How many sticks on a gig?


Active Member
Recently I've bought a variety of stick types. My favourites are 7a balanced LDC customs, Promark 7a forward 16", Promark 7a rebound 15.5" and AJ5s. During the course of a gig with my covers band I'm finding that rather than use one pair I'm selecting the stick that suits my style/song. So a lot of swapping.
Question is, how many of you use one type of stick the whole gig or change according to the song.
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I take 2 pairs 7A, my preferred. Also have a heavier and a lighter pair, (plus brushes and mallets.) That has worked fine every time so far
I have a very full stick bag, with 4-5 pairs of my most commonly used stick, Vic Firth Freestyle 55As; a couple pairs of Freestyle 85As for softer playing; 2-3 pairs of SD1 Generals for heavier playing; a couple of pairs of Peter Erskine Ride sticks; brushes, rods, blasticks, and mallets. I almost never remove any of these pairs unless I'm replacing a pair of sticks that are too worn to gig with any longer.
I have 3 types of sticks I switch between on certain gigs (AJ1 for general use, 7A for quieter drumming, AJ6 for more articulate drumming). I certainly hope Vic Firth starts making the AJ series again. I fear my sticks might break someday…
...on that score I had the London Drumstick Company make me some AJ5 copies as I couldn't get hold of any. Turned out better than the real thing and I posted a thread about them last week.
I usually have my main pair at the ready and three spare pairs in stick holders around the kit. I also like having at least one more spare pair for "just in case". I use the same sticks for everything, and have a pair of brushes for the one tune in the set that calls for brushes.

My usual stick is a Vic Firth X5B Doubleglaze, but I'm down to my last three pairs and getting more has become really difficult so I'm about to start another "stick hunt" very soon. Hopefully I'll pick something that won't disappear as fast as my last two choices...
i use one model of stick for everything, VH model by balbex drumsticks. does everything i need it to and feels great! :)
My stick bag is loaded at all times. I use Promark 5B Nylon Rebounds, but I also tried out another brand last year, when I had trouble getting the Promark 5Bs. I always have a few pairs of Blasticks, brushes, mallets, felts, sleeves, wing nuts, drum keys, Moon Gel type gummies, two old hex keys, a pen, pliers, and stick wrap in the bag pocket too.
My go-to sticks of late - the last few years - are Vater 9As. For gigs needing a little more oomph, I play Vater Keg 5Bs. Essentially a beefier 9A with a full barrel tip.

For most rock, pop, top-40 gigs I take a Vater Marching Double Quiver with 2 pairs of sticks and a pair of Vater Whips. The quiver attaches to the snare front and center. For gigs requiring more texture I take a bag loaded with sticks, brushes, wands, rods, mallets, etc. I see point in lugging all of that to gigs that don't call for it.
Here's what in my stick bag (all wood tip):
Vic Firth AJ2 (two pairs, my main stick.. use 99.9% of the time)
Vic Firth 5A (one pair - in case I need to be louder)
Pro Mark 5B (one pair - in case I need to be even more-louder)
Vic Firth combo hard felt mallets / wood tip stick on other end (use 'em once every gig for one particular song)
Vic Firth Brushes (Steve Gadd model)
Hot Rods - medium
Pro Mark corn broom brush thinngys
In the side pouches:
Zildjian drummer survival kit
Moon gels
spare drum key... or 5
band aids
A lightning port to mini stereo plug to stereo RCA plugs ... playing tunes during breaks
A small bottle of Excedrin Migraine formula (not for migraines but works well for everything)
I used to carry a cheap Letherman tool clone but now have a small tool bag tucked into my drum hardware case.
VF 5b standard. I can find them at any shop, they work for all music and they aren't too light so I'm doing too much work.

I bring one pair and usually a backup pair. Prefer new set for a show, but new-ish is also fine.
One pair 8d*
One pair SD4 combo*

I choose which based on the room and sometimes the song.

Two pair brushes - one retractable one not

One mallet pair

*I abandoned the AJ line because they have been too hard to find. I want sticks that are readily available.
I've used different sticks to suit different bands but have never needed to change stick sizes during rehearsals or gigs (apart from using brushes and rods). That said, I can see how some drummers would need to do so. I would also do it if the musical situation required it.
I usually have 2 pair of big sticks aj3, mcj3, 8d. 1 pr. of smaller mj5 and some wood rute multi rods as well as a pr of felt mallets
A few different ones as my current gig is a John Prine Tribute.

Regal Tip 5AX (Main)
Regal Tip 8A Maple (Softer sound on cross-stick and cymbals)
Regal Tip Ultraflex and Wire Brushes
Flix Orange

Different sounds and textures to try and match to the songs.