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  #1  
Old 03-03-2011, 09:21 PM
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Default Newbie Stick Question

As a brand new drummer, I was just wondering what everyone thought about sticks. For my first pair I bought some Vic Firth 5B's, they were recommended by my local Guitar Center associate.

However, not knowing a darn thing about sticks, I was wondering what some of you thought about those for a newbie. Is there something better out there I should be looking at and what really is the differnce in sticks? I assume a lot of it has to do with weight, but is there something else I should be looking for? Also, what do good drummers usually expect to pay for a good set of sticks?

Sorry if these are stupid newbie questions but I'm really wanting to learn what's best and what accomplished drummers think. Thanks for any help!
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  #2  
Old 03-03-2011, 09:39 PM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

Play a stick that is comfortable to you;

Play a stick that is light enough but not too light that it'll break easily.
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  #3  
Old 03-03-2011, 10:07 PM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

Yea just personal preference. Try a few different sizes and see which you like. Most stores have a practice pad at or near their stick area so you can try them out and figure out what works for you.
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:31 PM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

^ What they said...

However, 5B is a little on the large side. I would say 5A is probably the most common size. They are a little smaller than 5Bs. Or you may even go a step down from that and like 7As. Probably a nice fit for "feminine" hands. :-)

Just go play as many as you can. You'll probably end up with a few favorites. I have about 3 favorite sticks that I seem to rotate through.

By the way, welcome to the forum.
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  #5  
Old 03-03-2011, 10:41 PM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

It's a pretty straight answer according to VF's site a 5B is typical for Rock and Practice settings, and they recommend the 5A for a more Jazz Orchestral setting. I'm very partial to the 5A in all settings and when I pick up a 7A am mentally inclined to hit much lighter for fear of snapping the thing in half. I would say a 5B isn't a bad choice off the bat, but the 5A is more popular with the people I talk to.
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:41 PM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

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Originally Posted by Fuo View Post
Try a few different sizes and see which you like.
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:50 PM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

Agreed with everyone. I myself use about three different pairs regularly, whatever feels right that day. And don't for get to get a pair or two with nylon tips, to my ears they make cymbals sound a little brighter.
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:51 PM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

Yaaay!! I'm not sure why but it always makes me happy seeing lady drummers. There's just not enough of you.

As for the stick thing I'd start with a 5a, I like Vic Firth but they're all good. Stay away from bargain bin sticks because they can be warped and tend to have mismatched weights. A new pair of sticks runs me anywhere from 6-10 dollars, of course that's AZ prices you might pay a little more or a little less. I scored 4 pairs of pink 5a's for 5 bucks a piece, Skore!

Like they all said, try a few pairs out and note which model they are, then look up the model online and you can get a feel for what diameter and length you prefer to play. I find that I tend to prefer a thinner, longer stick with a longer taper and a barrel or oval nylon tip. Check out the link below for a good explanation. and welcome to the forum.

http://www.the-drum-site.com/drumsti...son_guide.html
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  #9  
Old 03-03-2011, 10:54 PM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

Thanks everyone, this helps. I looked at a 5A and was worried about it being a little light but will probably go back and get a pair since I feel like the 5B is just a tad large and I don't seem to get the grip I want with my index fingers. I would like for my index fingers to circle just a little further around on the stick. As I play, the stick twists and slips in my hand. This could be size or lack of strength and experience. Anyways, if the 5A's are a little smaller, that might help that problem.

Great advice as always!
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:58 PM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

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Originally Posted by MaryO View Post
Thanks everyone, this helps. I looked at a 5A and was worried about it being a little light but will probably go back and get a pair since I feel like the 5B is just a tad large and I don't seem to get the grip I want with my index fingers. I would like for my index fingers to circle just a little further around on the stick. As I play, the stick twists and slips in my hand. This could be size or lack of strength and experience. Anyways, if the 5A's are a little smaller, that might help that problem.

Great advice as always!
Yea I started with 5As. Then I got curious and tried 5Bs, I liked them a lot, but they felt just a little heavy, so I went on VFs website and found that they had 55As which were exactly in between 5A and 5B, so that's what I've been using since.
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  #11  
Old 03-03-2011, 11:47 PM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

A lot of times it all depends on which sticks you start off with. Down the line they'll feel normal to you once you get use to them and everything else will feel a bit strange. When I started I was taught to use 7A's and for a lot of genres I still do, even though I wear a size extra large glove. I find that your hand size and the size and weight of the sticks sometimes have very little collaboration. Other than the 7A's, I mostly use 5A's, but anything heavier feels like a club to me. You didn't state the type of music you'll be playing, sometimes this can affect which sticks will be the best match.

I would check several different styles and weights, maybe the 5B's will work for you and maybe not. If you have a teacher, maybe he or she can lead you in the right direction better than someone at GC.

Dennis
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  #12  
Old 03-04-2011, 05:44 AM
JoeLackey JoeLackey is offline
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

Unfortunately, this is one of the worst parts of drumming because of the money that has to be spent. If there is anything that I've learned from this, it's that you need to try your hardest not to buy sticks online - unless you're buying a pair you've tried before. Usually beginners go with the size 5A or 5B. Obviously the more you venture out and hang out at Guitar Center playing around with sticks, you'll gain more knowledge about what's perfect for you (this not only goes for size of the stick, but also the brand). Personally, the stick with the less vibration in the hand is the best for me. It's just more comfortable. Try and find what works for you.
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Old 03-04-2011, 06:52 AM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

Haha, cool thread.

I did the same bit many of you have. I started with 5As, but I was snapping them left and right, so went to 5B. I like the solid feel of them but they do feel a bit “clubby”. Tiny bit on the heavy side. I've never tried the 55A but they sound intriguing.

I recently found an old 5A in the bag. I tried it, and fell in love instantly again. Talk about speed! Wow! And now that I have some quality drums, I don't have to hit near as hard to produce a sound haha, so I think I may go back to those.

I, too, did the 7A thing for a bit because my theory is that the best stick would be no stick at all (hands alone would move faster) so I figured that's my best bet. They'd last about 3 songs.

So now I'm going to pick up some 5As because my technique has gotten a lot better and I'm using wrists instead of the caveman style I used to incorporate. :)
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Old 03-04-2011, 06:57 AM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

I prefer 5A's, just like the weight better, but try a few and see what you like.

To be honest, the size of the stick doesn't really affect the drum or cymbal sound. The companies say they do, but the change is so minute that you'd have to be listening very very carefully to tell.
The only aspect that affects the sound noticably is wood or nylon tips, which again is personal preference.
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  #15  
Old 03-04-2011, 07:23 AM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by daredrummer View Post
I prefer 5A's, just like the weight better, but try a few and see what you like.

To be honest, the size of the stick doesn't really affect the drum or cymbal sound. The companies say they do, but the change is so minute that you'd have to be listening very very carefully to tell.
The only aspect that affects the sound noticably is wood or nylon tips, which again is personal preference.
In my experience the type of sticks do influence the sounds of your cymbals and not just because of the tip material. Of course you'll hear it more on rides, but also on hats and to a smaller degree crashes. When I buy rides I take along three different types of sticks I use and sometimes the sound difference is like night and day.

The type and size of sticks also can affect the sound of your drums to a smaller degree. My 7A's sound a bit different from my 5A's on on the snare, toms and claves. For years now I've been using only wooden tips.

Dennis
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  #16  
Old 03-04-2011, 08:17 AM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

i used to use only wooden tips, but i like the sound of the nylon a lot better. it is annoying when they fall off though. grr...
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Old 03-04-2011, 08:49 AM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryO View Post
Thanks everyone, this helps. I looked at a 5A and was worried about it being a little light but will probably go back and get a pair since I feel like the 5B is just a tad large and I don't seem to get the grip I want with my index fingers. I would like for my index fingers to circle just a little further around on the stick. As I play, the stick twists and slips in my hand. This could be size or lack of strength and experience. Anyways, if the 5A's are a little smaller, that might help that problem.

Great advice as always!
Welcome to DW MaryO!.

Anyway, just you saying that the 5B's may be a little heavy says that they probably are.

Going with my gut says that the 5A's will be perfect for you. 5B's are a bit too fat and the 7A's are tooth pics. 7A's are fun to play but I snap them with a quickness...lol.

Then there are the type of tips to use like "acorn, barrel, egg, oval, round, nylon, wood etc...I dont know, different companies and individuals call them different things but just go check em out on both ride cymbals and drums and pick the ones that feel and sound good to you.
Note: The barrel tips seem to dent my heads a bit easier than the others, but that could just be me and my playing style.

I play Vic Firth 5A "Extremes" with nylon "acorn" shaped tips. They are a bit longer than "regular" 5A's and that gives them a little more weight without feeling too thick.
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  #18  
Old 03-04-2011, 10:04 AM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

I think you get used to whatever sticks you use a lot. It depends what you're playing. When I played rock it was 5As and 5Bs all the way, depending on what I felt like using. At the time I felt like this about 7As ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaymus
when I pick up a 7A I am mentally inclined to hit much lighter for fear of snapping the thing in half
After a layoff I got into a band playing laid back music and at first I was using Vic Firth Kidsticks so I wouldn't be too loud.

After about a year I got back in practice and started using 7As. At first those "toothpicks" (that Homeularis was talking about) felt like big clubs in my hands after using the Kidsticks. Now I use them exclusively.

I hit pretty hard in the more intense buildups and I never worried about breakage. If you don't grip tightly, don't mis-hit on the rims and don't whack your cymbals as though they'd kicked your favourite cat, no drama.

It really does come down to what you get used to. Rule of thumb is, the heavier the stick, the richer your drums will sound (7As are great for light, airy beats, though). If I was in a louder band I'd definitely re-learn playing with 5As.

Onya for taking up drumming, Mary. A long way to go until we take over but ........
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Old 03-04-2011, 02:19 PM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

Thanks for all the welcomes and good advice. After reading all of these posts, I'm definitely going to give a pair of 5A's a try and just experiment with the A and B and see what feels best for me.

Hopefully in a couple of months I'll be ready to post me playing something and let you know how my journey is progressing!
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Old 03-05-2011, 12:45 AM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

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Originally Posted by audiotech View Post
In my experience the type of sticks do influence the sounds of your cymbals and not just because of the tip material. Of course you'll hear it more on rides, but also on hats and to a smaller degree crashes. When I buy rides I take along three different types of sticks I use and sometimes the sound difference is like night and day.

The type and size of sticks also can affect the sound of your drums to a smaller degree. My 7A's sound a bit different from my 5A's on on the snare, toms and claves. For years now I've been using only wooden tips.

Dennis
Well if you're playing in a non amplified jazz setting, the ride would sound noticeably different played with 7A's or 2B's. But almost anything other than that and the audience won't be able to tell the difference, unless they're specifically listening for that, which not many people do.
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Old 03-05-2011, 06:13 AM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

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Originally Posted by daredrummer View Post
Well if you're playing in a non amplified jazz setting, the ride would sound noticeably different played with 7A's or 2B's. But almost anything other than that and the audience won't be able to tell the difference, unless they're specifically listening for that, which not many people do.
You probably have much more experience with this than I, so I'll bow to your conclusions.

I'll have to start playing jazz with 2B's.

Dennis

Last edited by audiotech; 03-05-2011 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 03-05-2011, 03:18 PM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

I agree with all the posts above. Start off with a pair that feels comfortable for you. You will find during the course of your drum journey that you will change stick sizes a million times. Try everything and have fun.
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Old 03-05-2011, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: Newbie Stick Question

Just like other have said. There is really no need to stay with just 1 type of stick.

I personally use 2Bs for practice & 5Bs for gigs. I also switch between wood tip, nylon depending on the sound I want & even the VF silver bullets for some stuff when I want a differant sound on the ride, cowbells or blocks.

So just experiment & you'll find what works best for you. Have fun
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