Updated: Dec 19, 2021
What drumsticks are right for me?
What drumsticks are right for me and what makes them different? When we first start playing drums we think drumsticks are drumsticks and they are all the same. In reality there are different types of drumsticks with many variations. In this blog I will be breaking down of the anatomy of a drumstick, what makes drumsticks different and how to select a pair that is right for you.
Let's start with a few different materials that the stick could be made out of.
One of the most common woods that sticks are made from. Hickory is a dense, durable wood that can stand some abuse. With that being said, it could also be a little harsh on your hands. It's breaking pattern splinters and frays more. However, hickory has less flexibility than maple.
Maple is a lighter wood that floats in your hands and has a good amount of flexibility. It can still take a good amount of beating but requires more finesse with your playing. I personally prefer maple sticks. One reason being is they are softer on your hands. It's not as dense as hickory or oak, therefore you don't feel as much as the vibration in your hands. Unlike hickory, maple breaks different. You will notice the wear on maple is more fine sawdust like.
Oak is a more dense wood that can withstand a great amount of stress. With that being said, you have to be selective on your velocity due to denting drumheads or cracking cymbals.
Thickness is a major factor of how comfortable the stick is for your preference. Diameter effects the weight and strength as well as how your grip feels in your hand.
The length of the stick determines its leverage and reach. Depending on the diameter and the tape, the length will affect how front heavy the stick is.
Taper is where the stick starts to become narrower towards the tip. 3 taper types are long, short and medium. A long tapered has more flex as to where a short taper increases the neck size which provides more durability. A short paper will feel more front heavy. A medium taper is just a balance of the two.
5. Tip shape
The tip shape will effect the overall sound due to how much of the surface has contact with the drum head or cymbals. The larger the tip size, the richer the sound, and with a smaller tip you will get a lighter sound with more definition.
6. Tip material
The two most common tip materials are wood and nylon. You'll get a fuller sound with a wood tip as where a nylon tip produces a brighter sound. I suggest you play them both so you can hear the difference for yourself.
In conclusion, I would advise you to go to your local music store to play a few different types of sticks (on a practice pad only) and see what feels best to you. Buy two or three different pairs and spend a few days playing each pair. That will help you narrow down what feels most comfortable for you.
You can also visit www.vicfirth.com for more information on drumsticks.
For more on stick technique and control, watch this course - https://www.drummer101.com/getting-started