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  #1  
Old 01-31-2011, 09:57 AM
Witterings Witterings is offline
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Default Sticks For Practice

Hi all,
Interested to know what size sticks most people use and also if you use anything different for practices / small venues.

I mainly use 5a but am thinking of switching to lighter mainly to try and reduce volume especially for practices, I'm slightly reluctant though as I break enough sticks anyway and I'm sure I'd go through lighter ones twice as quickly. I could alternate and use heavier ones for gigs but it'd feel as though I was then playing with bricks as I'd get used to the lighter ones.

I'm also thinking about trying the Multi Rods and would be interested in what other peoples experiences have been with them and any other suggestions people may have mainly for volume reduction ???
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Old 01-31-2011, 01:46 PM
major_panic major_panic is offline
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

You say you want heavier sticks for gigs? That's unusual AFAIK, most people go lighter / better balanced for increased speed on gigs. For example, I play 5Bs at home, and when I'm playing anywhere else I use Vater Stewart Copelands (which are ridiculously light and fast compared to the 5Bs) or Vic Firth AJ1s (which are the same width, but much better balanced than the 5Bs).

The rods tend to give you a more middle-end sound whereby you lose some of the high end, especially on snares, and because of the energy dissipation I find I tend to lose a lot of bounce too. They really do help for lowering volume though, but I'd say they are quite a different animal (subspecies at least) to normal sticks.
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Old 01-31-2011, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

Why not try the hundreds of threads in the Sticks and Heads section and look for answers there, rather than the General Discussion part.

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/f...splay.php?f=16
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:41 AM
TwoCables
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Witterings View Post
Hi all,
Interested to know what size sticks most people use and also if you use anything different for practices / small venues.

I mainly use 5a but am thinking of switching to lighter mainly to try and reduce volume especially for practices, I'm slightly reluctant though as I break enough sticks anyway and I'm sure I'd go through lighter ones twice as quickly. I could alternate and use heavier ones for gigs but it'd feel as though I was then playing with bricks as I'd get used to the lighter ones.

I'm also thinking about trying the Multi Rods and would be interested in what other peoples experiences have been with them and any other suggestions people may have mainly for volume reduction ???
For me, it's more of a matter of what's practical/appropriate for the job. I mean, I wouldn't want to play hard rock with something like Vic Firth's American Jazz 5s, or their American Heritage 7As. And likewise, I wouldn't want to play some quiet jazz with a bigger stick like a 5B, 2B or something even bigger. But, I'd have to learn how to play jazz first. :)

So I feel that if you want to be practicing jazz (or just something that doesn't require harder hitting most of the time), then use sticks that are best suited for that style. But if you want to be practicing hard rock or something that requires more volume or more cut, then it would be best to practice with those kind of sticks.

But now if I were in a hard rock band that was booked at a venue for some reason where we had to play as quietly as possible, then I would certainly use a lighter stick.

However, I think the most important thing is that the stick feels comfortable to you. Or as Dave Weckl might say, "A stick that wants to work with you and not against you". When you experiment with different sticks, you'll find that some sticks just don't really feel right. Maybe it's the way they're balanced, or maybe it's the diameter of the stick, or maybe it's the length. But whatever the case, I think the general rule of thumb is to use a stick that best fits the situation. That's why many professionals have a large number of sticks in their stick bag: it's just a bag of various tools. :)
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:44 AM
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

I practice what I play with.

I've never really seen the point of using a different stick to practice with.
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  #6  
Old 02-01-2011, 06:26 AM
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

Steve Gadd signature sticks with nylon tip for most of my practising, and same brand with wood tip for gigs.

I prefer the sound of wood tip on the cymbals, but when I shed the wood chips away enough on the tip to alter the sound too often for my liking. So I use the nylon for durability. I've used the same nylon sticks for a couple of thousand hours of practise easily.
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Old 02-01-2011, 11:17 AM
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
I practice what I play with.

I've never really seen the point of using a different stick to practice with.
I'm the same, I wouldn't want to practice with one thing and go to play another and have it react differently.
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Old 02-01-2011, 11:34 AM
Witterings Witterings is offline
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
I practice what I play with.

I've never really seen the point of using a different stick to practice with.
I do agree with this and hence my reluctance to use different sticks and as major_panic said if anything it should be heavier for practice and lighter for gigs rather than the other way round !!

The problem we have for practices it's a great big empty bar on a caravan site that isn't used in the winter and we practice in there, but with a tiled floor, massive great big windows all the way round and no sofa's or furniture that absorbs sound the drums become overpowering and just echoe round the room and I'm trying to find alternatives to help lower the volume.
There's a smaller room with furniture in we're going to try tonight and see if that helps.
We play typical pop rock pub band covers music, I'm a reasonably hardish hitter but nowhere near as hard as some and think 5a's are just middle of the road sticks for that sort of music.
Thanks for all the input and comments !!!
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Old 02-01-2011, 12:48 PM
TwoCables
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

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Originally Posted by Witterings View Post
I do agree with this and hence my reluctance to use different sticks and as major_panic said if anything it should be heavier for practice and lighter for gigs rather than the other way round !!

The problem we have for practices it's a great big empty bar on a caravan site that isn't used in the winter and we practice in there, but with a tiled floor, massive great big windows all the way round and no sofa's or furniture that absorbs sound the drums become overpowering and just echoe round the room and I'm trying to find alternatives to help lower the volume.
There's a smaller room with furniture in we're going to try tonight and see if that helps.
We play typical pop rock pub band covers music, I'm a reasonably hardish hitter but nowhere near as hard as some and think 5a's are just middle of the road sticks for that sort of music.
Thanks for all the input and comments !!!
Then I say that if you're wearing earplugs at these practices, then remove them. I mean, if you're accustomed to wearing them, then not wearing them may cause you to automatically play quieter.
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Old 02-01-2011, 01:02 PM
Witterings Witterings is offline
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

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Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post
Then I say that if you're wearing earplugs at these practices, then remove them. I mean, if you're accustomed to wearing them, then not wearing them may cause you to automatically play quieter.
Absolutely no chance what so ever, I already have damaged hearing / tinnitus from playing and will not do anything that may possibly make it any worse and that could possibly lead to complete deafness !!!!!!!!
I get what you're saying and why but enough damage has been done already.
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:08 PM
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

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Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post
Then I say that if you're wearing earplugs at these practices, then remove them. I mean, if you're accustomed to wearing them, then not wearing them may cause you to automatically play quieter.
OH GOOD LORD!!!! :O

Please, please, I beg you, don't repeat this terrible advice ever again!!! I understand you mean no harm but this kind of misinformation is being read by lots of people, and some may take it into account.

---

Witterings, for what you want, I think that you could try two things:

1) Rods or "rutes"
or
2) Maple sticks

I usually use hickory 5B's, and for lighter playing, Vic Firth's SD1 General (maple). Light as a feather but thick and comfy.

Cheers
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:02 PM
toddbishop toddbishop is offline
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

If just playing quieter is out of the question, I would try the multi-rods. I also like maple sticks, but he'll snap them like nothing if he's breaking a lot of hickory sticks.
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  #13  
Old 02-01-2011, 11:17 PM
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

I never understood practicing with heavier/lighter sticks. I practice with what I play with too.

The only difference between my practice sticks and playing sticks is my ''practice pad'' sticks are nylon tips. I bought some when I first started playing thinking I would like the sound. I almost immediately didn't, so they went to my practice space.
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Old 02-02-2011, 06:14 AM
TwoCables
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

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Originally Posted by Witterings View Post
Absolutely no chance what so ever, I already have damaged hearing / tinnitus from playing and will not do anything that may possibly make it any worse and that could possibly lead to complete deafness !!!!!!!!
I get what you're saying and why but enough damage has been done already.
In that case, yeah: it's out of the question now

Quote:
Originally Posted by diegobxr View Post
OH GOOD LORD!!!! :O

Please, please, I beg you, don't repeat this terrible advice ever again!!! I understand you mean no harm but this kind of misinformation is being read by lots of people, and some may take it into account.

---

Witterings, for what you want, I think that you could try two things:

1) Rods or "rutes"
or
2) Maple sticks

I usually use hickory 5B's, and for lighter playing, Vic Firth's SD1 General (maple). Light as a feather but thick and comfy.

Cheers
I had practice with the band tonight, and for the sake of this thread I actually began the practice without my earplugs (which is something I have never done at a practice). The end result was that I played quieter, everything was easier to play, and we actually sounded better. It was exactly like my experiences at those gigs where I had to play as quietly as possible. But old habits die hard, and I eventually started playing a little louder and so I stuck my earplugs back in. :/ I think it was more of a conditioned response or something.

So on one hand, I stand behind my advice and strongly disagree that it is terrible because of how it automatically made me play quieter. But on the other hand, I can't ignore how it seems like playing loud at practice felt like a conditioned response tonight. I started out absolutely fine and none of my playing hurt my ears at all. But after a couple of songs, I decided to put my earplugs back in so I could stop concentrating on playing a little quieter (it became a little less than automatic after a while). So I can see now that I could reach a point where I no longer wear earplugs at practice because I'd eventually reach a point where I could do the entire practice at safe decibel levels.

However, this always works for me for those gigs where I have to play as quietly as possible. I think that it's perhaps due to just having an increased self-awareness due to having an audience. I mean, every time I have one of these gigs, I don't wear my earplugs the entire night and I'm fine (and no one says we were too loud). So maybe the aspect of not having an audience at practice makes a huge difference in this regard - at least it seems like it did for me tonight. However, this experience has made me decide to continue doing this at each practice from now on until it feels more like those low-volume gigs.

Anyway, I realize that I'm "just a new guy" here, but can you by chance be a little more respectful or professional the next time you see me give advice that you disagree with? I mean, you know it's not easy to reply to things like "oh good lord!!!" and "terrible advice" when you are giving advice that you believe in. Plus, I think Witterings reply was good enough by itself. Don't get me wrong: I understand what type of message board this is, but I gave that advice because it works for me every single time I have a gig where I have to play as quietly as possible. Unfortunately, I had never tried it at practice which again is why I tried it tonight.
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  #15  
Old 02-02-2011, 07:22 AM
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

i hop on musicians friend and buy those goodwood fusions. great blend of an in between size of a 5a-5b
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  #16  
Old 02-02-2011, 07:38 AM
Witterings Witterings is offline
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

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Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post
In that case, yeah: it's out of the question now


I had practice with the band tonight, and for the sake of this thread I actually began the practice without my earplugs (which is something I have never done at a practice). The end result was that I played quieter, everything was easier to play, and we actually sounded better. It was exactly like my experiences at those gigs where I had to play as quietly as possible. But old habits die hard, and I eventually started playing a little louder and so I stuck my earplugs back in. :/ I think it was more of a conditioned response or something.

So on one hand, I stand behind my advice and strongly disagree that it is terrible because of how it automatically made me play quieter. But on the other hand, I can't ignore how it seems like playing loud at practice felt like a conditioned response tonight. I started out absolutely fine and none of my playing hurt my ears at all. But after a couple of songs, I decided to put my earplugs back in so I could stop concentrating on playing a little quieter (it became a little less than automatic after a while). So I can see now that I could reach a point where I no longer wear earplugs at practice because I'd eventually reach a point where I could do the entire practice at safe decibel levels.

However, this always works for me for those gigs where I have to play as quietly as possible. I think that it's perhaps due to just having an increased self-awareness due to having an audience. I mean, every time I have one of these gigs, I don't wear my earplugs the entire night and I'm fine (and no one says we were too loud). So maybe the aspect of not having an audience at practice makes a huge difference in this regard - at least it seems like it did for me tonight. However, this experience has made me decide to continue doing this at each practice from now on until it feels more like those low-volume gigs.

Anyway, I realize that I'm "just a new guy" here, but can you by chance be a little more respectful or professional the next time you see me give advice that you disagree with? I mean, you know it's not easy to reply to things like "oh good lord!!!" and "terrible advice" when you are giving advice that you believe in. Plus, I think Witterings reply was good enough by itself. Don't get me wrong: I understand what type of message board this is, but I gave that advice because it works for me every single time I have a gig where I have to play as quietly as possible. Unfortunately, I had never tried it at practice which again is why I tried it tonight.
Twocables,
Please, you seem to think mine / diegobxr's respose was a having a bit of a dig at you and maybe a little over the top, what you don't realise is exactly how bad the advice you gave actually is and hence why the response was such.
What you said is sort of like whilst you wouldn't walk around the motorway with a blindfold on for a couple of hours during the day because you'd get run over it's perfectly safe at night time as there won't be quite so many cars.
There is no "safe level" to play drums at without earplugs they're just too loud and at pitches that the ears don't like, in my previosu naivety I did teh same as you and played gigs without plugs and that's exactly why I now have tinnitus and I can even tell you the gig that did teh real damage.
You also mention that your ears don't hurt after playing quietly, the day they do and you realise the damage will already have been done and it'll be too late.
I think the moral here is if you don't know then really don't give advice and I've only been strong with this to stop anybody else reading and damaging their ears as opposed to trying score points over you so please don't take any offence to it !!!!!!!!!
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Old 02-02-2011, 08:24 AM
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

I make a distinction between practice and rehearsal. I also make a distinction between rehearsing songs and performance rehearsal. All are different.

Practice is something you do to get personally proficient at something. Either playing the instrument, or learning a song. As some have suggested, there is some advantage in using heavier sticks to practice with. It's like using ankle weights when running or any other resistance increase technique in order to improve strength, endurance and speed. I think you should do both resistance training, and train as you would during a performance. The best training is breaking things up so that your muscles don't get acclimated to one specific range, rate and strength of motion. What happens then is that a certain part of the muscle used for that specific motion gets developed at the expense of other parts of that same muscle. So that when you call on the muscle to move more quickly, or slowly, or over a different range of motion, it can't perform as well as if you hadn't done all that training. I first learned about this from Bruce Lee's Tao of Jeet Kune Do (who knew a thing or two about physiology and movement) and have since confirmed it with some other coaches, trainers and physical therapists.

Song rehearsal (IMHO) is what you do with your band in order to learn the arrangement of the song. I don't take this as the time to practice the song yourself (you should already know what you're going to do, or have the ability to change it into however the arrangement evolves without needing to practice it over and over again) or play full out as you would at a show. Small practice amplifiers, a basic kit with rods or small sticks is all that is necessary. Maybe you might have some effect thing like a cowbell, but the mega kit isn't necessary for most songs in order to learn the beat, breaks and arrangement. For this reason, most band rehearsals I've been part of, aren't very loud. Usually, you want to be able to hear each other clearly so that you can hear how the arrangement works. And the vocalists need to be able to hear themselves clearly as you work out blending harmony parts and so on.

Performance rehearsal is full out, just like a gig. Possibly even including costumes/uniforms so that every little bug in the performance can be worked out. This is when you break out all the gear you will be using in the performance so that you can check if it works, if the sounds work with the arrangement, and how you are going to get from one thing to the next. e.g. click tracks, sequencers, patch changes and the like. By this time you should have gone back from the song rehearsal to your personal practice and worked out with your full rig so that you know exactly what you will be doing. Performance rehearsal is the time for fine tuning and getting everyone on the same groove. Not for learning songs. It substitutes for gigging the song to the point where folks have learned what to expect from each other and those subtle little dynamic things and interplay that evolve into performances are dialing in.

Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can't get it wrong.

The next thing in this thread that caught me is the mention of breaking sticks. Especially in practice/rehearsal. Wow. I guess I haven't played heavy rock since high school (back when heavy rock was invented), but the idea of going though sticks like that (or worse yet cymbals) blows my mind. I keep a pair of Vater 5A's in my stick bag but I very rarely ever break them out. Most of the time I play with SD4's which are light maple sticks. And if the gig is loud I may get out some SD10's, which are 5A'ish maple sticks. Eventually they get nicked up and I toss them, but very, very rarely do they ever break in the middle of a song. I learned a long time ago from a great big band drummer who also played fusion that technique and tuning will make all the noise necessary without all the extra exertion. It's like when I was a kid and use to watch my parents skate. They were ranked figure and dance skaters and certified judges. They would be gliding around the rink doing some dance step, making it look effortless, all the while passing up all the folks who were thrashing around trying to race each other.
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  #18  
Old 02-02-2011, 08:25 AM
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post
Anyway, I realize that I'm "just a new guy" here, but can you by chance be a little more respectful or professional the next time you see me give advice that you disagree with? I mean, you know it's not easy to reply to things like "oh good lord!!!" and "terrible advice" when you are giving advice that you believe in. Plus, I think Witterings reply was good enough by itself. Don't get me wrong: I understand what type of message board this is, but I gave that advice because it works for me every single time I have a gig where I have to play as quietly as possible. Unfortunately, I had never tried it at practice which again is why I tried it tonight.
Hi there Twocables,

First of all, I apologize to you for offending you with my previous comment. I`m also a new guy and it's not my interest to "show off" and put other people down, so really, I'm sorry for that.

However, please understand that what you gave actually is bad advice. Is like saying "don't wear a seatbelt, that way you'll drive slower". There are no safe drumming levels for your ears. And the reason why you and each one of us sounds better without plugs in band rehearsal is usually 'cause plugs cut some frequencies more than others, so, in a band, it alters the perception of what's being played, and therefore sounds "odd".

Don't get me wrong, I also skipped my ear protection more than once and "enjoyed" it, but it's not what I'd like other fellow drummers to do, and it's something I worked hard to change, for my own health. :)

I hope everything's clear now. Now let's go back to the original post which is very interesting.

Cheers.
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by diegobxr View Post
Hi there Twocables,

First of all, I apologize to you for offending you with my previous comment. I`m also a new guy and it's not my interest to "show off" and put other people down, so really, I'm sorry for that.

However, please understand that what you gave actually is bad advice. Is like saying "don't wear a seatbelt, that way you'll drive slower". There are no safe drumming levels for your ears. And the reason why you and each one of us sounds better without plugs in band rehearsal is usually 'cause plugs cut some frequencies more than others, so, in a band, it alters the perception of what's being played, and therefore sounds "odd".

Don't get me wrong, I also skipped my ear protection more than once and "enjoyed" it, but it's not what I'd like other fellow drummers to do, and it's something I worked hard to change, for my own health. :)

I hope everything's clear now. Now let's go back to the original post which is very interesting.

Cheers.
Then here's something I want to add:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boomka View Post
Well, I'm going against the grain here: yes, you should protect your hearing. No, you shouldn't practice exclusively with ear plugs in. It is possible to play the drums at a volume level that is more-or-less safe for your hearing over short durations, and that should be done now and again. There are a lot of nuances in a drum/cymbal that we simply don't hear when we wear earplugs. Moreover, a lot of it depends on the room. If you're practicing in a boomy room, with no sound baffling on the walls, you're going to want to wear plugs most of the time. If you're practicing in a very dead room, then you can afford to leave the plugs out once in awhile and get into the sound of your instrument. Generations of drummers before us didn't wear hearing protection and they all aren't deaf. They did, however, play more quietly in general.

Warning; don't play with plugs in, take them out, then play some more.
I'm talking about the part in bold. I mean, this is still true today. For example, Simon Phillips doesn't wear hearing protection. He talks about why he doesn't use it in this video starting at 7:56:

http://www.drummerworld.com/Videos/s...epartment.html

I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to tell Simon Phillips that there are no safe drumming levels for our ears.
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:39 AM
Witterings Witterings is offline
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

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Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post
For example, Simon Phillips doesn't wear hearing protection. He talks about why he doesn't use it in this video starting at 7:56:

http://www.drummerworld.com/Videos/s...epartment.html

I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to tell Simon Phillips that there are no safe drumming levels for our ears.
Personally I think he's a God of drummers and has been for many years so take that into consideration when reading my response

Maybe you wouldn't want to tell him BUT I'm sure every hearing specialist in the world would advise him TO wear protection, which is kind of my whole point about you advising people not to !!!
Simon isn't ADVISING people not to use protection, and he's also NOT saying it won't damage your ears, he's simply saying HE doesn't wear any which is obviously his choice !!!!!!!!!!!! He also says it's a tricky one and the way he says it / his body lanuguage I'd interpret that as he knows he probably should ....... at no stage does he say you don't need it and there's absolutely no chance you'll damage your ears.
You're also right for years drummers didn't wear any because they didn't realise exactly how bad it was for you much the same as in the 50's / 60's doctors also didn't know how bad cigarettes were for you !!!!
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Old 02-02-2011, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post
Then here's something I want to add:

I'm talking about the part in bold. I mean, this is still true today. For example, Simon Phillips doesn't wear hearing protection. He talks about why he doesn't use it in this video starting at 7:56:

http://www.drummerworld.com/Videos/s...epartment.html

I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to tell Simon Phillips that there are no safe drumming levels for our ears.
OK. You're right. Drum without protection. Better yet, let's tell everybody to do it. After all, if Mr. Phillips did it, it must be advisable.

Oh, and now that I think about it, my grandma has smoked 20+ cigarrettes every day for 45 years and counting, and she isn't dead. She doesn't recommend people to do it, but maybe she should start.

I'm done answering nonsense and killing the thread.
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Old 02-02-2011, 04:20 PM
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

If we can get back on track ... I would like to challenge the "lighter sticks = lower volume" equation.

If you get used to Fusions, as I have, and you are able play at all volume levels humanly possible, I wish, then I don't really see the point in changing sticks. The feel of 7As is all wrong for me, there's no bounce and I'm working against the stick. I would much rather play the fusions more gently.

Am I a freak?

Davo
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Old 02-02-2011, 04:36 PM
Witterings Witterings is offline
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Am I a freak?

Davo
Yeah !!!!!!!!!!!!! :-0 :-) Only kidding !!!!!!!

Funny you should say that, I went to rehearsal last night in the same venue and took some 7a's as well, not one person in the band noticed as I alternated them from them back to my 5a's from one song to the next !!!! Not sure if maybe I was playing quieter last night but there were no drummers too loud comments at all.

TwoCables
Just back to you briefly but how come in this thread you seem to be saying it's OK NOT to wear plugs and yet in this other thread you seem to have totally the opposite view ??
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...3&postcount=14
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Last edited by Witterings; 02-02-2011 at 09:00 PM.
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  #24  
Old 02-02-2011, 07:55 PM
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Drums101 Drums101 is offline
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

Vic Firth Peter Erskine Signatures is what your looking for...

Not with the ride tip tho

Best stick EVER

As for multirods, they break easily but they reduce sound well.
I'd suggest Vic Firth Rutes
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  #25  
Old 02-02-2011, 09:06 PM
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yesdog yesdog is offline
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Default Re: Sticks For Practice

I use the same sticks for practice and performance. If some one is breaking sticks a lot, you better check your technique or quit pounding. I did a full summer of festival gigs 20 of them I changed one pair during that time because the sticks were worn. As far as hearing proctection goes. I discovered this wonderful invention. INNER EAR MONITORS. They did not have such a thing in my younger years, so I suffer some hearing loss. I have tried ear plugs, I personally could not stand them. When you can't hear your self you tend to play louder to hear your self. Its your own choice if you want to blow your ears out or not. I spent the money and got custom fitted inner monitors and head phone amp. I use them for rehersals. I get such a great mix and noise isolation, Its like listening to an I pod at a reasonable level. If anyone is giging out a lot i highly recommend inner ear monitors.
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