The best way that I've ever tested the straightness of sticks
I've been playing Vic Firth for 10-15 years now, and so I've never really worried about testing the straightness of my sticks - until now.
I accidentally discovered that the die-cast hoop on my snare is a great way to test the straightness of my sticks! I have my snare at home with me and I'm using the sticks that I practice with on my practice pad. Well, for some reason, when I was done playing with my snare 2 nights ago I decided to put these sticks on just the hoop (completely off the head), but I didn't angle them quite right the first time in order to prevent them from rolling off. So the sticks began rolling very slowly and I noticed that the rolling motion was uneven and so I quickly grabbed one and let the other continue. Immediately, I slowed it down some more then it rocked back and forth several times and came to a rest. The other stick did the same thing, but it wasn't as bad. Surprised, I took a careful look at them lengthwise and sure enough, they're both slightly warped. After that, I kept repeating the same thing over and over in utter amazement at how great of a test my die-cast hoop is for testing the straightness of sticks! lol Who knew?
So, I bought some new sticks today using the exact same method at the store to test the straightness of the sticks that I wanted to buy. I had some picked out after testing them for weight (I like the heaviest 5A's that I can find from Vic Firth). Then, I went and found a nice snare with a die-cast hoop and started rolling my sticks on the hoop! lol I probably could've just used any flanged hoop, but I wanted to be sure. Fortunately, the sticks I selected turned out to be perfectly straight, with an perfectly even rolling motion - like a good ball bearing! :)
So, I'll never again buy sticks without rolling them on a good hoop first.
Note: the sticks should be rolled very slowly. That way, you can also see if they rock back and forth in addition to seeing if the rolling motion is even. Of course, the snare should be mostly level.