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Old 03-09-2010, 08:02 PM
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Default Sticks - What difference does wood type make

Well guys just as it says on the tin. What dif does wood type make to a stick.
Drumming the fine art of violence.
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:19 PM
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BradGunnerSGT BradGunnerSGT is offline
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Default Re: Sticks - What difference does wood type make

In general, the denser the wood, the louder the sound and the heavier the "feel" of the stick will be. Also, the shock to your hands is increased with a denser wood if you are a heavy hitter. Most sticks are made from hickory, which is a good all-around choice for most applications. Maple is softer and has less attack so it is used for recording or smaller, quiter gigs. Because it is soft, maple splinters easier, as well. For an example, Vater makes some of its models of sticks in both hickory for "everyday" use, and maple for "studio" or really small gigs.

Even sticks using the same type of wood my be vastly different depending on the variety of that wood that the particular manufacturer uses. There are lighter hickory varieties, for example, so a stick from Zildjian may be slightly lighter or heavier that the exact same size stick from Pro-Mark. In general, I've found Pro-Marks to be fairly dense compared to other brands, and Vater slightly lighter than equivalent Pro-Marks and Zildjians.

Sometimes a manufacturer will switch varieties of wood when the supply runs out, like Pro-Mark did with the Omar Hakim model. I have several pairs of those from about 10 years ago that are the perfect weight (for me), and I bought a new pair last year and they feel like baseball bats, even though they are exactly the same size.

For me, I prefer the Vater Fusion for most applications. It's slightly bigger that a 5A, but feels lighter than 5A's from other brands. I also like the sound of the small, round bead on ride cymbals as opposed to an acorn bead. YMMV

Note: edited because I posted before I had my coffee this morning...

Last edited by BradGunnerSGT; 03-10-2010 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:47 PM
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Mudslide Mudslide is offline
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Default Re: Sticks - What difference does wood type make

Hickory is actually the most popular wood used for drumsticks. Hickory is pretty durable and absorbs shock well. The majority of sticks on the market are Hickory.

Maple is generally less dense than hickory and is also lighter and brighter sounding. Same size stick maple is lighter than hickory. Maple is reportedly the second most popular wood for sticks.

Oak is more dense than hickory and heavier. Oak is also a brighter sounding stick than hickory. Oak is more rigid and therefore doesn't absorb shock as well. That shock is absorbed by the instrument and the hands.

Laminate sticks are also available. Zildjian, for example, manufactures a laminate stick from birch. Laminate sticks are very durable, rigid, and bright in tone.

There are probably a select few sticks made some other woods.

Wood density and tone will vary from tree to tree and wood sticks will vary somewhat as well due to the fact that they are made from a natural product.

With all that in mind, the length, shaft, taper, and bead will all influence the rigidity, tone, rebound and overall feel of a stick.
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:55 PM
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BradGunnerSGT BradGunnerSGT is offline
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Default Re: Sticks - What difference does wood type make

D'oh, teaches me to post before coffee. I was actually thinking hickory and for some reason typed oak everywhere!
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