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  #1  
Old 05-08-2012, 06:57 PM
Mike Armstrong Mike Armstrong is offline
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Default Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

If you were blind folded and someone handed you a pair of sticks to play from several different brands of the same size, shape and wood type, could you tell a difference?

I recently gathered up all of the pairs of sticks I have of different sizes and woods from several brands in order to see if the sticks I've been using are still what feels best or if I've sort of grown out of them and now prefer something different. I have about twenty different pairs all laid out next to each other. Using a practice pad and repeatedly playing the same set of rudiments I just reach over and grab the next pair of sticks without really looking at which ones they are and make a mental note of how they feel and play before moving on to the next pair.

Kinda interesting to see what sticks get set aside in the 'favorite pile'. My hands no longer feel best using the sticks that had been favorites of mine. Every once in awhile I'll see someone post that they're so stoked to have finally found the stick that fits them perfectly and they're happy to be playing so much better. Now I'm wondering if there's 'that' stick out there that I'm missing out on.

I have many different sizes and woods of Vater and Vick Firth. Would it be worth it do this test with sticks from say Zildjian, Pro Mark and Ahead or do you feel it's not the brand as much as it's the size, shape and wood type that makes the most difference?
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:38 PM
PDPx7Drummer
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

I don't know if it's possible to tell the brand names apart but from what I gather about the moisture content is that you can tell if one stick is heavier than the other or if a set is heavier than the other. Also type of wood used possibly, like between hickory, maple and oak. Some will say they have "found their stick" for many reasons I suppose. One stick may have the right length, dia and tip at one company and not another so when they find it they stick with it and that company. Others may say it because their favorite drummer uses it, or they may say it because they want to jump on the band wagon of using the most popular stick choice of a certain company or a certain popular company in general.

Honestly the only way you may possibly be able to tell the brands apart is by the way they finish their sticks. I've read one company likes to put a lot of lacquer on their sticks and others dont, etc and so on. Otherwise I'd say, if the logos were removed, it would be quite hard to tell brands apart.
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  #3  
Old 05-08-2012, 08:41 PM
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Winston_Wolf Winston_Wolf is offline
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

For a product made out of the same natural material, it is surprising to me how each brand makes the stick feel completely different.

So, the short answer is yes, I notice a difference in feel between stick manufacturers. I normally play either an SD1 or SD9 and have that model from Vic Firth, Vater, and Pro Mark and each brand has a different feel in spite of the general specification being the same.
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:47 PM
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

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Originally Posted by Winston_Wolf View Post
For a product made out of the same natural material, it is surprising to me how each brand makes the stick feel completely different.

So, the short answer is yes, I notice a difference in feel between stick manufacturers. I normally play either an SD1 or SD9 and have that model from Vic Firth, Vater, and Pro Mark and each brand has a different feel in spite of the general specification being the same.
So you would feel confident in taking the blind test? If the logo's were removed and you were given a brand new set of one type of stick from each company, you would be able to name the company just by feel? I find that a little hard to believe, not a lot but a little.

What are the differences that you feel between company's? How many different characteristics can there be that help you think this way? I'm not questioning your knowledge or thoughts, I really am interested to know the differences that are so obvious to you.
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:50 PM
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drstrangefunk drstrangefunk is offline
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

i don't like wood. it's dumb.

for many years i stayed away from Ahead sticks because of so much talk about how they would damage your heads / rims / cymbals etc.

breaking a pair every two weeks per $4 investment* was adding up. as were the wood chips (stick meat, where i come from). both a drag.

i looked long and hard for some type of synthetic stick and even imagined in my mind what i would need.

i imagined a double-butted 2B synthetic timbale stick that was a little over standard length and was not hollow on the inside. i searched high and low for such a stick and even started a thread or two about it here.

i was finally convinced by a salesman who didn't actually like synthetic sticks, but he did like the Ahead Studio Hybrid 5AB's. they were light and heavy all at the same time and very well balanced. i held them and they felt soooooooooo gooooood.

they hit hard like a 2B but feel light in the hands like a 5A. they do not damage cymbals - even without the sheath, in which case they are much lighter still. and they look cool too.

i'm not happy with the aluminium butt end (metallic and grainy feeling), but i have been playing them as/is since re-sheathing and re-tipping. sometimes i like to make things hard on myself to add a degree of difficulty to my work ethic. the drumming equivalent of ankle weights. i'm sure i'll go back to adding some kind of covering in the future - either electrical tape or Eason's, but for now i'm digging the difficulty.

that $32 investment has lasted me a year and a half now, with only an additional 5 bucks for new sheaths. and truly, the sheaths were in pretty good shape, actually. i only changed them out because i was changing the tips and figured i'd do a complete overhaul. i'm VERY PLEASED.

and no stick meat.

* $4-6 sticks lasted two weeks / $8-10 sticks lasted a month / $30 Techra synthetics (hollow inside) lasted 6 months - better, but not quite it.

Last edited by drstrangefunk; 05-10-2012 at 08:19 PM.
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  #6  
Old 05-08-2012, 10:35 PM
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harryconway harryconway is offline
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

Just like so many items that we drummers have and use ..... it all comes down to "personal taste".
Just like "do different brands of shoes feel different?" Of course they do. Does it make a difference? Well, some are gonna say yes, and some might say no.
I have 4 sets of Sticks (different sizes, different brands) I like to use. And 1 set of Rods. And I have about 25+ pair of miscellaneous pairs, that I don't use, collecting dust. And sure, I've proved to myself that one can grow out of "my favorite" and suddenly fall in love with "another". Add to that, in 45 years of drumming, the choice offerings now is probably at least 10 fold what it was then.
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Originally Posted by Mike Armstrong View Post
Would it be worth it do this test with sticks from say Zildjian, Pro Mark and Ahead or do you feel it's not the brand as much as it's the size, shape and wood type that makes the most difference?
Certainly, you can't group Ahead (or most any non-wood stick) into the competition. I've played 10 brands/types of non-wood sticks, and none of them feel like wood. Even if they say they do. But, "would it be worth it"? All depends on how A.R. you are, about all this. If you find solace in performing such a test/shoot-out .... then do it.
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  #7  
Old 05-08-2012, 11:46 PM
Mike Armstrong Mike Armstrong is offline
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

Thanks Harry, I think. I keep getting distracted by that Avatar of yours, dangit! :)
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  #8  
Old 05-09-2012, 04:41 AM
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Pocket-full-of-gold Pocket-full-of-gold is offline
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

Pretty sure I couldn't pick brands in a blind test (except maybe for Pro-Mark.....all that lacquer is pretty easy to feel). But that fact that I couldn't doesn't bother me in the least either. I could tell you what feels good and what doesn't and that's all I care about.

I simply don't choose sticks by brand, I choose them by feel. Pretty much why I've used a variety of sticks from VF, Pro-Mark, Zildjian and Vater at various stages over the years. And as Harry quite rightly points out, what my favourite "feel" is, has changed over the years as well. Right now, I'm really digging Vater Fusions and Manhattan's. But prior to that it was any number of Vic's, Pro-Mark's or Zildjian's.

So yeah, all in all I do think it's the actual stick itself and not the stick maker that sways me. And what I'm looking for in a stick today may not be what I'm looking for in a stick tomorrow.....because it sure as hell wasn't yesterday.
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  #9  
Old 05-09-2012, 03:50 PM
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Winston_Wolf Winston_Wolf is offline
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PDPx7Drummer View Post
So you would feel confident in taking the blind test? If the logo's were removed and you were given a brand new set of one type of stick from each company, you would be able to name the company just by feel? I find that a little hard to believe, not a lot but a little.

What are the differences that you feel between company's? How many different characteristics can there be that help you think this way? I'm not questioning your knowledge or thoughts, I really am interested to know the differences that are so obvious to you.
It's mostly in feel, as in the actual texture of the stick, but weight plays a part too. All of my Vater SD9's are lighter and have a much finer grain than the Firth SD9's. They're also stark white, as opposed to the Firth sticks having a more yellow hue. In SD1's the Pro Mark sticks are lighter than either the Vater or Firth, and have a much slicker, more varnished feel. They're also the most honey-colored of any of my sticks.

I'm sure the differences come down to the source of raw lumber, the drying process, and the finishing in both sanding and amount and type of lacquer applied.

So yeah, I could tell by look and feel the different makers even without logos.
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  #10  
Old 05-09-2012, 06:48 PM
PDPx7Drummer
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

Interesting, thanks for getting back at me here Winston. Maybe when I have enough money I can pick up a pair or two from each company and see what I can tell from each.

Also nice screen name, I believe that's a character from Pulp Fiction right lol? :)
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  #11  
Old 05-10-2012, 04:54 AM
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Winston_Wolf Winston_Wolf is offline
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

Yep!
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  #12  
Old 05-10-2012, 05:25 AM
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masonni masonni is offline
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

I'm thinking that you could tell the difference in each brand based on how they are made and the quality of wood used.

Vic Firth uses stone grinders to mold the sticks from wood. This process makes a much smother finish than the traditional back-knife lathes. Because Vic makes Zildjian stick's, they may feel similar, but Zildjian sticks have a different finish on them to distinguish brands.

It was just announced that Pro Mark is switching to grinders after 50 years of using lathes.

Both Vater and Regal Tip use back-knife lathes, but Regal Tip uses a thick lacquer. Much thicker than any other brand.

Ahead is aluminum, so that's an easy one to feel.

So I'm think'n that yes, give me the Pepsi challenge and I bet I could tell them all apart.
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:26 AM
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Ian Williams Ian Williams is offline
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

Love that sexy vanity...Harry, you are something else brother! :*)

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Originally Posted by Mike Armstrong View Post
Thanks Harry, I think. I keep getting distracted by that Avatar of yours, dangit! :)
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:42 PM
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

i think pro marks are different from cheap sticks cos of the wood quality and durabilty
in fact my promarks have lasted like 5 months and thats twice as long as my ahead sticks that i had so even expensive sticks can be less durable
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  #15  
Old 05-11-2012, 11:28 PM
Drumolator Drumolator is offline
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

Are the drum sticks from different companies different? Yes. Could I tell which is which in a blindfold test? Probably not, but that does not mean they are not different or that brand does not matter. I only know what I like and what feels good in my hands. That could come from any drum stick maker, but it most often happens with Vater. Peace, goodwill, and blues.
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  #16  
Old 05-12-2012, 11:15 AM
PDPx7Drummer
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

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Yep!
I thought so lol! :D
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  #17  
Old 05-13-2012, 01:36 AM
TNA TNA is offline
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

As someone who has been a pro mark user for several years. I bought a pair of vaters the other week, in the same size. I could immediately tell the difference. Although they may be the same length and thickness, I think the taper differs between brands. The vaters felt off balance to me, probably due to using the pro marks for so long. But I could definitely notice a difference.
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:22 PM
Jorge89 Jorge89 is offline
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Armstrong View Post
If you were blind folded and someone handed you a pair of sticks to play from several different brands of the same size, shape and wood type, could you tell a difference?

I recently gathered up all of the pairs of sticks I have of different sizes and woods from several brands in order to see if the sticks I've been using are still what feels best or if I've sort of grown out of them and now prefer something different. I have about twenty different pairs all laid out next to each other. Using a practice pad and repeatedly playing the same set of rudiments I just reach over and grab the next pair of sticks without really looking at which ones they are and make a mental note of how they feel and play before moving on to the next pair.

Kinda interesting to see what sticks get set aside in the 'favorite pile'. My hands no longer feel best using the sticks that had been favorites of mine. Every once in awhile I'll see someone post that they're so stoked to have finally found the stick that fits them perfectly and they're happy to be playing so much better. Now I'm wondering if there's 'that' stick out there that I'm missing out on.

I have many different sizes and woods of Vater and Vick Firth. Would it be worth it do this test with sticks from say Zildjian, Pro Mark and Ahead or do you feel it's not the brand as much as it's the size, shape and wood type that makes the most difference?
It is not about the brand sometimes. I really dig Vic Firth's HD4''s and Steve Jordan's. Pro Mark's Natural 5A. Vaters 5A, Fusions and Mike Johnston's as well as some others I can't recall exactly. Since to me Vater has a wider selection for my tastes I usually play them and right now I'm playing Guitar Center's SP Funk which are equivalent to the Johnstons just slightly thinner. I used to work there and bought like 20 pairs of those Sound Percussion Funks for $1.18 a pair with my discount and they've lasted me a while. They're actually good sticks if you don't pay much attention to how it's rolled--I will admit it's like picking up a really bad cue stick at a pool hall, lol.
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:36 AM
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Rock Drummer Rock Drummer is offline
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PDPx7Drummer View Post
So you would feel confident in taking the blind test? If the logo's were removed and you were given a brand new set of one type of stick from each company, you would be able to name the company just by feel? I find that a little hard to believe, not a lot but a little.

What are the differences that you feel between company's? How many different characteristics can there be that help you think this way? I'm not questioning your knowledge or thoughts, I really am interested to know the differences that are so obvious to you.
Actually I think I would be able to tell. Regal Tip's Laquer is really sticky, Pro-Mark's laquer feels dry, Vater's butts of the stick are sawed off, Vic Firth's laquer is like Vater's except the butt is rounded and they are extremely smooth, and Ahead sticks, well anyone could tell those.
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:38 AM
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

Quote:
Originally Posted by masonni View Post
I'm thinking that you could tell the difference in each brand based on how they are made and the quality of wood used.

Vic Firth uses stone grinders to mold the sticks from wood. This process makes a much smother finish than the traditional back-knife lathes. Because Vic makes Zildjian stick's, they may feel similar, but Zildjian sticks have a different finish on them to distinguish brands.

It was just announced that Pro Mark is switching to grinders after 50 years of using lathes.

Both Vater and Regal Tip use back-knife lathes, but Regal Tip uses a thick lacquer. Much thicker than any other brand.

Ahead is aluminum, so that's an easy one to feel.

So I'm think'n that yes, give me the Pepsi challenge and I bet I could tell them all apart.
Vic makes Zildjian sticks? I never knew that! Learn something new every day

And I can definately tell a Pepsi from a Coke. Coke tastes way better and is smoother lol
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  #21  
Old 06-20-2012, 06:08 AM
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masonni masonni is offline
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

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Vic makes Zildjian sticks? I never knew that! Learn something new every day
Vic has made Zildjian's sticks for a Looooong time... and last year Zildjian bought Vic, so yeah...
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Old 07-01-2012, 02:17 AM
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VladTheLad VladTheLad is offline
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Default Re: Stick Brands: Are they really that Different?

As a lot of people have already said - Yes, they've all got their own feel to them, amongst other things.

So far (and I'm not sure many people have heard about these), the best sticks I've ever layed my hands on we're "Xcel Drumsticks". Check them out, I definitely recommend them. Not sure what the link is, but just google it... My friends band who've recently got pretty famous in the UK showed me them as he just got endorsed - I was absolutely blown away.
As soon as I have the money, I'm definitely getting some.
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