Originally Posted by danplaysdrums
Here's a bit of information for those looking into their first pair of sticks or those thinking about trying a new brand/tip/model/wood type sticks.
The first thing to consider is the wood. Personally I don't think there are good woods and bad woods, different woods are suitable for different styles. Here is a quick overview of the 3 main types of wood used in drum sticks.
Oak is very heavy for it’s size. Oak sticks have a heavy feel, so they feel good in smaller diameters. Oak absorbs much less shock than Hickory, which means it passes the shock on to your hands, therefore Oak should be played on softer surfaces (i.e. snare drums not turned too high, rack and floor toms, and thinner cymbals) and at lower volume levels.
Maple is lighter feel than the other two woods, so you can have a much larger diameter stick in your hand without a heavy or slow and sluggish feel. Maple sticks are great for orchestral or Symphonic playing. Maple, like oak, has a lower shatter point, so when Maple sticks are taken to a drumset, rimshots with lead to quick failure on the sticks, unless playing low volume applications like soft jazz.
The benefits range from very durable wood with a high shatter point, meaning it can take a get deal of abuse before breaking. Hickory sticks tend to chip away as they are played on cymbals or rimshots, as opposed to Maple and Oak, that can merely snap in half when the much lower shatter point is reached. The most important benefit is how Hickory sticks absorb more than twice the about of shock as the other woods. This means more of the vibration that stick occurs due to contact with a rim as in rimshots, or cymbals, is keep within the stick as opposed to transferred on to your hands, wrists, forearms, and elbows.
The next thing do think about is the tip, nylon or wood?
Wood tip sticks offers a warmer and quieter sound, thus they tend to have thicker necks.Nylon tip sticks due to the louder projection of the nylon tip tend to have thinner necks, and offer a very consistent sound during the lifetime of the stick.
Another vital parameter for a great stick is the tip shape.
Round, acorn, and arrow are the most common shapes for drumsticks. There are probably 20 or more variations on these 3 main shapes due to slight preference drummers will have for their performing situations or styles. Most of these variations can be seen on each drumstick Manufacturers’ Endorser Signature lines of sticks.
The acorn bead offers the great versatility as opposed to the round bead which offers the least versatility. The round bead offers a cleared articulate less warm sound than an acorn bead, and more uniform sound since despite the angle striking a round bead to a surface it will be the same. An acorn bead offers 3 clear positions of shape of the bead for different sounds. The arrow bead offers the warmest sound when propely played on the flat or large surface of the bead, but requires more advanced training to play acorn beads correctly and consistently.
Drumming beginners may become confused about all of the markings on drumsticks (5A, 5B, 2B etc.) However, the markings are rather simple.
A stands for orchestral, or symphonic style of music therefore narrower necks and small beads for quieter style of playing.
B stands for Band, therefore needing more neck and bead size to perform within a louder and larger performing group.
S stand for street, or marching band style of performing, therefore a thick diameter stick for projection and volume needs.
Hope that helps guys :)