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  #1  
Old 09-27-2012, 07:10 AM
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keepitgreen keepitgreen is offline
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Default My quest for the perfect sticks...

This isn't really a question; more just a musing through my own personal journey of trying to find sticks that feel right...

My band plays a mostly hard rock with a little funk/blues thrown in for fun. I've always used a 5a stick, and I've never been very particular about which brand. I live in Taiwan, and although the local music stores have a pretty good selection, I'm always at the mercy of whatever they have in stock. Over the past few years, I've been using 5a Vic Firth Novas on a regular basis, and have been comfortable with them.

Then about two months ago, I started mixing it up. I switched to a Zildjian 5a, and loved them. Then I found out that they were actually being made by Vic Firth, so that's not a surprise. I picked up a pair of 5a Tama Oak sticks, and had a great time with them, although I found them too heavy, so I moved on. I grabbed a pair of Promarks, but they just didn't feel right in my hands at all. The weight and grip was just off. One local shop had just got a set of 5ax Vic Firth sticks, and they were awesome because they were big and chunky, but they were just a little bit too long to be totally comfortable in my hands....

Then a couple of days ago I found a set of Vater 5a's. I brought them to band practice last night, and WOW. These things felt absolutely perfect in my hands! I was so surprised. They're light, but still felt very solid. The big barrel shaped tips made my ride sing, and the thick shaft felt absolutely perfect on the hi-hats. They let my hands dance on the toms, and rim shots on the snare absolutely barked at me (in a good way!).

I think I've found my perfect sticks. Then again, it could have been just a really good practice last night, so time will tell.
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  #2  
Old 09-27-2012, 01:34 PM
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Rock Drummer Rock Drummer is offline
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Default Re: My quest for the perfect sticks...

Vater does make some very amazing sticks, I love their Fatback 3A
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  #3  
Old 09-29-2012, 03:44 PM
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KarlCrafton KarlCrafton is offline
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Default Re: My quest for the perfect sticks...

Welcome to the forum, cool story!

Yep, your hands know.

I went through many styles and types over the years too.

What I ended up with is pretty weird.

A few years ago, I hooked up with a custom maker (we became friends too, and I endorse his sticks). I had a couple different models going, but what I ended up with after a bunch of experimenting is kinda different.....

I use a 14 7/8", .562 double butt stick.

I can do anything I want with these things, and the dynamics are still there. I can still play quietly, but the sound is still "full".

Have fun with the Vater sticks, they make nice stuff.
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Old 09-29-2012, 04:50 PM
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Sjogras Sjogras is offline
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Default Re: My quest for the perfect sticks...

I have also been using 5A sticks for a long time, from a few different brands, but Vic Firth seems to be my favourite. However, I've always felt like I'm missing something with these sticks so I recently bought a pair of Vic Firth 55A and they seem just perfect, they are right in betweem 5A and 5B in thickness, same length.

I will be try Vater as well soon, as long as I can find a pair similar in size to 55A, (16" long and .580" thick)
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  #5  
Old 09-29-2012, 05:23 PM
Drumolator Drumolator is offline
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Default Re: My quest for the perfect sticks...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sjogras View Post
I have also been using 5A sticks for a long time, from a few different brands, but Vic Firth seems to be my favourite. However, I've always felt like I'm missing something with these sticks so I recently bought a pair of Vic Firth 55A and they seem just perfect, they are right in betweem 5A and 5B in thickness, same length.

I will be try Vater as well soon, as long as I can find a pair similar in size to 55A, (16" long and .580" thick)

In Vater that stick is the Josh Freese signature model H-220. I like that size too, but I very rarely see it it stores. Thus I usually buy the Vater 5A. Peace and goodwill.
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  #6  
Old 09-29-2012, 08:36 PM
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Shedboyxx Shedboyxx is offline
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Default Re: My quest for the perfect sticks...

I keep having to revisit the 'perfect' stick topic myself but there does seem to be one that hasn't changed in a while, Firth Peter Erskine Ride model. I can use this for a lot of the soft to medium hard content I play but not all.

BTW: I'm one of those guys that has at least 4 different stick models in his bag most of the time.

My recent search has been for a stick to play louder music. I found that my hand was tiring out with the Firth 85A's I was using so tried a Regal Tip 5BE model. I also was trying out nylon tips since all of the other sticks were wood tipped. These have worked out well but.... still not satisfied I kept going.

Someone on another forum posted that Musicians Friend was selling Firth sticks cheap for a sale. I ended up getting a few signature models ($4.50 a pair USD, nice!) to try out: Keith Carlock, Jo Jo Mayer, Stanton Moore and Zoro. The Carlock model is nice but is not one of the sticks to use for heavier playing. The other sticks I'm trying out still with the Stanton Moore being a fav so far.

Even if i use Stanton's model I'll probably have a pair of the Regal Tip 5BE's in the bag for the loudest stuff i play.

It seems like a never ending trip these days. :)
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  #7  
Old 10-12-2012, 01:36 PM
pinoydrummer pinoydrummer is offline
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Default Re: My quest for the perfect sticks...

I also had some issues with choosing the right sticks until I've
tried Vater Fatback 3A. The diameter that I'm comfortable with
is .590 but I'll probably go for a smaller diameter for lighter music.

Another stick that I've stumbled upon when I cannot order the
Fatback is the Promark Hickory 5B TX5BN. I like how the stick
boxes of ProMark has the measurements (dia, length).

I also use generic sticks like the Pro Mark LA Special 5B which
almost has a .590 diameter. One awesome thing about this stick
is that it only cost less than $5.
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  #8  
Old 10-12-2012, 04:45 PM
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Dirtysticks Dirtysticks is offline
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Default Re: My quest for the perfect sticks...

I keep probably 10 or more different models of sticks in my stick bag. Mostly from 5A to 5B weights from different brands. I work at a music store and I try all types of sticks and stock up for cheap. I may use a different stick everyday... sometimes multiple brands and sizes in one gig. Vic Firth is probably my favorite, but I also love Primarily 5A and 747 as well as Vaster Josh Freeze and LA 5A. I have probably 10 different signature stick types from Vic Firth. I rotate different models in and out of my stick bag every few months. As long as its is about .540 to .590 in diameter, I am comfortable.
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  #9  
Old 10-13-2012, 06:32 AM
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Default Re: My quest for the perfect sticks...

I've noticed more and more that people are using signature sticks... I've never bought any, just because I can't justify the cost difference on something that A) I'm not going to like after trying it out, or B) might end up breaking after 4~5 sessions. Also, I live in Taiwan, and the local music stores here don't carry many signature sticks...

Is there really that much difference between mass produced sticks and someone's signature model (which is basically just mass produced based on that drummer's specs)? I also wonder how much input the drummer actually had into the making of the stick and if they actually use their own signature stick, or did they just cash in for some corporate sponsorship? Of course I'm generalizing here, but it's a valid question...

You guys out there that use signature sticks, do you find a huge difference between them and the company's base models? Enough to justify the cost difference?
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  #10  
Old 10-13-2012, 08:53 AM
audiotech
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Default Re: My quest for the perfect sticks...

Quote:
Originally Posted by keepitgreen View Post
I've noticed more and more that people are using signature sticks... I've never bought any, just because I can't justify the cost difference on something that A) I'm not going to like after trying it out, or B) might end up breaking after 4~5 sessions. Also, I live in Taiwan, and the local music stores here don't carry many signature sticks...

Is there really that much difference between mass produced sticks and someone's signature model (which is basically just mass produced based on that drummer's specs)? I also wonder how much input the drummer actually had into the making of the stick and if they actually use their own signature stick, or did they just cash in for some corporate sponsorship? Of course I'm generalizing here, but it's a valid question...

You guys out there that use signature sticks, do you find a huge difference between them and the company's base models? Enough to justify the cost difference?
First of all, to me it doesn't matter who's name is on something or who uses a certain piece of equipment, it's got to work for me. I use some signature sticks, but the majority of the sticks I use are not. The things I look for are fit, comfort and sound. If a certain Signature stick, such as the Steve Gadd sticks, fit this criteria I don't hesitate to spend an extra dollar on a pair. I guess stick price vary quite a bit from shop to shop, but the Signature sticks I purchase are usually between $6.50 and $7.00 USD. It's very seldom that I don't receive or buy a new pair of sticks to try before leaving the shop.

Dennis
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  #11  
Old 10-13-2012, 09:31 AM
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Dirtysticks Dirtysticks is offline
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Default Re: My quest for the perfect sticks...

Quote:
Originally Posted by keepitgreen View Post
I've noticed more and more that people are using signature sticks... I've never bought any, just because I can't justify the cost difference on something that A) I'm not going to like after trying it out, or B) might end up breaking after 4~5 sessions. Also, I live in Taiwan, and the local music stores here don't carry many signature sticks...

Is there really that much difference between mass produced sticks and someone's signature model (which is basically just mass produced based on that drummer's specs)? I also wonder how much input the drummer actually had into the making of the stick and if they actually use their own signature stick, or did they just cash in for some corporate sponsorship? Of course I'm generalizing here, but it's a valid question...

You guys out there that use signature sticks, do you find a huge difference between them and the company's base models? Enough to justify the cost difference?
I've never bought a signature stick or piece of gear for that matter because of the name on it. It has to feel good ( or sound good) or else I wouldn't buy it. On most of the signature sticks I use, there is a noticeable different between them and the company's base models. The Tommy Igoe sticks I use have a tip that I love ( taj mahol tip), the Peter Erskine ride stick is completely different, as well as the Buddy Rich model. I love the Steve Gadding stick for low volume situations. The JoJo Mayer sticks, the Dave Weckl sticks, and the Jack DeJohnette are all in the 5A range but in various lengths and slightly different tapers to the stick which change the balance. I get a lot of my sticks ( whether signature or not) for about $2.00 a pair when Guitar Vented has a cleareance. Whenever people grab sticks from the wall and start playing them as demo sticks, they can no longer be sold as new. About once or twice a year they sell all of the sticks like that for $2-3.00 a pairs in barely used condition. The majority of them have just a few nicks on them. I also work at Guitar Center so the price of sticks isn't really a concern for me.

Either way, if I like the balance and feel of a stick, I would pay the extra .89 cents to $1.00 for it. Most drummers I know buy sticks when there are sales or they save by buying in bulk, therefore cost wont be so much of an issue.
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Last edited by Dirtysticks; 10-14-2012 at 09:18 AM.
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  #12  
Old 10-15-2012, 05:54 AM
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Default Re: My quest for the perfect sticks...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtysticks View Post
I've never bought a signature stick or piece of gear for that matter because of the name on it. It has to feel good ( or sound good) or else I wouldn't buy it. On most of the signature sticks I use, there is a noticeable different between them and the company's base models. The Tommy Igoe sticks I use have a tip that I love ( taj mahol tip), the Peter Erskine ride stick is completely different, as well as the Buddy Rich model. I love the Steve Gadding stick for low volume situations. The JoJo Mayer sticks, the Dave Weckl sticks, and the Jack DeJohnette are all in the 5A range but in various lengths and slightly different tapers to the stick which change the balance. I get a lot of my sticks ( whether signature or not) for about $2.00 a pair when Guitar Vented has a cleareance. Whenever people grab sticks from the wall and start playing them as demo sticks, they can no longer be sold as new. About once or twice a year they sell all of the sticks like that for $2-3.00 a pairs in barely used condition. The majority of them have just a few nicks on them. I also work at Guitar Center so the price of sticks isn't really a concern for me.

Either way, if I like the balance and feel of a stick, I would pay the extra .89 cents to $1.00 for it. Most drummers I know buy sticks when there are sales or they save by buying in bulk, therefore cost wont be so much of an issue.
This sounds great, but as I said, I live in Taiwan, which makes the nearest Guitar Center roughly 10,000kms away...

When I do find a signature stick or two in my local music shop, they're usually around $20 US or more... I can get the owners to order sticks for me, but getting a feel for them beforehand is pretty much out of the question...

Definitely not the most ideal situation, hence why I'm wondering if the difference is really worth it...
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  #13  
Old 10-23-2012, 09:04 PM
Phlintlock Phlintlock is offline
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Default Re: My quest for the perfect sticks...

For some reason I've always ended up using signature sticks, I got a pair of Trilok Gurtu signatures years ago for christmas or something and used those, wasn't a huge fan of them, but they were my only sticks lol. I'm gonna buy a pair again soon and see how I like them now that I've improved a lot. Anyway, I got the Danney Carey nylon tipped signatures a while ago just out of fanboydom and pretty much can't use anything else now. They're large, long, and have a cool taper at the fulcrum point, no stick I've tried since then has seemed comfortable. I broke my first pair and got some more as well as the wood tipped, and both are great. I got the Gavin Harrison signatures the other day and I like them but the grip seems to be an anti-grip to me, get a tiny bit sweaty and they're slipping around in my hands, otherwise really cool sticks. I guess my point is yeah the signature sticks are usually cool, the two I mentioned are fairly unique so that gives a justifiable selling point. I guess originally I bought them just because they were cool but they turned out to be my ideal sticks, so far.
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  #14  
Old 10-24-2012, 06:29 AM
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7Tekku 7Tekku is offline
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Default Re: My quest for the perfect sticks...

The quest for the perfect sticks... It's a perilous journey. Haha, still haven't found my pair, though I'm really close.

Right now switching off between Mike Mangini signatures and Tomas Haake signatures. I really wish I could blend the two. The Mangini's have the balance and the length that I like. 16.5", although I could go for something a tad bit longer. But the Haake's have the diameter and weight similar to what I like. .645, but again, I could go just a tad bit fatter.

I guess the perfect stick for me would be like between 16.5" and 16.8" in length and with a .650 width with the balance slightly more towards the center of the stick, like the Mangini's. Kind of like a hybrid between a drum set and a marching stick. Haven't been able to find anything similar to that, unless I want to go all Travis Orbin/Alex Rudinger style and pick up a pair of MS4 Magnums or Tom Float signatures. Lol
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  #15  
Old 10-31-2012, 09:21 PM
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JesusMySavior JesusMySavior is offline
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Default Re: My quest for the perfect sticks...

I tried Vater 5B's a few years back and tried to get into them. Ultimately I found out they were not my cup of tea and I broke them a lot faster than other sticks.

Glad to hear you found your choice though!
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