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  #1  
Old 04-13-2011, 05:21 AM
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Default When Drumsticks Break

Just out of curiosity, do you guys test your drumsticks before purchasing? The drum salesman in Guitar Center said to roll them on a counter and he showed me how when one wobbles to not buy it. He also demonstrated to hold them up together to make sure their isn't any space between them up to a certain point on the stick.

My Vic Firth 7A snapped today at the bottom leading up towards shaft. Replaced tonight with same pair. Will have to get in one of those multi-stick deals.
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:39 AM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

Prestigious Percussion is making the greatest sticks I've had the pleasure of playing. Ironwood and Purple heartwood. King kong would take a while to break one. They just feel unreal and get pure sounds from everything they encounter. They even look great.
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:56 AM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

For me I always buy no name brand sticks in the bulk. I can get a huge bag of sticks for 20 bucks, or 1 pair of zildjians for 20 bucks im gonna go with the quantity. I used to use 7as and a pair would always break on me within 3 weeks. Ever since I switched to 5as my sticks have been through war and haven't broke yet
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:25 AM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

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Originally Posted by Taylor8524 View Post
For me I always buy no name brand sticks in the bulk. I can get a huge bag of sticks for 20 bucks, or 1 pair of zildjians for 20 bucks im gonna go with the quantity. I used to use 7as and a pair would always break on me within 3 weeks. Ever since I switched to 5as my sticks have been through war and haven't broke yet
Every 3 weeks, wow. You must be a hard hitter. Some of you aren't going to believe this, but my pair before these were Sound Percussion 7As and they lasted me 8 years. Only reason I bought new ones is because I forgot them at my drum lesson. When I returned to next lesson and asked my teacher for them he told me his dog ate them and threw them out. LOL. Apparently, he was able resurrect them, though... and will be giving them back to me next lesson. He didn't know they were mine. The heads are so worn down, though... that I might just throw them out. Or maybe keep them now for sentimental reasons, but not play them.
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:45 AM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

I buy bricks of sticks (12 pairs) to save money, so I'm unable to test sticks before I buy. This means I will get some bad ones from time to time, but I break sticks fairly regularly (I'm a certified rock & roll meathead), so even if I do get a bad stick I'm not going to be stuck with it for long :-)
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:14 AM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

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Originally Posted by nocTurnal View Post
Every 3 weeks, wow. You must be a hard hitter. Some of you aren't going to believe this, but my pair before these were Sound Percussion 7As and they lasted me 8 years.
Noc, I'm not sure you have to be that hard a hitter by rock standards to break 7As. When I was playing rock I always used 5As ... whenever I used 7As they felt a bit fragile, and I'm sure I wasn't hitting as hard as some of you brawny lads.

These days I use Zildjian Bill Stewart signature 7As and I don't need to test them because the CQ seems pretty good. I only have to replace them when the wood tip softens enough to lose its zing on the ride.
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:51 PM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

I've broken one stick in 6 1/2 years so it's not really an issue for me.

Davo
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:31 PM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

I think this would've applied more in the "older" days when sticks weren't rigorously tested, weighed, rolled, and even pitch tested by computers. With that said, I'll occassionally get a bad stick. As long as I can get stick head to drum head I'm not all that picky about my sticks unless they're a complete boomerang.
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:51 PM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

I find even when my sticks do not break, they get worn down by the hats and cymbals within 6 months or so. I don't understand how a person can use the same pair of sticks for 8 years!!! Thats wild!!!! Sometimes even when my sticks are still good, i like to change them to a different model. make the change from 5As to 5Bs or whatever.I started out not really caring about the wieght and length of a stick (but who does when they are new to the world of drumming), but a few years ago ( mabe 3 or 4) i decided i would like to use really light sticks made by Headhunters. After a couple years of useing those, i started getting heavier Headhunters. Maybe a year ago now, I bought my first Pair of Vic Firths, and decided that 5Bs were for me!!! I am still experimenting with the regular 5Bs, the Kinetic force 5Bs, and the Vic Grip X5Bs, which are slightly longer. they all feel great, so im kinda using them all right now.
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:53 PM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

Also, for the record, i have only broken one stick while playing, and it was practice (thank god). And by break i mean snap completely. I was hitting the ride at the time, so i was surprised, cuz i dont hit the ride very hard!!!
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:21 PM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

I don't break sticks much anymore, one maybe every other month or so. But that's also because I am playing Ahead sticks. There really is no need to check them before buying, because they are all the same every time. When I used wood sticks I would always roll them first and check the butt-end. The more lines on the butt-end of a stick the lighter it is. I try to pick out the heavy ones. Also, if one stick is warped in a pair, set the whole pair aside, don't just take the good one. Sticks are matched at the factory, and you are messing up the weights if you just take the bad ones out, you need to go through them and find a matched pair that is good.
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  #12  
Old 04-14-2011, 06:04 AM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

I hardly ever break sticks even though I play mostly 7A and 5 A. Most of the time the shoulders of the sticks get a bit ratty because of rim shots. I still check every pair using the roll test and I do periodically find warped sticks from practically every manufacturer, just not as much of a problem as it was 30 or 40 years ago.

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Old 04-14-2011, 08:16 PM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

I've played a few brands, and I've consistently found that Vic Firth won't let me down. I never roll test them though, that seems like something we used to do when we were high schoolers, but have long since felt any need.
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Old 04-15-2011, 03:25 AM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

Just to clarify something, even before the sticks break that does not mean they are still fit to use. After a while the head of the stick begins to chip and at that point the stick is not good for drum heads. So those of you who have used sticks for 5 years or more may want to check on them.
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:05 AM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

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Originally Posted by kyle View Post
Just to clarify something, even before the sticks break that does not mean they are still fit to use. After a while the head of the stick begins to chip and at that point the stick is not good for drum heads. So those of you who have used sticks for 5 years or more may want to check on them.
Oh... my... god. I never even thought of that. Yikes. Luckily I never bought any special drum heads for this set. Still same drum heads that came with it. It's a Yamaha Manu Katche Hipgig Jr kit. Will have to take a close look at the heads. Most of the time I use mute pads, though.
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:17 AM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

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Originally Posted by kyle View Post
Just to clarify something, even before the sticks break that does not mean they are still fit to use. After a while the head of the stick begins to chip and at that point the stick is not good for drum heads. So those of you who have used sticks for 5 years or more may want to check on them.
Sticks also tend to get worn out and lose their "bounce", so to speak. After a while, they just don't feel as good anymore even if there's almost no visible wear on them.
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Old 04-15-2011, 04:32 PM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

I use Vic Firth Steve Gadd sig's. I also still roll them and bounce them off my head to check for tonality match. I guess it just carried over from the marching days. Works for me, though. I've got a little over a year going on my current pair of Gadds, although, 30 min once a week @ church with one or two outdoor festivals thrown in doesn't exactly count as hard use.

That'll change tonight after I pick up my new Pearls and take them home. Bet I'll still get at least a few months out of a pair, though. IMHO, if you're breaking sticks very often, you have either the wrong stick or the wrong technique.
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Old 04-15-2011, 04:37 PM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

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IMHO, if you're breaking sticks very often, you have either the wrong stick or the wrong technique.
I disagree. It probably means you're hitting hard, but it doesn't necessarily mean you're hitting too hard, or doing anything wrong. Wood sticks aren't meant to last forever, and different playing styles will get different mileage from sticks. Most professional drummers (at least in the rock genre) break sticks fairly regularly, even players with great technique.
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Old 04-15-2011, 04:39 PM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

I have no consistent preference other than to use wood tips and 7A's... I break a couple a month over 8 or so gigs. I tried using the "anti-vibe" sticks, but my hands sweat so much that the integrity of the wood around the rubber breaks down and actually begins splitting up the shaft.

I play on the rim of the snare a ton, so I just accept that my sticks are gonna break.

I definitely do the "roll" test on every pair I buy. Most of the name-brands are fairly straight these days. It's odd how different the weight of individual sticks varies in the generic sticks (but I use those too).
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:54 PM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

I use Vater 5b's and they are super durable. I don't think I've ever broken a stick, but I do wear them down considerably in the shoulder neck area where they become fragile, so I end up tossing it out before it breaks..should I continue playing it the stick would def. break, but at that point there really is no life in the stick anyway..

When I'm gigging regulary, and by regular I mean at least 3 times out of the month, I'll go through a pair of sticks in one gig. I play in a Top 40 Classic Rock band, so I'm hitting pretty hard most of the night, my bandmates love a loud solid back beat, so I'm rim-shotting (totally just made up that word!) all night!! So, here's how it goes down - one week will be a brand new set of 5b's, by the third set (we do 3 1.5 hr. sets) the sticks are worn in the shoulder/taper area..by the next gig the following week, (by the middle of the 1st set or after 2 or 3 songs) the sticks from the previous weeks gig are literally toothpicks and out they go..So that's my rotation if you will.

Things to consider are the frequency you're hitting rim shots and if you have a tilt in your hi-hat bottom, which means the top hi-hat and bottom hat are over lapping, which will shave your sticks considerably...all par for the course!

However, and this is a crazy realization, while I was unemployed and practicing for 3-4 hours, 4 days a week, my sticks didn't get worn too much and I could use the same pair for months, if they were Vater that is, I used to play Vic Firth but man, the tips would chip or fly off altogether after just 20--30 minutes of practicing (I digress). But at a gig, playing the songs I was learning, they'd would just get chewed up! I reckon when playing live you have to factor in adrenalin, excitement, if you're not mic'ed you'll be hitting harder, I never really lay into the snare as hard as I do live when practicing, yadda yadda yadda...

So I guess for me the life of a stick depends on practice vs. playing live...
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:05 PM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

Doesn't. matter what stick company with any stick the straighter & finer the grain is the best way too get the strongest stick....basic physics.

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Old 04-15-2011, 09:45 PM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

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Originally Posted by Naigewron View Post
I disagree. It probably means you're hitting hard, but it doesn't necessarily mean you're hitting too hard, or doing anything wrong. Wood sticks aren't meant to last forever, and different playing styles will get different mileage from sticks. Most professional drummers (at least in the rock genre) break sticks fairly regularly, even players with great technique.
I guess the word "often" needs to be defined. I agree that a rock or funk drummer playing rim-shots all night will probably go through a pair of sticks or two in one evening depending upon how long the set is. However, breaking sticks on cymbals is just silly to me. You reach a point of diminishing returns with how hard you hit something. It's only going to get so loud. Also, depending upon technique, I can hit harder without moving my arm than with using a full arm stroke. If you use a dual-pivot with the first fulcrum being between your finger and the stick, and the second fulcrum being your wrist, you can hit pretty hard without thrashing about. You'll be more accurate too, wear yourself out less, and be less likely to break sticks, cymbals, heads, hardware, bones, etc.
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:53 PM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

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Originally Posted by masonni View Post
I don't break sticks much anymore, one maybe every other month or so. But that's also because I am playing Ahead sticks. There really is no need to check them before buying, because they are all the same every time. When I used wood sticks I would always roll them first and check the butt-end. The more lines on the butt-end of a stick the lighter it is. I try to pick out the heavy ones. Also, if one stick is warped in a pair, set the whole pair aside, don't just take the good one. Sticks are matched at the factory, and you are messing up the weights if you just take the bad ones out, you need to go through them and find a matched pair that is good.

At first I misread this, to be "the more lines, the tighter the stick", which would be right.
But you are saying the LIGHTER the stick. I would think the more lines, or grain, the denser the wood would be which should make them stronger. I will have to do some research.
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Old 04-19-2011, 03:15 PM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

Back in the mists of time, I played timpani. Ever since those dark & distant days, I've used extra long sticks. Even worse (I can hear the technique focussed guys screaming already), I hold them right at the butt end, sometimes, even to the point were the butt is sitting within my palm. Why is this relevant, well, because I get a real whip stroke thing going on, & that stroke speed on backbeats is a stick killer. Add to that, almost constant rimshot backbeats on cast hoops & flat cymbals, the poor buggers don't stand a chance, lol!

I use VF X5A's. Great stick, but they're not that durable. Kenny Howard introduced me to Silver Fox sticks. They even have my ideal stick size, in the form of 16 3/4" long 1A's, so I took a brick to try. Only used them for a couple of practices to date. They seem to dent easily, but, unlike the VF's, they don't splinter. Haven't broken one yet, & that's already an improvement on the VF's. I'd normally break at least one per practice. The SF's hickory are lighter than the VF's, & with hardly any visible grain. Normally the kind of thing I'd avoid, but they do seem to be holding up very well. Quite a few gigs coming up, so I'll be able to come back with better info soon.
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Old 04-19-2011, 03:31 PM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

Just thought I would share this:

About 1.5 months ago i ordered a pair of the mike Johnson maple sticks. They ended up being back-ordered and finally just received them last week. I sat down, did a quick little paradiddle groove, went to hit my inverted splash and CRACK!! Nailed the wingnut on my stand and snapped the stick in two! 1.5 months and $8.99 for maybe 15 seconds of playing. Lovely.

To be fair, the sticks felt great.
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Old 04-19-2011, 03:34 PM
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Just thought I would share this:

About 1.5 months ago i ordered a pair of the mike Johnson maple sticks. They ended up being back-ordered and finally just received them last week. I sat down, did a quick little paradiddle groove, went to hit my inverted splash and CRACK!! Nailed the wingnut on my stand and snapped the stick in two! 1.5 months and $8.99 for maybe 15 seconds of playing. Lovely.

To be fair, the sticks felt great.
Well, maple sticks will be substantially weaker than hickory... You may have gotten a bad pair on top of that.
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Old 04-19-2011, 06:20 PM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

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Well, maple sticks will be substantially weaker than hickory... You may have gotten a bad pair on top of that.

I'm not questioning the quality of the sticks as I've never had any problems with Vater before. I think it was just how I hit and what you stated, the strength (or lack there of) of the wood. But either way, it's possible.
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Old 05-04-2011, 03:48 PM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

I tend to find that rather than breaking the stick itself (i.e. snap the shaft/shoulder), that I will splinter the tip, which makes for an uneven surface and so uneven sounds. Winds me up no end, have 95% of the stick being perfectly servicable, but the business end is dead.

I play Vater LA 5A.
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Old 06-24-2011, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

I actually have the very first pair of sticks I ever owned. It is a pair of Ludwig 7A Nylon Tip. Since they were only used on a snare drum for a couple of years, they did not get beaten up by cymbals. By the time my parents bought more drums, along with cymbals, I had different sticks.

By the way, the sticks are 45 years old.
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Old 06-25-2011, 12:51 AM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

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I tend to find that rather than breaking the stick itself (i.e. snap the shaft/shoulder), that I will splinter the tip, which makes for an uneven surface and so uneven sounds. Winds me up no end, have 95% of the stick being perfectly servicable, but the business end is dead.

I play Vater LA 5A.
Happens to me too although I have broken some were it splits down the grain all the way down. Those sticks with the grain like that are always in the 4pks at guitar center so now I buy single pairs as of last night and try to get the pack price. If I cant get that price, oh well its only like 5 dollars. Also I use nylon tips for practice now because they last A LOT longer than wood tips. I have those saved for gigs.
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Old 06-25-2011, 12:53 AM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

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Originally Posted by joshvibert View Post
I guess the word "often" needs to be defined. I agree that a rock or funk drummer playing rim-shots all night will probably go through a pair of sticks or two in one evening depending upon how long the set is. However, breaking sticks on cymbals is just silly to me. You reach a point of diminishing returns with how hard you hit something. It's only going to get so loud. Also, depending upon technique, I can hit harder without moving my arm than with using a full arm stroke. If you use a dual-pivot with the first fulcrum being between your finger and the stick, and the second fulcrum being your wrist, you can hit pretty hard without thrashing about. You'll be more accurate too, wear yourself out less, and be less likely to break sticks, cymbals, heads, hardware, bones, etc.
And also just a time factor. When you practice 3 or 4 hours a day you are obviously going to break more sticks than someone who practices a half an hour a day.
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Old 06-25-2011, 01:36 AM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

I've been using Vic Firth American Classic 2B's wood tip since 89' and as a rock drummer playing 5-6 nights a week on the road, i'd go through at least 2 sticks a night but if the stage was really dead with crappy monitors more like 5 or 6.. Lots of rim shots and ride bell snaps..lol Alot of them were splits and not completely broke in half..lol I've noticed here within the last year or so that the tips seem to be weaker and split at ease.Bummed so I switched to Pro Mark 747B Super Rock's. I like them so far they are a little longer but narrower and seem to be close to the VF 2B's in weight. I don't think they hold up as good as the VF's though.. I recently did some session work for an 11 song Rock album and went through 4 1/2 sticks but the tips were still ok. lol
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Old 06-25-2011, 04:15 AM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
At first I misread this, to be "the more lines, the tighter the stick", which would be right.
But you are saying the LIGHTER the stick. I would think the more lines, or grain, the denser the wood would be which should make them stronger. I will have to do some research.
Tight and straight grain=strength. Just like in a baseball bat.
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Old 06-25-2011, 04:44 AM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

I use Zildjian and Vic Firth sticks, 5B - hickory - wooden and nylon tips.

I like them both but I've found the Zildjian's break slightly faster in the neck than the Vic's.
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Old 06-26-2011, 01:19 PM
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

Doesn't Zildjans paint also stick to your cymbals? I thought I read that somewhere
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  #36  
Old 06-26-2011, 02:08 PM
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Stalwart_Pandora-Chris Stalwart_Pandora-Chris is offline
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

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Originally Posted by Ian Williams View Post

I like them both but I've found the Zildjian's break slightly faster in the neck than the Vic's.
I find it the other way about. I bought a pair of Zildjian 6A's and a pair of Vic Firth 5A's at the same time and half an our playing with the Vic Firths they snapped and my Zildjian 6A's lasted a good 2 months before breaking.
I usually find this with Vic Firth though. I got Extreme 5B's at one point and a pair of Zildjian Super 5B's and the Extreme 5B's took a little longer to break. About a month and a half but the Zildjians I bought recently are yet to break, I'll tell you how long it is before they break :)
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:23 PM
Drumolator Drumolator is offline
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

I do not remember the last time I broke a drumstick. Since my wife retired, our finaces are less than they used to be, so I went to nylon-tipped sticks but really did not like them. Then I found Pulse drumsticks at Musician's Friend. Vater rejects all sticks with any sort of difference of grain, color, etc. The Pulse sticks are Vater rejects. I bought six pairs of 5A's for $20, and so far so good. I am on the second pair, and the first pair lasted the same as any other wood-tipped stick I have ever used. So now I can use wood-tipped sticks again. Whahooo!
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Gretsch Catalina toms and BD / Pacific SX Series (snare) / Sabian / Evans / Vater
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  #38  
Old 07-16-2013, 05:17 AM
yourhandsmyface yourhandsmyface is offline
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

Here are some uses for those finely engineered pieces of wood! Wall clips made by 3D printers!

https://www.shapeways.com/shops/SometimesIDesignThings
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  #39  
Old 07-16-2013, 12:40 PM
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Reggae_Mangle Reggae_Mangle is offline
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

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Originally Posted by yourhandsmyface View Post
Here are some uses for those finely engineered pieces of wood! Wall clips made by 3D printers!

https://www.shapeways.com/shops/SometimesIDesignThings

I just dig a pit and use the broken drumsticks as spikes to take care of any meddling kids that might be snooping around my property.
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:25 PM
audiotech
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Default Re: When Drumsticks Break

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Originally Posted by yourhandsmyface View Post
Here are some uses for those finely engineered pieces of wood! Wall clips made by 3D printers!

https://www.shapeways.com/shops/SometimesIDesignThings
I would hate to back into a couple of those.

Dennis
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