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  #1  
Old 07-22-2012, 09:51 AM
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Default The Pre-Packaging of sticks

When I was young, or today if I go to Pro Drum in Hollywood, drumsticks were always behind the counter in shelves, loose (not paired up with another stick by a sleeve or box of some sort). I was allowed to go behind the counter, grab all the sticks of the size I wanted to buy, and then roll them to pick out the straight ones. I would even separate them by weight while I was at it. In the end, I'd have the straight sticks, and would have hopefully gotten them all to match in weight too.

These days, walk into any store (besides Pro Drum), and the sticks are still behind the counter, but they're paired up by a sleeve. In fact, when I said I wanted to roll them, the salesperson looked at me like I was from Mars. "What do ya mean?" he said. "They're all guaranteed straight from the factory". Of course, I un-sleeved all twenty pairs he had and proceeded to roll them. He had seven straight pairs when I was done and I bought those. Leaving all the warped ones for whoever came in behind me.

When I told my friends of this, my other pro drummer friends found it surprising that I would find any warped sticks of this certain brand. They all buys sticks in bricks of 12 (like I used to) and they all proclaim of the 12 pairs, not one was warped.

Am I being anal-retentive? Should I be that concerned if I get a few bananas out of a brick of 12 pairs? Is the quality level obviously better than I believe? My experience says no, but I was surprised when I found out my other drummer friends were surprised.

Do you guys still roll sticks? Or do you just buy them in bulk and hope for the best?
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:38 AM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
Do you guys still roll sticks? Or do you just buy them in bulk and hope for the best?
It depends, I found out that the wood species seems to play a role in this, hickory sticks being the worst for "banana" shape, I play with maple sticks for years now, an although I use to roll them on the counter and check their weight too, I dont do it anymore, as I'm finding them pretty straight and consistent and well matched (I play SD2 & SD9).


But in the old days I use to roll every single sticks.
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:09 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
Do you guys still roll sticks?
Yes mate. Much in the same way that I still tap heads and get the one that sounds the most lively, I still check every stick.

Sticks at the couple of stores I frequent aren't behind the counter, but they're paired up and in sleeves etc. Doesn't stop me grabbing a bunch to roll, tap and pair up the way I think they should be either.

I can't say I find too many duds these days, but it does happen from time to time. I was taught to do things like check the wood grain, hit them on a pad or counter and roll 'em, many years ago and I reckon it'll stay 'til I'm old and grey. I guess old habits die hard.
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:14 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

No rolling for me. Sticks are about 150-200 kr (~USD 25-35) for a pair in stores, while I can buy bricks online for around 1000 kr (which means about 80 kr/USD 13 a pair). Even if 40% of the brick consists of bad sticks, I will have saved money, and the number of bad sticks in a typical brick is obviously nowhere close to 40%.
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:33 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

Yeah, I used to roll 'em if I could; these days I can't find a shop that's worth a damn where I can actually go inside and do stuff like this. I've bought sticks exclusively online for a while and most reputable vendors are quite cool about errors or defective products. The charm of being able to go somewhere and actually handle sticks or anything else is but a fond memory now.

Incidentally, does anyone frequent a shop where they actually let you demo sticks? I mean, without having to buy them? I know it's a small point, but I always wonder how many different models are sold purely by chance or by someone taking pot luck on a whim. I'm guessing that the majority of players still use either 5A, 7A, or 2B; either that or they might be tempted to use the signature stick of their favourite drummer [or their own signature stick if they happen to have one]. Yet if you look at the number of models that a manufacturer like Vic Firth alone produces, how many people ever think of using the X5B or whatever? How would you know if such a stick is right for you until you tried it? The only way I could try that model is to buy it; if I happened to like it then all well and good but if I didn't the chances are I'd keep 'em as a spare pair and go back to using what I've been using for the last 20 years and never consider anything different ever again. Wouldn't it be in the manufacturers' interests to have as many places as possible where their entire range of sticks could be freely demonstrated?

I've never been to The London Drum Show or NAMM or whatever but I don't feel that one should really have to go to a trade show just to find out which pair of sticks suits a player best without spending a lot of money buying every single model.
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:59 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

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Originally Posted by Bad Tempered Clavier View Post
Incidentally, does anyone frequent a shop where they actually let you demo sticks? I mean, without having to buy them?
Most definitely. I've never been in a store here in Norway (or during my time in Australia) where the sticks weren't available to pick out of the rack and test before buying. Most stores have a pracise pad next to the stick display as well.
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Old 07-22-2012, 01:17 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

I live in the country north of Toronto. There are 3 music stores within 1/2 hour from my home. They all have their sticks out in the open and don't mind if you roll them.

I still roll them but for the most part I'm satisfied with the pre-packaged pairs.

The trouble I run into is that because the market up here is small, none of the stores stocks my particular stick. They all offer to "get them in" for me but at that point I'll just order online.

I've got one more pair from a bulk purchase I made last time I was in Toronto (when I picked up my new Gretch Renown kit ; ) so now I'm faced with just ordering them online. I guess I'll have to forego the roll and take what they send me.

I don't think it'll be a problem though. Still, I will miss rolling the sticks....
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  #8  
Old 07-22-2012, 01:34 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

I still roll them and always have. I'm sort of stuck though because the store won't let me separate them so I have to hope to stumble on a set that isn't warped and hopefully the same (or close) in weight. It's terribly frustrating but thank goodness a pair of sticks can last me 5-6 months.
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Old 07-22-2012, 03:51 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

Hell yes I roll mine before I buy and in fact the Guitar Center employee was taken back by it and looked as though he respected me for taking the time to do that. He even pulled out 12 other sets of sticks for me to go through without me even asking. He's like here you go, get what you need.

I never thought to do such a thing until I got back into drumming about 9 months ago. Luckily when I was drumming 11 years ago the ones I did buy were ok and then used a pair of Ahead sticks until I ended up selling my kit. Now though with the plethora of info I have, I take it all in and use it. I rolled the very first sets of sticks I bought with these PDP's and will forever do so. I'm glad I did the second to last time I bought sticks a little while ago as one set had a stick that was like a banana lol!

Don't be affraid to clear some counter space at your music store and roll those bad boys!
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Old 07-23-2012, 07:10 AM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

I used to be a rock and roller but it seems that the Peter Erskine Ride sticks that I use are straight. 30-40 years ago, the Regal 7B nylon tipped sticks were my favourite, but you had to do your own quality inspection to get the good ones.

GJS
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  #11  
Old 07-23-2012, 07:23 AM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

[quote=Bo Eder;1026656]
Do you guys still roll sticks?

Heck yes I do,Bo. I'm rollin sticks AND checkin for weight cause I want the lightest of the light.
Just for the record I'm playin Promark 7A hickory wood tip and 5A natural, Vic Firth SD11 slammer, and Zildjian 7A Dips. I can feel a banana when I'm playing like it was a pebble in my shoe. Viva la stickroll...er something like that.
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  #12  
Old 07-23-2012, 07:25 AM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

I thought I'd bring this one up. Yes, in the old days quality control really fell on the drummer buying the stuff. But when you're dealing with wooden drumsticks, I think the quality control still falls on the drummer purchasing them. There's another thread here where people are complaining about Remo drumheads, and sometimes I think that quality control shouldn't stop at the drummer. The company making the heads has to do a better job. Mylar and aluminum hoops are not susceptible to weather changes like what happens to wood sticks being shipped around the world.

But I'm just saying that we shouldn't settle for whatever sticks we get in the mail, or drumheads for that matter.
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Old 07-23-2012, 01:30 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

It was recommended to me many years ago to check the sticks by rolling them on a flat surface and I still do it today. I still find many that just don't make the grade. Most recently Vic Firth and Promark. The Zildjian "Heavy Jazz" and Trilok Gurtu sticks that I use are usually spot on.

I never did buy any sticks by the bundle.

Dennis
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Old 07-23-2012, 03:51 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

I roll them, and I also check the grain closely. I only buy sticks where the grain runs mostly parallel through the stick. If the angle of grain is too steep, it's far more likely to break. I work at a music store and if someone goes to buy a dodgy pair I tell them to swap them for another. Vic Firth are pretty bad for this, they release a lot of sticks that should have been relegated to the Nova (reject) line.
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Old 07-23-2012, 04:09 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

I dunno, Bo. It may be a difference in preference or strictness between you and me, but it would take a really screwed up stick for me to think 'Well huh, this one isn't straight enough to play!' I don't roll my sticks because I feel I don't need to, but you certainly have every right to perform your own QC at the store.

Just a matter of sensitivity, maybe habit.
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Old 07-23-2012, 05:04 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

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Vic Firth are pretty bad for this, they release a lot of sticks that should have been relegated to the Nova (reject) line.
Funny you should say that, I used to roll sticks and check grain but for the last 5 or 6 years have been buying my Vic Firth 5bn's by the brick online sight unseen and have only had a couple in that time frame that had bad cross grains and or wobble. Out of the several brands I have used in the past I have found VF to have the best quality control. BTW I did try a brick of those Nova's several years back and those are garbage, I broke all but a couple in 3 gigs plus a couple rehearsals and I rarely break sticks, usually they just wear thru from high hat use and the ends fall off.

Last edited by tard; 07-23-2012 at 08:50 PM.
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  #17  
Old 07-23-2012, 07:30 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

I roll them like you, Bo. Actually, as a Vic Firth customer, I WANT the sticks packaged so they're paired up, since they claim to be pitch-paired before they leave the factory. (There's a cool video on YouTube showing how they do this) Then again, someone else before me may have already swapped the sticks out and my pair is no longer matched anyway. But rolling them is something I always do. I don't run into many duds, but I don't want to plunk down money for warped sticks.
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  #18  
Old 07-23-2012, 07:46 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

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I roll them like you, Bo. Actually, as a Vic Firth customer, I WANT the sticks packaged so they're paired up, since they claim to be pitch-paired before they leave the factory. (There's a cool video on YouTube showing how they do this) Then again, someone else before me may have already swapped the sticks out and my pair is no longer matched anyway. But rolling them is something I always do. I don't run into many duds, but I don't want to plunk down money for warped sticks.
Yeah, that would've been me. I literally took all 20 pairs he had, and took 'em out of those sleeves and rolled them all. I then kept all the straight and heaviest ones. He had 7 pairs of straight heavy ones, so I bought all of those. I then re-sleeved the remainders, those all had issues. I felt a tinge of guilt as I left the store ;)

Not really.
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:03 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

The whole concept of pre-paired sticks is a bad joke. I mean, when would you grab 2 new sticks at the same time? Almost never, is when. You break 1 stick, and you grab 1 replacement. So there’s essentially zero benefit to factory-matched pairs.
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:19 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

Great point. If you drop a stick you don't throw down the second one so that when you pick up another pair. You pick one and hope that it is close to the same weight.? If you are that finicky (sp) you would have to grab a new pair. How far off in grams can two sticks be that most of us would know the difference. I bought a brick of Nova when I first started playing again and rolled all 24 and had 3 that were bad. Not bad for seconds.
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Old 07-28-2012, 02:57 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

I've never broken a stick (no wonder, mostly pad work) yet but to me it seems logical to get a new pair in case one stick breaks - that is, if you bought matched sticks. The orphan stick would be put aside and used next time when another stick breaks. So you're either using "correct" pairs or two orphan sticks forming a pair. That's what I'm imagining I'd do.

Also, I'd roll them. The first few pairs of sticks I bought I didn't do so as I was a total beginner at that time. And the only pair of sticks which I ordered unrolled, unseen and unchecked turned out to be my favourite stick so far, with one stick being slightly warped. My store doesn't stock them so I don't have a way to eliminate warped sticks of that model, damn.
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:08 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

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I've never broken a stick (no wonder, mostly pad work) yet but to me it seems logical to get a new pair in case one stick breaks.
Much quicker and easier to grab one stick with which ever hand the broken one was in and keep playing. I can keep a beat going with only one hand......wouldn't be possible to do if both hands were occupied reaching for sticks.
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:12 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

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Much quicker and easier to grab one stick with which ever hand the broken one was in and keep playing. I can keep a beat going with only one hand......wouldn't be possible to do if both hands were occupied reaching for sticks.
In a live situation - of course. When practicing (that's what I assumed) you have all the time.

BTW, having seen that Vic Firth video on how they manufacture and pair their sticks it's quite hard for me to even imagine warped sticks leaving their factory, let alone getting into the stores.
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:27 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

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In a live situation - of course. When practicing (that's what I assumed) you have all the time.

BTW, having seen that Vic Firth video on how they manufacture and pair their sticks it's quite hard for me to even imagine warped sticks leaving their factory, let alone getting into the stores.
Unfortunately, with the finishes that most stick manufacturers use, the moisture content of sticks can change with transit and storage. As a result, although the sticks may leave the factory straight they often warp after leaving the factory.
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:34 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

I buy by the brick, & although I very rarely encounter a warped one, I do find differences in weight between matched pairs. Finding different densities is what I expect to find. That's how wood is. When I bust a stick, it's orphan goes into the single section of my bag, & waits until I find a match for it.
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:49 PM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

You know, since they started packaging sticks in their own little sleeves with the assurance that they have been "matched", I've just taken them at their word and never thought much about it. I've never bought sticks in bundles because sticks usually last me a long time. But I used to roll them and check the timbre of the sticks compared to each other. I used to work with a drummer who taught me about sticks and what to check for. I think you have convinced me to do QC again and not just take the stick companies at their word. I've been using VF lately because I like the tips and they are pretty consistent and don't break as easily as the ProMarks I was playing for years. The wood tip of the Zildjian 5A's I tried broke off after one set. Haven't really came across any real bananas but if you buy bundles, I can see that happening.
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:11 AM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

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Finding different densities is what I expect to find. That's how wood is. When I bust a stick, it's orphan goes into the single section of my bag, & waits until I find a match for it.
Same here. I rarely break a stick. I use mostly wood tips and the tips and/or shoulder usually give out long before any breakage. Once a tip gains a soft spot; my rides cry. That singles section is getting large though.
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:35 AM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

I figure that the sticks may be matched and straight in the factory, but who knows what might happen to them physically between the time they are made and the time they end up in my hands.

Dennis
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:18 AM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

It's too bad the Ahead sticks are a little too heavy for what they are. I'd love to use them but all that sensitivity I'm used to with wood just go out the window with the Ahead sticks. Lovely in concept, though.
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:09 AM
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Default Re: The Pre-Packaging of sticks

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I figure that the sticks may be matched and straight in the factory, but who knows what might happen to them physically between the time they are made and the time they end up in my hands.

Dennis
Yes....and I can't be guaranteed that the packaged pair are the original pair that came in that package, especially since guys will sometimes have a tendency to take the pairs out, roll the sticks, take the ones they like, and put the rest back.
I buy Vic 5a's by the brick, take off all the packaging, give them a quick roll, then put them in my stickbag. That's about as matched as they get for me.
If I find duds they lay on the practice room floor as backups.

As far as pre-packaging, DW were at one time making drum sticks. I don't know if they still are or if that was just a trial, but they had these matched, weighted sticks that had the dimensions and weights printed right on them, and were of varying weights on the tip and butt of the stick. Did any of you guys try those? Yeah, they were expensive, but the idea was pretty cool.
And they added a 3rd matched stick as a replacement.
Anyway, I got a chance to try out a couple of sets, and then never saw them again. Another fad, I guess.
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