Drumming pain


Silver Member
certain stick finishes can automatically give me blisters. Back when I used Vic Firth I got way more blisters because of the tackier finish. I use Pro Mark now, which almost feel like they have no finish, and rarely get blisters. I don't sweat a lot either, so if you're a heavy sweater, then that could contribute to your issues.

As far as rimshots go, certain drums with certain heads at high tension can give me instant pain, and I can quickly tell there is an issue. Die cast hoops are the worst for this for me, and I don't like the sound they produce anyway, so I avoid using them. 2 ply heads on a shallow brass snare cranked up high also give me instant pain and weird vibrations. A single ply reverse dot head on that same snare eliminates that problem though, so maybe try a head change. And, oak sticks tend to give me hand pains too, and I can feel the difference in vibrations versus hickory.

Simply try to change what you're currently doing as much as you can, because you don't wanna go on getting severe pain every time you play. That will only lead to serious complications down the road to where you may not be able to play at all, so it's worth sacrificing something here or there to ensure future playing.


Junior Member
Thank you so much guys for your help!

Many of you talked about using thicker sticks, like 5B or 2B, but I'm not sure that's going to help. Yesterday I practiced for 2 hours using 5B and it's pretty much the same, just with more weight on my hand. Also I don't like big sticks because it's much easier breaking cymbals, and that's terrible. 5A Vic Firth is the maximum for me.

Changing heads for this problem.. sorry but I can't do this. I spent a lot of time to find the right sound, the right tools... I prefer blisters than playing drums that doesn't sound the way I want..

Anyway thank you all again guys, other suggestions are welcome! :)


Senior Member
I have to disagree with some folks here.

Technique is probably the first thing to look for, indeed. However it is perfectly possible that blisters occur when you start playing more frequently, faster or harder.

Example: I used to have blisters all the time when I played on my acoustic kit. Now that I play on an e-kit, I rarely have blisters. Nothing to do technique, but simply with the effect that I had to hit the acoustic kit harder to be audible (I had some very bad earbuds at the time). Not a technique issue.

Another example: I only started doing double-bass when I had been drumming for, let's say, 8 years. A couple of months later I was diagnosed with a tear in the muscle that connects your core with your right leg. Even though this seems as a bad technique as well, and it possibly has something to do with it, it's probably more to do with the time I put into aggressive double-bass exercises. I stressed the muscles too much, even though they were not used for it - which caused a tear. (One of the reasons why I am afraid to go back to practising double bass a lot.)

--> Not everything is technique related. Make sure you take your time, don't stress your body too much (a little is necessary, though) and don't play too loud.

PS: how did you manage to hurt your pinky? I play all kinds of styles (jazz, rock, pop, funk) and I doubt I actively use my pinky or my ring finger.


Junior Member
Just to let you guys understand, this happenned yesterday. Brand new sticks (8D). 2 hours later... Fortunately no finger pain, just blisters. But I'm working on loosening a little bit more my grip

(click on the pic to zoom)



Platinum Member
That looks like the sort of break that happens from burying the stick. The stick bends, fatigues and splits along the grain.

Sound comes from the head vibrating. The more the head can vibrate, the louder the sound. Pressing the stick into the head limits it's vibration and results in less sound. The harder you bang on it trying to get more volume, the more it chokes and you pretty quickly get to a point of diminishing returns with hitting harder. You start going though sticks, heads and cymbals.

The other part of technique is getting the sound out of the instrument efficiently. Snap the stick off the drum or cymbal and let it do the work. Your sticks and your hands will thank you.

The other thing I've discovered more recently is posture. Slouching or awkward posture can result in sore back, shoulders, arms or many other things. You also seem to be able to get better sound out of the instrument when physically grounded with a stable posture.


Platinum Member
Disregarding the split down the center, the chopping on your stick looks weird. If that is from rim shots, something is wrong. Cymbals causing that would be a bit more acceptable, but not with that split. It really looks like someone shot your stick with a .22 rifle. It also seems a bit high on the stick, but that could just be the illusion of photography (I use different sticks so the logo is a useless measure).

I would consider everything everyone said: stick size (for me the fatter the better, easier to hold and swing), wood of stick (oak sucks), angle of snare, head type and tension, hoop type, how far or close you sit in relation to the snare, how tight you hold the sticks (does the logo revolve while you play?), your height in relation to the snare, and definitely check your wrists. If they aren't straight you can hurt your hands.

Any chance you could make a video?


Senior Member
Playing hard with 8D sticks? That doesn't compute for me. I know guys like Dennis Chambers can really crack the drums with 7A's...but there aren't many drummers around like Dennis Chambers.

Lots of pad work has really helped my hands - I still get the occasional blister but it's very rare. Most of my hands' contact areas with the sticks are like cured leather. Don't feel a thing.

Have you tried playing with the butt end of the stick? It takes some getting used to, and it's harder to finesse certain strokes, but a few months ago I started using the butt end of a 5B for my snare hand (after two decades of playing!), and I can't believe the crack I'm getting with such moderate effort. So many years of wasted energy...