Stick Weights and Consistency

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
So just for curiosity I dug out a pair of unused sticks I was gifted a few years ago, Vater 5A Color Wrap. I compared them physically to a new pair of my beloved VF HD4s. The length is almost the same, the Vater is just slightly fatter (which I dont like), but the sticks themselves just didnt feel right regardless which hand I put them in. So I decided to weigh them.

Using my wife's food scale, my VFs came in at 97 grams total, 48 and 49 grams each.

The Vaters came in at 104 grams total, 48 and 56 grams each.

So I decided to weigh 2 pairs new of Vater Mike Wengren signature sticks. The first pair weighed 147 grams, 72 and 75 grams each. The second pair weighed 153 grams, 75 and 78 grams each. That's a spread of 6 grams between sticks, and 6 grams between pairs.

What I'm wondering is, is this big of a spread important? I can feel the difference in the 5As and dont like it. Can y'all tell the difference in your sticks, and would you be willing to weigh them after determining if you can tell with your hands to see if you really can or not? I put the 5As in a non drummers hands and they could not tell. That would mean it doesnt matter. Are drummers hands more sensitive to gram changes?

I would never play the Wengren sticks. They are huge.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Your Vater pair with one stick at 48 and another at 56 is egregiously inexcusable. That's abominable quality control in my opinion, though the sticks may have been mismatched at a warehouse or music store rather than at the factory.

AHEAD grants me freedom from inconsistency. They even list weight on the stick itself. My beloved AHEAD 5B Light Rock model always weighs precisely 58 grams. I've never found one to be off by a single gram. For a variety of reasons, I'll never return to wood sticks.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Your Vater pair with one stick at 48 and another at 56 is egregiously inexcusable. That's abominable quality control in my opinion, though the sticks may have been mismatched at a warehouse or music store rather than at the factory.

AHEAD grants me freedom from inconsistency. They even list weight on the stick itself. My beloved AHEAD 5B Light Rock model always weighs precisely 58 grams. I've never found one to be off by a single gram. For a variety of reasons, I'll never return to wood sticks.
I agree I can never know how, why, or where the sticks were paired. It is very noticeable though. I also agree that difference is too much.

I kinda figured AHEAD sticks would be perfect. Maybe the only real contributing factor would be the sheath getting lighter as it wears down.

I know wood sticks will never be perfect, but they can be close enough.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I agree I can never know how, why, or where the sticks were paired. It is very noticeable though. I also agree that difference is too much.

I kinda figured AHEAD sticks would be perfect. Maybe the only real contributing factor would be the sheath getting lighter as it wears down.

I know wood sticks will never be perfect, but they can be close enough.
Yeah, owing to the moisture content of wood, which will vary for obvious reasons, I'd expect the same model of stick (say, a 5B) to display unavoidable weight variations. Pairing is where quality control comes in. A stick that weighs 48 grams should never be packaged with one that weighs 56 grams, though, as we've discussed, tampering can occur at any stage of distribution.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I believe in most cases the sticks are paired together based on their "tone" rather than weight or anything like that. Different grain and density can change the weights pretty drastically while still having the same "sound".
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
The Mike Wengren stick could have been my go to when I was playing in a loud rock band, but I just can't get along with painted sticks. Otherwise I thought it worked really well. Similarly I thought the Abe Laboriel Jr. stick was really interesting but again, the paint is a turn off.

I've never put my sticks on a scale but I've never noticed enough of a weight difference in a pair to make me wonder about them either. Weight is probably the trickiest aspect for a stick maker to control, since the dowel's moisture content (and therefore weight) is controlled by whoever supplies the dowels, which might not be the stick maker. That said, I would expect two sticks in a pair to be pretty close in weight (closer than 8 grams ideally) no matter what. They can certainly control which two sticks get paired up.

It would be interesting to know what each stick maker's range/tolerance is on things like that.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I'm seriously thinking about trying Ahead sticks again....
I've considered this as well. Just don't think I wanna right now.

I believe in most cases the sticks are paired together based on their "tone" rather than weight or anything like that. Different grain and density can change the weights pretty drastically while still having the same "sound".
Funny, one of the Wengren sticks has a clear tip, the other 3 have white. The clear sounds vastly different.

It would be interesting to know what each stick maker's range/tolerance is on things like that.
I'm curious also. I hope more people weigh their sticks and post it here. It would be interesting to see the variances in the sticks.

I'm not hating on Vater here either. The 2 pairs of Wengren sticks were only 3 grams off in the pair for both pairs, making the difference 6. I feel that's pretty good across two pair.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I'm seriously thinking about trying Ahead sticks again....
I've considered this as well. Just don't think I wanna right now.
I'm solidly on the "counter point" side on this topic.

There's something about Ahead sticks I just cannot warm up to. I had a pair back in the day and I never really warmed up to them. I always read how shock-resistant and consistent they were but in the way they reduced shock, they just made the feel...weird. And consistent isn't a virtue if they're consistently uncomfortable.

I bought a new pair a couple years back, looking for something that would help give me a little more "oomph" and be a little more long-wearing. I only used them a couple times before being reminded why I stopped using them back in the 90s. I pulled them out just a couple days ago after they were mentioned in another thread ("Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice!") and once again...still a big "nope" for me. They feel dead or dull, like you're instinctively expecting...I wouldn't call it "shock" as much as just "feedback." It kinda reminds me of that "playing on a pillow" feeling, and it's weird when you're playing drums. The balance is also unexpected, I think due to the construction and it shifts the balance point from where you'd find it on a wooden stick.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I'm solidly on the "counter point" side on this topic.

There's something about Ahead sticks I just cannot warm up to. I had a pair back in the day and I never really warmed up to them. I always read how shock-resistant and consistent they were but in the way they reduced shock, they just made the feel...weird. And consistent isn't a virtue if they're consistently uncomfortable.

I bought a new pair a couple years back, looking for something that would help give me a little more "oomph" and be a little more long-wearing. I only used them a couple times before being reminded why I stopped using them back in the 90s. I pulled them out just a couple days ago after they were mentioned in another thread ("Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice!") and once again...still a big "nope" for me. They feel dead or dull, like you're instinctively expecting...I wouldn't call it "shock" as much as just "feedback." It kinda reminds me of that "playing on a pillow" feeling, and it's weird when you're playing drums. The balance is also unexpected, I think due to the construction and it shifts the balance point from where you'd find it on a wooden stick.
I used them for 3-4 years in the 90s. Wasnt 100% happy with them, but they were cost effective considering the amount of wood sticks I was going through at the time.

My technique is more refined now, so I'm willing to try again. I'm way more bounce and fulcrum than I used to be. Perhaps I would like them better now, I have no idea. But what I do know is I love the VF HD4s and am not ready to bail on them yet.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I don't think I've ever encountered a neutral review of AHEAD. They're either revered or despised. They seem to be the most polarizing sticks on the market.

AHEAD claims to produce five to ten percent more rebound than its wood competitors. In my experience, that's true on drumheads. Cymbals are a different story. I doubt I'd use AHEAD if I were a jazz drummer who blazed his ride cymbal on a regular basis, but that's not my style, and AHEAD accommodates my needs just fine.

Their impact and vibration absorption is superb, but it does change the feel of the stick. You like it or you don't. It makes the deal or breaks the deal.
 

gish

Senior Member
My technique is more refined now, so I'm willing to try again. I'm way more bounce and fulcrum than I used to be. Perhaps I would like them better now, I have no idea. But what I do know is I love the VF HD4s and am not ready to bail on them yet.
Why bail at all if they’re working for you? I could be wrong but I don’t think any manufacturer offers a comparable stick.
 

Noisy

Well-known member
My worst pair of sticks:
Promark forward 5B
Stick #1 is 61 grams
Stick #2 is 54 grams
115 grams, both sticks weighed together. Weighed using a kitchen scale.

The heavier stick is slightly reddish at the handle and has a darker reddish coloring closer to the tip. The lighter stick has very little reddish cast.

The weight and action are not similar. The heavier reddish one has an obvious forward balance weight and the lighter one has only a slight forward feeling.

Purchased from Musician’s friends (not a retail outlet) this year so the error would likely be either manufacturer or warehouse mixup. Since they are sold in a cardboard sleeve, a large box of many pairs could be mixed together.

I should add that the lighter stick has a small cosmetic hole on the side of the drum tip. “Cosmetic” as it hasn’t cracked on me.


Other promark pairs which are different models than the worst pair. Two pair with zero difference, one pair with 1 gram difference.

All sticks weighed have been used. Not weighed when new.
 
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MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Why bail at all if they’re working for you? I could be wrong but I don’t think any manufacturer offers a comparable stick.
Just curiosity really, I doubt I'll ditch the HD4s. The only other stick I have found that is similar is the VF Steve Jordan. It's way too long though, so I cut part of the butt off.

Dang it. Now I gotta go weigh some drum sticks.
Do it!

My worst pair of sticks:
Promark forward 5B
Stick #1 is 61 grams
Stick #2 is 54 grams
115 grams, both sticks weighed together. Weighed using a kitchen scale.
That's horrible, but like you said they could have been matched anywhere. Thanks for weighing them.
 

Mcdonap

Member
I'm seriously thinking about trying Ahead sticks again....
I've been on a mission lately to find a stick that really works for me, and so I did try a pair of Ahead 5A's. I had never tried them before, and based on some of the things I'd read I figured they were worth a shot.
The first thing I noticed was that they do reduce shock a great deal, the weight and diameter felt nice too. What I didn't like was how "dead" they feel. (Probably due to the shock absorption.) I figured I would just commit to using them for a while and see how it works out. I did end up putting them away because there is a piece of plastic that felt very uncomfortable right where I held them. It was especially noticeable on my left hand - traditional grip. I didn't hate them, but for now they're back in their carton.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I've been on a mission lately to find a stick that really works for me, and so I did try a pair of Ahead 5A's. I had never tried them before, and based on some of the things I'd read I figured they were worth a shot.
The first thing I noticed was that they do reduce shock a great deal, the weight and diameter felt nice too. What I didn't like was how "dead" they feel. (Probably due to the shock absorption.) I figured I would just commit to using them for a while and see how it works out. I did end up putting them away because there is a piece of plastic that felt very uncomfortable right where I held them. It was especially noticeable on my left hand - traditional grip. I didn't hate them, but for now they're back in their carton.
That plastic sphere on AHEAD sticks is the blend ring, which covers the point at which the shaft of the stick meets the handle. I can see how it might be an irritant if you use traditional grip. I play matched grip, so it isn't an issue for me, but I apply white grip tape to my AHEAD sticks and cover the blend ring with it. You might try that approach. You won't even know the blend ring is present.
 

Mcdonap

Member
That plastic sphere on AHEAD sticks is the blend ring, which covers the point at which the shaft of the stick meets the handle. I can see how it might be an irritant if you use traditional grip. I play matched grip, so it isn't an issue for me, but I apply white grip tape to my AHEAD sticks and cover the blend ring with it. You might try that approach. You won't even know the blend ring is present.
Thanks C.M. - I'll give that a try!
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Before you go further,what is the precision of your wife's food scale? If you re-weigh a 49 gram stick, do you get 49 grams?
 
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