Maybe your sticks are breaking too often, or you can’t seem to get the right sound out of your
cymbals. The biggest mistake, beginners often make is to overlook the importance of matching their drum sticks to their playing style. The characteristics of your drumstick affect your control, the feel, shock absorption, sound, balance, and durability there of. Finding the right drumsticks is just as important as finding the perfect drum set or cymbal to have a complete package. So choose drumsticks that fits your playing style and dazzle your personality when you are on stage.
The differences between drumsticks come down to the material they’re made out of, such as different types of wood or plastic, and the shape of the drumstick. To identify which drumstick goes with which type of music , drumsticks are numbered to define their characterisitics. The drumstick numbering system is very old, and it shows in the meaning behind the letters A, B and S. “A” stands for “orchestra”,“B” stands for “band and “S” means “street”. There is also a number associated with the letter (for instance, 2B), which fine-tunes the size beyond the letter designation. In general, the higher the number, the smaller the stick diameter, typically range from 7 (the most narrow) to 2 (the most thick).
Orchestra sticks “A” are the most narrow of the lettering options and are generally produce less volume and are lighter than other letters.
Band sticks “B” were designed for brass bands are thicker than “A” sticks. “B” sticks are easier to control and are preferred by drum teachers worldwide for a simple reason – smaller circumference!
Street drumsticks “S” were originally meant for marching bands. Since they were playing in large, open-air spaces, these drumsticks are meant to produce louder sounds than others.
It is a common belief that it is better for beginning students to play with size “2B” sticks, a bigger and heavier stick. The idea is that it is easier to learn proper technique using weighty sticks. There might be some of truth in this, but it ignores the fact that the bigger sticks don’t fit well in most young hands (or adults with small hands). Holding the sticks can then feel uncomfortable. Lighter sticks are also much easier to control, play at low dynamic levels, and wield at faster tempos.
The most popular and affordable material for drumsticks is wood, made of either maple, hickory, or a Japanese white oak. Each with a slightly different feel.
Maple sticks are the least dense and most lightweight, allowing for a larger diameter feel without the weight. With it’s low density it tends to have lower-volume , which make maple sticks perfect for practicing without making too much noise and disturbing others. Maple has excellent flexibility and great energy absorption, meaning you will feel less of the hit in your hands. Maple sounds sweeter
and brighter on drums and cymbals and allows you to play fast because of it’s light weight.
Hickory is a common, well rounded wood for drumsticks. They’re heavier and more dense than maple sticks so they produce more volume. Hickory drum sticks are the most popular choice of drumsticks for its flexibility and impact resistance. Excellent shock absorption, makes them easier on your hands for longer sessions.
Oak is heavier than Hickory dense and heavy, you will feel the vibrations a lot more due to poor energy absorption. Often the most durable, but will split with little warning. The increased weight gives drums a bigger, darker sound and yields a very big, but brash cymbal sound.
Aluminum drumsticks are the latest advancement in drumstick technology. The benefits of aluminum sticks are numerous. They include –
- Reduced shock/vibration transferred back to the hands.
- Fast rebounds and flexibility for greater speed than wood.
- Precision manufacturing for perfectly balanced sticks.
- Replaceable tips and incredible durability.
Drumsticks made of synthetic materials such as carbon fiber are also widely available. These are clearly the most durable option, but often come with problems in balance, feel and shock absorption.
Drumstick tips come in a wide variety of shapes, there are five general tip shapes oval,Teardrop,Round,Acorn and Barrel, each with its own sound. Each shape also comes in many sizes. Smaller tips creates a more expressive sound while larger tips create bigger and deeper sounds. Tips are made from wood, nylon, or delrin they don’t typically change the sound of the drums. Nylon tips are great for bringing out your cymbals and getting better rebound from your stick.Nylon tips will last longer, because it won’t chip.If you are playing on an electric drum set, you want to use nylon tips.
Wood tips can splinter and severely damage your drum pads! Delrin is used by some companies in place or nylon since it is supposedly more durable. Most common is the wood tips, they have a darker contact sound and a less expressive sound on cymbals. The only real downside to wood tips is the fact
that they may chip after extensive use. It’s hard to describe the difference in effect different tips have on the sound of drum equipment. It’s best to find a music store where you can test different sticks out yourself.
I would suggest if you are just starting out with drumming,you might want to buy a 5A drumstick, until you have decided on what you want to play at! But keep in mind that a drummers stick choice is personal, so feel free to experiment around with different sizes and styles. With proper technique, sticks
should break very seldom. So if you are constantly breaking your sticks, check your technique before changing to heavier sticks.