Sticking with sticks or switching sticks

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Yes, I use Vic Firth 5As and then 5Bs for my AC/DC band, but I like the heaviest 5As and 5Bs I can find. I actually like the 5B barrel tip, because they seem heavier than the regular 5Bs...although they are a tiny bit shorter because of the truncated tip...which doesn’t bother me. But I had got a bonus pair of 5A barrel tips with some regular 5As I bought...and these actually felt too short when I was doing a paradiddle exercise at the drum set—like they weren’t getting to the center of the snare drum or something. Likewise, I tried the VF Extreme 5As, which are longer, and that was weird because the whole drumset now seemed to closer to me. I didn’t like that at all. So I guess I am “stick sensitive”. :LOL:
Weird. I went through a phase where I was playing primarily really heavy rock and I would get the "extreme" series ones because I thought the extra weight balanced at the end of the stick was helping me hit "harder" with less effort on my part. Usually I'm not at all worried about that, but trust me when I say "heavy" music. Anyway, even that I fell away from. I could tell after some time that at the end of the day, I was still doing more work and stressing my hands trying to hit that hard, even if the extremes averaged out a little louder. So I fell out of that phase and right back into the usual 5b. I'm better off either throwing microphones on or just hoping they adjust to my levels and turn down a bit versus the very slight difference of the longer sticks.
 

Noisy

Well-known member
AHEAD Rockstix Light are my rods of choice. I use them in some of the country I play. I like them more than wooden rods. Like all AHEAD products, they're very well made.
Thanks for the reply.

How would you rate the vibration and body wear and tear levels? Are the rockstix better than the ahead drumsticks?
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Thanks for the reply.

How would you rate the vibration and body wear and tear levels? Are the rockstix better than the ahead drumsticks?
Rockstix have the same vibration-reduction system as AHEAD drumsticks, making them nice and easy on the hands and forearms. While they're great for low-volume scenarios, I wouldn't treat them as a substitute for regular sticks. They're really a completely different tool in my opinion, as the sound they produce is unique. Also, Rockstix won't yield quite as much rebound as regular sticks, so you might have to work a little harder if you're attempting double-stroke rolls or complex rudimental patterns. I suggest getting a pair and giving them a try. I'm sure you'll put them to use in some aspect of your drumming.
 
One aspect of signature sticks many players overlook is that they're tailored to the hands and technique of specific players. What works well for Danny Carey isn't ideal for a lot of other drummers, but people gravitate toward products promoted by accomplished names, sometimes hoping, perhaps subconsciously, to harness a hint of the endorser's magic. It's always wise to ignore a stick's label and focus instead on the comfort and efficiency you attain while using it.
I've only had a few signature sticks (Jojo Mayer, Steve Gadd, Elvin Jones, Joe Morello) but it was interesting to try out some stick features I might not have done otherwise. The Morello stick is one of my favorites: It's close to a 5B and has a teardrop tip with a long taper, a combination I probably wouldn't have discovered on my own.
 
Last edited:

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
LOL I find I like every signature stick I’ve tried-however I just play yhem to death and never buy again- the tips just failed on my Buddy Rich and my Steve Gadd aren’t far behind. Both are completely different shaft and tip. The only sticks I’ve bought and not digging are the fire hardened sticks by Promark. But now I’m down to them I’ll give them a better go. My sticks generally last forever (got some decades old stuck in my drum bags) but seems like In more recent years the tips fail on my sticks at a faster rate. I wonder are lots of woods used not as dense so more fragile from environmental impacts and forestry practice- look at pine when I was a lad it took a man to grab a yellow pine 2x4x8 by end and pick it up- now it’s no feat at all ( light as a feather).
 

jazzin'

Silver Member
Just give up and get some brushes

My stick is the Colaiuta stick. I have a lot of tools in my stickbag, though. Sometimes the Vinnie's are just wrong, especially for very soft acoustic playing and maybe styles that have to be played unnaturally soft because of the venue. For that I have the Erskine Ride and Bigband sticks. I also have The John Riley stick, both the standard and the mallet combo.
The Erskine big band stick is my go to stick these days. Love it. I switch between a few different pairs (erskine ride stick, AJ2 and 3s, some others on occasion) but find myself using his big band stick for everything now. From laying down hard hitting heavy rock and pop grooves (I usually switch to playing the butt end regardless of stick for rock stuff) to very light small combo stuff to big band shows that encompass everything...just a beautifully weighted stick with a really nice cymbal sound.
 

gish

Senior Member
I think I’m starting to come to grips with the reality that there is no one stick for me. Lately I’ve just kept a variety in my bag and use whatever floats my boat that day. I’ve done a lot of pad work during the pandemic and have made noticeable gains in my hand technique, especially in regards to incorporating the fingers more. Consequently my hands are liking a smaller stick than what I’ve used for the past few years. I have 5As, 8Ds, 85As, and 7As in my bag at the moment.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Big band stick wasn't bad I remember a phase with that one. The way the tip is shaped makes it sound really good on the ride. I got annoyed with availability though and I also seemed to chip the tips of the stick more often than the standard acorns.
 

Alex Luce

Pro Drummer
I apply white grip tape. That's my only modification. See the photo below.

You're not odd in finding AHEAD odd. Most players do early on. I was skeptical upon unboxing my first pair, but after a few weeks, I was glad to get on board.

View attachment 95517
Wow those sticks are really tapered towards the end!
You must have a pretty loose grip. I am not sure I could put tape on my sticks without tearing my fingers up.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Wow those sticks are really tapered towards the end!
You must have a pretty loose grip. I am not sure I could put tape on my sticks without tearing my fingers up.
It does facilitate not holding on so hard when there's more "grip", but it's a very personal thing depending how each player plays, and what the music calls for. The more subtle stick manipulations you do the more you might find that the "grip" is actually getting in the way as you move your hand around the stick for different grip types, parts of the kit or nuances. You very rarely see "grip enhancers" in things like Jazz, but it's pretty common in rock especially if you keep going up the "hard rock" scale. When you're bashing along to some metal, ain't nobody going to hear any subtle stick manipulations... You just gotta get them drums hit hard and hit in-time without dropping sticks from all the sweat.

Personally it's not for me in general but there were certain bands I've played in where I could have done it and got some benefit, I'm just lazy.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Wow those sticks are really tapered towards the end!
You must have a pretty loose grip. I am not sure I could put tape on my sticks without tearing my fingers up.
Yes, AHEAD's 5B Light Rock stick has very long tapers. Excellent rebound is the result. The stick performs a lot of the work for me.

AHEAD also makes a 5B with a shorter taper and a front-heavy feel. I've never tried it, however.

I do maintain a pretty loose grip while playing, but the grip tape I apply is quite easy on the hands. I've never experienced irritation of any sort.
 

cornelius

Silver Member
I stick with one stick - I like the familiarity. I've been using Vater 5B's since the early 90s, and on the pad I use Dom Famularo's Pad Stick. Vater's 5B is versatile so I've never felt the need to switch to something lighter or heavier for a particular gig - I just adjust my technique. On the pad I've found Dom's stick is a great workout, and just feels right on a pad. Unlike other larger sticks that I've tried, it's an easy transition from the Pad Stick to my regular sticks.
 

Alex Luce

Pro Drummer
It does facilitate not holding on so hard when there's more "grip", but it's a very personal thing depending how each player plays, and what the music calls for. The more subtle stick manipulations you do the more you might find that the "grip" is actually getting in the way as you move your hand around the stick for different grip types, parts of the kit or nuances. You very rarely see "grip enhancers" in things like Jazz, but it's pretty common in rock especially if you keep going up the "hard rock" scale. When you're bashing along to some metal, ain't nobody going to hear any subtle stick manipulations... You just gotta get them drums hit hard and hit in-time without dropping sticks from all the sweat.

Personally it's not for me in general but there were certain bands I've played in where I could have done it and got some benefit, I'm just lazy.
Yes, at one point I was using the Zildjian “dipped” sticks...the ones with the thin rubber grip. But I had to bail on those because I started to get a blister on my thumb from all the friction. I also recently got a pair of the Vic Firth “Doubleglaze” 5Bs, and even those are a little too sticky for me.
 

Noisy

Well-known member
Yes, AHEAD's 5B Light Rock stick has very long tapers. Excellent rebound is the result. The stick performs a lot of the work for me.

AHEAD also makes a 5B with a shorter taper and a front-heavy feel. I've never tried it, however.

I do maintain a pretty loose grip while playing, but the grip tape I apply is quite easy on the hands. I've never experienced irritation of any sort.
I just received a pair of Ahead 7A sticks. I chose them because they are lighter than most of the ahead sticks. Supposedly 49 grams.

As far as playing action, they seem good to me. Both the feel and rebound are good. The vibration is different and I will have to play more to make a judgement, as the lower vibration is my main reason for paying three times as much for a pair of sticks.

What I don’t like so much is that without any tape, there is a smooth plastic section about 5/8th inch wide between the handle and the replaceable shaft cover. Also, on the cover, next to the plastic strip, there are two places with raised lettering “MT”. The MT to indicate medium taper. This section therefore is not completely uniform. There is a very slightly uneven seam where the sections meet. The smooth plastic of the transition section can feel somewhat sticky at times.

I don’t know if there will be an issue but I do touch both areas when my fulcrum is my middle finger. It may be a distraction now that I will get used to. I will have to see.

Performance wise, all good. Cost wise, three times as much. Vibration assessment is ongoing. Comfort wise, tape may be needed.
 
Last edited:

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I just received a pair of Ahead 7A sticks. I chose them because they are lighter than most of the ahead sticks. Supposedly 49 grams.

As far as playing action, they seem good to me. Both the feel and rebound are good. The vibration is different and I will have to play more to make a judgement, as the lower vibration is my main reason for paying three times as much for a pair of sticks.

What I don’t like so much is that without any tape, there is a smooth plastic section about 5/8th inch wide between the handle and the replaceable shaft cover. Also, on the cover, next to the plastic strip, there are two places with raised lettering “MT”. The MT to indicate medium taper. This section therefore is not completely uniform. There is a very slightly uneven seam where the sections meet. The smooth plastic of the transition section can feel somewhat sticky at times.

I don’t know if there will be an issue but I do touch both areas when my fulcrum is my middle finger. It may be a distraction now that I will get used to. I will have to see.

Performance wise, all good. Cost wise, three times as much. Vibration assessment is ongoing. Comfort wise, tape may be needed.
Glad you've decided to give AHEAD a go. With regard to vibration, you'll notice a massive reduction if you use AHEAD sticks for a few weeks and then compare them to wood. Just grant them a fair period of trial before making a final judgement.

You can cover the blend ring and the nearby engravings with grip tape if you wish. Once you've done so, you won't even know they're present. Grip tape will also enhance vibration reduction.

Good luck.
 
Last edited:

Noisy

Well-known member
Glad you've decided to give AHEAD a go. With regard to vibration, you'll notice a massive reduction if you use AHEAD sticks for a few weeks and then compare them to wood. Just grant them a fair period of trial before making a final judgement.

You can cover the blend ring and the near-by engravings with grip tape if you wish. Once you've done so, you won't even know they're present. Grip tape will also enhance vibration reduction.

Good luck.
Thanks.

My toms are tuned low so the batter heads are a bit mushy. I noticed that stick rebound is much better on the toms using the Ahead sticks.
 
Top