The Best "True" Jazz Sticks Out There................

vyacheslav

Senior Member
I think the best "true" jazz sticks are being made by Bopworks and La Backbeat. You should definitely check them out, if you haven't already.

The 535 JBX from La Backbeat is my favorite jazz stick ever. It's modeled after a vintage stick, and man does it feel great! Light and bouncy, but yet doesn't feel wimpy either. Lots of great sticks for all genre types too. Other favorites are the 520JBX and the 565JBX. Lots of great stuff! They are all handmade by Frank Kincel. He really knows his stuff. As an added bonus, his sticks are just more durable than even the "big" brands. Mine always last a long time.

https://www.labackbeat.com/

I also really like the Bopworks Birdland and West Coast Models (which is essentially a little beefier/longer version of the Birdland). The Art Blakey Model is a great all purpose stick, and plays and feels bigger than it is. Their brushes are great as well. If I remember correctly, it's the same exact brush as an old Slingerland Model. Their Memphis R & B and Rhythm & Groovz models are very cool, like their own unique take on the Vic AJ6 or Pro-Mark MJZ7. Chris Bennett is doing great work!

https://www.bopworks.net/

Definitely worth checking out! You'll be glad you did!*



*(Not a paid spokesperson. No monetary gain or compensation for this poster, LOL)
 

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ZildjianLover

Senior Member
Thanks for the info! I think I will order a pair of the Rhythm & Groovz ones since my Vic Firth AJ1s are starting to get chipped.
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
Have Bopworks improved their quality over the last couple years? Personally I've never bought them, but a friend of mine was a Bopworks endorser years ago so I got a couple pairs from him. I thought they weren't bad, but nothing too special. Anyway, my friend ended up getting pretty frustrated with them though after a while due to quality and availability issues and ended up going back to just buying Vic Firth sticks full price.
 

vyacheslav

Senior Member
Have Bopworks improved their quality over the last couple years? Personally I've never bought them, but a friend of mine was a Bopworks endorser years ago so I got a couple pairs from him. I thought they weren't bad, but nothing too special. Anyway, my friend ended up getting pretty frustrated with them though after a while due to quality and availability issues and ended up going back to just buying Vic Firth sticks full price.
They have gotten better. I know early on Chris was having availability/production issues, but that has been better the last few years. It seemed like nearly everything was out of stock on the website early on. I also know he was having some legal issues with the Gene Krupa Signature Model and Gene's Estate. He changed the name to "40's Swing Classic", again that was several years ago. I think that cost him some money (at least for legal fees etc.) so the production and quality may not have been up to his standards while he was going through that (he may have had to cut corners to stay afloat). The good news is it looks like all models including brushes are in stock and available on the website. He has had a booth at the Chicago Drum Show the last several years and has had plenty of all models on hand, so I think the production issues that were troublesome at the beginning have been fixed and his "troubles" seem well behind him.
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
Best "true" jazz sticks? 5B, SD9, SD2, 7a if you need them, or really any stick that can keep a tip. Swing away with a Metal Extreme if you want. If there is any post that deserves the, "if you can play, you can play", it's this one.
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
Best "true" jazz sticks? 5B, SD9, SD2, 7a if you need them, or really any stick that can keep a tip. Swing away with a Metal Extreme if you want. If there is any post that deserves the, "if you can play, you can play", it's this one.
I think that just built off of the OP's other post saying that the VicFirth MJC sticks were just all marketing hype and all wrong because they ranged from .540"-.595" and no "true" jazz player plays stuff like that.
 

williamsbclontz

Silver Member
I think that just built off of the OP's other post saying that the VicFirth MJC sticks were just all marketing hype and all wrong because they ranged from .540"-.595" and no "true" jazz player plays stuff like that.
I don't know, I'm not for sure because I don't have the facts in front of me, but if I remember correctly Harvey Mason and Buddy Rich's signature model Vic firth sticks were pretty thick. I'd argue they are more "true jazz" players than anyone endorsed by bopworks

I'd like to try bopworks though. I like the idea of having a long skinny stick, but the Vic firth 85As feel heavy to me. I'd like something really lightweight but still durable so I can really move around the kit
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I think every manufacturer has sticks with the word Jazz on them. Use what feels good to you when you are playing Jazz on your kit. It's like anything with the word "pro" on it. It doesn't make it professional at all.
 

Griener

Member
The 535 JBX from La Backbeat is my favorite jazz stick ever. It's modeled after a vintage stick, and man does it feel great! Light and bouncy, but yet doesn't feel wimpy either. Lots of great sticks for all genre types too. Other favorites are the 520JBX and the 565JBX. Lots of great stuff! They are all handmade by Frank Kincel. He really knows his stuff. As an added bonus, his sticks are just more durable than even the "big" brands. Mine always last a long time.)
Thank you very much.
I was already in contact with Frank because of him and LA Backbeat being mentioned and talked about on the cymbalholic website.
I already use the Bopworks Birdland most of the time and I own most of the other Bopworks sticks, but all of them are larger than the Bopworks.
I really look forward to check out what LA Backbeat has to offer in that regard.
 

~rf~

Junior Member
I think the best "true" jazz sticks are being made by Bopworks and La Backbeat. You should definitely check them out, if you haven't already.

The 535 JBX from La Backbeat is my favorite jazz stick ever. It's modeled after a vintage stick, and man does it feel great! Light and bouncy, but yet doesn't feel wimpy either. Lots of great sticks for all genre types too. Other favorites are the 520JBX and the 565JBX. Lots of great stuff! They are all handmade by Frank Kincel. He really knows his stuff. As an added bonus, his sticks are just more durable than even the "big" brands. Mine always last a long time.

https://www.labackbeat.com/

Thanks vyacheslav for the suggestions to fellow drummers. I am happy you are liking the JBX535. That stick, along with the JX520 did come about from some modeling and tweaking from an old vintage jazz stick.

Again, thanks for the shout out.
 

~rf~

Junior Member
You know, I lived in Lafayette, LA for two years, worked downtown, and never even heard of LA BackBeat?
Bert, I may or may not have been making drumsticks while you lived here. It all depends on the timeframe you were in Lafayette. I started making sticks as La BackBeat 5 years ago this month. My shop is located 3 or 4 blocks out of downtown Lafayette in a small, unassuming warehouse on Garfield St on the edge of Freetown.

I also worked at Scott's Drum Center for 13 years prior to this endeavor.

Best,
Frank Kincel
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
Bert, I may or may not have been making drumsticks while you lived here. It all depends on the timeframe you were in Lafayette. I started making sticks as La BackBeat 5 years ago this month. My shop is located 3 or 4 blocks out of downtown Lafayette in a small, unassuming warehouse on Garfield St on the edge of Freetown.

I also worked at Scott's Drum Center for 13 years prior to this endeavor.

Best,
Frank Kincel
I was there from 2015-2017, though admittedly I was probably selling off more than buying in 2017 to fund the move back to Texas. Anyway, I might have to put in an order for a couple pairs to check out.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I would never buy just a jazz stick, because what if the band leader suddenly calls a rock n roll tune out of the blue, and then you're stuck there on the band-stand looking like a total moron with a jazz stick?

In order to avoid looking like a total moron, I recommend buying at least one set of sticks for every kind of music you might possibly play. It was tough finding my polka sticks as they aren't really stocked for some reason that eludes me. But I can rest assured now that I won't look like an idiot for not using the right genre stick.
 

~rf~

Junior Member
Greetings everyone and Happy New Year!

I wanted to chime in and say a few words about La BackBeat since Griener sent me a link to this forum thread.

My name is Frank Kincel and I am the owner/operator at La BackBeat drumsticks. I started as La BackBeat 5 years ago this and this month marks its 5 year anniversary. La BackBeat is still technically a one man show. I have played drums for 40 years and professionally for 30+. I also worked in the local drum shop, Scott's Drum Center, for 13 years prior to starting this endeavor. At SDC I became known as "the fixer," repairing nearly everything that came through the shop. I have become versed in many different genres throughout my career, and jazz is one of my favorites that influences a lot of what I do on my journey as a drummer. The jazz model drumsticks I make are definitely designed with hopes they will help in the genre.

I make all the sticks that come out of the shop and also design all the models I make. Even though some models may be similar to other brands, they are not identical. I purposefully changed some of the dimensions on standard sticks since most drumsticks have not changed in makeup for over 25 years. I should also note that all machines in the La BackBeat shop are "analog" and there are no computers involved... with the exception of the laser engraver.


When I started La BackBeat, I thought I would make a stick comparable to the majors. However, it didn't take long to discover, from drummers feedback, that La BackBEat drumsticks last longer than the majors. I know why this is happening and will continue to make durable drumsticks as long as drummers want them.

If any of you, or any drummer you know, has a stick (jazz or otherwise) you like that is no longer in production, hit the website and drop me an email. I may not duplicate it, but I can get close.

Hope to hear from some of you.
Cheers to 2019!
Frank Kincel
laback
 

Ang

Member
I just order a few pair of sticks from LA Back Beat the other day thank to this thread.
Picked out the JX520 tear drop, JX535 acorn and BX535 acorn. I would have liked them all to be Bounce models but these should be a great way to get a few for them. I got some “player” and some standard, I’ll see if there is much of a difference.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
For a jazz stick the Jack DeJohnette model could double as a good rock stick. But then again we're talking about Jack who's amazing...
 
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Drumolator

Platinum Member
I use La Backbeat sticks almost all of the time because they last a long time. I have twice been to the shop where they are made. It is a little over an hour's drive for me. I have known Frank for many years, and I went to see his band last summer. Peace and goodwill.
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
I just got the three pairs of LA Backbeat sticks I ordered in today. I figured I'd give them a try since I lived in Lafayette, LA (Where LA Backbeat sticks are made) for a couple years and my son was born there.

I haven't had a chance to play them on the set yet, but I think the feel of these sticks were interesting. At least to me, they almost felt like unfinished sticks.

Anyway I ordered two "Pro" models their JJBX595 Lightweight Bounce 595 and their BX565 Extended Length Bounce 5As. I also got a pair of "Player" grade JBX550 Jazz Bounce sticks.

It is interesting the two pro models were stamped, but the player model was branded.

Price wise they aren't bad, they sit cheaper than a pair of sticks from one of the big 3 (without getting a deal on a brick). However, shipping is additional on the LA Backbeats, so if you are just buying one vs being able to get free shipping from any number of places on a big 3 stick it doesn't equate. I might make a separate post on these once I get some hours of play on them.

The only criticism I would have, is that the website isn't great. They have so many different options of sticks (Wahoo!) but it is difficult to find them because there is no way to narrow things down by size or anything like that (Boo :( ). You can search, if you know what model numbers you are looking for though, but it doesn't necessarily help if you don't know what is there.
 
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