How long do you get out of a pair of sticks?

ottog1979

Senior Member
I'm not talking about breaking them.

I practice almost daily for an hour or so and rehearse twice a week with bands for 3 hours each. I seem to get only 2-3 weeks out of a pair of sticks at best. Mostly hi-hat but also cymbal playing chips the shoulders down and at some point changes weighting of the sticks enough that they play completely different sticks than when they were new. A pair or two a month seems to be the cost of playing.

When I pull the new sticks out... Ahhh, that's the way I like them! They're so much better balanced than the sticks I've been playing with a week or more.

Just wondering the rate that others replace their sticks.
 

Galaxy

Senior Member
So far it seems to be roughly a month, but I don't quite average an hour a day and the band only practices once a week. I've only been back playing for 6 months or so and just figured out my favorite stick a month and a half ago

Vic Firth American Classic Metal
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I'll play them for years even with flat spots on the tips, but when the tips start to split away, then it's time for new sticks. The only sticks I seem to break are the Zildjian 5B sticks. I don't know why because every other stick takes well over 6 months to a year or more to wear out. My sticks wear out before they break. Most of them anyway.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Depends on the size of the stick, that stick's wood density & grain, and the gig.

On tour, a pair might last 2 nights, or I might break 2 pair in one night.

But in town, where I'm playing lighter and also using lighter sticks, they tend to wear to a point where they're unusable. That could mean the tip chips, or the shoulder wears away and the stick flexes, or I've chipped away at both ends of the stick and it's uncomfortable to hold. I may get several dozen gigs out of a pair when I'm in town.

Wood is organic and sticks end up with different strengths. One stick may last 10 times longer than another from the same batch. There's no way to know until it happens.

Bermuda
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I would try lowering the hi-hat some to lessen the angle of the stick-to-cymbal contact and make sure the lower cymbal is not sticking out from the top cymbal. This will save some shaving of your sticks.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I can't believe how fast you guys go through sticks. 1 pair of Vater 5B's nylon tips will last me for over 40 gigs. I play maybe 50 gigs a year now so 1 pair lasts almost a year. Longer in the studio. They are chewed up by then, most guys would have ditched them long before, but I'm cheap like that. But I do not slam the drums or do really hard rimshots. Or pummel my hi hat. I feel bad for you guys who have to buy sticks every 2 weeks. I have to say that the 11% moisture content Vater uses versus the 6% moisture content in VF's...the Vaters have noticeably longer life. Their wear comes in the form of splinters, not dust.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
A pair or two every month!? Where I live that's over $150/year in sticks. The way I look at it, one could get a nice used cymbal for that.
Shredding like that, I wonder, is your high hat sitting really high, and your sticks cutting into it at high angle, rather playing the top much?
 

Pylot

Senior Member
I have found the hickory sticks last a lot longer. I play about an hour a day and get about two weeks from a pair. The hickory sticks are lasting about three weeks.

I hate when i chip a tip as I assume they will readily cut or ding a head.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
It always varies for me. The one thing I cannot stand is when my tips split or chip off. I'll typically use a stick for as long as the tip stays in the right general shape. Sometimes when I'm done with it, a stick might have lasted months and be chipped on the sides, or it might look damn near new. Often I'll donate down the ones that are still playable for jam night or whatever. I might be OCD about the tips or something. I just feel that is where the stick really needs to be in shape to give me the best cymbal sound and consistent feel as I play.

I never really thought to pay attention to how often I went through a pair. I just try to always have one pair and another backup pair on me and I'm fine. I go through maybe a pair or two a month total I'd wager. I don't mind mixing orphan sticks as long as the tips are fine so that helps.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
I haven't broken a stick in al one time. But I've had them wear down over a long period of time. The last time I bought a brick of Vic Firth 5A's was a little over a year ago and I still have them all. They're all wearing down, but they're still playable.
 

Road Bull

Silver Member
I am having more consistent luck with my 2B Vaters vs. Vic Firth Metal. I play nylon tips so the tips hold out longer than the overall stick. The Vaters slowly peal away mid stick due to rim shots, but have been holding up better than the Vic Firths.

When I played VF, it was totally random. I would have some sticks that would not die, but get soft and lean making me not want to use them. Then, I would be at a show playing a brand new pair of sticks to watch one explode halfway through the first song. I have had brand new sticks not make it through the set. So far, I think that I have only killed one Vater 2B. It survived for the most part but lost about a quarter of the stick from tip to butt making it a loss. Other than that I feel pretty good about the longevity of my new brand of sticks. I have had sticks make it though some fairly stout abuse and they ask for more.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
As suggested above, I lowered my hihat and started playing on top of it instead of on the edge. I also changed the direction so that the top cymbal overlaps the bottom one, so that if I need to play on the edge it's not as sharp. I also try to swipe across crash cymbals, rather than digging into them.

Now a pair of VF 7AN's lasts 30 or 40 gigs, typically one year per pair.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
This has been discussed rather frequently, but I go through a set a week. Which with the sticks I play is probably $500 a year in sticks. I play the hats fairly high so that chews up the shoulder and I play pretty constant rim shots which eats up the stick right above my hands. Couple all of that with how hard I hit and often I play and after a week my sticks look like a Walrus chewed on them.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
Practising every day and 2 band jams a week I am buying sticks all the time.

I usually buy a fresh pair when I gig and keep those around for a while after but I'd say 3 weeks if your playing everyday is reasonable.

I have to admit I have a hard time with the high prices of everything these days, so most of my sticks the tips are beat down to nubs and there are shavings all over the place and I will keep using them. They still work but when I have a new pair the rebound feels better, the sound is cleaner and I am very happy.
 

drummer-russ

Gold Member
I get about a month out of my sticks. I use 7A hickory sticks. It is usually yhe tip wear that makes me use a new pair. When I was using 5As the tips were never the problem but the shoulder would get chipped over time.

I am still not happy with the sticks I am using. Weight, length, and grip are much more important to me than the life of the stick.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
I can get a couple of months out of a pair. I never break them...just wear them down. I'm playing with Regal tip 8a. I play on top of my hi hats and cymbals for the most part.
 
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Ghostnote

Guest
I'm a hard hitter, so I would say for an average 3 set gig I would go through a couple of pairs. I got some sticks from Straightsticks that were very durable though. Wherever they got that batch of hickory from, it was durable as hell. I could get a month of laying an hour or two a day out of a pair of those sticks. I got 50 pr and it took me 4 years to go through them all.
 
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