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The drumstick chooses the drummer.

2024-05-27 17:59

Matteo Garzaro

Perform School of music, Teachers, Education, Perform School of music, Drums, Drummers, Matteo Garzaro, Bacchette, Drumsticks, 2B, 5A, 5B, 7A, Signature, Fibra di carbonio, Hickory, Noce americano, Legno, Punta a botte, Punta a ghianda, Punta a oliva, Punta a sfera, Punta in nylon,

The drumstick chooses the drummer.

The first thing to understand when choosing a pair of drumsticks is the size, which refers to how thick they are and consequently how much they weigh.

Of course, it's the drummer who chooses the drumsticks, but I needed a catchy title for this column.


The first thing to understand when choosing a pair of drumsticks is the size, which refers to how thick they are and consequently how much they weigh. The size can depend on the musical genre being played and the drummer's height and build.


5A and 5B are intermediate sizes and probably the most commonly used in almost all styles. They are the same length, but 5B sticks are slightly thicker, more suitable for those playing heavier genres where more volume is needed.


7A sticks are thinner and lighter, perfect for jazz, which requires little volume and a lot of dynamics control.


Then there are the 2B sticks, even thicker and heavier than the 5B ones.


There are also many other sizes and variations of those already listed.


A special mention goes to signature sticks, which are sticks specifically built for an artist based on their requests. There are countless options, as almost all well-known drummers have their own personalized model.


Signature Model, Charlie Benante (Anthrax, Pantera).


Signature Model, Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree, King Crimson).

Sticks's Anatomy

As many of you may know, the drumstick is divided into several parts. The tip is the part that has the greatest impact on the so-called "attack" of the sound, as it is the part that comes into contact with the drumheads and cymbals (when played with a tip).


Here too, we have a wide variety of possibilities. Each type affects the sound differently, as the shape varies the surface area of the tip that will come into contact with the drum kit.


The Most Common Tip Types

Acorn Tip


The triangular tip allows for selecting the tone based on the stick's angle. When striking flat, the sound produced is clearer and brighter, while tilting increases the contact surface with the drumhead or cymbal, resulting in a warmer and more powerful sound.


Round Tip


The spherical tip ensures a consistent tone regardless of the angle relative to the drumhead.


Barrel Tip


The barrel tip enables powerful strikes when the stick is angled, as the contact surface is reduced to the edge. Conversely, the contact area increases when the stick is parallel to the drumhead, producing a fuller and warmer sound.


Oval Tip


Similar to the triangular tip, but with a more uniform profile and thus less tonal variation. Striking flat produces a full and powerful sound due to the increased contact surface compared to the triangular tip.


Nylon Tip


All tip types can also be made of nylon. The advantage over wood is that it's impossible to chip, making it highly durable. However, after prolonged use, it may detach from the rest of the stick. Additionally, it offers a very defined and "bright" attack, especially on cymbals, making it unsuitable for certain musical genres.


Wood Types


Most drumsticks are made of Hickory (American walnut), which is a very durable and dense wood. There are also sticks made of maple, which is less dense and suitable for those with a lighter touch, and oak, which is very hard and heavy with excellent durability.


Carbon Fiber


In recent decades, carbon fiber drumsticks have emerged. Their strength lies in being much more durable than wooden sticks, allowing for cost savings and less tree felling for raw materials. However, along with these advantages, there are also drawbacks. They are stiffer and have a more pronounced attack, especially on cymbals, which is not appreciated by all drummers. Additionally, they absorb little of the vibrations resulting from impacts, transmitting them to the arm and increasing the risk of tendinitis. Lately, companies like Techra have been addressing this issue by integrating rubber on the bottom of the stick.


In conclusion, I believe that the best thing to do is to try as many types of drumsticks as possible to understand which is the best for our hands and what we want to play.


If you want to continue exploring the topic, the next issue will cover brushes!

If you missed the previous article discussing the characteristics of cymbals and their influences on the emitted sound, visit the page with the collection of my articles.

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