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  #1  
Old 05-09-2013, 04:18 PM
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Default Tip Durability?

I don't like nylon tip drumsticks, but up until recently I used them simply because of durability. My budget is a bit limited, so I can't afford to be mowing through wood tipped drumsticks. The reason my tips break so fruquently is my of playing the tip on closed hi-hats or the bell of my rides.

After receiving my tax returns, I decided to purchase a brick of sticks, so I wouldn't have to worry about them for a while. The stick I settled on was Vic Firth's SD1. The store didn't have them in nylon tips, but the stick felt so perfect to me that I just purchased a brick of the wood tips. I've been using the same pair for about a month, and aside from a few marks on the shoulders from hi hats, and some rimshot dents, the sticks are in flawless shape.

The round / bead / ball tip of the sticks seems nearly indestructable. So I was wondering if this is true with most ball tip sticks, or if I just happen to have gotten extremely lucky with this pair?
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:00 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

I just assume wood tips chip at a certain level of playing. My favorite local stick is the Vic Firth AJ5, a longish, thinnish stick with a great feel for quiet-moderate volume. It's only available as a wood tip, and as a nylon tip preferrer, it wouldn't normally be in my stick bag, but it feels really good to me. And yes, the tips chip, and have to be tossed. In fact, I think I've actually broken only one of of those sticks, but have tossed out a bunch because the tips become unusable before the stick itself can wear or break. Still, a stick will last 4 or 5 gigs (at low volume) before I can feel or hear that it's become a problem and needs to go (or be flipped around to serve as my butt-end snare stick.)

Bermuda
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:17 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

Maybe we're both extremely lucky! I plat regular ol' Firth 5a and 5b sticks and I've never suffered a broken tip. Maybe I don't play hard enough ;)
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:27 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

I also don't play wood tips much for this very reason. However, I have noticed that SD1s tend to survive a little better. it might be a combo of the maple and the ball tip. Hey, maybe you've found your new favorite stick!
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:33 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

I am not a really hard player, but I have found that barrels and round tips last longer for me too...I use the original Weckl and the Gadd sticks right now...I prefer a wood tip. But, as Bermuda said, the tip will wear regardless and will need to be replaced long before it breaks or splinters in most cases.
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  #6  
Old 05-09-2013, 06:07 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

I must not hit hard at all...

My sticks usually last me a few months. Even then it's because the tips are chipped. Occasionally one will chip prematurely on me though.
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  #7  
Old 05-09-2013, 06:13 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

EarthRocker, check out Regal Tip Series E stick. It has a nylon tip but it is ribbed. It produces a tone that is about halfway between a smooth nylon tip and a wood tip. I prefer a wood tip sound, but these Regal Tips are close enough to a wood tip tone for me, plus they don't chip like wood. I wish Vic Firth would offer a ribbed nylon tip. Regal Tips are a nice stick, but I just really like the shape and balance of the VF sticks.
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  #8  
Old 05-09-2013, 06:20 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

I find that with wood tips.

The force of the hit affects durability (obviously) as well as angle to the cymbal (my biggest culprit).
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

I have Vater Fusion hickory wood tips that still look basically new after a few months. I think it is a combination of Vater's wood and the ball tip. Personally, I just dislike how nylon tips sound on pretty much everything.
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  #10  
Old 05-10-2013, 05:34 AM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

I don't know if it was a bad batch but I bought a few bricks of Vic firths a few years back and they would always break tips, and the rest of the stick would be in perfect condition (I never was a big hitter).

I switched to vater and they're 100% better. Try vater.
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  #11  
Old 05-10-2013, 06:33 AM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

I use to use nylon tips many years ago. Back then every once in a while the nylon tip would end up some where else in the room and not on the stick. I can play the drums with any type of tip, but now I really appreciate the sounds of my cymbals with the wooden tip variety. When I audition cymbals, particularly rides, I use the same type of sticks that I normally play with.

Dennis
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  #12  
Old 05-10-2013, 04:19 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

A drummer friend and music store employee turned me on to Regal 5-B Maples. I find them to not only be a very balanced and well weighted stick, the wood tip lasts a very long time. Maple is very hard and very durable. I bought a half brick about a year ago and have only used about 4 pair, granted I don't play all that much and my genre is jazz, but I do wail with them in a big band setting. The down side is that they are hard to come by in this part of the country.
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  #13  
Old 05-10-2013, 04:25 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

My stick chew themselves up from rimshotting on the snare, going shoulder/tip on the hat and shoulder on the crashes. Wouldn't have it any other way,

jorn
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  #14  
Old 05-10-2013, 04:30 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiotech View Post
I use to use nylon tips many years ago. Back then every once in a while the nylon tip would end up some where else in the room and not on the stick. I can play the drums with any type of tip, but now I really appreciate the sounds of my cymbals with the wooden tip variety. When I audition cymbals, particularly rides, I use the same type of sticks that I normally play with.

Dennis
I knew sticks made a big difference in sound. But my eyes were opened even more last weekend when I went through a decent pile of sticks I've tried over the past 2 years and compared them. Holy crap... There were cases where the ride cymbal sounded TOTALLY different with different sticks. I mean, like it wasn't even the same cymbal.

Crazy stuff. Now I have a new project to keep me up at night. LOL
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  #15  
Old 05-10-2013, 09:36 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dre25 View Post
I don't know if it was a bad batch but I bought a few bricks of Vic firths a few years back and they would always break tips, and the rest of the stick would be in perfect condition (I never was a big hitter).

I switched to vater and they're 100% better. Try vater.
Seems like we share the same story. As some of you may know, I was a big VF fan not so long ago. But the sticks started chipping and splitting prematurely so I switched to Vater - and I couldn't be more satisfied. Vater SD9 is my stick of choice nowadays. Perfect feel, excellent durability. Beautiful, round tip.
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  #16  
Old 05-13-2013, 02:47 AM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
EarthRocker, check out Regal Tip Series E stick. It has a nylon tip but it is ribbed. It produces a tone that is about halfway between a smooth nylon tip and a wood tip. I prefer a wood tip sound, but these Regal Tips are close enough to a wood tip tone for me, plus they don't chip like wood. I wish Vic Firth would offer a ribbed nylon tip. Regal Tips are a nice stick, but I just really like the shape and balance of the VF sticks.

I was also going to suggest the Regal Tip E-Series.
It's much closer in tone to wood than a regular nylon tip, but with all the same durability.

I have always been a fan of the way wood tips sound, but because of the "chip factor" I used Nylon for most of my life. I got to a point the last few year that I just done care, its a drumstick, it's going to break at some point. So if the tips start to chip, oh well... get a fresh pair...

Most gigs I'm using wood tips now, and on real heavy basher gigs I go to the E-Series.


Oh, and P.S. Vic can't make a ripped E-Tip, Calato patented it when they came out with it. Something they should have done in the 50's when they invented nylon tips.
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  #17  
Old 06-19-2015, 03:53 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

Re: Regal Tip E Series

I used these for a year or so, quite liked the controlled, softer sound, but the little ridges bent and eventually broke off, leaving a very narrow, uneven tip which can dent the heads. They last much longer than wooden tips, but not as long as regular nylon. I'm keeping my last pair just for jazz gigs, when I won't be hitting as hard.
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  #18  
Old 06-19-2015, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

I went back to acorn shaped nylon tips recently. I don't really care for the sound of acorn nylon tips when I play by myself, but when the band is in, I found that it doesn't bother me. I prefer the sound of a round nylon tip on my cymbals, but there are so few choices of stick with a round nylon tip (only 2 choices, Vater Fusion and VF Omar Hakim signature).

I feel that an acorn shape dents heads less than a round tip, assuming a flat hit.

So I'm back to Vater 5a or b for when I need more volume. Vater sticks are the longest lasting regular stick I ever played. I played 49 gigs on one pair, a full year of gigs for me. I could probably get another 25 from them, but I switched to acorn tips now.
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  #19  
Old 06-19-2015, 08:47 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brady View Post
I must not hit hard at all...

My sticks usually last me a few months. Even then it's because the tips are chipped. Occasionally one will chip prematurely on me though.
I usually get rid of my sticks when the tips get worn out. Or like Bermuda, use it for my butt end stick. What's really annoying is when you buy a new pair and a big chunk comes off the tip after a couple of songs. Acorn tips seem more prone to that than other shapes. I've had several pairs of Vic 5Bs where half the tip cleanly sheers off along the grain. When I look at new sticks, one thing I look for is uneven coloring in the tip. That's a good indicator that a chunk will come off.
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Old 06-19-2015, 11:19 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

You need to look at your cymbal surfaces, as that's the major contributor for chipping wood tip sticks.

Soft playing, doesn't matter. When I played 1930's K's the wide, deep lathe marks (along with the hammer marks) destroyed my wood tips very quickly.

Hammered cymbals are also more efficient tip eaters, as the craters don't provide a flat landing surface.

Drumheads are a non issue with stick tips, its the cymbals that break them down.

If your lathe marks are raised/prominent you could pad them down, tho this will change the cymbals sound, better to switch to nylon tips, which will also change the cymbals sound, but you'll get used to it.
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Old 06-19-2015, 11:33 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Ismore View Post
You need to look at your cymbal surfaces, as that's the major contributor for chipping wood tip sticks.

Soft playing, doesn't matter. When I played 1930's K's the wide, deep lathe marks (along with the hammer marks) destroyed my wood tips very quickly.

Hammered cymbals are also more efficient tip eaters, as the craters don't provide a flat landing surface.

Drumheads are a non issue with stick tips, its the cymbals that break them down.

If your lathe marks are raised/prominent you could pad them down, tho this will change the cymbals sound, better to switch to nylon tips, which will also change the cymbals sound, but you'll get used to it.
Would that mean that some Zildjian A Customs or Sabian AAXs would not eat up stick tips? I have an AAX ride I might have to use and put that theory to the test.
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Old 06-20-2015, 12:15 AM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrumDoug View Post
Would that mean that some Zildjian A Customs or Sabian AAXs would not eat up stick tips? I have an AAX ride I might have to use and put that theory to the test.
Proven to me, by me. The smoother the cymbals top the more life you'll get out of WT sticks.

Just played on a drumhead a WT will compress, any inconsistencies on a metal surface will break those puppies down.
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  #23  
Old 06-20-2015, 12:25 AM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

I always lose tips too. The shape of the tip and the dryness of the wood, along with grain differences seem to be the collective culprits. The acorn shape of the "B" series vics seem to chip less than the more rounded out standard shape of the 5AE I typically use because I think the tip sounds better on both my cymbals and drums alike.
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Old 06-20-2015, 12:58 AM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

This might be a good time to bring up that little trick where you manually deform nylon tips by melting them...making a pattern in them using a heated tip of a knife, or anything else that would work.

You could make a crosshatch pattern, craters, smiley faces...anything to break up the smoothness of the surface to make the tips more mellow sounding, while still keeping that great nylon durability.

Sanding isn't good enough. You have to make high points and low points.

Good rainy day experiment.
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:04 AM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
I always lose tips too. The shape of the tip and the dryness of the wood, along with grain differences seem to be the collective culprits. The acorn shape of the "B" series vics seem to chip less than the more rounded out standard shape of the 5AE I typically use because I think the tip sounds better on both my cymbals and drums alike.
When you buy your sticks, you could run a little line of some kind of liquid glue at the base of the tip. Almost free. Loc-tite makes some vibration proof clear liquid glue.

Or drill a hole clear through the back part of the tip and shove a toothpick in there lol.
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:08 AM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
When you buy your sticks, you could run a little line of some kind of liquid glue at the base of the tip. Almost free. Loc-tite makes some vibration proof clear liquid glue.

Or drill a hole clear through the back part of the tip and shove a toothpick in there lol.
I think he means he looses wood tips on his sticks too.


Wood tips just on a drumhead not a problem, when you hit metal (cymbals) that's what does in a wood tip. The more inconsistent the surface of the metal the quicker the breakdown.
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:31 AM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

When I used to gig I had a hierarchy - sticks with a hard bead for gigs. When the stick bead softened to the point where it noticeably lost some "ting" on the ride then the stick would be demoted to rehearsals (quieter too).

When the beads became more worn again I'd only use them for home playing, and when they got really soft I'd only use the sticks for practice pad noodling.
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  #28  
Old 06-22-2015, 07:43 AM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

I play Vic Firth 5A and 5B Extremes... Great sticks. Tip chipping is always a problem. I've found a few ways to reduce the carnage...

1) I try to always hand-pick the sticks. I look at the tips and look for grain that is going to be conducive to chipping. There's always a bunch in the stack that have grain that is right near the edge. I can smell that this is going to chip fast. I look for something that has grain deeper into the tip that won't chip away too fast. Not sure if that makes sense?

2) I've cut down on the ride wailing. It never fails. I get all raging on the ride, and lo and behold... chipped tip. Then I think... "was that ride wail worth wrecking a stick?" Most often the answer is, no. So I don't wail. And all is well.

Since I've adopted this mindset, sticks last way longer. I'd much prefer to have replace sticks for shredded shoulders after a month than a torched tip after two songs.
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  #29  
Old 06-25-2015, 10:20 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

I too can't stand the nylon tips, the sound is like nails ona chalk board for me!

I've used the SD1 sticks for big band stuff, and they're great sticks. I mostly play with Vic Firth AJ6 or AJ5 sticks, which might only come in wood. The sticks are thinner (but still have great rebound) and the tips do get chipped after a while. I'm mostly playing jazz though, so they do last a while before they are chipped. For louder stuff, I have some AJ3s that don't seem to get chipped very easily.

Also, Bopworks sticks seem to be much stronger than the VF sticks, but they just don't feel as nice as the AJ series... I have a few different pairs of the Bopworks sticks, and they don't dent or chip at all.
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Old 06-25-2015, 10:22 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

Another thing worth mentioning is that my drum teacher in school used to buy Regal Tip 7As with nylon tips, and pull the tips off. For some reason the sticks sounded great without the tips and were pretty durable as well. He would use those for more bop style playing as they were pretty quick and had a nice rebound.
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Old 06-25-2015, 10:37 PM
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Default Re: Tip Durability?

I buy the unbranded 5A 10-packs from Guitar Center. When a tip chips, I place it in the chipped stick pile. When the pile gets noticeably large, I fill the chipped recesses with Elmer's glue.

I keep 2 nice pairs of Vic's for when I have company.
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