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Old 10-14-2013, 04:02 AM
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Default The best way that I've ever tested the straightness of sticks

I've been playing Vic Firth for 10-15 years now, and so I've never really worried about testing the straightness of my sticks - until now.

I accidentally discovered that the die-cast hoop on my snare is a great way to test the straightness of my sticks! I have my snare at home with me and I'm using the sticks that I practice with on my practice pad. Well, for some reason, when I was done playing with my snare 2 nights ago I decided to put these sticks on just the hoop (completely off the head), but I didn't angle them quite right the first time in order to prevent them from rolling off. So the sticks began rolling very slowly and I noticed that the rolling motion was uneven and so I quickly grabbed one and let the other continue. Immediately, I slowed it down some more then it rocked back and forth several times and came to a rest. The other stick did the same thing, but it wasn't as bad. Surprised, I took a careful look at them lengthwise and sure enough, they're both slightly warped. After that, I kept repeating the same thing over and over in utter amazement at how great of a test my die-cast hoop is for testing the straightness of sticks! lol Who knew?

So, I bought some new sticks today using the exact same method at the store to test the straightness of the sticks that I wanted to buy. I had some picked out after testing them for weight (I like the heaviest 5A's that I can find from Vic Firth). Then, I went and found a nice snare with a die-cast hoop and started rolling my sticks on the hoop! lol I probably could've just used any flanged hoop, but I wanted to be sure. Fortunately, the sticks I selected turned out to be perfectly straight, with an perfectly even rolling motion - like a good ball bearing! :)

So, I'll never again buy sticks without rolling them on a good hoop first.

Note: the sticks should be rolled very slowly. That way, you can also see if they rock back and forth in addition to seeing if the rolling motion is even. Of course, the snare should be mostly level.
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Old 10-14-2013, 04:20 AM
Beam Me Up Scotty's Avatar
Beam Me Up Scotty Beam Me Up Scotty is offline
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Default Re: The best way that I've ever tested the straightness of sticks

I just roll them on a table...
That way the whole stick will be in contact with a straight surface and be more telling if there is any warping.
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Old 10-14-2013, 04:23 AM
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Default Re: The best way that I've ever tested the straightness of sticks

Originally Posted by Beam Me Up Scotty View Post
I just roll them on a table...
That way the whole stick will be in contact with a straight surface and be more telling if there is any warping.

Was taught to do it as a kid and have rolled sticks ever since. I do it on the counter or floor of the store before I pay for the things. In fact, don't think I've ever bought a pair of sticks that I haven't rolled. Even when I was getting sticks made for me and bought them in bulk, I rolled them before putting them in a stick bag.

Last edited by Pocket-full-of-gold; 10-14-2013 at 04:51 AM.
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Old 10-14-2013, 05:58 AM
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Default Re: The best way that I've ever tested the straightness of sticks

Oh. I've never felt comfortable trusting the flatness of counter tops or a table. When I'm rolling them on my hoop, I'm noticing very subtle differences in the way that they roll. I had taken some time just now to more closely inspect the 3 pairs that I bought, and it turns out that only 1 pair seems absolutely perfect. One of the other two has a very slight warp that's only possible to detect with slower rolling, and the other pair of these two others has a slightly more obvious warp, but they're still much better than the pair I was using before. I doubt that the slight warping I discovered in these 'other' 2 pairs is going to affect my playing. lol

What I'm liking about rolling them on a hoop is if they're rolled very slowly and if they're warped, then they will rock back and forth and come to a rest due to the taper toward the tip. I am also able to hear the warp easier because the head amplifies the sound. So the way I'm doing it so far is, if the snare is tilted slightly toward me (and it needs to be a slight tilt - too much and the stick slides off), then I roll the stick across from left to right or right to left. That way it can also roll back and forth due to gravity so I don't have to keep pushing it thereby allowing me to just observe.

Although, the snare I rolled my sticks on in the store was on display and tilted too far forward. So, I had to roll the stick toward me and try to control its speed without stopping its rolling motion. There weren't any snares on the drum kits that had die-cast hoops, but maybe I'll try them next time since I would be able to adjust the tilt of the snare. That way, I'll be able to do it properly, like I can do here at home.

So, I guess Vic Firth's sticks aren't always perfectly straight.

I realize though that maybe I'll find for myself that rolling them on a table or the glass counter top at the store is a better idea (although, a flat piece of glass is not perfectly flat). The problem with that though is there isn't always enough room. If there is, then it could be right at the register and then I'd be in the way. Rolling them on the floor isn't an option where I shop either because there's carpet. Of the places where there is hard floor, it's not a good place to go rolling sticks. So, I'll see how this goes - but it will be several months or even a year or more before I need more sticks.
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