a Drum Company: The Autobiography of William F. Ludwig II. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 978-1-888408-05-8.
  4. ^ "In Memory of Robert Paiste" on Paiste website, retrieved 26 January 2017