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  #1  
Old 10-13-2012, 06:16 PM
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Default Vic Firth durability issues?

Good afternoon guys.

You might have heard me praising Vic Firth's durability in some threads. I've been using VF ever since I got into drumming (10 years ago) and I haven't had any issues with sticks splitting or cracking prematurely.

However, I've had problems with almost half of my pairs the last month.
All sticks seem to split in the exact same spot, which is right below the tip, and the crack then spreads halfway down the sticks. I give you pictures showing the state 50% of my VF sticks end up in, sometimes after no more than an hour.

The first picture shows a pair of VF 5AN's I've played for 45 minutes. I'm a medium hard hitter and I play indie, jazz and rock. The second pic shows an 8DN stick, splitting after an hour of practicing.

I e-mailed Vic Firth and asked for a replacement. Have any of you experienced these crack issues, with several sticks breaking just below the tip?

Have a great day
Arvid
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Last edited by Swexx; 10-13-2012 at 09:54 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-13-2012, 06:23 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

I used them a few months back, and had that same issue you are now. Except mine broke on electric drum pads which I find to be sad.. 6 pairs in less than a week actually. I switch to Vater and haven't had a stick break in 3 months. I doubt you're looking to switch but they make good quality stuff at better prices than Vic Firth. They also have a lot more tip options.
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  #3  
Old 10-13-2012, 07:31 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

I recently found 10 pair of Vater 3a Fatbacks that have been in my shed for 8 years, in the damp and through sub zero winters. They are well used also. And after all this time they are all true and straight and I am using them in a Black Metal band at the mo with no issues. I'm a very heavy hitter.
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Old 10-13-2012, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

It sounds as though they got a batch of wood that was improperly cured or dried? I would give them a chance to make it right, given your ten year history of good luck with them.

How many actual pairs have you broken, BTW? You mention 50%, but that could be insignificant if you've only used 4 or 5 pairs.
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  #5  
Old 10-13-2012, 08:03 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

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Originally Posted by IDDrummer View Post
It sounds as though they got a batch of wood that was improperly cured or dried? I would give them a chance to make it right, given your ten year history of good luck with them.

How many actual pairs have you broken, BTW? You mention 50%, but that could be insignificant if you've only used 4 or 5 pairs.
I think I've broken 6-7 sticks the exact same way over less than two months. Just a year ago, one pair of sticks would last me close to 10 weeks.
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Old 10-13-2012, 08:55 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

Yeah man.Maybe its a technique probably with me recently but I've noticed vic firth sticks really seemed to have went down in quality.I used to use the steve gadd signature sticks all the time and they would last about 2 to 3 months.However i got two pairs of sticks recently and both of them barely lasted under a week.I can tell from the color of the wood on the broken pairs that they really went down in quality.I now mainly use pro mark Japanese white oak sticks and they're better then the new vic firths.
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  #7  
Old 10-13-2012, 09:09 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

I have not had that issue with the sticks I have bought last month.
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  #8  
Old 10-13-2012, 09:23 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

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Originally Posted by Natewest View Post
Yeah man.Maybe its a technique probably with me recently but I've noticed vic firth sticks really seemed to have went down in quality.I used to use the steve gadd signature sticks all the time and they would last about 2 to 3 months.However i got two pairs of sticks recently and both of them barely lasted under a week.I can tell from the color of the wood on the broken pairs that they really went down in quality.I now mainly use pro mark Japanese white oak sticks and they're better then the new vic firths.
Interesting. Maybe Vic Firth have had bad luck with their wood.
For me, it's certainly not technique related. I haven't changed my technique the slightest, except possibly hitting a little softer today than I did a year ago. The sticks gotta be the problem. I'm interested to see if VF will compensate me.
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Last edited by Swexx; 10-13-2012 at 09:55 PM.
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  #9  
Old 10-13-2012, 11:46 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

In 20 years I have never had that problem with the real Vic's but had it happen with almost a whole brick of their Nova sticks. Very easy to see that they have split on the grain, if your buying single pairs then have a look before you buy and make sure the grain runs full length of the stick and not crossing from one side to the other part way down. I buy by the brick so its hard to check that way but as luck would have it I never got any. I cant see why Vic would not replace them as its very easy to tell they let go on the grain.
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Old 10-14-2012, 05:47 AM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

On a drum set:
Never had a Vic Firth stick last longer than five minutes in my hands. No foolies, they do not work for me and I am not exaggerating the durability I've experienced with Vic Firth. I don't know why I waste money, but every few years I buy a pair to see if they're any better. They are complete garbage everytime I use them. I don't get it.

I've had completely generic sticks last months.

On the other hand, when I was playing in an orchestra and competing in ensembles and solo snare drum, I would play nothing but Vic Firth due to the multiple great options provided for that kind of music.

On a drum set however, they're worthless to me.
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:28 AM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swexx View Post
Good afternoon guys.

You might have heard me praising Vic Firth's durability in some threads. I've been using VF ever since I got into drumming (10 years ago) and I haven't had any issues with sticks splitting or cracking prematurely.

However, I've had problems with almost half of my pairs the last month.
All sticks seem to split in the exact same spot, which is right below the tip, and the crack then spreads halfway down the sticks. I give you pictures showing the state 50% of my VF sticks end up in, sometimes after no more than an hour.

The first picture shows a pair of VF 5AN's I've played for 45 minutes. I'm a medium hard hitter and I play indie, jazz and rock. The second pic shows an 8DN stick, splitting after an hour of practicing.

I e-mailed Vic Firth and asked for a replacement. Have any of you experienced these crack issues, with several sticks breaking just below the tip?

Have a great day
Arvid
Just looking at the marks on your sticks, if you've got that many dents after 45 minutes of playing I can't imagine how hard you hit or how accurate your hits are. How do you play? Are you a bit of an animal?

I did switch to Vater because I got sick of chipping the tips on my Vic firths and throwing away otherwise good sticks.
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Old 10-14-2012, 09:17 AM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

I buy and play a lot of Vic Firth sticks and their durability has always been spot on. I used to break a lot of sticks across all of the brands until I made slight changes in my technique. Now, I use less arm and more wrist. My sticks last me a long time now from most of the companies as a result.
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  #13  
Old 10-14-2012, 09:38 AM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dre25 View Post
Just looking at the marks on your sticks, if you've got that many dents after 45 minutes of playing I can't imagine how hard you hit or how accurate your hits are. How do you play? Are you a bit of an animal?
I'm no animal for sure. It's a lot about the sticks. I have a pair of 8D's that I've used for three months and they don't look nearly as worn as the 45-minute sticks. I do rimshots on all my drums (snare and toms) which contributes to the ragged look of the sticks, but doesn't affect the durability (until now maybe).

Funny sidenote: VF's seem to have this soft outside but a hard inside (they look worn pretty quick, but they usually hold up good for a long time). The sticks I've gotten lately have a soft outside and a soft inside, which might not be ideal for drum sticks.....
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  #14  
Old 10-14-2012, 09:59 AM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

Maybe you need something thicker, they look like skinny sticks.

Most drummers rimshot with the same area of the stick, it looks like you do it up and down the entire length, and hard. Why do you rimshot your toms? What style are you playing?
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  #15  
Old 10-14-2012, 10:07 AM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

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Originally Posted by Dre25 View Post
Maybe you need something thicker, they look like skinny sticks.

Most drummers rimshot with the same area of the stick, it looks like you do it up and down the entire length, and hard. Why do you rimshot your toms? What style are you playing?
Rimshots on toms sound incredibly funky IMO. I also cross stick a lot, with the tip of the sticks outside the snare drum rim (= cross sticking with the stick "backwards") which can explain why my sticks are worn in many different places. Also, on VF's one simple hihat hit often leads to a little mark/cut on the stick.

Thicker sticks do last a lot longer for me. I had a pair of Zildjian's Taylor Hawkins' signature sticks that lasted me freaking six-seven months of constant playing before they broke. The only problem is that I've never gotten along with the feel of beefy sticks. Anything thicker than a 5A is like playing with cucumbers for me.
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  #16  
Old 10-14-2012, 10:21 AM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

I too was going to mention about the marks on the shoulders of the sticks just after forty five minutes of play. Mine might start to look like that after a few days, but I do switch my sticks a lot while playing. It's been years since I broke a stick at the same place you have. The problems that I encounter and it has been with Vic Firth sticks, is the tips prematurely chipping. As soon as the tips chip in the slightest, the stick gets thrown away.

This is the last pair of sticks that I've broken back about three years ago and it really surprised me when it happened. I believe that they were Vic Firth 7A and that was probably the same time period that I completely gave up on nylon tips.



Dennis
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  #17  
Old 10-14-2012, 10:27 AM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiotech View Post
This is the last pair of sticks that I've broken back about three years ago and it really surprised me when it happened. I believe that they were Vic Firth 7A and that was probably the same time period that I completely gave up on nylon tips.

Are those really 7A's? The tip doesn't look right.
Anyways, that very split is the exact way my VF sticks break.
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  #18  
Old 10-14-2012, 03:50 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

Quote:
Originally Posted by simmsdn View Post
On a drum set:
Never had a Vic Firth stick last longer than five minutes in my hands.
Very strange as I have found Vic to be the most durable out of every brand I have tried.



Quote:
Originally Posted by audiotech View Post
This is the last pair of sticks that I've broken back about three years ago and it really surprised me when it happened. I believe that they were Vic Firth 7A and that was probably the same time period that I completely gave up on nylon tips.

Thats not a Vic stick, the tip is not shaped the same as what they use, refer to the OP's pic to see the Vic tips, but it is possible those could be a Nova. BTW if you had problem with Vic's nylon tips they will replace sticks for any and all nylon tip failures, I have only had one tip come off in 20 years and they sent me a new set of sticks even tho the sticks were old and just about worn out.

Last edited by tard; 10-14-2012 at 04:00 PM.
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  #19  
Old 10-14-2012, 03:58 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

Hmmm, I haven't had any problems so far.
I like Vic's sticks and I use them as my main brand.
I am sure the they will fix the quality control issue.

I do find that Vater sticks last longer but I also find them heavier in weight to same sized VF sticks.
That is why I prefer Vic.
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:33 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

Revisiting this thread, it could be you are putting the stick through more than it was designed to handle. You don't see people slamming down HD4's.

Also, I have had two year+ old stick break like that from hitting the bell of my ride with the body of the stick, don't know if that helps. Keep in mind this sticks were well worn and chipped and practically begging to be killed anyways.
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  #21  
Old 10-14-2012, 04:43 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

Quote:
Originally Posted by topgun2021 View Post
Revisiting this thread, it could be you are putting the stick through more than it was designed to handle. You don't see people slamming down HD4's.
I think a VF 5A hickory stick is "designed" to handle at least a few hours of poprock practicing. I usually play 8D's which are as thin as a 7A and they usually last me at least two or three months of everyday playing. The problem is with the very pairs of sticks that break prematurely. A year ago I had no issues with VF whatsoever. It seems that VF have gotten a bad bunch of wood, or something like that.

EDIT: I sounded pretty harsch. That's not my intention, I apologize.
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tard View Post
Very strange as I have found Vic to be the most durable out of every brand I have tried.





Thats not a Vic stick, the tip is not shaped the same as what they use, refer to the OP's pic to see the Vic tips, but it is possible those could be a Nova. BTW if you had problem with Vic's nylon tips they will replace sticks for any and all nylon tip failures, I have only had one tip come off in 20 years and they sent me a new set of sticks even tho the sticks were old and just about worn out.
Sorry but I've never owned a Nova stick. They are definitely Vic Firth and I'm almost positive they were 7A. If I have another pair in my "nylon" tip bag I'll try to post a picture.

Dennis
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  #23  
Old 10-14-2012, 07:10 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiotech View Post
Sorry but I've never owned a Nova stick. They are definitely Vic Firth and I'm almost positive they were 7A. If I have another pair in my "nylon" tip bag I'll try to post a picture.

Dennis
Interesting, I think the tips look like either Novas or Promark/Zildjian. If you could feed us a pic of the whole stick I'd appreciate it.
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Old 10-14-2012, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiotech View Post
Sorry but I've never owned a Nova stick. They are definitely Vic Firth and I'm almost positive they were 7A. If I have another pair in my "nylon" tip bag I'll try to post a picture.

Dennis
Dont know what to say except they are definately not a real Vic stick, Vic has never used this tip on a real Vic stick, ever, also stick has wrong taper as well.

Yours



Vic Nova 5bn


Vic Nova 7an


Vic Firth 7an, different tip and taper


Vater has a similar tip but the taper is thinner


Promark 7an , similar tip and taper is closer


Regal tip 7an, taper and tip are different

Last edited by tard; 10-15-2012 at 01:05 PM.
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  #25  
Old 10-14-2012, 07:24 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

I'm using some VF Extreme 5AN sticks right now. I've had them for a few months now. Play twice a week for 3 to 4 hours. One stick is just now developing a crack right in the same spot yours are cracked. I've been playing Promark 747 hickory almost exclusively for more years than I can count, but I am impressed with these VF sticks. Mostly I was trying them out for a go to stick when my Pro-Marks aren't available. I buy wood tip too, but just the standard 5A in whatever brand is the cheapest at the time. I tried Zildjian and decided I'll never do that again. Those things wore out quick. Surprisingly quick considering how the other brands stand up to my playing style.
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  #26  
Old 10-15-2012, 01:12 AM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

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Interesting, I think the tips look like either Novas or Promark/Zildjian. If you could feed us a pic of the whole stick I'd appreciate it.
Sorry, this picture was taken more than three years ago to demonstrate something on a different forum and the sticks are long gone. The reason I took the shot was that we were talking primarily in what area sticks break and not the manufacturer of the particular broken sticks, so I did not include the size or logo in the photograph of these Vic Firth sticks. ;)

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Old 10-15-2012, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiotech View Post
Sorry, this picture was taken more than three years ago to demonstrate something on a different forum and the sticks are long gone. The reason I took the shot was that we were talking primarily in what area sticks break and not the manufacturer of the particular broken sticks, so I did not include the size or logo in the photograph of these Vic Firth sticks. ;)

Dennis
Ok, cool! You proved my point ;D
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:14 PM
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Ok, cool! You proved my point ;D
Maybe, but I haven't proven anything to myself as of yet. If I prove myself wrong, then I have no reason to blame Vic Firth for the breakage in the photograph. It's just so indelible in my mind that these were Vic Firth sticks. With further checking my nylon tip assortment, they Might be Pro Mark sticks, probably the "New Generation" model, because of the design of the nylon tips. What I've seen in the sizes of the sticks that I use is that Vic Firths nylon tips are more acorn shaped, where the Pro Marks are much more rounded. I still have to convince myself, then an apology will be issued, lol.

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  #29  
Old 10-15-2012, 05:33 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

Thats the only place ive ever had vics break
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  #30  
Old 10-17-2012, 12:57 AM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

As promised, I'm posting pictures of the sticks I used more than three years ago before I went all wooden tip. Sorry about the technical quality, these were done in a hurry but do show the differences in the nylon tips actually more so than the exact taper of the sticks. According to the pictures, the sicks that I posted do look very similar to the Pro Mark "New Generation" model primarily going by the contour of the nylon tip. I am still trying to convince myself though.

The top stick is a Zildjian 5B. Years ago I used both the 5B and 5A DIP sticks.









Dennis
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  #31  
Old 10-18-2012, 05:51 AM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

Yup I've had these same exact issues with my X5As lately...looks like I'll be switching to Vater as I've heard really good things about them.
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  #32  
Old 10-18-2012, 12:27 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

I have no issues with the Vic's I use - SD10's and SD4's. I generally get many, many months of the the same pair (10-18 hours per week). I toss them when the tips go only. Haven't broken a stick in decades.
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  #33  
Old 10-19-2012, 03:55 AM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

No issues with Vic sticks. I have never broken one, but have replaced worn ones before they brea
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  #34  
Old 10-24-2012, 01:55 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

This stick gave me a good laugh today. It has maybe a month of playing on it, so it's pretty badly worn, but you still never expect a stick to break from the middle and down the grip while you're playing. Gonna buy me some Vaters in the next month or two.
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  #35  
Old 10-24-2012, 02:51 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

Freakish.

I'd like to see you play.. Because I never broke one and I went through 15-20 pairs.
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Old 10-24-2012, 05:06 PM
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Freakish.

I'd like to see you play.. Because I never broke one and I went through 15-20 pairs.
I guess it's like the Coated Ambassador problem. Some people go through a lot of heads' coatings, while people (like me) never had a problem with the Amb coating. My technique is correct and I'm no "animal", that's for sure. ;) So maybe it's just bad luck, or maybe it's individual, or maybe I'm actually Batman.
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:48 PM
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

I never really used Vic Firth sticks up until I started to try out the Tomas Haake signatures. Bought a few pairs, one of which broke within the first week. The ones where the body held out, the tips are really dwindling. Not too happy. Thinking of trying a few Vater sticks since Promark doesn't make the right sized sticks that I like.
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  #38  
Old 10-25-2012, 02:13 AM
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keepitgreen keepitgreen is offline
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

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Originally Posted by Swexx View Post
This stick gave me a good laugh today. It has maybe a month of playing on it, so it's pretty badly worn, but you still never expect a stick to break from the middle and down the grip while you're playing. Gonna buy me some Vaters in the next month or two.
Funny, the exact same thing happened to me me about a month or two ago. I left a pair of VERY worn down Vic Firth 5a sticks on my snare drum, and my guitarist sat down to bang away for a bit. Within a minute or two of playing, the stick cracked right down the middle from taper to butt end! Nearly identical to your picture.

I wish I could have thought of an appropriate guitarist joke at the time...
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  #39  
Old 10-25-2012, 09:38 AM
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Swexx Swexx is offline
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

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Originally Posted by keepitgreen View Post
Funny, the exact same thing happened to me me about a month or two ago. I left a pair of VERY worn down Vic Firth 5a sticks on my snare drum, and my guitarist sat down to bang away for a bit. Within a minute or two of playing, the stick cracked right down the middle from taper to butt end! Nearly identical to your picture.

I wish I could have thought of an appropriate guitarist joke at the time...
Crazy! It must have something to do with the wood. If the stick was appropriate and correctly manufactured it wouldn't split this way, no matter how badly you hit.
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  #40  
Old 10-25-2012, 03:17 PM
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topgun2021 topgun2021 is offline
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Default Re: Vic Firth durability issues?

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Originally Posted by Swexx View Post
Crazy! It must have something to do with the wood. If the stick was appropriate and correctly manufactured it wouldn't split this way, no matter how badly you hit.
He also said the stick was worn, not factory fresh.

It has to be just you then, the Vics I bought recently are the best Vics I have ever used.
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