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  #1  
Old 07-15-2008, 01:08 PM
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Default New Sticks

I just bought my first set of sticks.

Never knew that buying a foot of wood could ever be so exciting (i'm 28)!!!!!

Thing is that the guy in the shop couldn't really offer any kind of explanation to what the numbers and the letters mean (ie, 7A, 5A ).

Question is ........is there any relation to the size of the number/letter to the thickness/ length/thickness of the tip.

Thanks

Tristan
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  #2  
Old 07-15-2008, 05:52 PM
Mediocrefunkybeat
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Default Re: New Sticks

Ok, here's the lowdown. Generally speaking, the smaller the number - the larger the diameter of the stick itself. The 'A' or 'B' (or 'S') relates to the size of the tip. An 'A' is an average, small to medium tip, a 'B' is slightly larger and an 'S' relates to sticks for corps marching. Generally I advise people to start at a 5A (wood or nylon tip is your choice, I personally prefer wood) and if you want more stick, go to a 5B (which has a larger diameter than a 5A), if you want less, go to a 7A. Generally speaking, a 2B is a stick designed for marching; but can also be used on the set - but initially I would tend to avoid these because the weight can do your wrists some damage with your formative technique.

The other confusing thing is that sizes are not standardised. For instance ProMark's 5A is larger than Vic Firth's 5A and the tips are different. I mainly use Vater sticks because I find they are more durable than anything else out there; Vic Firth are the most ubiquitous but have had a recent drop in quality over the last few years in my opinion. ProMark are good, but I don't like the weight distribution - which is purely a matter of personal choice. Regal Tip make some good sticks, but the taper at the end near the tip can make them susceptible to the tip breaking off under heavy hi-hat playing.

Finally, many sticks are not included in the numbering system or do not conform to it. Vater make 9A's which are roughly the same as their 5A; perhaps a little lighter, but certainly bigger than their 7A's. Some use names, not numbers as well So really, you have to take each stick as it comes - but 5A's, 7A's, 2B's and 5B's are generally in the same ballpark with size.

Like I say, go for some 5A's first of all and then decide if you want more or less stick. I have a wide variety of sticks and I've been playing for a few years. You'll probably never completely decide what you want and you'll have a variety instead. I'm the same with guitar picks - I have a rather motley assortment and I'm never sure what I'm going to play with!
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  #3  
Old 07-15-2008, 07:58 PM
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Default Re: New Sticks

a good explanation, thanks very much, got a lot of info from here in the last week or so, all i need to do now is learn how to play! :o)

Tristan
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  #4  
Old 07-15-2008, 08:11 PM
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Default Re: New Sticks

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Originally Posted by cravenbiker View Post
a good explanation, thanks very much, got a lot of info from here in the last week or so, all i need to do now is learn how to play! :o)

Tristan
That's the tricky part. Six years on and I'm nowhere near where I want to be!
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  #5  
Old 07-15-2008, 08:17 PM
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Default Re: New Sticks

The A means, or use to mean Orchestra, the B means or use to mean Band. Now there is everything in between and under the sun, as far as letters go. But the A and B use to have the aforementioned meaning.

Try this link for a better education

http://www.drumsoloartist.com/Site/Drum_Sticks.html
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  #6  
Old 07-15-2008, 08:24 PM
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Default Re: New Sticks

That article is good, but I disagree where it states that most drum teachers recommend 2B's as the starter stick. For Corps, perhaps, but certainly not for kit applications.
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  #7  
Old 07-15-2008, 09:58 PM
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Default Re: New Sticks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mediocrefunkybeat View Post
That article is good, but I disagree where it states that most drum teachers recommend 2B's as the starter stick. For Corps, perhaps, but certainly not for kit applications.

That's true or.... it was true in the 1980's when I started playing. Back then, teachers would tell us to get 2B's or "parade size" sticks for drumset playing. I don't know if teachers still do that today. ???
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  #8  
Old 07-16-2008, 12:13 AM
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Default Re: New Sticks

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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post

Try this link for a better education

http://www.drumsoloartist.com/Site/Drum_Sticks.html

thats it in a nut shell really, thanks very much, I'l be able tell the guy in the shop something new to pass on to his customers next time he's asked

Tristan
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Old 07-16-2008, 03:45 AM
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Default Re: New Sticks

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Originally Posted by wolfmoon View Post
That's true or.... it was true in the 1980's when I started playing. Back then, teachers would tell us to get 2B's or "parade size" sticks for drumset playing. I don't know if teachers still do that today. ???
Hell no. It was always 5A's with my teachers. I can understand the argument that a larger stick gives more rebound and hence enables a new player to understand that rebound is an important principle; but I just think that 2B's are too big. If somebody is playing with those things too hard/heavy then they just are not forgiving on the wrist and you will damage yourself. I played a gig a few months ago with 2B's and the band was 'hard hitter's' band. I'm not a hard hitter, but for this gig I was and my wrists were sore afterwards because I'd had to alter my technique and was not relaxing enough. I've been playing for long enough to know how to hit a drum and sometimes you do hit too tense and you don't realise.

If somebody wants to teach the principles of rebound, I'd suggest go the other way and get a 7A - then you have to utilise all you can get. Failing that, a 5A is a good medium-way stick. If you really want to follow the '2B' method, I'd say 5B's are probably just as effective in the rebound stakes, but potentially less damaging because they don't weigh as much. Just some thoughts.
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  #10  
Old 07-16-2008, 08:19 AM
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Default Re: New Sticks

Quote:
Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
The A means, or use to mean Orchestra, the B means or use to mean Band. Now there is everything in between and under the sun, as far as letters go. But the A and B use to have the aforementioned meaning.

Try this link for a better education

http://www.drumsoloartist.com/Site/Drum_Sticks.html
Cool! I had read the #'s were early Ludwig inventory references that didn't have much to do with actual stick dimensions, also that 'A' meant 'all purpose'. Ludwig Jr. clears it up through R. Massey.



At the P.A.S.I.C. show last year I had the honor and privilege of meeting Bill Ludwig, Jr. I thought that if anybody knew about the origins of the drumstick numbering system, he would. After all, the Ludwig family played a major role in the evolution of manufacturing drums and sticks. So with that in mind, I asked if he could explain to me how the letter "A " came to signify Orchestra model drumsticks.
According to Bill, the Ludwig Drum Company was the first manufacturer to mass-produce drumsticks using modern machinery. His dad, William F. Ludwig, Sr., chose the letter "A" for Orchestra because: 1) the "O" didn't print to his liking; and 2) he simply prefered the letter "A" better. Eventually everyone adopted the "A" designation, which is still in use to this day. Just imagine the ramifications if the "O" printed OK and if Bill, Sr. liked its looks. The 5A would be known as a 5O! -- Raymond Massey, Pearl Corporation, Product Specialist
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  #11  
Old 07-16-2008, 12:09 PM
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Default Re: New Sticks

well well , you really do get your money's worth on this site

I guess that 7A also looks more distinguishable rather that 7o that could be easily mistaken for 70 .......

am i right in thinking that you get sticks made from metal for certain purposes too??
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  #12  
Old 07-16-2008, 12:24 PM
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Default Re: New Sticks

[quote=am i right in thinking that you get sticks made from metal for certain purposes too??[/QUOTE]

Those would be knitting needles, used for knitting not drumming.
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  #13  
Old 07-16-2008, 12:28 PM
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Default Re: New Sticks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Ismore View Post
Those would be knitting needles, used for knitting not drumming.
hahahha ,OK OK, it was something that I read yesterday , I thought that it was a bit unlikely , I must have mis-enterpreted.......
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  #14  
Old 07-16-2008, 12:35 PM
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Default Re: New Sticks

Les is being sarcastic I think. ;-)

Yes, there are sticks that are made largely from aluminium with a plastic sheath that fits around the core. These are made by a company called 'Ahead' but in your first forays into drumming, I wouldn't recommend that you buy a pair - the feel is different and you might find it difficult to switch between these and wooden sticks - which are cheaper and sound better for certain techniques like rim clicking and the like. Stick with wood for now.
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  #15  
Old 07-16-2008, 12:48 PM
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Default Re: New Sticks

AHA.....yes .....it was the Ahead discussion that I read it.....
nope, I think that I will stick to the wood, i'll be experimenting with drums/symbols and the like before I start switching sticks.
anyway, I have my knitting needles if i fancy a change

oh and when you say that the wooden ones are cheaper that the Ahead, I cringe to think what the Ahead ones are priced at, seeing as i'm still getting over the traumatisation of being asked for 8 ($17) for a pair of drumsticks yesterday..........violation across the drumming nation!
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  #16  
Old 07-16-2008, 12:52 PM
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Default Re: New Sticks

8? You're doing pretty well actually. I used to get them for 7.50 but now it's more like 9/10.
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  #17  
Old 07-16-2008, 12:56 PM
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Default Re: New Sticks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mediocrefunkybeat View Post
8? You're doing pretty well actually. I used to get them for 7.50 but now it's more like 9/10.
I think that I will buy a lathe!
It might be a good investment in the long run, all i need is some maple !

yours for 6.50 a pair.............

www.dirtcheapsticks.com
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  #18  
Old 07-16-2008, 01:29 PM
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Default Re: New Sticks

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Originally Posted by cravenbiker View Post
well well , you really do get your money's worth on this site
Yeah, it's pretty nice considering the monthly fee, but you really get the best deal with a premium membership-- you get an MFB hotline toll-free number to ask him any question 24/7. ; )
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  #19  
Old 07-16-2008, 01:33 PM
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Default Re: New Sticks

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Originally Posted by youenjoy00myself View Post
you get an MFB hotline toll-free number to ask him any question 24/7. ; )
MFB?

Mo**er F****ng Boss?
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  #20  
Old 07-16-2008, 09:06 PM
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Default Re: New Sticks

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Originally Posted by cravenbiker View Post
MFB?

Mo**er F****ng Boss?
LOL!!! That's a very close guess, but no. I'll give you a clue: He's in this thread, and he does like to think that MFB stands for what you guessed.
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  #21  
Old 07-16-2008, 09:44 PM
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Default Re: New Sticks

Damn right that's what it means.
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  #22  
Old 07-17-2008, 12:10 AM
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Default Re: New Sticks

Quote:
Originally Posted by cravenbiker View Post
I think that I will buy a lathe!
It might be a good investment in the long run, all i need is some maple !

yours for 6.50 a pair.............

www.dirtcheapsticks.com
Incidentally, most sticks are Hickory, but there are some Maple sticks out there. As well as Oak.
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  #23  
Old 07-17-2008, 03:31 AM
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Default Re: New Sticks

My only advice is to try as many pair from many brand as you can and find the size, weight, wood type & durability you prefer. After many sticks tryout, I found that my prefered size is around .575" of diameter and 16" 1/4 long with round or corn wood tip. Now these size isn't always available everywhere from all brand so I look for size around those I wrote and I browse sticks maker site to find the nearest match and take note of it so I know which series (even signature series) I can look for when I shop for sticks. This being said I like very much the Vater Session series and the Vic Firth Steve Gadd sig, sticks.
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  #24  
Old 07-17-2008, 09:48 AM
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Default Re: New Sticks

Quote:
Originally Posted by youenjoy00myself View Post
LOL!!! That's a very close guess, but no. I'll give you a clue: He's in this thread, and he does like to think that MFB stands for what you guessed.
aha......mediocre man....

Sorry mediocre man, no offenvce!!!
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  #25  
Old 07-17-2008, 09:53 AM
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Default Re: New Sticks

Hey MFB, Im gonna be passing by your way tomorrow, working way down to whitstable......like to pop in and say hi but i wont get the time im afraid.......
apparently theres a few bands on sat night in whitstable by the sea.....

Thought i'd share that with you!! :o)
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  #26  
Old 07-17-2008, 03:16 PM
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Default Re: New Sticks

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Originally Posted by cravenbiker View Post
Hey MFB, Im gonna be passing by your way tomorrow, working way down to whitstable......like to pop in and say hi but i wont get the time im afraid.......
apparently theres a few bands on sat night in whitstable by the sea.....

Thought i'd share that with you!! :o)
Oh yeah? See, that's just it. I'd go to that potentially but I've got plans for the next three days. I've been invited to three barbecues and a day at the pub for a college leaving do. Everyone decides to have their barbecues this weekend. Why? I have no idea.
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