Learn The Different Types Drumsticks
With all the different varieties and brands of drum sticks on the market today, you really need to make sure you are selecting the most appropriate stick for your style. Would a heavy metal band want a drummer to use jazz sticks? Maybe your sticks are breaking too often, or you can’t seem to get the right sound out of your cymbals. Before you get down on yourself, check and see if the stick you are using is right for you.
Start With The Drumstick Wood
To really find the best stick for yourself you should start with the core; the wood. There are 3 main types of wood used to make sticks. There is Maple, which is a lighter weight wood that has excellent flexibility. Maple is great for energy absorption, meaning you will fell less of the hit in your hands. There is Hickory, which is the most common wood with decent energy absorption and flex. Hickory is a well rounded wood. Lastly, there is Oak, which is the densest of wood. Oak sticks will not break as much, but you will feel the vibrations a lot more due to poor energy absorption. If the stick doesn’t state what wood it is, back away. This usually means it is a blended wood and is not made up to standard.
Choose a Tip
Now that you’ve selected the right wood, its time to chose the right tip. There are 2 types of tips to choose from; Nylon and Wood. Most common is the wood tip. This is a solid choice for most applications. The only real downside to wood tips is the fact that they may chip after extensive use. Nylon tips are great for bringing out your cymbals and getting better rebound from your stick. They are great for studio work when you want to really make your cymbals shine. The problem with nylon tips is they sometimes fall off your stick, which can be a real problem in the middle of a show! If you are playing on an electric drum set, you want to use nylon tips. Wood tips can splinter and severely damage your drum pads! There is alot to know about which tips work best for certain applications, so for further instruction, check out this article on drum stick tips!
Choose Your Size
Once you have an idea on you wood and tip, you need to find the right size stick for you. Different manufacturers will code their sticks a bit differently, so you may see a slight difference in a Vic Firth 5a compared to a Zildjian 5a. However, they are all very similar, and follow a general pattern. There are three main stick categories.
-7a. This is a thinner, lighter feeling stick meant for a softer sound on you drums. These work great for jazz drumming, or younger drummers.
-5a. This is the most common stick. Medium thickness allows for both loud and softer play. Great for rock drumming!
-2b/5b. These are thicker than average. They allow for louder sounding drums, and are ideal for heavy rock.
You may have gone into a store and found some different “Funky” looking sticks. These are unique designs made to either increase longevity, or grip of you stick. Rubber sticks are becoming more popular, promising to “never break” and offering replacement sleeves if they do. The problem with these sticks are they are very costly, running you at around 50$ or more a pair. Furthermore; you will find they cut easily on cymbals, and offer weak rim shots on the snare. Colored sticks are another design that is growing in popularity. Watch out with these, though, as you will find they tend to mark up your cymbals.
Always remember; if you are constantly breaking your sticks, check your technique before changing to heavier sticks. With proper technique, sticks should break very seldom. With all this said, you should have no problem selecting the proper stick for yourself. Keep in mind that a drummers stick choice is personal, so feel free to experiment around with different sizes and styles.
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