Knowing Your Drum Sticks

If like myself you have stood before a stick rack at some point staring in confusion. Completely unsure which pair of sticks is right for you, or worse, you’re still doing it. Then this guide may help clarify a few things for you.

Here are 5 things to look out for when trying to find the perfect pair.

Wood

Drumsticks commonly come in 3 different kinds of wood, maple, hickory, Japanese white oak or laminated birch. Each wood has a different feel. Each different wood reacts differently to the impact of drumming, thus producing a different sound.

  • Hickory is the most common wood for drumsticks. Its versatility is accredited to its flexibility and it also has a great impact resistance. It makes a great option for Rock, funk fusion and jazz.
  • Maple is a lot lighter than hickory, this enables you to have a wider stick with a lighter weight. Of course with there is the cost of less durability with a less dense wood. Maple tends to sound sweeter on drums and cymbals. Making them a great option for Rock, pop, funk and Jazz. Though it may lack the OOMPH when you get to the heavier end.
  • Oak is dense and heavy, although definitely more durable when it splits it splits suddenly. Oak is great for metal and rock as it gives you a really BIG sound.

Tip Material

Tips come in several variations most commonly wood and nylon. Nylon tips sound brighter on cymbals and are much more durable, longer preventing misshapen tips.  Wood tips tend to give you a darker sound on cymbals. The disadvantage to wood tips is the durability.

Choose the shape. 

Tips come in many shapes and sizes, most common tips are acorn, ball, barrel and oval. Each variant delivers a different sound and feel. The size then affects the sound. Bigger the sound generally the deeper the sound.

  • Acorn tips have a large contact surface. This creates a full dark cymbal sound.
  • Ball tips have a very smaller surface giving you a brighter tone.
  • Barrels are wide and flat, this gives you a very strong dark sound.
  • Ovals are a happy medium between ball and barrel.

Thickness

For me, before bead types and material, it was the thickness of a stick that stumped me. When I started drum I wanted a big fat sound. I have since moved to a thinner type of style that better suits my play.  So what do all the As and Bs mean?

  • A is the thickest great for a big heavy dark sound. Suited most often to rock and metal.

B is thicker than A and then S is thicker still.

  • A 7a is thin and light. These sound lovely on drums and cymbals and are best for low volume playing.
  • 5AS are slightly thicker than the 7As. This is your run of the mill stick.
  • 5Bs are one intense stick, a lot of rock and metal drummers use these big heavy sticks due to their weight.

Unfortunately, as much as this may help each brand tends to have its own way of measuring these things. Each company has its own variants.  So if you are unsure on which stick is right for you then feel free to pop into your local Rimmers store and we will be more than happy to help you!

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