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  #1  
Old 12-20-2009, 02:13 AM
Max99 Max99 is offline
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Default Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

Hi, I'm sorry if this post has been setup before, I did do a quick search and couldn't find anything so thought i'd post...

Anyway basicly, I'm just curious there seems to be very mixed views on these sticks, some people absolutely swear by them, others seem to think they break cymbals like mad...Any views on these sticks would great (particularly with reference to damage of cymbals)

Cheers
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  #2  
Old 12-20-2009, 03:20 AM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

Ahead sticks. You either love 'em or you hate 'em.

I bought a pair 5 years ago because somebody told me that they were unbreakable. It's sort of true. You rarely hear people talk about breaking them.

I didn't like them because of the spot where the handle screws on it. It irritated my thumb.

Also, I found other sticks that I like the feel of more and I rarely break sticks with rimshots and cymbal chopping.

As far as damaging cymbals, it makes sense to me that they could crack a cymbal just like any other stick, no more, no less.
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  #3  
Old 12-20-2009, 06:41 AM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

Ahead sticks will do LESS damage to your cymbals than wood...

Notice, I said "less" but the fact of the matter is you are hitting a thin slice of metal with another object.

That being said... The plastic cover that protects the core of Ahead sticks is softer than wood. If you are a heavy hitter, a wood stick will break your cymbals faster and more often.

The important thing is to remember to change the covers on your ahead sticks regularly or else the plastic will wear down and then you will damage your gear....
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  #4  
Old 12-20-2009, 09:32 AM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

I don't get why people still spread this rumor. I've played every stick imaginable, and of any stick, the Aheads were the easiest on my drums and cymbals. I owned a pair of the Joey Jordison Signature/7A's and used them for a few months. I switched back to wood because there's absolutely no power in a rimshot with them and the rebound off a cymbal is awful, but if you like that feel and won't miss rimshots they're a good buy. The construction of the sticks makes them even softer than wood, yet extremely durable. If the tip falls off you'll damage things, but if they're in working order, as long as you hit properly and mount your cymbals properly they're safe.

Cymbals are extremely strong. Hickory is one of the densest woods in percussion. The aluminum core means nothing when it's surrounded by soft plastic. Watch what a cymbal goes through when it's hit with a hickory drum stick.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8Gxut0odyc
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  #5  
Old 12-20-2009, 09:33 AM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

I used joey jordison's ahead sticks when i first started playing and they dirtied up my cymbals a bunch. stick to regular wood.
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  #6  
Old 12-20-2009, 09:54 AM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

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Originally Posted by Dipschmidt View Post
I used joey jordison's ahead sticks when i first started playing and they dirtied up my cymbals a bunch. stick to regular wood.
A lot of beginning drummers swipe their cymbals and put marks on them. The plastic on Ahead sticks is just like the plastic on the tips of a pair of Vic Firths.

Although I switched back to wood sticks after a few months, I'd recommend everyone try Ahead sticks, along with Vic Firths, Vaters, Hornets, Regal Tips, Pro-Marks, Silverfox, Trueline, etc. Experimentation is the best process of elimination, and neglecting to try something because a few people don't like it might mean you'll never find you're stick.
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Old 12-20-2009, 05:35 PM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

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Originally Posted by Polymetrix1618 View Post
I'd recommend everyone try Ahead sticks, along with Vic Firths, Vaters, Hornets, Regal Tips, Pro-Marks, Silverfox, Trueline, etc. Experimentation is the best process of elimination, and neglecting to try something because a few people don't like it might mean you'll never find you're stick.
Very good advice. I swear by Vater but i have used Ahead sticks in the past. As long as you use good technique while hitting your cymbals it shouldn't matter what stick your useing IMO. Give them a try and see if ya like them.
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Old 12-20-2009, 05:56 PM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

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Originally Posted by Polymetrix1618 View Post
A lot of beginning drummers swipe their cymbals and put marks on them. The plastic on Ahead sticks is just like the plastic on the tips of a pair of Vic Firths.

Although I switched back to wood sticks after a few months, I'd recommend everyone try Ahead sticks, along with Vic Firths, Vaters, Hornets, Regal Tips, Pro-Marks, Silverfox, Trueline, etc. Experimentation is the best process of elimination, and neglecting to try something because a few people don't like it might mean you'll never find you're stick.
My stick is in my pants.

But in all seriousness, you really do need to find what bests suits you.
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Old 12-21-2009, 01:48 AM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

If you gig, you need at least 2 pair of Ahead sticks right off the bat, so you're in it for $60-70, that'll buy a lot of wood.

The money doesn't stop there, Ahead covers wear-out. If you play hard, they wear out faster. My experience was they wear the same as wood.

You usually play wood sticks till they break, with Ahead's you want to change the covers when they split/get a crack in the plastic, problem is you don't always know exactly when a split happens. You can easily play with a split Ahead cover and not know it... this is when they can do damage to a cymbal, or take a rim-shot and break their core in half. Break a core and you're out another $30+, you can't just buy one Ahead stick.

A possible unseen added cost with Ahead's are also the removable tips, you'll spend some money on finding the right tip for your stick. If you play hard the tips need to be super-glued on.

In the end, nothing feels like wood. Humans have been holding wood in their hands since the beginning of time, its a primal connection, something you want when playing the drums.
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Old 12-21-2009, 02:07 AM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

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Originally Posted by Les Ismore View Post
If you gig, you need at least 2 pair of Ahead sticks right off the bat, so you're in it for $60-70, that'll buy a lot of wood.

The money doesn't stop there, Ahead covers wear-out. If you play hard, they wear out faster. My experience was they wear the same as wood.

You usually play wood sticks till they break, with Ahead's you want to change the covers when they split/get a crack in the plastic, problem is you don't always know exactly when a split happens. You can easily play with a split Ahead cover and not know it... this is when they can do damage to a cymbal, or take a rim-shot and break their core in half. Break a core and you're out another $30+, you can't just buy one Ahead stick.

A possible unseen added cost with Ahead's are also the removable tips, you'll spend some money on finding the right tip for your stick. If you play hard the tips need to be super-glued on.

In the end, nothing feels like wood. Humans have been holding wood in their hands since the beginning of time, its a primal connection, something you want when playing the drums.
My sleeves have lasted the entire time (a few months) I used Aheads. You obviously haven't played them for an extended period of time. A pair of Aheads is $30. I go through 3-4 pairs of sticks a month, so Aheads are definitely economical. Nothing feels like wood? Does is matter what the norm is? Can't one prefer plastic heads over calf skin heads or thick cymbals over thin cymbals? What you find comfortable is not what everyone else has to find comfortable.

Personally, I got rid of them because I don't like the feel of them, but some drummers swear by them. It's not hard to tell when a tip flies off or a sleeve cracks, unlike your unproven Googled opinions. In the end, these sticks do not break your cymbals and people should definitely try them.
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  #11  
Old 12-21-2009, 07:56 AM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

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Originally Posted by Polymetrix1618 View Post
My sleeves have lasted the entire time (a few months) I used Aheads. You obviously haven't played them for an extended period of time. A pair of Aheads is $30. I go through 3-4 pairs of sticks a month, so Aheads are definitely economical. Nothing feels like wood? Does is matter what the norm is? Can't one prefer plastic heads over calf skin heads or thick cymbals over thin cymbals? What you find comfortable is not what everyone else has to find comfortable.

Personally, I got rid of them because I don't like the feel of them, but some drummers swear by them. It's not hard to tell when a tip flies off or a sleeve cracks, unlike your unproven Googled opinions. In the end, these sticks do not break your cymbals and people should definitely try them.
I played Ahead's much longer than a few months. I gave up on them when I broke two cores in one night. Wood is actually stronger than aluminum, it has a better feel and even when compromised, wood won't do as much damage as aluminum Ahead's.

The Ahead sleeves are a joke, if they don't split, they turn to mush, this can happen quickly for some, or may take longer for others. Every day is one step closer to a damaging aluminum core.

Pic of just a couple of Ahead cores I've broken.

Last edited by Les Ismore; 07-20-2010 at 05:40 AM.
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  #12  
Old 12-21-2009, 08:43 AM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

Do you play any baseball? Aluminum bats don't split to pieces like wood bats, and aluminum is most definitely stronger than hickory. You're forgetting that all drum sticks aren't unbreakable. Those Aheads lasted longer than any stick I've used before and if they didn't feel awful to me I'd use them exclusively.

I notice people here say that wood feels better or is more natural. That means absolutely nothing, because your opinion is not fact. You may not like the lack of vibration and miniscule bounce on cymbals, but others do. I will say though, that you should definitely try these in a store. I normally use thick sticks like 2B's, but with Aheads, anything above 7A is too heavy.
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Old 12-21-2009, 10:15 AM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

aluminum is most definitely stronger than hickory.

Maybe in your mind, but in reality pound for pound wood is stronger than steel. Unlike steel and aluminum, wood is also resilient which gives wood the ability to absorb shock.

Ahead's aluminum cores are weak, they can't absorb shock and break rather easily compared to wood. Ahead's plastic covers absorb shock, but their ability to do so deteriorates each time they're used. Once the covers reach a a certain state of plyability, the aluminum cores are at risk of breaking much easier than wood (especially from rim shots, see pics above).

Those Aheads lasted longer than any stick I've used before

Your experience, not mine though. I found Ahead's to last about the same length of time as wood, and even less so when pulling heavy rim shots.
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  #14  
Old 12-22-2009, 08:11 AM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

In theory, this shouldn't be an issue, but it seems to me drummers who switched to using ahead sticks don't sound same as they did before their switch.

I know of all the variable that go into a drummers sound, that sticks are a minor part of the whole picture, and shouldn't be an issue, but it's none the less something I've noticed.

I never actually tried them myself. I worked in drum shops that sold them, and after watching several customers break multiple pairs, I wasn't that impressed. And I prefer longer sticks, of which Ahead did not offer at the time.
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  #15  
Old 12-23-2009, 07:06 AM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
In theory, this shouldn't be an issue, but it seems to me drummers who switched to using ahead sticks don't sound same as they did before their switch.

I know of all the variable that go into a drummers sound, that sticks are a minor part of the whole picture, and shouldn't be an issue, but it's none the less something I've noticed.
Do you mean, that they don't play the same, or the drums/cymbals don't sound the same?

I have put this to the test with some of the music I have recored, I have used both wood and Ahead in the studio and do date, no one has ever been able to tell what recordings had what sticks on them...
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Old 12-23-2009, 05:56 PM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

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Do you mean, that they don't play the same, or the drums/cymbals don't sound the same?

I have put this to the test with some of the music I have recored, I have used both wood and Ahead in the studio and do date, no one has ever been able to tell what recordings had what sticks on them...
I agree. Although they feel different than wood sticks, I don't notice any differences in terms of sound. There have to be some differences, like the sound of a wood baseball bat hitting a ball to a metal bat, but they're not noticeable. The only thing about them that makes them sound different from a similar sized wood stick is their weight. Ahead's are significantly heavier than their wood counterparts, so you can't really compare a wood 7A to an Ahead 7A. That's one of the main reasons I no longer use Ahead. I like playing sticks that are 2B or larger, so even a 5A, which is way too heavy for me, is too small for my hands. The limited bounce also affected me, but the weight was the fatal flaw. I could see myself using Ahead titanium sticks, but the aluminum is too heavy for me.

If he means they don't play the same, I'll agree with that for some people. The lack of vibration does nothing to my playing and really helps with endurance, but the lack of bounce affected my playing heavily. For example, I rely on bounce for my ride patterns to conserve energy, so without it I was forced to do most of the work. The snare bounce problem was fixed by slightly higher tuning, but it was never the same. If someone relies on bounce as much as I do, Aheads aren't a good choice.
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Old 12-24-2009, 04:41 PM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

I myself have never played Ahead drum sticks before. I've only seen them being used and read about them. So this is just an inference.

Since I've seen that others have posted on this topic that Ahead drumsticks have an aluminum core of some kind and have a plastic outer, coating, comparing the way those two materials combined work against how wood works is simple.

Since wood is made up of cells and, no matter how dense or dry, has the slightest bit of sponginess to it, it absorbs impact and has a miniscule amount of give when hitting a harder and heavier object. This goes for hickory as well.

Aluminum is not wood. It does not have the same make-up and molecular bonds that wood has, and as such it is far more rigid. In some case, solid aluminum can be extremely strong, much more than expected. Plastic, by itself in a thin, quarter-inch sheet, is a pathetic material. It's weak to the nth degree. But, what you put a plastic coating around a solid aluminum core, the plastic is supported by the aluminum. the combination of materials makes for a much harder stick than a hickory one.

So, scientifically, Aheads are not a good idea, at least according to what I have seen and read of it.
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Old 12-24-2009, 05:37 PM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

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I myself have never played Ahead drum sticks before. I've only seen them being used and read about them. So this is just an inference.

Since I've seen that others have posted on this topic that Ahead drumsticks have an aluminum core of some kind and have a plastic outer, coating, comparing the way those two materials combined work against how wood works is simple.

Since wood is made up of cells and, no matter how dense or dry, has the slightest bit of sponginess to it, it absorbs impact and has a miniscule amount of give when hitting a harder and heavier object. This goes for hickory as well.

Aluminum is not wood. It does not have the same make-up and molecular bonds that wood has, and as such it is far more rigid. In some case, solid aluminum can be extremely strong, much more than expected. Plastic, by itself in a thin, quarter-inch sheet, is a pathetic material. It's weak to the nth degree. But, what you put a plastic coating around a solid aluminum core, the plastic is supported by the aluminum. the combination of materials makes for a much harder stick than a hickory one.

So, scientifically, Aheads are not a good idea, at least according to what I have seen and read of it.
You're severely underestimating the density of hickory. It's an extremely hard wood. Bronze is a lot denser than aluminum and the aluminum is surrounded by a soft plastic sleeve. If you get a block of titanium and surround it with Styrofoam, will the Styrofoam become hard? No. Although the core is metal, the soft plastic sleeve makes the blow even softer.
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Old 12-24-2009, 08:55 PM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

But, when you put a plastic coating around a solid aluminum core, the plastic is supported by the aluminum. the combination of materials makes for a much harder stick than a hickory one.

Ahead cores are not solid, wall thickness is .045
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Old 12-24-2009, 09:26 PM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

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Originally Posted by masonni View Post
Do you mean, that they don't play the same, or the drums/cymbals don't sound the same?

I have put this to the test with some of the music I have recored, I have used both wood and Ahead in the studio and do date, no one has ever been able to tell what recordings had what sticks on them...
Don't play the same, and overall vibe of their sound changes.

It probably has nothing to do with the sticks, as much as where they are in their careers.

But a few of their big name endorsers who were considered great in the 80's have sounded like they're just mailing in their performances after making the switch. Probably just a coincidence, but I find my ear starts blaming the stick, even though I know that makes zero sense.
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Old 12-24-2009, 09:39 PM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

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Don't play the same, and overall vibe of their sound changes.

It probably has nothing to do with the sticks, as much as where they are in their careers.

But a few of their big name endorsers who were considered great in the 80's have sounded like they're just mailing in their performances after making the switch. Probably just a coincidence, but I find my ear starts blaming the stick, even though I know that makes zero sense.
Tommy Lee sucks equally as much now as he did before he used Aheads lol.
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Old 12-25-2009, 02:13 AM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

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Originally Posted by Max99 View Post
Hi, I'm sorry if this post has been setup before, I did do a quick search and couldn't find anything so thought i'd post...

Anyway basicly, I'm just curious there seems to be very mixed views on these sticks, some people absolutely swear by them, others seem to think they break cymbals like mad...Any views on these sticks would great (particularly with reference to damage of cymbals)

Cheers

I always advise my students to use real drum sticks. No truly serious drummer I know would touch them. I owned a pair when they were first released because they were new. At first I thought they were okay, but soon their limitations, of which there are many, became obvious. I consider them dreadful. But it's up to the individual.
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Old 12-25-2009, 03:02 AM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

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I always advise my students to use real drum sticks. No truly serious drummer I know would touch them. I owned a pair when they were first released because they were new. At first I thought they were okay, but soon their limitations, of which there are many, became obvious. I consider them dreadful. But it's up to the individual.
I'm curious if you could expand on that.

I don't use them either, but that comments sort of plays into my thoughts on them.
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Old 01-09-2010, 01:14 PM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

Ive used promark 747's for years and about a year ago tried a pair of ahead JJ''s and after to gigs i discovered a crack on my 20" a custom crash, this crack was not there before i used the aheads as i check them after i play, maybe it was going to happen anyway or maybe the aheads caused it, i don't no, but i will never use an ahead stick again because of that.
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Old 01-09-2010, 08:00 PM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

At the drummer prison in the UK, I hear they're all issued the same stick(s).

5000 paradiddles, 3000 cymbal crashes...
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:06 PM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

I need to use these because I used to break a pair of Vic firths each week, then I got some speed metal sticks from ahead, and they have saved me much dollars.(by not breaking)
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:10 PM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

Also here is a tip, if you are breaking cymballs, switch to meinl. They do not break easy. But if you break meinl there is something wrong with you.
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  #28  
Old 11-22-2012, 11:18 AM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

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Originally Posted by wy yung View Post
I always advise my students to use real drum sticks. No truly serious drummer I know would touch them. I owned a pair when they were first released because they were new. At first I thought they were okay, but soon their limitations, of which there are many, became obvious. I consider them dreadful. But it's up to the individual.

Really?
"No truly serious drummer"?

I have been playing Ahead drumsticks for years and I consider myself not only serious, but professional. As in Drumming is my full-time day job.
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

I have two pairs of Ahead sticks. I really do not like how they sound when playing any ride cymbal. I also do a fair amount of cross stick playing, and they are worthless for that. The 7A pair is in one of my stick bags, and I am not sure where the 5B pair is. I do not remember the last time I broke a wooden drum stick; it has been many years. Peace and goodwill.
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  #30  
Old 11-26-2012, 12:17 AM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

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Really?
"No truly serious drummer"?

I have been playing Ahead drumsticks for years and I consider myself not only serious, but professional. As in Drumming is my full-time day job.
Here's the logic I'm following: They're not even real drumsticks, so accordingly, you can't be a serious drummer because you cannot even be a real drummer if you use Ahead drumsticks.
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  #31  
Old 12-17-2012, 06:48 AM
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Here's the logic I'm following: They're not even real drumsticks, so accordingly, you can't be a serious drummer because you cannot even be a real drummer if you use Ahead drumsticks.
I think your "logic" has a few holes in it...
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  #32  
Old 12-17-2012, 07:30 AM
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Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

I'm not sure but I think Joey Jordinson (may not be spelled right) is a professional drummer. My son used them for yrs. He might still use them. He played metal with them. He said he liked the feel and balance of them. He did break a few though. I just can't let my self hit my high dollar cymbals with anything but wood.
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:55 AM
simmsdn simmsdn is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: North Pole, AK
Posts: 594
Default Re: Ahead drumsticks - Damage to cymbals

Quote:
Originally Posted by masonni View Post
I think your "logic" has a few holes in it...
I've been play Ahead sticks since the early-90s...I was trying to get your 6 on that one...I guess the sarcasm flew too high.
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