Why do drummers prefer certain drumsticks

Drumsticks, Rods & Brushes: Model overview

Sticks, Rods & Brushes
from editorial staff,

(Image: Dieter Stork)

Drumsticks are the tools for extending our hands or arms and are therefore an important component when playing the drums. Anyone who is currently looking at the ranges of stick manufacturers will find an immense and almost confusing variety of models. We bring light into the darkness with our drumsticks overview

However, the variety of drumsticks always has a basis, and that is derived from quite simple features. Classic, but not standardized, model names are, for example:

7A - usually a very light, slim model, preferred by jazz drummers, for sensitive, filigree playing

5A - also rather light, somewhat stronger than 7A, suitable for both light and moderately strong play, one of the two "standard" models

5B - the other stick standard, a classic all-rounder of medium strength and weight, suitable for strong playing styles (rock / pop)

2 B - A strong drumstick, preferred by rock drummers, for powerful playing styles at higher volume

These are just the most common types of sticks, there are an immense number of other versions for all playing styles in every dynamic range.
These models can be found by all well-known manufacturers and vary a little in their dimensions and weight. They are usually made from the two popular woods:

Hickory (walnut): good rebound and favorable vibration properties, as this wood has an ideal balance of flexibility and stiffness.
Maple: Lighter wood, drum sticks offer good handling even with a larger diameter, a little more rigid than hickory.

Other woods that are often used for drumstick production are Oak (Oak) for very heavy and not very flexible sticks and Hornbeam (Hornbeam), which is roughly between hickory and maple in terms of weight and flexibility. Some manufacturers also offer sticks made of laminated wood layers, which in turn have their own sound and rebound properties.

The different variants
Drumsticks are almost always available in versions with a wooden tip or a nylon head. The head shapes of the standard models also vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. B. the head of a Vic Firth American Classic Stick is a little more based on the shape of an arrowhead, while z. B. Regal Tip and Promark prefer the elliptical shape for their comparable stick models. In the meantime, however, almost all manufacturers offer variants with different head shapes, at least for the current models, as well as variations in terms of the stick shape in general.

In principle, numerous variants, modifications and completely new models have emerged from these standard models over the years. Last but not least, this also happens through the input of the drummers, so that in the course of time a lot of "real" signature sticks have been created that not only bear the name of a famous personality on a standard model, but also certain, have special characteristics in terms of dimensions and head shapes.

(Image: Dieter Stork)

In addition, sticks made from alternative materials are also available from some suppliers. The company Ahead z. B. offers stick models made of aluminum with interchangeable plastic sheaths and nylon tips, and Vic Firth has a stick made of a modern composite material in its range with the “Titanium” model.

So which sticks for which music?
This is of course a very individual decision, and it does not always depend on criteria that are immediately obvious. Metal drum icon Joey Jordison plays for example. B. with a “signature” version of a 5A stick, while blues man Frank Beard from ZZ Top goes to work with a 2S “baseball bat”.

In principle, the following rules of thumb apply:

  • light sticks for soft music, heavy sticks for loud music.
  • light sticks for fast patterns, heavy sticks for powerful backbeats

This also explains why the two drummers mentioned came up with the drumstick models of their choice that work best for their respective playing style. Your own anatomy should also play a major role in the selection of poles. Drummers with small hands will certainly get along better with rather thinner drumsticks, those with real paws can also do better with big beating.

Special models of drumsticks: Rods

Rods are among the special models of drum sticks. These are bundled wooden sticks, which in most cases are surrounded by a plastic coating in the grip area and are thus held together. “Rods” is a Promark brand name for these “special sticks”, which behaves in a similar way to “Tempo” for paper handkerchiefs. Many models also have a sliding plastic sleeve in the front area, which makes it possible to vary the degree of spreading of the rods. There are also versions with few or many as well as light, slim or strong rods or even those with rods made of foam (Vic Firth) inside the bundle of wood. There are also tools of this type with bundled plastic rods. All “Rods” are principally suitable for playing drumset very quietly and offer their own unique sound character with a distinctive but quiet attack.

Brushes

Drummers who prefer a particularly quiet style of playing will resort to traditional brooms, which also require a special playing technique. There are classic models with metal bristles as well as numerous variants with plastic ones. Almost every stick manufacturer also has a large variety of different broom models in its program, including many "signature" models of well-known drummers who are known for their special broom playing style.

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