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  #1  
Old 09-08-2008, 08:34 AM
Phat_Rolls Phat_Rolls is offline
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Default How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

Earlier today my wife and I got into a little debate. It started when I told her that I need to run to GC to get some new sticks. Personally I use the Danny Carey signatures, which run about $8.50 / pair. Two large fractures appeared in one of my current sticks and it plays like poo. She pretty much said "Do you need to buy another pair already? You have a bunch of sticks in your stick bag!". Well, this is all true, but they are mostly 5As which are much smaller and feel very much different then the signatures I use now. I thought I did pretty well, it's been nearly 3 weeks of playing with the same sticks, at least 2-3 hours a day and some days up to 5 hours of very heavy playing... probably a total of 60+ hours all together.

She made an analogy (she plays guitar) "Whenever I lose or break a pick I can just grab another and play just fine, I can play with medium or hard picks or the corner of a credit card".

Well, I replied back saying that drum sticks for drummers are much more personal then a pick for a guitarist and she disagreed. She said that each pick feels different and what-not. This is all true, but man, there are probably less then 1/2 a dozen different picks, but how many different sticks are out there?

I feel that my sticks are very personal to me. Now that I've finally discovered my perfect stick it's very hard for me to play with anything else, especially since I've gotten used to such a large stick compared to 5As.

Well, this is a really winded way of saying... are you sticks very personal to you? Do you think they are more personal then say... a guitar pick to a guitarist?
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Old 09-08-2008, 09:00 AM
JakeyD JakeyD is offline
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

Absolutely, so much that I've got two crates of my favorite pair just in case they are discontinued!

Sticks are like extensions of your arms, and they factor into both the sound and the overall ergonomics and form of how you play. I can play on any old crappy kit, but the three essentials are a good pair of sticks, a good chair, and a good bass pedal.
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Old 09-08-2008, 11:15 AM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeyD View Post
Absolutely, so much that I've got two crates of my favorite pair just in case they are discontinued!

Sticks are like extensions of your arms, and they factor into both the sound and the overall ergonomics and form of how you play. I can play on any old crappy kit, but the three essentials are a good pair of sticks, a good chair, and a good bass pedal.
what sticks are they?
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Old 09-08-2008, 11:22 AM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phat_Rolls View Post
there are probably less then 1/2 a dozen different picks
This is not true. I'm not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to guitars since I don't play one... but a friend of mine has a collection of at least two dozen different picks. TThere's thick ones, thin ones, sawtooth picks, shark fin picks...

I'm the kind of guy who will play with any stick, as long as I have a matching pair with the tips intact. I usually play 5A's but have no problem switching to 7A, SD10, 5BN or whatever.

At the end of the day the differences are all very small. I try not to let my drumming depend on such small factors.
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Old 09-08-2008, 12:15 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phat_Rolls View Post
Do you think they are more personal then say... a guitar pick to a guitarist?
I would ask her if she could imagine trading a set of forearms, from the elbow to the hands, with someone else, with oddly different strength and different length fingers. I feel it's a little better equivalent than just a mere guitar pick vs. drumstick. It wouldn't be that you couldn't play, just the fine tuning of the details might suffer till the re-familiarization gets finished.
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Old 09-08-2008, 12:54 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

I think you will find your answer here:

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=39
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Old 09-08-2008, 01:27 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

LOL, Your wife is just showing off how versatile she is..lol. Just kidding......

I can use most anything to practice....I live 5 miles from the vic firth factory and often wind up with boxes of rejects and practive with those when I run out of the norm But they do have to be matching pairs, or close to it.

for playing live I feel most at home with Vic Firth 5A's (5B's for really heavy songs) or the Ahead 5A's

Studio I use Vic Firth 5A's (All nylon tips).
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Old 09-08-2008, 01:32 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

I've got to have my Pro-Marks, they seem to work best for me.
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Old 09-08-2008, 03:06 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

I am contractually obligated to point out that it's only when I'm playing Silver Fox drumsticks that I am happy.

Ok, all joking aside, I have learned to play with any pair of sticks...however, there's a HUGE difference in the feel and comfort level. It's kind of like driving a new car for the first time. Everything is so different. I can play with just about any pair of sticks, and sound good, but I'm my most comfortable and natural and relaxed when playing my Silver Fox 5As.

There is a big difference between picks and sticks. Although there are a great variety of picks available on the market, there is not nearly the difference between them as there are between sticks. This has a lot to do with the overall size of the item...you can go from 15" to 18" sticks, with widths all over the place...but picks just don't have that much area, so the differences are smaller. Although, I also know guitarists who are just as anal about their picks as we are about our sticks.
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  #10  
Old 09-08-2008, 03:14 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

I'm actually exactly the same about sticks as I am about picks. I'll take a preference to one and then decide I like another - play with that for a few weeks, then swap to another. It always happens.
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  #11  
Old 09-08-2008, 03:27 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

I try to shuffle between 4 different pairs. I've got my standard 5A's, a pair of 7A's, my Ed Shaugnessy pair, and my all time fav - Gadd sticks.

I do this so that if any one breaks, I don't kill myself halfway in a gig.

Sticks are indeed personal. I suppose the comparison with picks is close, but sticks are something more. Sticks are the tools that you need to play. You don't NEED a pick to play in a sense. You can still use your fingers. But drumsticks are an essential. And both hands get to use em. So you might grow more attached to a certain pair moreso than a guitarist would grow towards a pick.

That being said though, I do like MFBs approach. Get swapping.
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Old 09-08-2008, 03:47 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

You don't need sticks to play. Although the techniques are less prevalent than the fingerpicking of guitarists, some drummers have played with their hands (notably John Bonham) and indeed brushes are also another tool. I think that we actually intellectualise stick choice too much as drummers and under-develop techniques because of our obsession with finding the 'right' stick for 'technique A'. In fact, I think drummers in general have a tendency to focus too much on gear and not enough on playing...
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Old 09-08-2008, 04:05 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

Sometimes you are forced to play different sticks depending on the venue, (hot rods, thinner sticks when volume is an issue etc.) but I prefer 5B's. I can play any stick equally well but I feel that sticks 5B and larger bring out a more full drum sound. So I guess my answer is that it's not that big of an issue, drummers need to do whatever's required...awesomely!
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  #14  
Old 09-08-2008, 08:43 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

If I don't have my Steve Gadd signature sticks I feel totally lost. I just like the feel of 'em compared to others. I believe it's all in my head sorta like a "security blanket".
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Old 09-08-2008, 09:59 PM
Gyrefalcon Gyrefalcon is offline
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

I notice a big difference in my playing when I switch from 7A to something larger. I have a much harder time staying loose on them, I am sure that if I used them more often that would go away, but I don't really have a reason to.
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Old 09-08-2008, 11:00 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

Yes, in fact I might use a pair right up until the point that you should not use them any more; I have this idiosyncrasy that makes me think they are all warmed up and at their peak. It's silly really because when I get a fresh pair in my hand I think 'Oh great, a fresh pair"

I have been buying in bulk and have decided to stick with one size and brand as I am always dropping money on sticks to experiment with and now have an overflow of sticks I will no longer use.
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  #17  
Old 09-08-2008, 11:30 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

At the moment i still have not found my "perfect" stick, but im close. At the moment im a huge fan of the Dave Weckl Evolution sticks. I generally dont care what stick im using as long as it isnt too big and bulky. Atm i also am really starting the like the lightness of Regal Tips.
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:27 AM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

I use Unigrip 7As because anything without a rubber sleeve is impossible to grip on, given my touch of arthiritis.
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:46 AM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

Right now the SD2 Bolero's are easily my favorite stick... once i switched to them after using SD4 combo's, i was baffled. They make my cymbals sound soooo different. it just feels so much warmer and the stick definition seems so much more precise. and the thick diameter coupled with the extra thin taper at the end provide a really comfortable weight distribution and i feel i have so much more control.
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:49 AM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

I use steve gadd's. If I use anything else it doesnt really affect my playing, it just feels weird.
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Old 09-09-2008, 01:51 AM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

Give me any sticks and I will play.
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Old 09-09-2008, 01:56 AM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

I'm never without my stick bag, which is full of Vic Firth 7A's. Don't see any reason to ever play with another person's sticks. So yes, I guess you could say that it's personal for me.
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Old 09-09-2008, 03:47 AM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

Vater fatbacks, 3A. the only stick im comfortable with.
i tried them once about 2 years ago, fell in love with them and have been playing them ever since.

i usually buy a new pair the day before i play a show.
unless i play more than 2 or 3 shows a month, (or when i go on tour)
there's really not a reason for it.
just kind of a pre-show ritual.

i can play with sticks, but they just feel weird to me.
they just don't fit in my hands
haha

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Old 09-09-2008, 03:54 AM
JakeyD JakeyD is offline
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gusty View Post
what sticks are they?
Vic Firth SD-4 Combos. They're light and relatively thin, but longer than 7As, which I like. Love the barrel tip, too.

For rock gigs where I need a bit more volume I swap up to 5As but that's as big as I go, and it definitely takes some warm-up time to get used to them.
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Old 09-10-2008, 10:51 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

For rock I usually use pretty standard Pro-Mark 5A oak sticks. Pretty plain but good balance and they're versatile. For jazz I like to use the Pro-Mark Elvin Jones signature sticks. A lot thinner, smaller head have a nice pop on my snare and I love the way they sit in my hands.

Yea, sticks arte personal to me but if it's something spur of the moment, I'll use whatever's around. Hell I'll even grab a couple pens and start jammin' on the set with my friends at school lol.
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:02 AM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

I think that every drummer finds his "stick" sooner or later. I like Zildjian 7a wood tips. I also use the Zildjian 7a dip coated wood tips. When its hot and I'm sweating the latex coating helps me hold on better. The downside is that the coating changes the weight of the stick and I can't articulate as well as I can with plain wood sticks.
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:19 AM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

Once I find a stick I buy in bricks, hence the brick for sale in my sig.

Used Vater 3A's for 10 years. 707's 3 years and recently w/a deal w/Vic Firth, Terry Bozzio sig sticks. I don't play anything likie Bozzio and use a 4 peice kit.
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Old 09-11-2008, 02:13 AM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

I tend to change about every few years. Originally I used vic firth 5A hickory, which were the first I ever had back in 1998. Then, I used John Otto's signature sticks which were okay, but too light. I moved to Joey Jordison Ahead sticks after that till 2004, because I was a Slipknot fanboy haha. They did well, but I started to break them so I used Lars Ulrich's ones because I was given a pair by my teacher. They felt great and I liked the feel, they were pretty much like a 7B. They did me till about 2006, until I began to feel they were slightly too heavy for my application. Eventually I settled for Vic firth 5B's which I love, because they're light enough to play with speed and are easier to control, but still have enough power behind them when it's needed.

For funk or jazz I'll use a 5A or 7A, but usually I'm playing with a 5B. Though, if you were to tell me that I could never play with them again, it's not like I couldn't cope. I agree with what Duncan has said about focusing on gear too much, and JakeyD's point.

T
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Old 09-11-2008, 02:26 AM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

Very personal to me and essential to giving me "my" sound especially my ride cymbal sound and what feels just right in my hands. All i've been using most of the years i've been playing have been Canadian made maple sticks that are light but have lots of girth to hold onto with a nice taper.

Only sticks i'm using at present are RimShot Pro Tip Canadian rock maple model CC sticks. Added bonus is they are MUCH cheaper than the big brand name sticks by 1/2 the price and they're perfect for what i'm after sound wise and feel great in my hands.
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Old 09-11-2008, 03:18 AM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

It seems to me that Pat was asking something else (based on the answers I'm seeing here)

Maybe I'm right / maybe I'm wrong, but I dont think is a roll call about what drum sticks you like. It is a question about whether anyone has a particular "thing" (fetish perhaps) about one pair of sticks.

Back in the days when I didn't really like my sticks, I would faithfully use one pair of sticks until they died. Now, I have sticks that have my name on them and they are mine. But I have to admit, I hate to start a gig with brand new sticks. I prefer sticks that have already been broken in (so to speak).

And sometimes I love starting with a stick that might be on its last legs... how exciting! It might break tonight!!!!

I hope this helps -
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Old 09-11-2008, 02:20 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

I have used numerous other sticks (Vic Firths of different models, Zildjan, Pro mark etc) but I keep going back to my Regal Tip 5A nylon tip. I think what I like best about them is the amount of bounce you can get on closed Hats for doubles etc. They also just seem to have nice balance. Give them a try, I reckon you may like them as well.
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Old 09-11-2008, 02:38 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

Nothing personal about them to me, they're just tools & dixie cups at that. I prefer 7A's, don't much care what brand, but I could do a gig with Lincoln logs if I had to.
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Old 09-11-2008, 03:15 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tutin View Post
I tend to change about every few years. Originally I used vic firth 5A hickory, which were the first I ever had back in 1998. Then, I used John Otto's signature sticks which were okay, but too light. I moved to Joey Jordison Ahead sticks after that till 2004, because I was a Slipknot fanboy haha. They did well, but I started to break them so I used Lars Ulrich's ones because I was given a pair by my teacher. They felt great and I liked the feel, they were pretty much like a 7B. They did me till about 2006, until I began to feel they were slightly too heavy for my application. Eventually I settled for Vic firth 5B's which I love, because they're light enough to play with speed and are easier to control, but still have enough power behind them when it's needed.

For funk or jazz I'll use a 5A or 7A, but usually I'm playing with a 5B. Though, if you were to tell me that I could never play with them again, it's not like I couldn't cope. I agree with what Duncan has said about focusing on gear too much, and JakeyD's point.

T
I went that route as well, Vic Firth 5A then to 5B, I now use the 55A which are in between but do back to the 5B's from time to time.
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Old 09-11-2008, 05:14 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phat_Rolls View Post
Earlier today my wife and I got into a little debate. It started when I told her that I need to run to GC to get some new sticks. Personally I use the Danny Carey signatures, which run about $8.50 / pair. Two large fractures appeared in one of my current sticks and it plays like poo. She pretty much said "Do you need to buy another pair already? You have a bunch of sticks in your stick bag!". Well, this is all true, but they are mostly 5As which are much smaller and feel very much different then the signatures I use now. I thought I did pretty well, it's been nearly 3 weeks of playing with the same sticks, at least 2-3 hours a day and some days up to 5 hours of very heavy playing... probably a total of 60+ hours all together.

She made an analogy (she plays guitar) "Whenever I lose or break a pick I can just grab another and play just fine, I can play with medium or hard picks or the corner of a credit card".

Well, I replied back saying that drum sticks for drummers are much more personal then a pick for a guitarist and she disagreed. She said that each pick feels different and what-not. This is all true, but man, there are probably less then 1/2 a dozen different picks, but how many different sticks are out there?

I feel that my sticks are very personal to me. Now that I've finally discovered my perfect stick it's very hard for me to play with anything else, especially since I've gotten used to such a large stick compared to 5As.

Well, this is a really winded way of saying... are you sticks very personal to you? Do you think they are more personal then say... a guitar pick to a guitarist?
What guitarist wouldn't buy exactly the type of pick they want and were going to use?? Sure they COULD use "whatever" pick was available but would they just buy the cheapest odd shaped picks and use just any old one they grabbed as a permanent way of buying and using picks?? Of course not, if they said they would they are lying or not a real guitarist. They have favorites and that's the ones they'll buy when given a choice.

It's the same with drummers and their sticks. We COULD use "whatever" sticks and get by, but we have our favorites, just as guitarists do!!

I've used a bunch of different styles and sizes of sticks through the years usually to make up for volume when competing with loud guitarists using random sized picks!! L0L!!!

My current gig has put me in a new frame of mind as we are running our equipment for as good a balance and personal tone as is possible WITHOUT micing anything, excepting vocals of course. That has led to me using SMALLER sticks than I ever have in my life to keep MY volume down to get the others in the band to be able to do the same. It has worked out wonderfully as we all can just PLAY instead of worrying about the sound of us versus the PA.

Other pluses are that it's a much quicker setup and breakdown, and the club owners aren't continually saying we're too loud. Actually we get MORE compliments than ever before on how good and clear things sound so it must work OK to some extent.

Well, I've rambled to make my point but what it came down to was I wouldn't have been able to do this with just any stick that was available. Had the sticks been heavier it would mess with the balance of the band and my ability to play as aggressively as I want. The smaller sticks allow me to play hard and not have the balance and volume get out of hand.
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  #35  
Old 09-11-2008, 05:40 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

Vater Sugar Maple Piccolos

I marched and played symphonic for so long i got used to big sticks. Anything under a 5B, and I don't feel I have any control. Because of that I used Vic Firth SD1 Generals on my kit for a while haha. Switched to the Buddy Rich models, but I couldn't stand the white marks they left all over my cymbals. Switched to Vater Fusions. I prefer a ball tip, so the Fusions gave me that, and a nice balance and feel in around a 5A. But they were always lacking to me because the diameter. Then I found the Vater Sugar Maple Piccolos. AMAZING. They're around a 2B but they're maple so they're lighter weight than hickory. So I can get a much larger stick with a lot less weight. I am in love with these sticks. They produce a sweeter, softer sound on cymbals than an other sticks I've heard due to the softness of the maple compared to the hickory. But they break a lot because of that too. Definitely not as durable as hickory sticks. But the feel is totally worth the extra $$. I buy a new brick every couple months.
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Old 09-11-2008, 11:27 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

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Originally Posted by JakeyD View Post
Vic Firth SD-4 Combos. They're light and relatively thin, but longer than 7As, which I like.
That sounds like my Pro Mark Elvin Jones Signature sticks. I like the length over the 7As.
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Old 09-12-2008, 01:59 AM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

This has been an interesting and informative thread. There are many different takes on the personal observations regarding drum sticks. More than I would have imagined.
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Old 09-12-2008, 02:12 AM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

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Originally Posted by sjr View Post
Vater Sugar Maple Piccolos

I marched and played symphonic for so long i got used to big sticks. Anything under a 5B, and I don't feel I have any control. Because of that I used Vic Firth SD1 Generals on my kit for a while haha. Switched to the Buddy Rich models, but I couldn't stand the white marks they left all over my cymbals. Switched to Vater Fusions. I prefer a ball tip, so the Fusions gave me that, and a nice balance and feel in around a 5A. But they were always lacking to me because the diameter. Then I found the Vater Sugar Maple Piccolos. AMAZING. They're around a 2B but they're maple so they're lighter weight than hickory. So I can get a much larger stick with a lot less weight. I am in love with these sticks. They produce a sweeter, softer sound on cymbals than an other sticks I've heard due to the softness of the maple compared to the hickory. But they break a lot because of that too. Definitely not as durable as hickory sticks. But the feel is totally worth the extra $$. I buy a new brick every couple months.
I have noticed that Baseball has had concerns about breakage issues on maple bats recently also. It seems that the same problems occur with maple sticks. I guess that it is something to consider when choosing maple products for drumming. At least a stick shouldn't be large enough to injure someone like the bats have.
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Old 09-12-2008, 02:25 AM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

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Originally Posted by bobdadruma View Post
I have noticed that Baseball has had concerns about breakage issues on maple bats recently also. It seems that the same problems occur with maple sticks. I guess that it is something to consider when choosing maple products for drumming. At least a stick shouldn't be large enough to injure someone like the bats have.
Maple is very rigid, it doesn't "give" like a hickory drumstick. It makes for a good sounding stick that doesn't get spongy but when it DOES break, it does it all at once!!

For quite a long time, my favorite stick was the Bob Gatzen Maple by Regal Tip/Calato. It was pretty big, but very light for it's size. A lot of volume for a light stick, at the time it seemed like the thing to do.

Bob Gatzen Stix
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Old 09-12-2008, 10:53 PM
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Default Re: How personal are drum sticks to you? Do you have to use a certain pair?

My sticks are pretty personal.

I like playing with the "broken in" sticks too.

I use them till they are pretty much chewed through at least to practice with...then I get bummed when it does break haha!

At a show, I'll use the ones that are worn less, but still not new.

I sometimes use different models and some times a different brand, but if they aren't my usual Regal sticks, I spray them with Krylon Triple Thick Clear Glaze, so I can get that Regal Tip feel.

A few years ago I really got into using the butt end sticks (Regal Power Rock or Pro-Mark Rock Knocker).

I always had trouble getting a stick with the right tip/balance/feel etc...so I just turned them around.

I like the fat tone from the drums, and I don't need to worry about too much spread or getting too loud on the ride, so it works out great.

If I do need to play quieter, I can use a smaller stick and get the same type of sound just at lower volume.

I can control them really well, get real nice dynamics and buzz or press rolls are a total breeze--even on a tom.

Since I started using the butt end sticks, I can now pretty much use any stick that's in the shop and turn them around and do my thing if I'm checking a drum out.
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