Choosing Your Drumsticks
Choosing the best drumsticks has become an art form over the years. Let us help you find the best companion for the style you are trying to go for.
There are so many manufacturers, styles and sizes to choose from that it can become a bit overwhelming to know what to look for. It would be unfair to name one pair of sticks that are the best, because each player is unique.
Lets dive right into the different options!
Here is a breakdown of the universal sizes that manufacturers use. Sticks are generally gauged somewhere between 2 and 7. The smaller the number, the thicker the stick is going to be.
This adds weight to the stick, so the lower number you are using, you are probably looking at a stick used in heavy rock, or marching. Here is a good synopsis:
- 2B - Great for hard rock and marching drum lines. Because of their larger size, they help to make a louder sound because of their heavy weight. They are also very good to practice with to gain speed and build necessary muscle
- 5A - Just about great for anything and anybody. These are great for beginners, professionals and any where in between. These are great for playing styles like fusion, lite rock and blues.
- 7A - These are going to be pretty thin sticks used for softer playing. They can be great for practicing in quiet areas, used for speedy tempo playing, and mainly great for Jazz.
Tips are not as critical in the selction process, but it is good to know what you want and what your drums and cymbals sound like when you play.
Wooden tips are great for accoustic sets and they are a bit more durable with harder playing. They will give off a warmer tone and give great action to batter heads.
Nylon tips have a great purpose also. You will notice the nylon tips in the above picture. They are indicated by the additional "N" after the gauge rating. These are more useful on accoustics when you neeed to get a good ping off of your cymbals and allows them to stand out a bit more.
Nylon tips are also very, very good to use on electronic kits because the tips wont splinter and ruin your mesh heads over time.
But be warned, if you play really heavy, these are known to fly off the drumstick, and if your not paying attention, you could be playing at full throttle without a tip on your drumstick (which could really, really harm your drum heads)
When your at the music store picking out you choice selection, remember that you want to get a pair of sticks that match as even as possible.
You want both arms to develop evenly, and more importantly, your music to be even and the best way is to use the same weighted sticks.
Many manufacturers put their sticks through rigorous matching processes to ensure that sticks are matched well. When your testing a pair out, try hitting something very solid (like the floor) with both sticks, one at a time. You may notice a different tone between the two. These havent been matched very well.
Also, while your down on the floor anyway, roll the sticks across to see if they both roll in the same direction. This helps find the different varients that sticks have that your eyes cant see.
There are also different types of sticks that you can explore to give you a different feel. Some manufacturers make sticks that do not have tips at all and are really great for loud percussion and auxillary instruments (cowbell, woodblock, timbales, etc...).
Brushes are also great for a smooth, very light sound. These require a different technique, but well worth the time if you're looking for a softer accent.
Rod Sticks are a unique stick in that they are several rods taped together and they disperse energy when used. The effect that you get is a hybrid of a regular stick and a brush. These are great to use in a small venue and for lighter fusion, though they don't perform that well with cymbals.