How to Choose Drumsticks

We often undermine the power of drumsticks when in reality, it is what connects you directly to the drums. Though pretty simplistic, the drumsticks are also very fundamental for drumming and you have to be careful in picking the perfect one. Have you recently been trying to find the best drumstick for yourself but failed? Read our article on how to choose drumsticks.

When you walk into a store for musicians, you are likely to get overwhelmed by the huge stacks of drumsticks choices and it is only expected that you struggle before coming to make the perfect call.

Let us be honest. Even senior players will have to agree that there is no given rulebook for choosing drumsticks. You can struggle to find the right pair which suits the gig at any time of your life.

However, we can make the process easier for you with this guide, whereby we want to highlight all that you need to know, as well as consider, before buying the sticks.

How to Choose Drumsticks: The Skeleton of the Drumstick

In order to be able to differentiate between drumsticks, you must first know how the anatomy of a drumstick looks like. A drumstick consists of a tip, a taper, a shaft and a butt.

The tip or bead of a drumstick can vary in shapes between the different options out there. The length of the taper also varies. The shaft as well is subjected to varied lengths and thicknesses. In some models, the butt will be quite playable, giving it added versatility.

How to Choose Drumsticks: The size of the drumsticks

When checking out drumsticks in the store, you will find numbers printed on their bodies. Usually, we are more likely to see 2, 5 and 7 as the numbers displayed on the sticks. You will also see letters beside the number, which are meant to denote the diameter of the drumstick.

You should be aware that the higher the number, the softer you can expect the stick to be, and hence, thinner as well. On the other hand, the lower numbers will represent heavier as well as thicker sticks.

There is however an exception. 2B sticks are the thickest sticks available on the market. The letter ‘A’ is usually suited for Orchestra, ‘B’ for Band and ‘D’ for dance bands. However, these were more relevant in the 1900s. As of today, they do not make much of a difference.

We recommend the following:

  1. 7A: Pretty thin, and hence ideal for jazz
  2. 8D: Almost the same as 7A, but a little longer
  3. 1A: The longest drumstick out there
  4. 5A: Pretty much what the standard drumstick should be
  5. 3A: A little stronger as well as thicker than 5A
  6. 5B: Slightly shorter, however, thicker than 3A
  7. 2B: As said before, the thickest stick, and hence ideal for rock or metal

When you are a beginner level drummer, we will recommend you to go for5A, given the relevant size and the ova bead that allows playing almost any style of music.

However, when it comes to regular practice, 2B is often the choice of drummer, because when you later move to using thinner sticks or more standard sticks, it will be comparatively easier to play.

How to Choose Drumsticks: The type and shape of the stick’s beads

As you may have already expected, the shape as well as the material of the tip will determine what sort of sound you are getting. When the surface that comes in direct contact with your drum set is wider, your output sound will sound less focused. A round bead, hence, can be expected to provide us with a more focused sound than a bead in the shape of an arrow.

Bead is mostly made out of two kind of materials- wood or nylon. Wood is the most common in this regard. However, it is not as durable as nylon even though it is likely to produce the largest range of sounds.

Nylon comes with better and more refined sounds on cymbals. It is also much more durable than wood. However, many people do not really like the sound as much.

Wooden beads are likely to be suitable for almost all kinds of genres, even though nylon will almost never be seen in genres such as jazz.

The Taper of the drumsticks

Once again, the size of this part of the stick’s anatomy plays an imperative role in drumming. The size of the taper determines how much rebound you can expect from the drums or cymbals. A taper which is longer is likely to give more rebound and also a much faster response.

A shorter one will give less rebound, increased power and way more longevity. Nevertheless, when you are looking to strike a balance with the stick, you should opt for the medium taper.

If you are more aggressive in hitting, or maybe usually play rock or metal, you should pick shorter lengths for the taper. For jazz or more dynamic genres, longer ones will be preferred. And, last but not the least, if your concern is about the versatility of the stick, the medium taper drumstick is the wisest pick.

Material of the drumsticks

Most sticks are made of three kinds of materials- the wood, carbon fiber, and the aluminum and polyurethane. Wood has the highest popularity as you may expect, with the most common is the Hickory sticks that offer a striking balance of density, weight and the power.

Maple wooden sticks are indeed the lightest ones available out there, mostly suited to low sounds and fast plays. Oak sticks are the heaviest and densest wood, which produce sticks that last pretty long and hence are suited for aggressive hitters.

Final Words

You are now aware of all the important aspects you need to keep in mind when picking your drumsticks. You need to be wise in making the selection, taking your style or purpose into good consideration when choosing the drumsticks, besides the properties mentioned above.

You can also read: How to Play 12-String Guitar: Beginner’s Guide

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