BREAKING STICKS

DannyMeazell

Junior Member
I may be old school but I have played and jammed with a lot of bands in garages, homes, auditoriums, arenas, studios, and Live televised! I have played since I was 3. One of my first things I did, with hundreds of hours of practice, was go through every stick made! In my early years I discovered a new type of wood being used by a then young company Promark. I settled in with the Promark 7a Japan Oak. I was taught by Robert BOB Taylor and Louie Belson who are jazz drummers and favor smaller sticks. With every Stick company out there, I went through a lot of sticks. I am considered a grade or two above a hard hitter. I play the rim a lot! One old band leader once told me play with small sticks so your not so loud. I said these are the small sticks! My Hi Hat stand is often covered by sawdust from wareing away at sticks! Of all the sticks I used the PROMARK 7A Japan oak outlasted every other make of 7A on the market.
During the years I was in the school And in the combos and in bands that played everywhere, those PROMARK 7A sticks did me good! Later a friend, Hall of fame drummer Linda Waring, introduced me to another drum stick that lasted even longer, was more resilient , and felt incredible! It was the PROMARK 747W B. One of the longer sticks at 16 3/4" and heavier, it's easy on the hands. I will stick by two things! PROMARK, though to be fair I have tried them all and the Japan Oak. I am looking at another stick now because of the tip! It's the 707 W in Japan Oak. The only recent issue I have had since Promark was bought out is it seems that when I open a new brick of sticks these new sticks feel slick as snot! I am having to use Sex Wax more and more to hold on to them. Other than that ,I am good to go!
 

thebarak

Senior Member
If you're breaking sticks, it's probably due to holding them too tight, or other general bad technique. Letting the sticks breathe by holding them a little more loosely and maybe repositioning your fulcrum should help.
Yes, on a practice pad in a silent room, with hickory sticks, you should hear the sticks resonate like a quiet marimba. If you don't, then you are probably holding them too tightly. This is one of the greatest practice tips ever and really helps all drummers.
 

donnyf

Junior Member
Back playing drums after retiring from work. Ive been using 5B hickerys and find they shread at the hi hat till the neck gets narrow and then they break. Never had this problem back in the 70s. Little scared to go to oak which is probably what I used years ago, cymbals are not cheap.
Please let me know if I got this right.
Thanks
 

gish

Senior Member
Back playing drums after retiring from work. Ive been using 5B hickerys and find they shread at the hi hat till the neck gets narrow and then they break. Never had this problem back in the 70s. Little scared to go to oak which is probably what I used years ago, cymbals are not cheap.
Please let me know if I got this right.
Thanks
Sounds like your hats are too high. Lower them a bit and focus on playing the tip of the stick on the top of the hats, and you should see a big difference in the life of your sticks.
 

mike d

Silver Member
Back playing drums after retiring from work. Ive been using 5B hickerys and find they shread at the hi hat till the neck gets narrow and then they break. Never had this problem back in the 70s. Little scared to go to oak which is probably what I used years ago, cymbals are not cheap.
Please let me know if I got this right.
Thanks
I don't think oak will damage you cymbals unless you are playing abusively. I used them for years. I switched to Maple and now I can't go back. Mine still shred at the neck where I play hat (as did the oak and hickory I've used). When it starts getting alarmingly thin, I know it's time for new sticks. Maybe in the 70s you weren't playing the hat on edge as much? I do all the time, because that's how I get the sound I want.
 

Twakeshima

Active member
I break almost all of my standard 5As and snap anything thinner like a twig. The best experience I’ve had for the cheapest price is some nice 55As or Extreme 5As both are pretty durable and cheap. I also prefer the feel of these.
 

fess

Senior Member
Back playing drums after retiring from work. Ive been using 5B hickerys and find they shread at the hi hat till the neck gets narrow and then they break. Never had this problem back in the 70s. Little scared to go to oak which is probably what I used years ago, cymbals are not cheap.
Please let me know if I got this right.
Thanks
I have the same problem. I like playing the edge of the hats but it wears the neck of the sticks
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
There is a solution to the stick-breaking problem: technique. For example, you can stop milling the sticks on the hihat by playing sloshes with the drum sticks shank on the bow of the top hat cymbal instead of playing on the cymbal edge.

Likewise, one can almost eliminate stick breakage on the drums with proper technique, as well. I'm slowly drifting off to sleep now, so I don't have time to explain it. If anybody wants to know what this technique is, I'll explain it tomorrow, if the Lord is willing and the creek doesn't rise. Good night, all.

GeeDeeEmm
 

iCe

Senior Member
There is a solution to the stick-breaking problem: technique. For example, you can stop milling the sticks on the hihat by playing sloshes with the drum sticks shank on the bow of the top hat cymbal instead of playing on the cymbal edge.
I can't remember when i broke a stick. The neck gets worn down after a time and then i (as i like to call it) 'retire' a set of sticks because they start to feel off-balance. That's mostly just before the point the stick will break, but over the years i'm more in control and have my cymbals etc. angled in such a way that i don't hit edges of cymbals/rims etc. dead on. So i relate to the above post
 

Jazzim

Active member
Yes, I would love to have you explain it!

There is a solution to the stick-breaking problem: technique. For example, you can stop milling the sticks on the hihat by playing sloshes with the drum sticks shank on the bow of the top hat cymbal instead of playing on the cymbal edge.

Likewise, one can almost eliminate stick breakage on the drums with proper technique, as well. I'm slowly drifting off to sleep now, so I don't have time to explain it. If anybody wants to know what this technique is, I'll explain it tomorrow, if the Lord is willing and the creek doesn't rise. Good night, all.

GeeDeeEmm
 

drumnut87

Well-known member
main thing that breaks my sticks is rimshots on the drums, wears them out after a good while (and im talking months and months) but sometimes sticks break purely due to a fault in the wood, can play them for a small amount of time and they just shatter. happens with all manfacturers from time to time.
 

Stevedot2

Well-known member
All brands will have variation within the same type of stick. I use Promark 5a and have had some that lasted weeks, when months, and others that have straight up snapped during first use.

I have noticed that nylon tip sticks seem to break more easily. I bought a few sets for a recent 2 week tour and most broke on that tour. I still have wood tips that I've been using for months. I have a bunch of wood tip sticks that I had to retire because they wore down so much. The structure of a nylon tip stick is obviously slightly different to wood tip sticks.

As an aside note, yes wood tips do chip over time but I find they last a fair while.

Ps, I also play mostly rim shots on the snare, so my sticks take quite a battering.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
How do they break>
When I buy sticks I make sure the grain runs paralell through the end of the sticks.
If the grain runs short,say through the side of the shaft of the stick,they break a whole lot more often than not.
 

Stefan Brodsky

Senior Member
Re: Breaking sticks left and right...

I really dont understand how people break so many sticks. I've had the pair I'm using for at least 4 months.
Correct. All technique. That said, I have over the past 6 years or so, played almost exclusively Vater Sugar Maples, in various models. I like their Super Jazz, Fusion and 5Bs. I live in a high, dry climate and Vater puts more moisture in their woods, which makes a big difference in durability. Like any sticks over time and use, tips will wear out, as will the bodies and shoulders. But I never break them. I cannot remember the last time I broke a stick.
 
I'm big and I hit hard. I take 4 Vic Firth (Jack DeJohnette) sticks with me per job and I have had great luck with them. I break maybe 1 stick per year. I use a Slingerland and or a Rogers Dynasonic snare. For the loudest music I use a rim shot constantly. Slingerland stick saver rims actually do save sticks. I can't complain about sticks and they are very expensive, $14.00 to $16.00 per pair last time I bought some. I play the cymbals flat, never any problems.
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
I use Thomas Lang Signature sticks and I break about one stick every one or two practices. My record so far is three sticks in less than 10 minutes. Breaking sticks is normal. But expensive.
I use these as well & haven't broken one (knock wood). It's the tips that usually split first making the stick a hazard to heads.

I got a brick of those On Stage sticks from Amazon one time. Maple made 5b & as they're softer, they take the hits without breaking. I have little slivers all over the rug, but they last a long time.
I've learned that brand name/signature sticks are good for the most part, but you're really just wasting money paying for a name if the stick doesn't go the distance of a gig or practice.
 

iCe

Senior Member
Just a question that popped up; do you replace a stick when you break one, if you feel it's about to break or when the balance is of? Or another reason?

I 'retire' a pair of sticks when i start to notice that they start to be unbalanced. It's a subtle thing, but most of the time it's because the neck has worn/thinned out to such a degree that the stick feels 'off'. Maybe that is something personal, but i then i feel that fills or even the ride sound is 'off'. If i would keep playing the stick for a few more sessions they would break and i rather retire them before they snap and i might split a head that way.

Just wondering how you approach this?
 

SomeBadDrummer

Well-known member
Just a question that popped up; do you replace a stick when you break one, if you feel it's about to break or when the balance is of? Or another reason?

I 'retire' a pair of sticks when i start to notice that they start to be unbalanced. It's a subtle thing, but most of the time it's because the neck has worn/thinned out to such a degree that the stick feels 'off'. Maybe that is something personal, but i then i feel that fills or even the ride sound is 'off'. If i would keep playing the stick for a few more sessions they would break and i rather retire them before they snap and i might split a head that way.

Just wondering how you approach this?
Late as usual to the party, but here are my $0.02 worth:
Someone is regularly breaking sticks either because 1) the sticks are too weak for the playing style or 2) the intention is to intentionally break sticks. Rim shots will certainly chip away at the integrity of the wood much like a hatchet on kindling. However with proper use a good quality pair should last a while. Try some Promark PW747W Neil Peart Shira Akashi Oak and see how they do.
 
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