Sabian Ltd.

Sabian Ltd. factory in Meductic, NB

Sabian Ltd.

Sabian was founded in 1981 in Meductic by Robert Zildjian, son of Avedis Zildjian III, the head of the Avedis Zildjian Company


The Zildjian company was traditionally passed down to the eldest son, in accordance with family convention. When Avedis Zildjian III passed away in 1979, his eldest son, Armand, who was serving as the President of Zildjian, ascended to the position of Chairman of the Board. However, this succession led to a familial rift and a legal dispute between brothers Armand and Robert, ending with Robert exiting Zildjian to establish the competing Sabian company. Today, both companies stand as global leaders in cymbal production and maintain their competitive rivalry.  

Sabian Ltd. factory in Meductic, NB.
Sabian Ltd. factory in Meductic, NB. Photo by Larry Dickinson.

The settlement gave Robert Zildjian the Canadian factory that had been producing the K. Zildjian line.

Robert Zildjian
Robert Zildjian 1986. Photo: Observer Collection

As the Zildjian Company’s president, Armand made sure the revered “K” brand remained under his company’s name, even as the craftsmen migrated to Robert’s company. In an agreement, Robert consented not to use the Zildjian brand or claim his cymbals were identical in quality or design.

Sabian Ltd. in Meductic, NB.

The name Sabian was cleverly crafted by Robert Zildjian, taking the first two letters from each of his three children’s names—Sally, Bill, and Andy (Armand’s nickname)—and adding “-ian” to signify Armenian heritage. Initially, Sabian launched two cymbal lines, HH and AA, both made of traditional bell bronze alloy. As of 2006, the youngest Zildjian, Andy, was serving as Sabian’s president.

Sabian Ltd. in Meductic, NB
Click here to view a story on SABIAN produced by CBC-TV. 

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