How did you pick your favorite sticks?

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
my dilemma had always been that I spend 90% of my time with marching sticks in my hands, so any other type of stick felt non-existent in my hands. I used SD-1's for years b/c they were the closest thing to replicate the feel of marching sticks, but not do damage to the drums/cymbals. And they really felt awful for the most part.

About 7-8 years ago, I came across the Pro Mark PW808's. and they were deceptively "heavy" and thick feeling in my hands, but also had a more drum set type weight and reaction. And I really liked the way the beads sounded and felt on the ride cymbal (which, after feel in my hands, is my second biggest requirement of a stick). Then about 4 years ago, I tried some Vic Firth 3A's, and like them even more. So that is what I have settled on now.

through my involvement in the marching/educational world, and over the years of getting freebies at clinics, seminars and educational conferences, I can say that I probably own at least one of every kind of marching and drum set stick made since the mid 80's...I have 7 mallet bags full of just sticks alone, so I get to try just about every type that comes out...
 

CVA

Member
I have tried every stick size from 5a Maple to Metal, but usually played 5b's. I finally ended up using Vater Assault. These are the best balanced sticks for me, great for light playing and powerfull for loud music.
 

BenOBrienSmith

Senior Member
With regard to finding my favorite sticks, some of it came from trying literally every single Promark model (definitely one of the perks of that gig!) and some of it came from working on the development of the Select Balance line (I guess that was another perk...). I have a handful of models that I absolutely love and rotate between depending on what I'm playing.

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.
Unfortunately this was a situation that revolved around the kiln drying process and how the wood was being cut early on at the wood mill. Still, much of this was mitigated in the end. I've gone through literally hundreds (if not more) Promark sticks over the course of time from just prior to the manufacturing changes when they were still using lathes that weren't well maintained all the way through the changes in wood conversion, kiln drying, and the centerless grinding. It was a VERY rough transition but the sticks from last few years have matched or exceeded expectations set by other sticks that I've compared with on the market. Far more consistent in weight, feel, and durability than the Promark of the past.

Yeah...it was sometime before Christmas 2019...so well after D'Addario screwed up bought Pro Mark.
I'd be curious as to when the sticks were actually manufactured (finally something that can now be tracked similar to the Evans batch code system). It's really a shame that there were so many growing pains after the acquisition. In my opinion, manufacturing started to really achieve a quality and consistency in 2017 that was previously unattainable. That's also around the time that specs got tightened beyond what other brands were offering. Since I left in 2017, I can't speak to how things have changed since but I've yet to have any problematic experiences with product and I've been getting sticks directly from them ever since.
 

Local Oaf

Well-known member
But I think the main thing is to spend enough to get something made of decent wood (in other words, not 2$ from the bargain bucket)
I have a few pairs of bargain bucket sticks. But I use them for when I’m doing quiet practice because the tiny holes in the L80 cymbals have a tendency to mar sticks a bit more and I don’t want to ruin my nice sticks any faster than I have to.
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
What’s your favorite pair of sticks?
I have two I vacillate between: The Vic Firth STL Thomas Lang Model & the ProMark Mike Portnoy model.

Why is it your favorite?
The Thomas Lang models are thick & heavy, but I was surprised how quickly I got used to them. It takes very little effort to make a big sound. Plus, they just don't break.
Ever.

The Mike Portnoy models have the nylon tips & give great cymbal definition. I dig that for my rockabilly scene. Plus, they're quite a bit lighter & that makes longer gigs easy to play.

How did you discover them?
Both by purchase. I watch a lot of Thomas Lang videos & just wanted to try a pair. After getting them, I used them as practice sticks at first, but then got to liking them as playing models.

The Mike Portnoy's were on closeout at my local shop & I got them new for about $4.00. Couldn't pass them up & I got to liking them real quick.
 

Angus Macinnes

Senior Member
My go to for a while now has been the Vic Firth 5B freestyle. I like the extra length on them. I also use the Gavin Harrison model and Questlove model from time to time.
 

jimb

Member
My local store box store practically gives a way VF Nova 5a's for a few bucks...cheapest usable sticks on the planet....no need to change.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
What’s your favorite pair of sticks?
The Colaiuta sticks no longer in production


Why is it your favorite?
They just work for me and no matter what else I try I come back to them.


Why is it your favorite?
When I started drummming I just ordered a bunch and my friend who runs the store also sent me every other the common variation in the box for free.

I actually sort of tried to avoid these as it would seem like such a fanboy move, but they just worked and have worked for me since.

I still have a lot of them, so I'm good for a while, but since I can't find anything else like them the plan is to see if I can make them on my own when that time comes.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
there so many to choose from that I suggest finding a pair that you like and measure them by width and length and try other brands that are close to those measurements and weight, and try them out.
 

Maverick10

Senior Member
The Colaiuta sticks no longer in production




They just work for me and no matter what else I try I come back to them.




When I started drummming I just ordered a bunch and my friend who runs the store also sent me every other the common variation in the box for free.

I actually sort of tried to avoid these as it would seem like such a fanboy move, but they just worked and have worked for me since.

I still have a lot of them, so I'm good for a while, but since I can't find anything else like them the plan is to see if I can make them on my own when that time comes.
Hey there Odd-Arne i understand what you mean about the VC Sig stick. I have one pair of his VF model and i want to use them, but i don't often to save them. Thought about finding a custom stick maker and sending them the specs from his stick. BUT I know that today at 2pm EST Vater is announcing a new Artist to their roster. I'm hoping it's VC and he'll have a new sig stick that's like his past models. I don't want to get your hopes up too much, and since you have a surplus of his older sticks, but this could be cool if it is him. Guess we'll see in a few hours.

EDIT---- it wasn't Vinnie
 
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Hewitt2

Senior Member
A lot of trial and error to get to Vater Fusion hickory with rounded tip.

Like everything else (cymbals, heads, etc.) it's really important to experiment and try different things. Having an idea as to what you don't like and what doesn't work for you is just as powerful an insight as what does. Also, mixing things up creeps into your playing and has you approaching things differently and become a more versatile player. Even for drumsticks!

I've played sticks that were way too heavy or way too light for my preference but had me do things on the drums I wouldn't have done if I was using what I was more comfortable with.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
Hmmmm. Well, when I was playing much more actively during my college days I experimented with lots of different sticks and settled on Promark 5As wood tip. At some point I was intrigued by what my then hero Vinnie was using so i picked up a few pair of his signature sticks. They ended up being a little too heavy for me. Maybe if I was playing more they might work well but I'm playing sporadically so the 5As continue to be my go to sticks. Doesn't really matter to me which brand though. I have Promark as well as Vic Firth versions of the 5As and they all seem pretty similar to me. I avoid the super cheap bargain basement sticks because they tend to warp easily and they are less dense which makes them both a little too light and they disintigrate much quicker. I haven't bought sticks in a while and still have a good number of Promark and VC sticks to hold me for a bit. But when I need sticks I'll go to Sam Ash and roll them on the counter before buying them just like I've been doing since I was 13. That's 45 years ago. I've found that when something works, you stick with it.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Hey there Odd-Arne i understand what you mean about the VC Sig stick. I have one pair of his VF model and i want to use them, but i don't often to save them. Thought about finding a custom stick maker and sending them the specs from his stick. BUT I know that today at 2pm EST Vater is announcing a new Artist to their roster. I'm hoping it's VC and he'll have a new sig stick that's like his past models. I don't want to get your hopes up too much, and since you have a surplus of his older sticks, but this could be cool if it is him. Guess we'll see in a few hours.

EDIT---- it wasn't Vinnie
Yeah. No surprise. He's been trying out a lot of different stuff and I doubt a new one will be the same, if there ever is a new one at all. Vinnie doesn't change endorements often, but it was a weird one.


I have some Vics and a bunch of the Zildjians. Zs are more dense. Picked up all I could find when they got discontinued.

Sticks last a good while for me, so it's no real rush, but after trying so many different things I know this is where it's at. I use a couple of different ones for extreme low volume situations, yet some others for orchestral stuff and I don't really care much about what I use when I teach the kids, but it will always be my main stick.
 

Maverick10

Senior Member
Yeah. No surprise. He's been trying out a lot of different stuff and I doubt a new one will be the same, if there ever is a new one at all. Vinnie doesn't change endorements often, but it was a weird one.


I have some Vics and a bunch of the Zildjians. Zs are more dense. Picked up all I could find when they got discontinued.

Sticks last a good while for me, so it's no real rush, but after trying so many different things I know this is where it's at. I use a couple of different ones for extreme low volume situations, yet some others for orchestral stuff and I don't really care much about what I use when I teach the kids, but it will always be my main stick.
Yeah i know he had been that's why when the Pre-Announcement for a new Vater Artist I was hoping. The last i saw he was using Promarks, but nothings come of it yet. But you're right probably wouldn't be the same. I use mine mostly at home on the practice pad. I have used them at church recently, but i would rather use them and take the chance they break then not use them at all. I never used his Z branded ones.
 

gish

Senior Member
If I had a nickel for every time I changed sticks over the years...

What I was using for the last several years- Vic Firth 5B.

What I have been using lately- Pro-Mark 5A hickory.

What changed- Been doing a lot of pad work during the Covid crisis, and even before. Greater usage of finger techniques has crept into my playing, resulting in my hands preferring a smaller stick. Initially went straight to the Vic 5A, but that stick felt a little too light on the front when playing with my band. Tried the PM version on a lark, and found my hands preferring the slightly thinner shaft and thicker neck. These sticks have proven to be very durable; I’ve used them for several rehearsals and they are showing little wear. Not quite ready to sign an endorsement with PM for their 5As lol, but they are my favorites at the moment.
 
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Al Strange

Well-known member
I played nylon tip Vic Firth 2B’s for years, then switched to Vater 2B’s for 20 years or so. On a whim a couple of years ago I thought I’d try the Vic Firth STL Thomas Lang stick and I couldn’t believe how perfect they were for me...I wish I’d had them for the last 30 years! 👌 :)
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
A lot of trial and error to get to Vater Fusion hickory with rounded tip.

Like everything else (cymbals, heads, etc.) it's really important to experiment and try different things. Having an idea as to what you don't like and what doesn't work for you is just as powerful an insight as what does. Also, mixing things up creeps into your playing and has you approaching things differently and become a more versatile player. Even for drumsticks!

I've played sticks that were way too heavy or way too light for my preference but had me do things on the drums I wouldn't have done if I was using what I was more comfortable with.
Do you have the model number for the Vater with the round tip.? Thanks
 
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