How to pick the right drum sticks
There is no wrong or right decision when it comes to finding the perfect drumstick, Ultimately, the best drumstick is one that feels the most comfortable and gives you the best sound behind the drumkit. To help you find that pair, we have broken down the key dimensions that affect how a drumstick feels and sounds.
A drumsticks material largely affects the sticks overal durability, weight and tone.
Hickory - The most popular choice, is a dense wood with little flex. It creates a pronounced sound and can withstand a great deal of shock.
Laminated Birch - Is Vic Firth’s heavy line of sticks. Its improved density adds durability and power, offering increased projection and a brighter tonality.
Persimmon - Is used for many of our concert models for its flexibility and durability.
Maple - Is very flexible and light. A lightweight alternative to hickory, maple is perfect when you are looking for the feel of a larger stick but with less weight. Maple’s softer feel produces a darker cymbal tonality.
Drumstick length determines how much leverage and reach you have behind the kit. With diameter and taper remaining the same, a longer stick will feel more front heavy and will channel more leverage and power.
Diameter describes a sticks thickness. Thickness is an important factor when it comes to feel, power, and the level of finesse you want to achieve. A thicker stick is more durable and tends to be a more desirable choice for genres like rock and metal. Thinner sticks on the other hand are more fitting for genres like jazz. Vic Firths 5a drumstick is hands the world most popular drumstick, not to thin not too thick, adopted by all kinds of player.
Ultimately, thickness is crucial when it comes to how the sticks feels and how you like to play.
Taper refers to the degree of curvature between the sticks tip and shoulder. The longer the taper, the more the stick will rebound off the drumhead. Conversely, shorter tapers will give you more power to play into the head and get a bigger sound from the drum. Vic Firth offers many different combinations of diameter, taper, and tip so that you can truly find your perfect pair.
Besides a stick's weight and size, the tip is arguably one of the most important factors when it comes to how a stick sounds, especially on cymbals. Here are all the types of tips offered by Vic Firth.
- Tear Drop
- Taj Mahal
- Round /Nylon
- Rubber tip
- Small tip
How the stick connects with the drums or cymbals is why tip shape matters so much. As a rule of thumb tip shapes with a larger surface area will generate a louder and wider palette of complex sounds, whereas smaller surface areas will create bright, tight and precise sounds. Oval tips provide the largest spectrum of sound, tear drops are ideal for warm tones, round tips are great for bright and a crisp sound, acorns are great for a full rich sound profile, and barrels produce a loud and punchy sound.
The materials of tips also have a big impact on the overall sound of the stick.
Wood tips: for example have great articulation and body. They are the most common tip material, offering that classic stick sound. They also offer versatility and great dynamics.
Nylon tips: produce a bright sound that yield a consistent sound, they are bright and can be great if you are looking for a consistent sound.
Finish affects how a stick feels to hold and play. Finish ultimately comes down to personal preference and aesthetics. Whether you are looking for a natural finish added grip, Vic Firth offers a range of options.