Drums are one of the most loved and used instruments in the world. Unlike other types of percussion, to play it it is important to have an accessory suitable for every drummer: drumsticks.
These are like the extension of the drummer’s hands and arms, so they must be selected with care.
Sometimes, deciding which drumsticks to buy can be even harder than choosing the right one, as there are drums of all sizes, shapes and materials.
Let’s try to figure out which drumsticks are best suited to your favorite style of music.
Drum Lessons: How to choose the tip, neck and shaft of a drumstick?
To hit the bass drum it is essential to have the pedal. For the cymbals, the clear case, the charleston and the toms you have to use the drumsticks instead.
The drumsticks of a drumstick are made up of 3 main elements: the tip, the neck, the neck and the drumstick.
The Olive Or Tip Of The Drumstick
The tip of a stick, also called an olive, is the part with which you hit the skin of the stem. It can have different shapes and, depending on the angle with which you hit the snare drum, the material and the shape, it can give the sound a different timbre.
The olives can be made of nylon or wood. Nylon olives are very resistant and do not risk splintering, unlike wooden olives. On the other hand, however, they are simply glued to the rest of the stick and tend to come off with vibrations. Moreover, the sound produced by nylon olives is less natural than that of wooden olives.
As for the shape, the olive of a stick can be:
- Triangular. It produces a consistent, rich and low sound thanks to the fairly large surface area it enjoys.
- Oval. In this case the sound is warm and changes according to the angles of attack of the stick. This type of olive allows the professional drummer to reproduce all the sound nuances.
- Round, for a precise, dry and even sound. This olive is particularly suitable for classical music.
- Cylindrical, for a full sound and a wide versatility.
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The Neck Or Shoulder Of A Drumstick
The V-shaped part between the tip and the body of the battery can be called the neck of the wand. Although it does not affect the sound produced by the drumstick, it is very important for its balance and vibration.
To understand how important the neck is, just think of a drumstick with a rather heavy tip. With this type of drumstick it is more difficult to play ghost notes or ghost notes inside a shuffle or swing.
The neck supporting the tip helps to keep the drumstick in balance.
The Drumstick Shaft
The central part of the stick is called the drumstick and can have a different diameter and length, thus influencing the balance point of the stick.
The diameter and length must be chosen according to the physical characteristics of the drummer. If you have basketball player’s hands it will be easier to play with thicker drumsticks. If you have the physique of a jockey, you will need longer sticks to reach all the snare drums.
Generally, the length and diameter of the drumstick are in inches:
- Length is between 12″ and 17″ (33-34 cm).
- The diameter is between 0,513″ and 0,695″. (1.3-1.9 cm)
When you choose the chopsticks, then think about the timbre you want to impress on the sound, choosing a suitable tip and hold the chopsticks to find the right balance and length for you, paying attention to the neck and shaft.
What material are drumsticks made of?
If you play electric guitar, acoustic guitar or bass, you will be used to choosing strings of different material.
In acoustic or electronic drums the most important accessory are the drumsticks and here too, the material makes all the difference.
To play drums, you have to choose sticks not only according to size and thickness, but also according to the material they are made of.
The White Walnut Sticks (Hickory)
The most common material for rods is white walnut, much loved because it is versatile and cheap.
Walnut is softer than oak and absorbs all vibrations. To be sure to buy quality rods that use the heart, the noble part of the tree, just keep on a price range of 13-15 €.
The disadvantage of walnut sticks is that they tend to crumble when you often use the rimshot, a blow given to both the leather and the metal edge of the snare drum.
The white walnut sticks are very good value for money.
Oak is known for its solidity, which is why the rods of this type of wood are very resistant. Oak has a tendency to transmit vibrations while a softer material absorbs them.
You can find cheap rods for 9-11 €.
Oak rods are suitable for metal.
Maple rods (maple)
Maple wood is one of the least used materials for the production of sticks. Maple is less robust than oak, but it is exceptional for lowering the pace.
Maple sticks are suitable for jazz drummers!
Composite Drum Sticks
Some manufacturers make carbon rods which have the advantage of being practically indestructible and absorbing sweat and vibrations.
Carbon rods, however, also have drawbacks.
In fact, the sound they produce does not appeal to everyone and does not always guarantee the right balance.
There are also plastic, aluminium and even LED sticks, but it is always better to opt for wooden sticks.
Drum Training: What Are The Best Brand Drumsticks?
Drum companies can specialize in the production of percussion instruments or musical instruments in general, including accessories. Pearl, DW, Ludwig or TAMA are some of the best known brands. If you don’t know which one to choose, ask your drum teacher for advice!
Let’s say that when choosing a drumstick, it’s not the brand that matters, but the shape of the tip, length and thickness to suit your favourite style of music.
What are the most suitable drumsticks for an electronic drum kit?
For electronic drums there are specific drumsticks. Usually they have a nylon tip and a metal part that is used to limit vibrations at the handle.
Metal drumsticks with a nylon tip are good for the rubber pad, but they are not recommended for mesh pads, i.e. knitted skins that cushion the drum sound.
If you’re taking lessons with an acoustic drum kit, while you’re practicing with an electronic drum kit at home, it’s best not to change the drumsticks… So try to choose sticks that suit your body type, the kind of music you play and both types of drums!
Other Drum Sticks
To make different nuances of sound with your drums you can select sticks with precise characteristics, also depending on the type of music you play.
Jazz Drum Brushes
Brushes are widely used in jazz. They are used to brush the skins of drums giving a sweet sound that is difficult to obtain with classic wooden sticks.
These sticks have the tip in the shape of a brush with metal or plastic bristles. In some types of brushes the neck has a circular end that can be used to play and produce a stronger tone.
The rods are composed of a set of thin wooden sticks, birch in general. The wooden handle has grooves for easy grip.
They produce a plush, light and at the same time precise sound. These sticks are used to give a special effect to a song with a sound that is halfway between the sweet sound of brushes and the strong sound of classic sticks.
The sticks are a different kind of chopsticks with a different tip than the classic olive. The wooden handle, in fact, ends with a felt or wool ball.
The timbre is decidedly different, with an ancestral and more melodic effect on toms and sweeter and longer on plates.
This type of drumstick is also used for the tympanum of classical percussions.
Drum Sticks And Music Style
The most important advice that every drum teacher gives their students is never to buy drumsticks without trying them out. To find out if drumsticks are suitable for the kind of music you play, just ask yourself the right questions:
Are they balanced? If you buy a pair of chopsticks, it doesn’t mean that both are suitable for you for the simple reason that our hands don’t have the same strength. The ideal would be to buy several packs and try to pair the chopsticks by yourself.
Are they easy to hold? All you have to do is try the chopsticks on your drum set. Remember that heavy chopsticks are easier to grip, but also harder to control. Use heavy chopsticks for rock or heavy metal!
Is the weight of the chopsticks suitable? The weight depends not only on the thickness and length of the sticks, but also on the material they are made of. Try the difference between a walnut stick and a maple stick! Lighter sticks are more suitable for jazz!
Is it better to take short or long sticks, light or heavy? Longer sticks give more strength. Choose sticks according to your build and musical genre. Typically, 7A sticks are used for jazz, 2B for pop, 5A or B for rock and metal.