Different Types Of Drum Sticks: Features, Sizes & Buying Guides

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When planning to become a great drummer, many people carelessly skip searching for ideal drumsticks. In fact, having a balanced pair of clubs creates a dynamic sound and improves your comfort to the maximum.

So how to find the right drumsticks? This article will help you learn about the types of drum sticks, their sizes, and their characteristics.

Drumstick Anatomy

Before you want to understand the characteristics and functions of a drumstick fully, you will need to explore the construction of each of its parts. The sticks include parts are:

  • A bead/tip.
  • A taper.
  • A shaft.
  • A butt.
A pair of wooden drumsticks crossed on a wooden table
A pair of wooden drumsticks crossed on a wooden table

Bead

The size and material of the tip will determine the sound you hear when you hit the drums.

The only rule you should remember is that the smaller the surface in contact with the drum, the more defined the sound will be.

It means that arrow-shaped beads will produce less clear sound than round beads. This difference is most evident in the cymbals and is not so prominent in the rest of the drum set.

The two main materials of the bead are wood and nylon. In particular, nylon has high durability, and wood is suitable for almost any music genre.

Taper

The length and size of the taper have a strong effect on the amount of rebound you get when you get out of the cymbals and drums.

Usually, the longer the length, the faster the response and the better the rebound. In contrast, shorter taper types have greater strength and higher durability.

You will need long clubs to play light and dynamic music, such as jazz. The short taper will suit heavy themes such as metal or rock.

Shaft

The shaft is the straight area in the club or body of the drum sticks. You will usually hold drumsticks here.

Often this is used for larger cymbal crashes or cross-stick styles.

Butt

The butt is the last part of the stick. It is the point furthest from the rod’s tip.

Drumstick Size

The size of the drumsticks depends on the numbers and letters that go with them.

Usually, the larger the number, the lower the thickness of the club. The 2B sticks are the most seasoned drumsticks available today.

The numbers usually range from 2 to 9. However, only three types of sticks, 2, 5, and 7, are the most common.

The thicker and heavier the drumsticks, the louder the volume will be. The tiny drumsticks offer powerful versatility for drummers.

For letters, you can see the three most common types of letters today are A, B, and S. In which:

  • Sticks are lightweight and work well in low-volume styles like jazz and classical.
  • Class B clubs are much heavier. Its thickness and size are extremely suitable for rich music styles such as metal or rock.
  • S sticks are the heaviest drumstick models and are suitable for high-volume applications such as marching bands.

This size is an international standard specification. A 7A stick will always be thinner than a 5A, and a 2B will always have the largest size.

However, models with similar markings in different brands will cause their weight to shift.

Related: Drumstick Sizes Explained: Drum Stick Size Chart, Guide, 5A, 7A, 2B, S

Drumstick Materials

The common material of most drumsticks is wood. The three most commonly used kinds of wood are maple, oak, and hickory.

Maple is the lightest and most functional wood choice in the musical instrument world. However, it is quite low density compared to the other two options.

Oak drumsticks have the greatest thickness and size compared to the other two hybrid options. So, they have the greatest durability over time.

The drummer’s favorite choice is hickory. This wood is popular because of its good shock absorption and extremely lightweight.

Many brands also use other synthetic materials to make drumsticks, such as different types of plastic or metal.

Compared to wooden models, composite sticks are more durable and cost more.

Even so, the difference in sound that wooden and nylon drumsticks produce is not so easy. You can even notice a bigger difference with a simple switch between the tip material.

Tips: Wood vs. Nylon

The wooden head can produce a classic bass sound in jazz or rock music. This material has extremely good rebound, so many drummers favor it.

If you’re a pop and rock drummer, you might be interested in how wood beads make sounds on toms. In addition, this club is suitable for snare playing with many rolls.

The wood tips also produce a natural sound with minimal vibration on the cymbals. However, this feature will wear out over time.

In contrast, nylon tips are more durable and sound consistent for longer.

This model is suitable for drummers who like to play on hard surfaces like cymbals and use heavy drumsticks. You’ll trade the classic wood tone for lasting durability.

Types of Drum Sticks

While this may sound hard to believe, drumsticks aren’t just for playing basic drums and percussion instruments. They have many variations and varied uses.

Various variations of drum sticks have begun to appear on the market thanks to the growing need to control the playing volume.

Signature Sticks

Famous drummers, such as Danny Carey, Joey Jordison, Steve Gadd, and Chris Coleman, have always been an endless inspiration for drum lovers worldwide.

Their signature will increase the value of the drum sticks many times over. So, manufacturers of drumsticks can sell signature sticks that come with the body.

Close up the drum with jazz brushes
Close up the drum with jazz brushes

Brushes

Brushes can produce quiet sounds and soft effects at low volumes. They also come in a variety of sizes and configurations.

This type of handle provides the unique sound that drummers often look for in genres like Latin, pop, and jazz.

Its construction is in plastic fibers or a series of wires connected to the handle. It has a wide range of applications.

You can sweep across the drum surface to create a continuous background sound with a gentle drumbeat. Brushes are compatible with Cajon or cymbals.

Some brushes are fixed, while some have an adjustable fan. This stick serves as a delicate and soft complement to other musical instruments.

Unfocused percussion mallets set on a white background
Unfocused percussion mallets set on a white background

Mallets

Mallets are rods whose ends are covered with cotton, yarn, or fabric in the form of a solid ball. Some other models use rubber or plastic balls.

The shafts are available in rattan, birch, or synthetic materials such as fiberglass.

Mallets are compatible with many percussion instruments such as marimbas or xylophones.

Compared to standard clubs, mallets produce a solid sound. They work well with cymbals or loud and loud drums.

Depending on the instrument used and the desired sound, mallets can produce various sounds.

Wooden rods to play the drums
Wooden rods to play the drums

Rods

Rods, known as rutes, consist of thin rods that stick together to form a block.

This design was first created to serve orchestral music. After that, rods gradually became popular with standard drum kits.

When you need something with balance, rods are the best choice. They are quieter than sticks and larger than brushes.

The rutes drain most of the energy inside the bar at low volumes to create the sound typically associated with playing loud.

You can even adjust the timbre by changing the position of the bands that hold the bunch.

Related: How To Hold A Drumstick Properly

Drumsticks Brands

The best advice is to buy drumsticks from experienced manufacturers. It is because these products need to go through a series of tests to rule out any flaws and problems.

If you are a newbie and have no experience in choosing drumsticks, then please refer to some notable brands below:

  • Vater Percussion
  • Ahead
  • Promark
  • Vic Firth
  • Regal Tip
  • Zildjian

FAQs

If you have any questions regarding drumsticks and how to use them, please find out below.

FAQs
FAQs

What’s The Difference Between 5A And 7A Drumsticks?

The main difference between 5A and 7A drumsticks is the thickness or circumference of the bar. The higher the number, the thinner the stick.

The 5A rod will be much thicker than the 7A rod. The stick’s thickness is also an important indicator in determining musical application and its durability.

The thicker the sticks, the higher the durability and rigidity. They are also compatible with heavy music styles such as rock, metal, or big bands.

Slimmer sticks will suit lighter and quieter musical styles such as acoustic pop and jazz. Of the three types of rods, “S,” “B,” and “A,” “A” is the thinnest.

Their musical application is usually for small bands and light orchestras.

Which Drum Sticks Are Best?

Depending on your personal needs, you can choose the right drum sticks.

Usually, the best drum sticks will depend on each person. The consensus for beginners is the 5A club. The reason is that the oval bead and its size are suitable for most music genres.

For practice, drummers choose to use thicker sticks, like the 2B. It will help them play proficiently using thinner and lighter clubs.

What Are Different Drum Sticks Used For?

Usually, people classify sticks based on letters or numbers. They will determine the thickness.

This thickness affects the musical application of the drumsticks. They are also denoted by the letters A, B, and S.

  • Thick and heavy “S” sticks for street bands or parades.
  • The “B” club has a moderate thickness and weight, so it is easy to handle. Rockers are very fond of this type of club.
  • The “A” club is the thinnest and lightest of the three. They are ideal for classical orchestras, jazz, or soft music.

Related: Best Drumsticks for Jazz

What Kind Of Drumsticks Should A Beginner Use?

The simple answer is that beginners should start with a pair of hickory 5A woods.

This model is the most popular starting point and product recommendation for drum sticks. It is flexible and compatible with many different musical styles.

Hickory is the first choice in wood materials because of its thick texture. It has high shock absorption and good rigidity.

Conclusion

After reading this article, you can realize the factors that influence the choice of drumsticks. No model is perfect; they can only be effective in certain situations.

Hopefully, this guide can help you find the pairs that best suit your current needs. The key is to express your personality through music.

What do you think? Don’t forget to share your experience in the comments section below!