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Old 10-15-2013, 04:42 PM
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BradGunnerSGT BradGunnerSGT is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 474
Default Re: Whats the deal with stick size?

It all has to do with what's comfortable for you, and sometimes what is comfortable is actually the opposite of what you would expect. I'm not a huge guy with huge hands, but I play a much larger (but MUCH lighter!!) stick than I used to.

I actually purchased a pair of Pro-Mark 747's earlier this year and played them during a gig on Neil Peart's birthday. When I was a "kid", those were heavy "rock" sticks that I thought were huge. Now that I am used to sticks that fill my hand and don't feel like I have to maintain a death grip to keep hold of them, the 747's feel like playing with pencils.

Mike Portnoy amazes me that he basically plays a pair of toothpicks with huge tips on them and bashes the hell out of his kit. I can't see how he doesn't break 10 pairs a night and doesn't have intense hand cramps from gripping those little things.

I started out with Vic Firth 5A's (like everyone else on the planet) and tried a lot of small to medium sized sticks. VF 7A, ProMark 707's, 808's, 747's. I bumped up a notch, size-wise, and ended up with Vater Fusions for a long time (several years) and then went back to the 5A size (VF 5A, 55A, and X5A).

After reading an interview with Gavin Harrison a few years ago, I tried the Vic Firth SD9 (maple stick, a tiny bit larger than a 5B). Wow, I was amazed that I had never thought if that before. The SD9 is a "beefier" stick, size- and balance-wise, but it weighs the same as a 5A. I have played them for the last 3 years and I don't think I could find a better all around stick for my hands. I play so much more relaxed now that I don't feel like I have to grip so hard to keep the sticks in my hands. These are the largest and longest sticks that I have ever played and yet they make me feel effortless. I can play loud or soft or anything an between and not have to change sticks. I think the larger stick actually give me more control at softer volumes because the sticks feel so balanced.
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