Stick Companies.......The Big 4 (3) and..................

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
Anyone remembers "Bunken" drumsticks? I had some back in high school days.

My favorite sticks are made by DrumArt in Italy, very hard to find the states, Steve Maxwell in Chicago got some bundles in before the world shut down.
 
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JimmyM

Platinum Member
Joe Calato is 100. He is not dead. And his “kids” have been running the company for 30+ years. This is a complex story that is best not to comment on if you have no real knowledge.
I like you but in the future, just know that telling me what I can and can’t comment on does not go down very well with me. I didn’t know he was still around, btw. Glad to hear he’s made it to triple figures.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Anyone remembers "Bunken" drumsticks? I had some back in high school days.

I used those in high school. They were the hip stick in the early 80s-- my brother mentioned that there were tons of broken Bunkens in the practice rooms at North Texas State...

Re: Regal Tip-- despite all the ominous signs, they're apparently getting ready to go back into production.
 

timmdrum

Silver Member
Promark still has me peeved that they discontinued my two favorite sticks- four different models (707 and 808, both in nylon tip, hickory and oak versions). I've been playing them for nearly 30 years. I can find close models in hickory at a couple of different brands, but no oak. :confused:
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
Promark still has me peeved that they discontinued my two favorite sticks- four different models (707 and 808, both in nylon tip, hickory and oak versions). I've been playing them for nearly 30 years. I can find close models in hickory at a couple of different brands, but no oak. :confused:

yeah I miss my 808 oaks for sure
 

classikdrummr

Active Member
Greetings,

Sadly, it looks like Regal Tip (with no formal announcement that I can see) is now a relic of the past (they've been quiet for WAAAY to long. You think after all the speculation, if they planned to continue, they would have gotten the word to the street by now). That leaves four major stick companies: Vic Firth, Vater, Pro Mark and Zildjian. I say three in the title, because Vic owns Zildjian.

I know Zildjian has discontinued quite a few sticks over the last year, including signature models, and they have lost at least one signature endorser recently (Ronnie Vannucci, who is now with Istanbul cymbals). I guess you have to play Zildjian cymbals to be an endorser of Zildjian sticks? Zildjian dropped him.

Since Vic owns Zildjian, I'm kind of surprised that they haven't just merged the existing models into the Vic line up. It doesn't make much sense (to me) to keep them in name only (Vic is making them all; on their machines). I would say, generally speaking, that of the four major companies, Zildjian probably comes in last as far as popularity and/or preferred stick company. Again, I'm surprised that haven't just merged into Vic at this point. If/when that happens, I will miss the cool shiny, reflective ink stamps on the Zildjian signature models............even if they wear away after about an hour!

So after the "Big 4 (3)", which smaller boutique companies have gained/are gaining some national recognition? I can think of La Backbeat and Bopworks. I know there are more out there, but I'm zeroing in on the most popular of those companies. Sort of "The Next 2 or 3"...........

I welcome your thoughts!

V
I have tried Sound Percussion, which im not sure but may be a Guitar Center Brand. They are ok. They don't feel as evenly matched weight wise as VF sticks to me, but just as good as pro mark and cheaper.
 

drumnut87

Silver Member
scorpion percussion drumsticks
prostick usa drumsticks
dope stickz
balbex drumsticks
pellwood drumsticks
collision drumsticks
agner drumsticks
solobeat drumsticks
truaxis drumsticks
diamondback drumsticks
heartbeat drumsticks
valcic drumsticks
bopworks drumsticks
lion drumsticks


jsut some of the drumstick companies i follow on various social media, depending where you are in the world depends on what brands ship where :)
 

jaymandude

Active Member
For me, one of the great things about Regal Tip was how light they are up top, with their thinner necks. I occasionally broke one, not often, but I’m not a hard hitter and so many modern sticks are really forward weighted for the big Slipknot or gospel slam.

I’ve already taken to spray shellacking my sticks but haven’t settled on a Firth model just yet. I like the AJ series but no nylon tips. And I don’t like Vaters that much. Too dense I think.

Anyway ….
 

Bonzo_CR

Silver Member
It seems I need to retract my last statement, as I'm slightly confused about Pro Mark's "Classic", "Forward" and "Rebound" designations...

In the past, they had all three balance types of a drum stick (like the normal Hickory 5B and its Firegrain variant). Then last year or so, I could only find "Classic" and "Rebound" models anymore, but no more "Forward" Balance ones.

But looking at Pro Mark's website, it looks like the "Classic" models are actually the "Forward Balance" models...

Is here anyone who has more experience and insight into Pro Mark's product line up who might care to shed some more light on this?

Just getting into this thread.

Wow, they changed it again? the ProMark lineup has been a bit confusing in recent years. Taking the 5A wood tip as an example:
At one time they had a 5A only - model TX5AW.
Then on their website they had a rebound 5A and a forward balance 5A. The rebound 5A was a longer taper and a different stick to the 'standard' 5A.
Around the same time they also had a model called the 'classic' 5A, on the website - the TX5AW.
Then they had only the Rebound and Forward.

Confused? I was. Until I tried a few pairs and established that the '5A Forward' is the same stick as the previous 'classic' 5A. Today a quick Google even finds this same stick now described as the 'Classic Forward'. Stop it ProMark! Stop it now!

So, the model names didn't change, but they changed their 'marketing' description and the text printed on the stick multiple times over a period of maybe 2 years. How they expect people to find the right stick (and/or keep buying it) among that mess I don't know. Sounds like whoever is running the stick marketing is not a drummer.

It also reminds me of Zildjian, who a few years ago changed a perfectly good stick (their 5A, which I had played for about 25 years) to a lighter but less tapered model. It felt completely different. 'Improved'? Not from where I'm standing. It also feels less like a 5A than it did before. Maybe it's cheaper to make as the wood is clearly less dense. (maybe that's why they changed it).

[Rant over]
 

BenOBrienSmith

Senior Member
Confused? I was. Until I tried a few pairs and established that the '5A Forward' is the same stick as the previous 'classic' 5A. Today a quick Google even finds this same stick now described as the 'Classic Forward'. Stop it ProMark! Stop it now!

So, the model names didn't change, but they changed their 'marketing' description and the text printed on the stick multiple times over a period of maybe 2 years. How they expect people to find the right stick (and/or keep buying it) among that mess I don't know. Sounds like whoever is running the stick marketing is not a drummer.
Sadly, they've seen so much employee turnover (and let almost the entire percussion team go a while back) that so much of the institutional knowledge and planning that existed for the line logic has been lost. When I was there and we conceived of the Select Balance concept, it was going to to be the most impactful and easy-to-understand reorganization of their catalog. Unfortunately, that plan seems to have been abandoned with subjective opinion dominating objective logic. I say this as someone who runs a brand that has a product support deal with ProMark (Sounds Like a Drum receives a limited allotment of ProMark product annually).
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
VicFirth sticks are seemingly getting more difficult to find. My LDS doesn't seem to carry much beyond the standard 7A, 5B, etc., and don't even try and find a pair of timbale sticks these days!

sadly, I think the Vic Firth/Zildjian merger is a negative or both companies...I saw that coming down the road a few years ago and thought it would be a great idea, but I think it has "clouded" the ideas of 2 great companies. I think Avedis, Armand, and Vic are in heaven facepalming....
 

Yoshinya

Senior Member
Sadly, they've seen so much employee turnover (and let almost the entire percussion team go a while back) that so much of the institutional knowledge and planning that existed for the line logic has been lost. When I was there and we conceived of the Select Balance concept, it was going to to be the most impactful and easy-to-understand reorganization of their catalog. Unfortunately, that plan seems to have been abandoned with subjective opinion dominating objective logic. I say this as someone who runs a brand that has a product support deal with ProMark (Sounds Like a Drum receives a limited allotment of ProMark product annually).
That's really upsetting. I've noticed that the Evans brand has gotten more confusing recently as well. Changes made to some products with no communication to the consumers (us). Apparently now some of the specialty snare batter heads are using the UV coating instead of the "regular" coating.
I'm not necessarily upset by this, as I think the UV coating is superior, but one of my buddies freaked out after getting a 14" HD Dry batter and sent me a picture asking, "is this normal?" What he was referring to was how the perimeter of the head wasn't coated, as is standard for the UV1 and UV2 heads. I'd never seen that before he asked me. Hmm.
 

BenOBrienSmith

Senior Member
That's really upsetting. I've noticed that the Evans brand has gotten more confusing recently as well. Changes made to some products with no communication to the consumers (us). Apparently now some of the specialty snare batter heads are using the UV coating instead of the "regular" coating.
I'm not necessarily upset by this, as I think the UV coating is superior, but one of my buddies freaked out after getting a 14" HD Dry batter and sent me a picture asking, "is this normal?" What he was referring to was how the perimeter of the head wasn't coated, as is standard for the UV1 and UV2 heads. I'd never seen that before he asked me. Hmm.
Wow! I hadn't heard about that change yet. We had discussed that for the future back when developing the coating but it was a hotly debated topic that we knew would be dependent on some solid marketing messaging for a successful. execution.

Drumheads aside, those stick prices... 💀
 

JDFaulky

Active Member
I used to be a big ProMark stick fan but the price increases are getting ridiculous. A pair of sticks that used to cost $10-$11 are now $15. Vic Firth and Vater haven't jacked up their prices as far as I can tell. Now I ditched ProMark for Vic Firth.
 

Bozozoid

Gold Member
I'm an all sticks lover...never been brand loyal. I see a stick I like and that's the one that week. Not that I don't care about weight balance feel and sound but there are plenty of fish in the sea. I like new brands now and then.
 

BenOBrienSmith

Senior Member
I used to be a big ProMark stick fan but the price increases are getting ridiculous. A pair of sticks that used to cost $10-$11 are now $15. Vic Firth and Vater haven't jacked up their prices as far as I can tell. Now I ditched ProMark for Vic Firth.
Out of curiosity, what will you do when Vic Firth and Vater raise their prices?
 
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