One stick to rule them all !

Ghostin one

Senior Member
I don't have any problem with the stuff Pocket f.o.g. mentioned, but when I practice Bill Bachman's exercises (e.g. doubles) on a pad, I use the heaviest, fattest sticks I have, then switch to normal sticks when there's improvement worth moving to the drum set.
 

Peedy

Senior Member
Always bring four pair when I play live. They change a bit but generally the smallest is a 5a and the largest is a Ralph Hardimon. Just depends on what I’m playing though.
 

newoldie

Silver Member
My go to stick for almost any gig is VF Dave Weckl Evolution Nylon Tip (SDW2N). 5A weight with excellent rebound.
From there I might switch to the Jack DeJohnette (SJDN) which is a stretched 5A nylon tip.
Those 2 sticks can cover a lot of musical ground and styles.
 

trickg

Silver Member
The sticks I currently use are dictated by volume considerations of the churches I play for. I'm typically on either a Vic Firth maple SD4 Combo, or a Vater Manhattan 7A. It doesn't mean I can't get a big sound out of the drums using them (although not as chunky of a sound as Vater 5As, which is about as heavy as I go) but it seems to be easier for me to keep the volume down when I need to. With that said, my current church is a traditional high-ceiling sanctuary designed for accoustic voice and instrument, so I'm using split rods there - ProMark Lighning Rods.

So with that said, in the practice room I use whatever is laying close by - I think my current practice sticks are Vic Firth 5As.
 

krautfox

Member
I'm typically on either a Vic Firth maple SD4 Combo, or a Vater Manhattan 7A.
Same here. I'm currently using Vater Sweet Rides and 5As for the shorter taper in order to really work on controlling my strokes and my sound (especially the 5As). With the SD4 and 7As, everything seems so much easier ! I don't know what to think about that :p... almost feels like cheating !
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I guess I should give a disclaimer that I play a lot of smaller places as opposed to bigger venues. Also, I get more work by playing quieter than I do louder. I'd say 90% of the time,I don't have the luxury of playing loud and not worrying about volume. Here's what I use:

Vic Firth 7A nylon tip with either Pro Mark or Vater stick wrap. I think I actually prefer the Vater wrap. These are my "big sticks." I can get plenty of volume for what I'm doing out of a 7A easy. I try to keep stage volume low-ish for my bandmates.

Vic Firth AJ5 wooden tip. I use these when the 7A is a little to thick but I still want to use "real sticks" before I resort to Hot Rods. These are actually smaller than a 7A.

Hot Rods. I use these when any sort of stick is too big and loud. As a matter of fact, I'll be playing a 4 hour gig this Friday with Hot Rods.

Regal Tip Non-Retractable brushes. I store these in the original tube the came it. I play with a bluegrass band and play them a lot. Lots of train beats.
 

Matty1977

Senior Member
Sometimes use a pair of 5Bs for practice / pad work and I keep an old pair of VF 7As in my stick bag for lighter moments. 99% of the time I will use Vater Fusions when behind the kit. I wouldn't adjust my pedal between a ballad and a heavier tune..... same goes with sticks. I will adjust my technique around what feels right in my hands from the get go.
 

trickg

Silver Member
Hot Rods. I use these when any sort of stick is too big and loud. As a matter of fact, I'll be playing a 4 hour gig this Friday with Hot Rods.
Have you ever tried Lightning Rods? I prefer them because to me, they have a more defined, less difuse sound than the Hot Rods, but they have the disadvantage in that they have fewer (but larger) rods, so when they finally break and one of the rods snaps off, as it inevitably will, it instantly feels and sounds different.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I prefer them because to me, they have a more defined, less difuse sound than the Hot Rods, but they have the disadvantage in that they have fewer (but larger) rods, so when they finally break
I've only used them like maybe once for just a couple of minutes. I've used the cool rods too. These seem to have the best results of anything that I've tried.
 

krautfox

Member
Sometimes use a pair of 5Bs for practice / pad work and I keep an old pair of VF 7As in my stick bag for lighter moments. 99% of the time I will use Vater Fusions when behind the kit. I wouldn't adjust my pedal between a ballad and a heavier tune..... same goes with sticks. I will adjust my technique around what feels right in my hands from the get go.
I agree ! That's basically how I function, a pair of Zildjian heavy 5a or Travis Barker for pad work (I have small hands), and one pair for everything I do on the kit (during shows or rehearsals). At the moment, it's between the Vater Manhattans or the Sweet Rides. I also recently got a pair of Vater Los Angeles 5a's because they're quite hefty (for me) in order to work on my touch and control
 

roncadillac

Member
I've been playing drums for about 18 years, the first few years I used anything and everything but generally gravitated towards large 2b style sticks. I then had a long stint with vic firth wood tip 5a's before finding the Vater Manhattan 7a and fell in love. I then used those exclusively (besides occasional brush work) before realizing the Sound Percussion 7a stick feels and plays exactly the same... At less then half the price, so I switched. Yup, I use "generic" sticks lol. That's what I exclusively use now unless I'm playing brushes or if I happen to grab a pair of real vater's. Been on the ball tip 7a thing for 10+ years now.

My sticks, drums, and cymbals don't tell me what type of music I'm playing, I tell them.
 

picodon

Silver Member
I use 5B in general to get a fat sound out of the kit, and 8A for the finer/faster stuff. The other day I bought a pair of 5A to see if that can replace both just to save the split second of thinking.
I had started out on 5A, like everyone else I guess, when I started drumming 6 years ago, so happily moving around in circles and enjoying it.
It's just noodling :) You need them anyway every now and then, so why not try different ones, just don't get all religious about it.
 
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BonsaiMagpie

Junior Member
When I'm in the flat just hitting my legs, I use a pair of maple 5As because my girlfriend got them inscribed and I don't want to break them. :)
For real drums I prefer a wooden barrel tip, Vater Matrix or Meinl 5A, they are a Matt Hickory finish and don't slip easily when you start to sweat in hot practice rooms or under stage lights. For me the wood of choice is definitely Hickory for the feel.
I've picked up a full bag of cheap sticks from closing down sales and FB deals, and honestly I just leave them in the practice room. 5Bs are too damn loud, maple sticks are too light and try to bounce out of my hands, and the Vic Firth's I have are too varnished and slippery.
I know a young drummer starting out so I intend to donate my sticks to him when I see him next.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I wanted to return to this thread because it inspired me to try something. :)

I read here about people using 7As - I always thought of those as student sticks for beginners with small hands. That's what I started with. So, I decided to try them again, and I picked up a pair.

A few observations:
- The 7As are so short I had to really adjust my grip to find the balance point, which affected the way I interact with the kit.

- I find the 7As a bit harder to control doing quick things at low volume, which seems counter to what I expected.

- I'm not sure my old idea that practicing with big, heavy sticks to make playing easier with smaller, lighter sticks holds true. It almost feels like a different skill, at least when it comes to finely detailed work at low volume. That's my experience, anyway.

- The 7As really do have a lighter sound, which is no surprise. I can also get a lot of volume, but there is a lack of beefiness or thickness to the sound. Neither good nor bad - just different.

- This is hard to explain, but the lighter sticks actually showcased some weaknesses in my technique, especially with the left hand in matched grip. I was letting the stick cover for some mistakes when using the heavier sticks.

All in all, I'm happy I tried them again. I've been playing more, and refining my skills.
 

EhhSoCheap

Member
- The 7As are so short I had to really adjust my grip to find the balance point, which affected the way I interact with the kit.

What brand are you using? I believe Vic Firth has some 7A models that are around 15.5” or shorter; definitely too short. The Steve Jordan and Questlove models are both lengthy, though. Personally, anything less than 16” feels awkward, and I prefer thin sticks.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
What brand are you using? I believe Vic Firth has some 7A models that are around 15.5” or shorter; definitely too short. The Steve Jordan and Questlove models are both lengthy, though. Personally, anything less than 16” feels awkward, and I prefer thin sticks.
I got the Vic Firth, which seems to be right in line with traditional 7As from Promark, Regal Tip, etc. Though they are short, they seem correctly proportioned. I don't especially like long skinny sticks like the Questlove.
 

donzo74

Junior Member
I've been using Vic Firth 5A's exclusively for at least the last 10 years. Before that, I used the Weckl Evolution. They are very similar in size, weight, profile and feel so it seems as though that is the type of stick that my hands and ears like the most.
 

krautfox

Member
I wanted to return to this thread because it inspired me to try something. :)

I read here about people using 7As - I always thought of those as student sticks for beginners with small hands. That's what I started with. So, I decided to try them again, and I picked up a pair.

A few observations:
- The 7As are so short I had to really adjust my grip to find the balance point, which affected the way I interact with the kit.

- I find the 7As a bit harder to control doing quick things at low volume, which seems counter to what I expected.

- I'm not sure my old idea that practicing with big, heavy sticks to make playing easier with smaller, lighter sticks holds true. It almost feels like a different skill, at least when it comes to finely detailed work at low volume. That's my experience, anyway.

- The 7As really do have a lighter sound, which is no surprise. I can also get a lot of volume, but there is a lack of beefiness or thickness to the sound. Neither good nor bad - just different.

- This is hard to explain, but the lighter sticks actually showcased some weaknesses in my technique, especially with the left hand in matched grip. I was letting the stick cover for some mistakes when using the heavier sticks.

All in all, I'm happy I tried them again. I've been playing more, and refining my skills.
Very interesting analysis you did there !

I mainly use 7a grip-sized sticks because I have small hands and thin arms. They just feel right, like a nice extension to my arms and hands. As I said higher up, I'm currently doing the opposite experiment, using the Vater Los Angeles 5a (which at .570 in diameter, is a beefy stick for me).

Here are my few observations :

- at 16", they almost feel short to me (maybe it has to do with a sort of weight/diameter ratio), which means that besides the evident beefiness, they are more controllable than I thought.

- I feel like having that extra weight allows the stick to do some of the work, which was unexpected. I starting using them while playing jazz and was surprised by the bounce quality on my ride (whether it be speed or sound control) and my left traditional grip comping hand.

- However, I completely agree with you, 5A+ sticks have more beef and thickness to the sound, not more volume than 7As, which is not something I particularly need in the style of music that I play.

- Having a beefier stick in my hand gave me new ideas around the kit, too !

Like you, I feel at home with a certain pair of sticks (in my case, the Vater Sweet Ride), but have recently decided to not play religiously only with that stick and explore different sizes and balances in order to check if my technique is adequate and get new ideas !
 
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