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Tomm
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« on: May 09, 2010, 10:27:44 PM »

Okay, I feel we need to talk sticks now.  Even if there is a thread in the archives, we need some new blood and ideas on the subject.  I personally like Vic Firth American classics, mainly by the way they break.  They split, which to me is kind of a warning so they don't break off as a stake and go through you prize Aquarian heads.  Pro Mark is okay, but too many times I have had the tips break off and that can do damage.  I have used some Zildians (why they are labeling sticks is beyond me) but I use nylon tips most of the time and have lost the nylon on most of them before I can beat the stick itself into submission.  Maybe their wood tips are superlative...I wouldn't know...Comments? Roll Eyes
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KenSanders
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2010, 01:28:11 PM »

Hey Tomm, I'll join in our this discussion.  Here are my general thoughts about sticks .

DURABILITY

I very rarely break sticks.   Smiley What I experience is that they get chewed up by the hi hats edges.  Rim shots also impact the wood integrity and eventually cause the sticks to "go dead"....especially in arena performance situations. When a stick doesn't bounce the way it should, I throw it down and get a replacement stick.
Maybe I'm simply putting them down before they snap on me?Roll Eyes

VOLUME CONTROL
I use microphones (in large venues) to my advantage because I don't want to slam my drums so hard they loose their musical tone.  Wink I want to play with finesse, using ghost notes and dynamics as part of my style. In my opinion there is a clear line of delineation between playing with a solid style and being physically brutal.

So, I don't want to use a stick that is any larger than what is comfortable for my hands. I know that I am not going to play as well with a stick that just doesn't have the feel I want. So if the venue needs more volume from me, the sound tech's can handle that with the faders on my microphones.  Shocked   Using a "larrger than I can control" stick has an impact of my timing and stamina too.

SMALL VENUES
For lighter playing I don't really have any durability issues. But I do change sticks when the bounce and rebound feel is gone.

CHOICES
I wrote a blog about CHOOSING drum sticks a while back.
http://www.drumsoloartist.com/live/blog/view/id_194/title_finding-the-right-drum-stick/
I reference that blog because I believe there are a lot of personal use variables involved in choosing the sticks you need. I choose the sticks I use because they work for me and my style of playing. The models I like may not work for you at all.

WHAT I DO USE
I use mainly Vater products with olive shaped nylon tips in both hickory and maple models. The weight and model, for me, at least, does affect the sound character of my drums and the cymbals. The specs for the heavier playing model I have a hickory stick that's 16" in  length and .575" in  diameter......so that's in-between a 5A and a 5B spec.

For lighter playing I like the maple 7A model.....15 1/2" long and .54" diameter. For "medium" playing, I like the hickory version of the 7A. Sticks longer than 16" don't balance well in my hands.

There is also a Vic Firth "Joe Porcaro Model Diamond tip (JPH8AN, 16 1/4" L and .545" D)" maple stick that is super light with a very small nylon tip that I sometimes use for extremely light playing. However, most of the time the light jazz performances go off just fine with a Vater 7A maple with a nylon tip.

RATIONALE

So I choose according to the needs of the tune being played. Obviously heavier sticks produce more volume and nylon tipped sticks produce brighter ride cymbal sounds. I am a drummer who much prefers to use smaller and lighter sticks for dynamic controls as opposed to using multi-rods or blastix. That's because sticks allow my drums and cymbals to produce a nicer musical tone than other striking impliments do.
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2010, 06:04:58 PM »

I'll add some more comments to Tomm's thread about sticks. Drum sticks, like drums heads, or guitar strings, or woodwind reeds...... have a useable period depending on your personal performance habits.  Some drummers may like the sound of drum heads that are thinner and less durable. Basically, you play them until they are no longer usuable for your tastes, then you replace them.  I believe it's the same way with sticks.

I've found that the durability factor is often a trade off with tone and feel factors. Just like drum heads, your sticks  have to work for the sound you want.

The size and weight of your sticks of choice most likely affect the sound of your drums and cymbals. If you have a stick that is comfortable in your hands, and makes your drums and cymbals sound the way you like...."stick with it".  Replacement of sticks is just a reality of drumming. You either break them or wear them down as a normal part of your performance.
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Ken Sanders
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Tomm
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2010, 12:03:09 PM »

A note to less experienced drummers; I have learned to read wood grain over the years on sticks.  It's easy enough to do, but it takes some experience with evaluating a number of broken sticks and determining the pattern of the grains that give way easiest, and just avoid those patterns when examining sticks before buying.

I use hardwood 7As with nylon tips.  That particular size is the easiest to control for the styles I play, the down side is that they are obviously not as sturdy as 5As, or Bs.  I find the heftier sticks take too much effort to do quick licks, and I love playing Modern Jazz, and the lighter sticks are the reason that I can at 58 yrs old.
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KenSanders
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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2010, 11:01:05 PM »

Well Tomm,

I'd venture to say that 99.5% of the drummers that read the DSA Forum use sticks.  Shocked

A good percentage of that number probably have some interesting reasons for choosing the sticks they like to use.   Huh

Others may have some helpful hints about selecting their sticks and even thoughts about selecting the "right" sticks for specific styles of music. Undecided

No one has talked about Oak sticks, hybrid laminates, compositie materials, or even MAKING their own sticks.

Seems to me that STICKS should be a topic that could generate a lot of comments......but then again..............maybe I'm just wrong about that.  Wink

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Ken Sanders
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Tomm
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« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2010, 06:35:22 PM »

One reason I use nylon tips is the way wood tips chip and wear away.  I don't have a lathe so I haven't tried to make my own.  Maybe I'll try whittling a pair.
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KenSanders
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2010, 03:09:37 PM »

Here is some information from the Vater web site, that has some interesting information about drum stick tip designs. (This, and additional information is found at: 
http://www.vater.com/stickselect/stickselect.cfm )

The style of tip on your drum stick will have a very significant impact on your ride cymbal sound.
 
 
   Teardrop tips produce rich, dark tones with focused lows.
 
   Barrel tips produce a full punchy sound. Great for louder volume situations.
 
   Ball tips produce a clean, bright and articulate sound.
 
   Acorn tips produce a full, fat sound. Very responsive.
 
   Oval tips produce a broad, mid range sound due to tip length.
 
   Nylon tips produce a brighter sound than wood tip models. More durable than wood tips.

The style of tip used in a drum stick design provides a "feel" (in additon to weight, diameter, and taper "feel" factors) that may be a siginificant choice matter to you.  I have always been fond of the olive shapped  (oval) nylon tips
.

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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2010, 09:50:35 AM »

That's some good info.  It helps newbies understand that they really shouldn't just go out and buy any set of war clubs because they are cheap.  Stick choice  is as important to the quality in percussion work as drum kit brand choice.  Don't sell yourself short, "be all you can be".
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JKL1970
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« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2010, 01:10:38 PM »

Ain't that the truth!  I have some Vater 5As that were actually my first pair.  But then I was given a bag of some really cheap sticks.  I actually liked the weight and feel of the cheapos (Guitar Center brand!), but man would they splinter!  After one song, I'd have wood shrapnel all over the place.  I went back to my Vaters.  Smiley
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KenSanders
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« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2010, 02:25:37 PM »

Vater is a top notch company.  I have never had a single problem with their products.
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2010, 09:35:26 PM »

So noted.  Totally agree.
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Johnathan
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« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2010, 09:50:56 PM »

Good info!
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JKL1970
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« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2010, 11:49:10 AM »

Sadly, I lost my Vaters last week.  Embarrassed   Let me back up a bit-I had cut my left hand while cutting an avocado (two stitches), but it was in a spot that as long as I was bandaged up, I could still play.  I had to have one of those ace bandages rolled all over my hand to keep the gauze in place to cover the stitches.    So I was good to go for a session with my band.

What I failed to take into consideration was that the bandage made my stick slide up and down in my hand.  So during one particularly active moment with the hi-hat, the stick slipped out of my left hand and flew into the corner between the basement floor and the wall.  I picked it up, played, realized something in the sound changed, and then saw the crack in the stick.

I have a few pairs of Pro-Marks that I picked up a week before and I'm using those now.  It's still early, but I think I liked the Vaters a little better.  I'll report back after I use them more.
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« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2010, 10:30:47 PM »

Hi,

      I use the plastic tip Vic Firth Ralph Hardiman Corpsmaster.  I have used various other models in the past and have settled on these.  I have been using them for about four years, and I love them.

      I love them because they feel good.  They have great balance.  They have a fantastic rebound (which attracted them to me in the first place), and they look good.They are durable and last a long time, and it's almost impossible to break one although any stick can be broken.

      I use them for any kind of music.  I just control the sticks accordingly to the kind of music I'm playing.  So, I only use these sticks and no others.

      The negative side of these sticks is that they need strong hands.  When I first tested them out at a music store, I was amazed at the rebound.  I thought "Wow, if I could control these babies I could do anything, I could do some serious damage".  The problem was the weight.  That intimidated me, and I held off getting them.  But,  everytime I went to the music store I was drawn to them, and finally I decided to get a pair and try them in the real world. 

     When I started playing with them, I found them to be an incredible pair of sticks.  Certain things that were difficult to do before became easy to do.  But, my hands soon became tired, and I could really feel it in my arms.  I realized that these were the sticks I had been looking for, so I became determined to master them and practiced with them until I had control of them.  Now, I can play with them with ease and do certain things easily that before were hard to play.  I can play any kind of volume I want from a very light sound up to the heaviest you can imagine.  Playing intricate things with power is very easy now.

       So, that is what I use.  Don
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KenSanders
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« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2010, 08:27:14 PM »



Wow Don, that Ralph Hardimon Corpsmaster model stick is one hefty club....17" long and .710" in diameter. I can understand that they required an adjustment period.  Wink
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Ken Sanders
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Tomm
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« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2010, 04:40:19 PM »

That is one big stick.  You have raised my curiosity, I will have to try this out.
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KenSanders
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« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2010, 11:58:39 AM »

It might be interesting to see how many of our DSA Forum drummers use only one size of sticks for all of their work......as oppossed to other who vary the sticks according to the genre.

I am one who does vary the sticks I choose according to the type of music being performed and volume level requirements.
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2010, 07:08:19 PM »

I try different sticks, but I keep going back to 7As.  They are the easiest to control, for me, and easily the quickest stick with the needed punch and durability as needed.
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KenSanders
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« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2010, 08:43:02 PM »

Tomm,

For work other than really, really large venues, I too enjoy a pair of 7A's as my "favorite go to" size.  I prefer the Vater nylon tip versions in both hickory and maple.  These are very comfortable in my hands.

For work where I need wood tips I also use the 8A Vater in maple.

My concerns are feel, control, and sound.  Durabilty is not a major concern at all.  If I am being asked to  hit so hard that it shatters sticks, then the sound techs need to bring my faders up.  Cheesy
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2011, 02:28:26 PM »

I think I'm overdue for a report back!  Grin

So I'd picked up some ProMark 5as and used them exclusively for a bit.  I liked that they were lighter than my Vaters, but the price for that was that they had a narrower diameter.  I found myself actually having a harder time gripping them the longer I played...to the point where my right hand actually started cramping up a bit.  So I went back to the Vater 5As which just felt a lot more comfortable in my hand over a longer session.

Has anyone else ever had a situation like that where the stick just seemed too small in your hands?
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KenSanders
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« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2011, 01:44:26 PM »

Has anyone else ever had a situation like that where the stick just seemed too small in your hands?

Absolutely.

As I previously stated.....the size and weight of your sticks of choice most likely affect the sound of your drums and cymbals. If you have a stick that is comfortable in your hands, and makes your drums and cymbals sound the way you like...."stick with it".  Replacement of sticks is just a reality of drumming. You either break them or wear them down as a normal part of your performance.

The two essential elements in choosing a stick are, in my opinion:

Does it feel good in my hands and offer the control I desire?

Does it produce the sound I want from my cymbals and drums?
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2011, 01:06:15 PM »

If you have a stick that is comfortable in your hands, and makes your drums and cymbals sound the way you like...."stick with it".  

 Roll Eyes

Argh...I suppose that was an unavoidable pun...
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KenSanders
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« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2011, 04:06:50 PM »

Yeah,
I suppose it is just my personaliity to try and inject some humor into almost everything I do.
 Cheesy

Seriously, I take them approach that I am not required to use the same size stick for everything  I perform....and I don't.

 For example; lI have been using a nylon ball tipped Maple stick that Vater calls the "Fusion" model lately. 

http://www.vater.com/products/product.cfm?M=125



I really have liked the weight, feel, and bright sound.  However, I still use other weights, woods, and tips, for different musical genres, volume levels, and sound textures.   Wink
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2011, 04:11:51 PM »

I have also enjoyed using this Regal Tip stick for a darker cymbal sound with a lively feel.

http://www.regaltip.com/products/drum-sticks/performer-series/jeff-porcaro----555--x-16-


Anyway, I'm not trying to sell anything....just sharing.
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2011, 09:34:15 AM »

Not at all.  Suggestions and testimonials are what this is all about!  I still haven't found "the" stick, and as you basically said, you still need the "right tool for the right job."  I'm still at the point though where I haven't really had any stick "click" with me, so I'm open to lots of good suggestions to narrow the field down.
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