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  #1  
Old 06-25-2013, 04:34 PM
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Default Do maple sticks reduce shock?

Ive heard that maple sticks transmit less shock to ones hand than other woods. Is this true?
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  #2  
Old 06-26-2013, 01:16 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

It'd be interesting to see any science behind this. Personally I've always thought that a hickory stick offers the best "feel" with respect to the transfer of vibrations or jarring effect on the hands et al.

Maple is certainly lighter, but I can't say I've found it to feel superior with respect to shock transferred into the hands. However, I stopped using oak sticks many years ago because I just couldn't cop the horrible jarring feeling I got from them, so I have no doubt some woods respond better than others. Seeing where they rank scientifically on a "shock scale" would certainly be of passing interest to me.
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:22 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

They have a lighter feel so when I use them I get the impression that there is less shock.
The problem is that I sometimes hit harder to compensate for the lighter attack and it defeats the purpose. It depends on the music that I am playing.
I find that hickory sticks produce less shock as they age a bit. I often feel shock transfer from a new pair of sticks but it dwindles after a few weeks of play.
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Old 06-27-2013, 12:11 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

the opposite, they will allow more shock into your hand than hickory....
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Old 06-27-2013, 01:28 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

I use maple sticks and hand shock has never been a problem...

...except once.

We did a gig recently at which I was sitting over the piano amp (Star Trek issue) and the piano was way, way, way too loud (another story in itself). I tried in vein to compensate by playing louder and realized considerable hand shock. There is NEVER a reason to have to play that loud. If the band is turned up that much, the drums should be miced, too. If this happens again, I will either unplug the piano amp or shoot the singer (the source of the problem.
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Old 06-27-2013, 01:57 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

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Originally Posted by Zickos View Post
If this happens again, I will either unplug the piano amp or shoot the singer.
Seems like a reasonable solution heh.

I have only had issues with shock a few times. I'd never experimented with anything other than hickory though.

It makes sense that maple sticks would tranfer more shock though, since it's a more dense wood, the vibrations may be transferred directly to your hands. With a less dense wood, the molecules have space to vibrate on their own so some of the vibrations may be absorbed before they get to your hands.

This is all just my assumption though. Some verified science would definitely be interesting though :)
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Old 06-27-2013, 04:41 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

In my case there was more shock because I had to play so much louder. With heavier sticks (oak or hickory) I probably wouldn't have had to hit so hard. Now, if I had longer sticks I probably could have hit the piano player. Hmmm?
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Old 06-27-2013, 05:07 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

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Originally Posted by Sparkboss View Post
Seems like a reasonable solution heh.

I have only had issues with shock a few times. I'd never experimented with anything other than hickory though.

It makes sense that maple sticks would tranfer more shock though, since it's a more dense wood, the vibrations may be transferred directly to your hands. With a less dense wood, the molecules have space to vibrate on their own so some of the vibrations may be absorbed before they get to your hands.

This is all just my assumption though. Some verified science would definitely be interesting though :)
Maple is actually less dense. I think grain structure plays an important role in shock transfer, too.

FWIW, I find hickory to be more comfortable, as a rule, but maple is OK, too. My issue with maple is breakage. Oak simply hurts my hands.
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:25 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

***WARNING: SCIENCE AHEAD***

In order to determine whether or not one stick transfers more shock than another, we must look at both the sticks density (weight, if you will), as well as the sticks hardness. We shall assume that all uncontrollable factors (velocity of hit, dryness of wood, straightness of grain, etc.) to be equal for our purposes. So here we go:

Take your favorite stick, I'll pick a 2B. Now envision the same stick in maple, hickory, and oak. Maple is the lightest, and oak is the heaviest. Therefore, by definition, maple is the least dense, and oak is the most dense, with hickory somewhere in between. This is not the only factor in shock absorption. We must factor in the hardness of each different wood type. According to the Janka Hardness Rating of wood (widely accepted hardness test, I'll explain at bottom), hickory is harder than maple, and maple is harder than oak. So now we know that the heaviest stick is also the softest, the least dense stick is middle ground in hardness, and the hardest stick is middle ground in density. We know that the harder something is the more energy it transfers (think bricks vs foam), and the heavier it is the more energy it produces (again, bricks vs foam). So if each stick were to hit the same head at the same velocity, we can conclude that:

1. The oak stick, being the heaviest, will produce the most energy upon impact, but being the softest it will absorb the most energy of the three.

2. The hickory stick, being the middle weight, will produce more energy than maple but less than oak upon impact. It will transfer the most amount of energy being the hardest.

3. The maple stick being the lightest will produce the least amount of energy of the three upon impact. Being in the middle in terms of hardness, it will transfer less energy than hickory but more than oak.

In conclusion, the harder stick transfers more energy, but the heaviest stick produces more.

So do maple sticks reduce shock? Sure, compared to hickory. But lets not forget how hard you play and the weight of the stick most definitely come into play. And lets not forget that ALL sticks transfer energy to your hands as long as you are holding on to them, no grip exceptions to this either. If it vibrates and you touch it, energy will be transferred.


As I promised, the Janka Hardness Rating is measured by determining how much pound force (lbf) is required to embed a .444" (11.28mm) diameter steel ball halfway into a piece of wood (half the ball, not halfway through the wood). The harder the wood is, the more force is required. Hickory, hard rock maple, and white oak have hardness ratings of 1820lbf, 1450lbf, and 1325lbf respectively.

Okay, I promise, no more science for today :)
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:19 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

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Originally Posted by MrInsanePolack View Post
Okay, I promise, no more science for today :)
Nah, geek away at will.

If I'm understanding this correctly though (and it's certainly possible I'm not), I totally dispute the findings with respect to an oak stick. I'm reading "but being the softest it will absorb the most energy of the three" as them offering less vibrations when compared to hickory or maple, yeah?

In my experience oak promotes far more jarring vibrations through the hands than any other wood I've used. I used them for quite a while back in the 90's....right up until I decided that I just hated the feel from them due to how much unnecessary vibration I felt in my hands when compared to a hickory stick.
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:14 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

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Originally Posted by Pocket-full-of-gold View Post
Nah, geek away at will.

If I'm understanding this correctly though (and it's certainly possible I'm not), I totally dispute the findings with respect to an oak stick. I'm reading "but being the softest it will absorb the most energy of the three" as them offering less vibrations when compared to hickory or maple, yeah?

In my experience oak promotes far more jarring vibrations through the hands than any other wood I've used. I used them for quite a while back in the 90's....right up until I decided that I just hated the feel from them due to how much unnecessary vibration I felt in my hands when compared to a hickory stick.
As I was researching and typing this I kind of had the same feelings. I too don't like oak, because it feels like the stick itself vibrates. Personally I always attributed it to the stick being heavier and how I held it. But it could also be that since it is softer, it will naturally have more flex to it. This could in turn lead to the stick itself wanting to vibrate naturally more than a harder wood. I can't speak on how the energy causes the wood itself to act, only on how science says it should transfer energy. It could also be that the stick is heavier to the point that the energy it generates is more than the wood itself can handle for it's size. There are so many factors that can come into play, the ones that were assumed for ease of explanation, I don't honestly know why oak sticks act the way they do. I agree they don't act the way a drumstick should. I will try to find more information about how specific woods act when energy is imparted on them.

Even in science, there are always exceptions.
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:56 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

After further investigation, the way maple, hickory, and oak form may have a lot to do with the way they act.

Maple is diffuse-porous. This means that the pores in the ring growths are the same size throughout the rings. As a ring forms in the beginning of a season, it contains pores for water dispersion throughout the tree. These pores remain the same size throughout the season and the life of the tree. In a maple, the pores are rather linear and are spaced fairly far apart, with tightly packed wood fiber and linear cells that radiate from the center of the tree surrounding the pores. This repeats every season and gives the wood its strength. The pores cannot be seen without high magnification.

Hickory and oak are ring-porous. This means the pores at the beginning of the season are much bigger than at the end of the season. In hickory, the pores are large in the beginning of the season, but are very limited in number. The end season pores are very tiny, and there are very few of them. The pores are fairly linear, and like maple, are surrounded by tightly packed wood fiber. The cells radiate laterally, unlike the maple.

The oak is a totally different story. The beginning season pores are huge, and there are tons of them. They aren't in any linear pattern, rather a random array of placement, practically one on top of the other. They radiate out to about half of the ring, then the pores suddenly become smaller but are still bigger than the maple's. This creates weak spots in the wood. The area of pores to wood fiber in an oak is about 50/50. So half the oak is actually randomly spaced pores, or air if you will.

This is probably why oak sticks suck. They are half air! While the wood itself is more dense, giving the stick its weight, the vibration that the stick endures doesn't know where to go because it has to deal with all of the voids in the wood. The maple and hickory, on the other hand, are almost all wood, allowing the vibrations to freely pass through them.
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Old 06-27-2013, 12:35 PM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

What about Hornbeam? What are the physical characteristics compared to the other woods? As I understand it, hornbeam is a European hardwood which was described to me a "hard maple".

I bought a few pairs of hornbeam sticks recently and have found them to be light and comfortable; it's only been a couple of weeks so I can't say how they compare in the long run to the hickory sticks I typically use but they have been surprisingly good so far. Especially when one considers that they are the B stock of that particular manufacturer.
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Old 06-27-2013, 04:01 PM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

If your fingers suspend the sticks and act as shock absorbers, none of this matters. But I agree that the shock transmitting properties of each respective wood is not the same.

I like stringy hickory the best. It has more give than maple. Oak is too dense feeling for me.
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Old 06-27-2013, 05:58 PM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

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Originally Posted by Bad Tempered Clavier View Post
What about Hornbeam? What are the physical characteristics compared to the other woods? As I understand it, hornbeam is a European hardwood which was described to me a "hard maple".

I bought a few pairs of hornbeam sticks recently and have found them to be light and comfortable; it's only been a couple of weeks so I can't say how they compare in the long run to the hickory sticks I typically use but they have been surprisingly good so far. Especially when one considers that they are the B stock of that particular manufacturer.
European Hornbeam is diffuse-porous, just like maple, and has a hardness rating of 1630lbf, so it is harder than maple but softer than hickory. I can't speak of its density, though. But it does sound like it might make a good stick.

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
If your fingers suspend the sticks and act as shock absorbers, none of this matters.
You may get less transfer of energy into your hands using this method, but it is still transferred. I will agree that the more surface area you put on the stick with your hand, the more energy is transferred. But unfortunately, unless your hands are made by TempurPedic, shock transfer is unavoidable. As long as your wrist is straight during impact, the resulting shock will leave your hand and be absorbed in the forearm, and this is good.
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:04 PM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

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If your fingers suspend the sticks and act as shock absorbers, none of this matters.
I'm not too sure about that, Larry. The shocks on your vehicle will wear out faster if you constantly drive over rough, corrugated terrain than if you drive only on smooth highway.

If indeed your analogy that fingers are like shock absorbers is right, then that points all the more urgently to the need to use the stick that produces the smoothest ride.

Seems to me, anyway. I just use what feels good.
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

less shock through science


Less shock comes at a price tho. Less shock means less energy is transfered to the stick, which means less rebound.
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:20 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

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less shock through science


Less shock comes at a price tho. Less shock means less energy is transfered to the stick, which means less rebound.
Stick rebound and shock transfer are two different things. The rebound comes from the head, and the shock is the vibration imparted on the stick from the rebound.

While I would have to buy a pair and cut them up to be sure, there is a black plug at the butt of the stick. This plug is more than likely a rod like insert that goes partway into the stick itself. The insert is what absorbs the shock, not the stick. The stick would perform as usual, but when the vibrations (they travel as waves that start at the point of impact, the tip if you are doing it right) travel down the shaft of the stick, the insert will arrest, or capture if you will, the vibrations.

This technology is also used in baseball bats, tennis rackets, and bows (for hunting), just to name a few.
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:36 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

I've never used maple sticks, but I'm sure you'd know just from playing if shock is considerably more than playing with plain old hickory. Unless I was playing softer music, I stay away from really hard woods like Oak, Jatoba or Purpleheart.
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:27 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

I use maple VF SD1 sticks all the time. I never have shock issues, but you have to select sticks for what you play. I play most snare solo stuff, which is more of a concert setting. Maple works great for this. If you try to play too loud with this stick, braking can become an issue. I am referring to very aggressive rock or big band. when you need more volume and weight, I would switch to a hickory stick. You have to pay attention to stick weight, length, and wood type for your application. You can't go by wood type alone.
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:05 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

Stick rebound and shock transfer are two different things.

You're correct, they are two different thing by themselves, but you might not realize they're directly related when it comes to drumsticks.

While I would have to buy a pair and cut them up to be sure, there is a black plug at the butt of the stick. This plug is more than likely a rod like insert that goes partway into the stick itself. The insert is what absorbs the shock, not the stick. The stick would perform as usual, but when the vibrations (they travel as waves that start at the point of impact, the tip if you are doing it right) travel down the shaft of the stick, the insert will arrest, or capture if you will, the vibrations.

OK, now I see for sure you don't realize it.

In regards to the ZILDJIAN ANTIVIBES, I've played them extensively when they first came out and yes they do work, if/when you do play them you'll realize rebound is affected and it should be obvious as to why.

The 'insert' in the ANTIVIBES doesn't absorb the shock, it acts as an arrestor, it interferes with the vibration. 'Shock' is energy in the stick which has been produced by impact, that same energy propels rebound.

Last edited by Les Ismore; 06-28-2013 at 02:20 AM.
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:33 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Ismore View Post
Stick rebound and shock transfer are two different things.

You're correct, they are two different thing by themselves, but you might not realize they're directly related when it comes to drumsticks.

While I would have to buy a pair and cut them up to be sure, there is a black plug at the butt of the stick. This plug is more than likely a rod like insert that goes partway into the stick itself. The insert is what absorbs the shock, not the stick. The stick would perform as usual, but when the vibrations (they travel as waves that start at the point of impact, the tip if you are doing it right) travel down the shaft of the stick, the insert will arrest, or capture if you will, the vibrations.

OK, now I see for sure you don't realize it.

In regards to the ZILDJIAN ANTIVIBES, I've played them extensively when they first came out and yes they do work, if/when you do play them you'll realize rebound is affected and it should be obvious as to why.

The 'insert' in the ANTIVIBES doesn't absorb the shock, it acts as an arrestor, it interferes with the vibration. 'Shock' is energy in the stick which has been produced by impact, that same energy propels rebound.
Perhaps we are referring to the different functions of the stick. I am referring to the vibration that the stick goes through on its way back up, after rebound has occurred. It sounds to me like you are referring to the shock produced upon impact, before rebound occurs. If that is the case than yes you are right, I hadn't considered the initial absorption properties that the Antivibe insert does to the stick upon impact. I was referring to what it does to the vibration of the stick after impact.
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:49 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

You may want to find and try some of the new bamboo sticks. They may transfer less than all others mentioned previously.
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Old 06-28-2013, 11:28 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

So I looked and looked and looked and couldn't find and slow motion videos of what happens to a drumstick when it strikes a head. I did however find this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFlEIybC7rU

Yes I know it is a baseball bat, but you can still see what happens. A drumstick will act exactly the same way, just on a smaller scale. You will notice that the initial impact creates shock, and that shock travels up and down the bat numerous times, even as the machine that holds the bat allows the bat to swing. The vibration finally ceases when they are absorbed by the bat and the machine. This is actually a good video. The ball acts as the initial impact with the head, the bat acts just like a drumstick would, and the machine that holds the bat is the hand and wrist.

Before anyone says "well the bat is made of ash", ash has almost the same hardness as oak, and baseball bats are also made out of maple. Regardless, anytime a force is imparted on an object, energy is transferred to that object in the form of vibrations and motion.
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Old 06-29-2013, 12:06 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

...anytime a force is imparted on an object, energy is transferred to that object in the form of vibrations and motion.

Very good, and the energy that creates vibration (shock) and motion (rebound) are one and the same. In order to limit shock this energy must be dissipated, which means what? There'll be less of it to produce rebound.

Order yourself a set of ZILDJIAN ANTIVIBES, the best anti-shock sticks on the market, you'll see rebound is affected/reduced.
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Old 06-29-2013, 12:32 AM
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Default Re: Do maple sticks reduce shock?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Ismore View Post
...anytime a force is imparted on an object, energy is transferred to that object in the form of vibrations and motion.

Very good, and the energy that creates vibration (shock) and motion (rebound) are one and the same. In order to limit shock this energy must be dissipated, which means what? There'll be less of it to produce rebound.
If you had read my earlier post, you would see that I have already agreed with you. And did you watch the video I linked? You would see the effects of the stick I was referring to.

Last edited by MrInsanePolack; 06-29-2013 at 08:11 AM.
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