Pro-Mark......Your Thoughts?

vyacheslav

Senior Member
Greetings,

I wanted to see what your take was on Pro-Mark sticks. I feel since the D'Addario takeover, they have gone downhill. Not necessarily in terms of quality (they have), but with selection......and their marketing is way to gimmicky for my tastes. Their website is also bad, in terms of specs of sticks.

For starters, I use to love their maple Jazz Cafe series of sticks. They were great, and from what I understand pretty popular (certainly among jazz players). That line has completely been discontinued. The only make 7A, 5A, 55A and 5B maple sticks now, either in regular or long, and they all have round tips! I am not a round tip fan. Why not put different tips on different models? Also, all of the maple models are only available in "Rebound" balance. Not a lot of variety/choices there. Also, their Stinger 5A was also one of my favorite sticks. That has been discontinued as well. They do offer a 5A Stinger in Oak, but oak is not hickory, and the tip shape and taper is much different. Thankfully, the Zildjian John Riley is almost identical to the 5A Stinger.

Speaking of, the whole "Rebound vs. Forward" balance is a nice choice to have, but Pro Mark goes all in on it, and the make it the focal point, where as it should be about the stick in general. They have all these (hickory) models in both forward and rebound balance. Maybe just a few would be good (the basics), but they have all of these models just making things confusing and muddying the waters.

On their website, they show all of their sticks, even the signature models as "Length: 16-16.5" (which is it???) and "Diameter: 5A". That doesn't really tell you anything. A Vater 5A is a slightly different diameter from a Regal Tip 5A as to a Vic Firth 5A etc. If you click on "Learn More". it shows the exact specs of length and diameter, but still, why hide that necessary information? Almost all drummers I know are very particular about their stick models, and we all pay attention to those specs. Maybe it's just me, but it feels like Pro Mark is "dumbing it down" and they think we can't understand/aren't interested in that "technical mumbo jumbo".

Finally, I don't like their cutesy marketing. Firegrain? Really? Burning the stick makes it more durable? It does give it a unique look, but seriously.................don't make up an entire, corporate, focus group written backstory on them. Just tell us what it is and why you are offering them. Are they really worth the premium price?

I was never a big Pro Mark guy back in the day, but always enjoyed their sticks and their quality control was the best of anyone. Now I just roll my eyes at them. Does anyone else feel that Pro Mark has slipped or changed for the worse since D'Addario took over?

V
 
A few quick points here. I agree with you regarding their website; not the easiest to navigate. However, I have used their sticks pretty heavily since the mid-90's, and I can say that the quality since the Brochstein Family sold the business 10 years ago has only gotten consistently better. I have found them from a customer support standpoint, to be very responsive. So much so that, when they were redesigning their stick line in 2012 I sent some of my older drumsticks of various brands to Rick Drumm, then still at Pro Mark, for evaluation. This is when they came up with the concept of Select Balance sticks. They were very accepting of my opinions and they really try to offer many different sticks suitable for many different players. With that said, a lot of sticks have indeed disappeared from their lineup, for example, the Stinger model, snd Joe Morello models among them, which I have used in Hickory in the past. But bear in mind, they can't continue to make sticks that do not sell. Since Rick and his team went exclusively to centerless grinding, the sticks have become more consistent in my opinion.

As far as the gimmicky marketing, I don't see Pro Mark any different then most of the post Modern Drummer Magazine era marketeers who battle for our attention. If you want to nitpick over such things like Firegrain, and other so-called Innovations you're free to do so just as you were free to choose from other brands. As I said the other day on another posting, my father's generation of musicians didn't have nearly this kind of selection when it came to cymbals, and I know for a fact it was the same way with drumstick selection in the 1950s and 60s. You can trace the huge increase in selection, for better or for worse, to the big marketing push of the Modern Drummer Magazine age starting back in the late 1970s.

We've all use dsticks of various Brands and sizes, and I'm sure you have. You say you're not necessarily a great fan of Pro Mark, so I guess my question is why do you care? On one hand you're disappointed they discontinued your favorite Maple sticks, (understandable), on the other hand, you are complaining about there quality and marketing. When they were still making your favorite stick size, were you not concerned about their lack of quality and consistency? Please don't take this the wrong way I'm not here to beat up on you but my point is we've all had our favorite sticks at one point or another go away, not to mention, various other products we use in our everyday lives. My point is we have plenty of options with plenty of manufacturers to choose from. All the best with your search for the perfect drumstick and let us all know how you make out in terms of finding a maple replacement stick for your work. Cheers.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I started on Pro Mark sticks, and played them for a long time. Over the years I've tried pretty much everyone else's sticks too and I eventually fell out of love with how Pro Mark sticks feel.

I also agree that their website is a horrid mess to navigate if you're looking by specs.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
The only two pair I have ever used were given to me when I bought some cymbals. Neither pair lasted. They felt really light for 5B, and broke in short time. I have not used them since. This was in 2008 so maybe things have changed but I won't spend the money to find out. Regal Tip, Vader, and Vic Firth have done me well.
 
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gish

Senior Member
I was a devout Pro Mark 5B player about 15 years ago. I’ve been playing primarily Vic Firth 5Bs since; found I preferred the longer taper and less forward throw. I’ve played the rebound balance 5Bs; to me they play like the Vic 5B, but cost more and aren’t always in stock, so why bother. Not a big website guy, but agree PM’s is a poor design.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I noticed I have a few Pro Mark sticks in my house. I've played them on and off for the last 45 years (I'm 53 now). I've never noticed a drop in quality. And in selection, well, at my age when I started there was only the basics: 7a, 5a, 2B, 5b, 3S..... so I'm committed to 5a's, and in reality, anybody's 5a's. Sticks are like guitar strings, I suppose. I play them, then they get changed out, and I continue to play. I'm not so bothered by the stick itself. But I've never been to ProMark's website.

I'm still mad at Sabian for changing their logo to exclude about 60% of it's marketshare, though ;)
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
The Firegrain thing isn't really a gimmick. Using fire to harden wood is actually a real thing. It's mostly used for hardening arrows and spear heads though, and I'm not sure how well it works for drumsticks.

This is just a guess, but I suspect it makes the drumsticks stiffer, making hickory feel more like oak, which isn't a good thing IMO.

I just took a look at the Promark website. I hate it. The layout is confusing and it doesn't give the proper info up front.
 

rebonn

Senior Member
Haven't tried any Promarks lately but I quit using them after I noticed Regal sticks don't vibrate in your hands nearly as much.
 

notvinnie

Senior Member
I played the 808 model back in the 80s, probably because I noticed that Simon Phillips and Terry Bozzio were playing them. I liked them back then. They had a different finish than what they have now. Since then I've tried all of the brands. I now prefer Vater, and also like Regal Tip. Every three or four years I compare different brands and models to see if I might prefer something else.
 
Never liked em. All the sticks i´ve tried always felt too top heavy and weighted towards the shoulder. Always lasted when I've given the chance but I always flip back to Vater or Los Cabos (which are unreal sticks btw!)
 
Never liked em. All the sticks i´ve tried always felt too top heavy and weighted towards the shoulder. Always lasted when I've given the chance but I always flip back to Vater or Los Cabos (which are unreal sticks btw!)
Agreed. I remember in the 90's that PM sticks were heavily weighted toward the shoulder and neck. But then so were many of the designs starting in the late 80's. That's why the Select Balance was a welcomed change for me.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I got a bad batch of Pro Marks for our church. None of us are heavy hitters, but we broke and cracked a bunch of them (maybe 6-8 pairs?) within about a 4-5 month period. Granted, they get played a lot (3 morning services each week, 1-2 Wednesday night practices, the occasional Wednesday night services, plus lessons they teach there, and some drummers go to the church just to practice on their own). Pro Mark made it right and sent more stick right away.

Back around 2005, I had a problem with nylon tips flying off of sticks. The procedure was for me to mail the sticks back, they would put on new tips and include a free pair of sticks to cover shipping. I never took them up on their offer.

They have great customer service, but I get better use out of Vic Firth, so I'll stick with them for the time being.
 

Fuhgeddaboudit1. 1

Active member
I just talked about this subject on another posting. I don’t have a favorite company. Right now I’m using Vic Firth 5A and 5A extreme . I haven’t use any VF in awhile. I have a tendency to lean towards Vater a bit. Bot I’ve just return to drumming after an 8+ year Hiatus. So I’m still searching for that right stick. At least size wise I’ve settled on a 5A.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
I used Vic Firth 5A for years, then with Vic Grip for years, then tried the Pro-Mark “Active Grip” 5A Rebound and haven’t looked back.

Excellent consistency. No warped sticks, ever, which is nice. The Active Grip is perfect for my loose grip.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Looking for an alterntive to the Colaiuta sticks I tried some of their new ones as that's what's Vinnie's been using a lot lately. As someone else said, I feel they'r overdoing the balance thing a bit. Didn't like the rubber ones and not too enthusiastic abou the laquer either.

In all honesty I just wish my favourite stick was still available. Zildjian did it right the first time. Thought the Pro Marks could maybe be a substitute, but so far they're not.

I do have some of their other utensilsthat I enjoy.
 

Bonzo_CR

Silver Member
I like the current ProMark 5A, it is a little lighter than other 5A's and I prefer that.

The Active Grip is also very effective.
 

TheJarvis

Junior Member
I was using VATER for about 10 years and before that I was a Vic Firth guy but my first real pair of sticks that weren't LA Specials (I was really young) was some PRO MARKS and I even used the short Phil Collins model. One day my hands just wasn't liking the Vater stick and I was having issues finding a suitable model, I needed something thicker but that would mean more weight and playing trad grip I wanted a lighter model.

I tried some more VF's and Vater etc but nothing was fitting then I grabbed some Todd Sucherman sticks and it was like love at first sight. Eventually I became an artist with PRO MARK and haven't looked back since, I find their quality control amazing and in 5 years never had an issue.
 
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