How did you pick your favorite sticks?

Local Oaf

Well-known member
I have historically used either the $2/pair generic sticks at the local music shop or Vic Firth 5Bs.

Then I stopped by Tommy’s Drum Shop in South Austin and talked to Tommy about sticks. He suggested I try out the Vic Firth Charlie Watts signatures. The barrel is roughly the same size but the shoulder is substantially wider and the tip is longer and wider. I love the feel and the sound of them. I’m a convert at this point.

What’s your favorite pair of sticks?
Why is it your favorite?
How did you discover them?
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
After decades of using various hickory models, I decided to try AHEAD three years ago, ordering a pair of their 5B Light Rock sticks. When they arrived, I considered dropping them in the trash. They felt unnatural and oddly balanced. Trying to stay open-minded, I pledged to use them for a few weeks. When I attempted to return to wood sticks, I couldn't. AHEAD's 5B Light Rock is now the only stick I play with. That still surprises me sometimes, but I'm hooked for good.
 

planoranger

Junior Member
For "eons" I used Pro Mark 5As on drum set and 5Bs on pad and concert snare work. Something changed with Pro Mark, and I felt I needed to make a change.

The one thing I really liked about their 5As was that their diameter was smaller than any other company's. I found that Vic Firth 85As were exactly the same diameter so I went with them. They are considerably lighter than the Pro Mark so that is taking some time to get use to. So far, I'm fairly happy.

I'm also using the VF 5Bs. They are working out as well.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
Right now I'm using Vater's Gospel 5B. It's 16.5" and has a ball tip. I like a long stick and I like a ball tip, so that works well for me. I'm also using a Vater 1A too.

I've played the trial and error game for a long time. Over time my desires change, or my gig changes or I learn what a particular element of stick design does to the feel and I try a new stick with that feature.

When I was playing quieter music I switched to maple sticks. When I joined a loud rock band I went to large hickory sticks (and dabbled with oak again) but now I've come back toward center.

I've learned I like sticks 16.5" to 17". I like something in the .595-.600 diameter. I like a medium to medium-long taper for a quicker and lighter feel. I'd rather have an acorn tip but they chip a lot faster than ball tips.
 

Ghostin one

Senior Member
A friend used them. They looked huge and heavy, until I tried them. It was a revelation. I didn't know maple sticks existed (almost forty years ago now). VF American Custom SD9 Drivers.

I use other sticks, too, but they're the normal-to-loud volume sticks for me.
 
For "eons" I used Pro Mark 5As on drum set and 5Bs on pad and concert snare work. Something changed with Pro Mark, and I felt I needed to make a change.

The one thing I really liked about their 5As was that their diameter was smaller than any other company's. I found that Vic Firth 85As were exactly the same diameter so I went with them. They are considerably lighter than the Pro Mark so that is taking some time to get use to. So far, I'm fairly happy.

I'm also using the VF 5Bs. They are working out as well.
BTW, you can still get the Classic model 5A in original diameter (.551). The only models that have changed are the Select Balance (.565), I believe.

 

bongoman

Junior Member
I bought about three dozen pairs of all different brands, sizes, and materials, and swapped through them over the course of a couple years. It didn’t take long to rule out some of the ones that were farthest away from my comfort, but then I had to spend more serious time narrowing down the closer contenders.

I thought I had picked one for sure a couple times in there, but after months of playing “that one”, I’d try a different one, and change my mind. Most of my favorites were basically 5A extra long with a barrel or acorn tip. But most recently I’ve been stuck on Vic Firth Peter Erskine Big Band. The shaft is a bit thicker than a 5A, but with a long taper that makes them feel faster. The combo of hefty punch and quick response is perfect for me.

The one bummer about them is they wear out quickly. I would love to find the same specs with a more durable wood.
 

Peedy

Senior Member
I carry four different sticks every week and switch between them as the song requires. I’m of the opinion that different sticks are better at certain things so in songs heavy in one thing or another, I switch.

Pete
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I've been using various brand 5A's forever. When I discovered the Vic Firth version back in the 80s, I just stayed with those. They fit well, and like Carmine Appice, if I needed more weight, I could just flip them around and play with the butt ends. There was a time when I wanted bigger, and 5B was too big. When Vic Firth introduced the 55A, I got a few pairs and may use them (I'm still not used to them) - I'll keep a couple of pairs of those in my bag to try. But I usually keep six pars of 5A's in the bag, and buy them in bricks of 12 pairs about once a year.
 

planoranger

Junior Member
BTW, you can still get the Classic model 5A in original diameter (.551). The only models that have changed are the Select Balance (.565), I believe.
Thanks...but it was not that the Pro Mark diameter that changed...it didn't. I just felt there was a change in either the hickory that they were growing/purchasing and/or the manufacturing process. The newer 5As that I bought (which was a brick) ALL had bad vibrations in the sticks. Much easier to change brands than to deal with possible injury.
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
5B, not fussed on brand, Vic Firth, Pro Mark LA Specials, Stagg American Hickory, unbranded "possibly Pro Mark" seconds. I've dabbled with 5As, some are bigger than others. I've also dabbled with signature sticks such as the Chad Smith Vater stick which is based around a 5B.
Different people like different feels and grips, there was a time in the past that I thought I'd always only ever play 2Bs, but there's a reason why 5B, 5A and 55A form the basis of the sticks that many people use for most of the time.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
What’s your favorite pair of sticks?
Why is it your favorite?
How did you discover them?
Most of the work within my genre is either VF5A or VF5B, depending on the tempo and backbeat balance.

Every time I buy sticks, I get $50 of the standards, and I get one pair of odd sticks to noodle around with in a half hearted attempt to broaden my palette. In my odd pile, I currently have mallets, brushes, a pair of SD1's, Coolrods, etc.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
I started playing Tama Oak 5B equivalent. But something wasn't right, even if I played metal at that period of time, I needed thinner / lighter sticks, so I went Tama oak still, but 5A equivalent.
Since then, it's basic 5A, mostly Vic Firth and sometimes Tama.
VF can be played much longer without breaking, but I prefer the tip and the finish of the Tamas.
 
Thanks...but it was not that the Pro Mark diameter that changed...it didn't. I just felt there was a change in either the hickory that they were growing/purchasing and/or the manufacturing process. The newer 5As that I bought (which was a brick) ALL had bad vibrations in the sticks. Much easier to change brands than to deal with possible injury.
Interesting point. Too stiff in terms of shock absorption? Also, how long ago did you buy the brick? Post 2012?
 

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
Years ago I landed on the Vic Firth Steve Gadd Signature model when they first came out. But several years ago they started feeling a bit "thin" but I had no idea why; I just attributed it to my grip changing with age. So I watched the sales and ordered different models in different diameters, lengths, tapers and heads. After all the experimentation I landed on .560" diameter and 16.25" length with either a long or medium taper and wood barrel tips (nylon tips on standby as needed). I'm currently playing the Vic Firth Signature Dave Weckel and Mike Terrana models. The Steve Gadd sticks are still on standby for lighter acoustic needs.
 

Lennytoons

Senior Member
Trial and error for me over the years. I really like the Vic Firth Carter Beauford signature sticks with the yellow coated grips. Those were discontinued a couple of years ago so I switched to Zildjian coated grip 5b's. The Zildjian coating lasts longer than the Vic Firth's. I tried a lot of sticks including the rebound balance and forward balance ones. My hands and arms get tired much quicker with lighter sticks. 5B's for me all the way.
 
D

Deleted member 525878

Guest
I've been using Vic Firth American Classic 5B for around 4 years now.
However, I may switch back to their 5A.

When I was a teenager I loved the ProMark Golden Oak Billy Cobham 808s.
However, I eventually needed something more versatile / subtle.
I used Regal Tip 5B for a few decades, and the Cobham hickory 808 for harder Rock gigs.
 

Local Oaf

Well-known member
I carry four different sticks every week and switch between them as the song requires. I’m of the opinion that different sticks are better at certain things so in songs heavy in one thing or another, I switch.

Pete
Cool! Are you also switching for dynamic effect within the song?
 
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