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  #1  
Old 12-10-2017, 08:31 PM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Conundrum...

Playing drums alone -- I break 1-2 sticks a year.
Playing drums to guitar -- I break one stick every two days.


It's obvious that the guitar is somehow breaking my drum sticks.

Do you guys think I should change string gauges or try a different tuning? Seems to happen more frequently with my Les Paul / Marshall than my Telecaster / Vox.

Seriously though. Any tips for culling breakage while playing at mid-high intensity to a screaming guitar @ ~100db? Using VF 5A's.
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  #2  
Old 12-10-2017, 08:45 PM
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Tommy_D Tommy_D is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Less rim shots, more shank hitting on the ride bell. Other that, maybe find a 5A stick, or similar diameter stick with less taper.
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  #3  
Old 12-10-2017, 08:47 PM
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belairien belairien is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Dang. I only broke like 2 sticks this year! And that's in a high intensity thrash band.
Are you mic'd up?
Could ask them to turn down the volume and turn up the mids so the guitar cuts but doesn't drown you out. Then you can play softer.
Try a different stick?

I use Vater Los Angeles 5A or 5B. End up tossing the sticks because they are chewn up from cymbal edges and rim shots. Only split 2 sticks that were well beyond their lifespan.
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Old 12-10-2017, 08:54 PM
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IDDrummer IDDrummer is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

A couple of thoughts, but first, a question. Are you always breaking the stick in one hand or the other? I remember you said you're a lefty playing a righty kit. Maybe you are laying into the backbeat harder than you think? If the internal kit volume is correct, and you are usually breaking the backbeat stick, perhaps take the advice of 38 Special and hold on loosely. Other options would be to use more rimshot and less stick height/velocity, or switch to a heavier stick.

If there is no pattern to which stick you are breaking, you might try a heavier stick anyway, or switch to a different brand. Vater seems to be extremely durable. Vic Firths are well made, but tend to be a bit dry and brittle IME, and I break more of them than some other brands.

All that said, I don't really break many sticks at all, even when playing in very loud situations. There was a time when I may have broken more cymbals than sticks! lol When I do break a stick, it's often because of wear, but I doubt that is the problem you are having. It would be too obvious.
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Old 12-10-2017, 09:00 PM
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belairien belairien is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Another option, if unmicd, tune a little higher than you think you need and don't muffle. It will provide extra cut for you.

Ringy (but well tuned) snare and toms sound like heaven from an audience perspective. The ring will blend in to the mix.
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  #6  
Old 12-10-2017, 10:25 PM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Answers:

Re: Turn guitar down -- Unfortunately these old fashion amps are reliant on power-side distortion. AC-30 and JMP50 are set to roughly 50% on all knobs. The best I can do is side wash them and get about -3db (I'm already turning them 90 degrees).

Re: Which hand. -- They break in both hands, but the damage is being done to the stick by the left. Eventually, they start to splinter, and after a while they will break regardless of which hand they are in.

Example:



Re: Mic'ed.... Playing un-amplified. Mics for recording only. No monitors. Rock-in-the-basement scenario.

Re: Try a different stick.... I change up the brand and size once a year and order about 2 dozen pair in a go. Been on VF-5A for a year now. Any suggestions for the next round.... Similar size/weight.
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  #7  
Old 12-10-2017, 10:39 PM
MustangMick MustangMick is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Are the Guitar amps on the floor or up on a chair/case?
Get those Guitar amps off the floor and the Guitarists will soon turn down.

Ear protection is a must

Cheers
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  #8  
Old 12-10-2017, 10:47 PM
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belairien belairien is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by KamaK View Post
Re: Try a different stick.... I change up the brand and size once a year and order about 2 dozen pair in a go. Been on VF-5A for a year now. Any suggestions for the next round.... Similar size/weight.
I swear by Vater Los Angeles 5A for a same size stick. Got a four pair pack a couple months ago and still working on the first pair.
Between the LA and 5B, I have gone through maybe 16 pairs since I started using them in 2015.

I always broke VF the same day I got them. Same with Zildjian sticks.
.
Promark has my second favorite, 747 or the Neil Peart sig in oak. A little longer and a little thinner. But had a point where they started breaking quickly.
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  #9  
Old 12-10-2017, 11:18 PM
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by IDDrummer View Post
perhaps take the advice of 38 Special and hold on loosely.
Just about made my day with that one. Kamak, you're either playing harder to hear yourself or for others to hear you. Maybe both? If you are not running an pa you could grab a Rolls PM50 and MEE M6 pros, run a room mic into the mic input, in order to hear yourself and the band. IEM setup for under a bill.
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  #10  
Old 12-11-2017, 12:47 AM
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JustJames JustJames is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Persuade your guitarists to adopt pedals in their pursuit of tone. If that won't work, volume attenuators for the amplifiers.

That will reduce their volume and your need to compete.

Or persuade them to adopt pedals so that they can dial in the tone that they need via "artificial" means.
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  #11  
Old 12-11-2017, 01:52 AM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJames View Post
Persuade your guitarists to adopt pedals in their pursuit of tone. If that won't work, volume attenuators for the amplifiers.

That will reduce their volume and your need to compete.

Or persuade them to adopt pedals so that they can dial in the tone that they need via "artificial" means.
For the AC30's, I've done a TS-8 setup for lead boosting before, but there's just something about the 50% volume that gives you dynamics in between high and low that a pedal doesn't. I may pull some attenuators out of storage, I think we have a couple Marshall power-breaks velcro'ed to the back of half-stacks in the vault. Perhaps -3db-6db will change things.

Combos are both 2x12's on the floor setting in 45-deg slant-stands. They're loud, but nothing ridiculous. ~100db at loudest @ ~6'. They're only fully open during crescendos.

You really think it's volume contention and not just rock-fever kicking in?

Re: IEMs and monitors and such.... The last thing I need is additional volume. 2 guitars and a bass and drums played wide open in a basement.... It's occasionally as loud as I am comfortable with, about 6db shy of too loud.
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  #12  
Old 12-11-2017, 02:37 AM
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Dr_Watso Dr_Watso is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Do yourself a favor. Get some b-series sticks. 5b will be easier to play the type of stuff you're talking about, it'll be less effort to get through the wall o' guitar. As a result, your playing will be less tense as well.

Just do it.
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  #13  
Old 12-11-2017, 03:14 AM
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Could always go with Oak sticks. Might be hell on your hands and arms if you are hitting that hard but they won't break like your hickory ones.

If you aren't wearing hearing protection you seriously need to invest in some. If it's just basement jamming and you are hitting those volume levels I'm surprised your neighbors haven't gotten on you yet.

Might be work building some ISO boxes for the amps to reduce the volume in the basement from the amps therefore allowing you to play quieter..
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  #14  
Old 12-11-2017, 03:55 AM
mike d mike d is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Tell the guitar player to quit playing those really high screechy notes.
They shatter drumsticks.
;)
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  #15  
Old 12-11-2017, 03:14 PM
fac fac is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Stop hitting the guitar player in the head. That should solve the problem.
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  #16  
Old 12-11-2017, 03:44 PM
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CommanderRoss CommanderRoss is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

I play rockabilly and I use the Vic 5A in nylon tip to get the stick definition on the ride as best as possible. I need to cut through the Gretsch 6120 with as little effort as possible and this is the one. Because of it's weight, I don't have to hit as hard and I just let the stick do the work for me.
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  #17  
Old 12-11-2017, 05:55 PM
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alparrott alparrott is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

The reason you're breaking sticks is obvious to me, and to a few other posters here. You're having to muscle your unamplified volume up to match amplified guitars in a small, reflective space. These are the exact same conditions that used to cause me to break more sticks.

If them turning down is simply not an option, then I also suggest IEMs. Contrary to your assertion of more volume, IEMs allow you to turn the volume down, and therefore play softer because you can hear yourself over the din and clatter.

Since going to IEMs I have broken only a couple of sticks in several years, and when I did I know for a fact it was from playing too hard.
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  #18  
Old 12-14-2017, 10:32 PM
Otto Otto is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Sticks are usually broken from cymbal strikes...and we tend to play cymbals harder when we cant hear them.

Try running an ambient mic in the room(near your set) to headphones for yourself and equalize the high freqs up in your personal mix and see if your stick chewing reduces.
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  #19  
Old 12-15-2017, 01:14 AM
New Tricks New Tricks is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Quit trying to match the guitar volume. The sound guy will have to do that when you are playing mic'd up.

Use ear protection and just play the notes and try to feel the dynamics.
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  #20  
Old 12-17-2017, 03:32 AM
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Try some regal tip quantum 9000's. Basically marching sticks. I never broke any, and I tried hard. I still have some from the 80's I could send you. I'm playing with 7As these days :)
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  #21  
Old 12-18-2017, 03:56 PM
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

I also would be worried about causing injury. In my opinion it is one of or a combination of both playing too hard or bad technique. Some of the advice about turning down, ambient mic, and in ears can help but are addressing the symptom and not the problem.
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  #22  
Old 12-18-2017, 07:43 PM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

It was suggested to me out-of-forum that I spend some time varying intensity when practicing, in the same manner that we vary tempos, to give my technique a chance to acclimate to higher-energy parts/playing. I should also practice hi-intensity songs at the intended volumes on occasion as a sanity check.

TLDR: My hands don't know how to play hard yet.


Re: Volume.... I'm playing the same exact amps and instruments as the Beatles, Kinks, and Stones, at roughly the same levels. I have a fairly good handle on the difference between loud and too-loud. There's a 50% chance you're all correct, so I'm going to see if I can get things down another 3-6db via amp placement and hearing protection while I work on this from the technique end. I'm of the belief that barn-burners need to be played like barn-burners.
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  #23  
Old 12-19-2017, 02:35 PM
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Icetech Icetech is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

I don't do rim shots, hate how they sound.. but broke 2 sticks the other night playing alone with chicago's tanglewood concert.. just wtf. split down the middle from tip to hand. I have only broken 4 sticks ever and 2 in one night was weird..
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Old 12-19-2017, 04:46 PM
gf2564 gf2564 is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icetech View Post
I don't do rim shots, hate how they sound.. but broke 2 sticks the other night playing alone with chicago's tanglewood concert.. just wtf. split down the middle from tip to hand. I have only broken 4 sticks ever and 2 in one night was weird..
Mr. Seraphine was a tough guy to mimic, especially back in the Tanglewood days! That may have had something to do with the stick breakage! :)

Last edited by gf2564; 12-19-2017 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 12-19-2017, 05:21 PM
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gf2564 View Post
Mr. Seraphine was a tough guy to mimic, especially back in the Tanglewood days! They may have had something to do with the stick breakage! :)
Hahah ok, i'm glad it's not just me.. i find him to be a beast at that concert.. So much fun to play though.. i just need to ease up a little..
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Old 12-19-2017, 06:32 PM
gf2564 gf2564 is offline
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Default Re: Guitar breaks my drum sticks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icetech View Post
Hahah ok, i'm glad it's not just me.. i find him to be a beast at that concert.. So much fun to play though.. i just need to ease up a little..
He was indeed a beast and still has the chops as he hits 70 next year! I have followed him from the start of his career; a tremendous talent that seems to get overlooked/forgotten as Chicago turned into the ballad band that most associate them with. They could rock in the old days for sure!
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