Vic Firth Modern Jazz Collection-Disappointing!

vyacheslav

Senior Member
OK, so I finally got around to trying all the models. I bought the "Buy all 5 and get a free Red Essentials Bag" deal. Here are my (rather underwhelmed) thoughts. By the way, I am total stick nerd AND a jazz guy, and us jazzers tend to be much more obsessive over our sticks.

MJC1- Man, this is a REALLY big stick. I don't know who on earth is using this in a true acoustic environment where volume is a concern and with thin, jazz cymbals. This feels like a marching stick compared to "true" jazz models. A very heavy stick! Much more suited for Rock than Jazz.

MJC2- I like this model with it's long taper and arrowhead tip. My favorite of the 5. However, it's still pretty beefy for use in a true jazz, un-mic'ed environment with thinner cymbals.

MJC3- This is essentially a Vic 8D that's .25" longer with a slightly different tip. Feels good and plays good, just wish Vic would call it what it is: An Extreme 8D with an oval tip. Not really a "back room secret" or prototype!

MJC4- This stick feels and plays nice, but it is pretty damn thick for a "jazz" stick (Are you seeing a trend here)?. It's maple so it plays lighter than it looks /should, but this is really nothing more than a slightly beefed up version of an SD4. Again, not a "back room secret" or prototype. Quit with the marketing hype!

MJC 5- This is nothing more than a nylon tip 8D. It's the same exact stick! It's even the same as the MJC3, just .25" shorter and with a nylon tip (so again....it's just a nylon tip 8D)! C'mon Vic!


Overall, even though there are a few that play nice, I would consider most, if not all of these models just too heavy for true jazzers using thinner cymbals on quiet gigs. Please try them out for yourself, just don't buy into the Vic marketing hype. Some of these sticks would be very good for pop and rock stuff, just not "true" jazz.
 

newoldie

Silver Member
thanks for the review/details.


Since I prefer nylon tips- would you assume the MJC5 is stout enough and could work well for other genres besides jazz, like blues, instrumentals, some light rock, etc.?
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
Well my opinion is almost irrelevant because I really don't play Jazz. I pretend to sometimes at home emulating what I've seen others do. I'm a rocker in a country band, lol. I really like the AJ 5 for light playing, and AJ 3 for gigs. Now on to the modern jazz sticks. I've only tried one model, MJC 3. I like it a lot for gigs. I prefer a longer stick, probably because I don't have a very long reach. I've always been (or at least for the last thirty yrs) a Vic Firth stick fan. I've came a long ways since my huge Rock Crusher sticks in the 80s. I guess labels can be deceiving, but I like the sticks I've tried.
 

dboomer

Senior Member
I prefer the MJC3 to regular 8Ds. If you put them side by side you’ll see the taper is longer on the MJC3. That gives me more bounce off the ride cymbal. Try playing something like Giant Steps at about 280bpm and see if you don’t get a better bounce.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
I was searching for a while for my ideal jazz stick, and finally found it: the Vater BeBop 525. For me, these play great and sound great at lower volumes, yet still give me the rebound I'm looking for to nail fast ride patterns. Of course everyone wants something different in a stick (that's why they make more than one), but if you're still searching for your ideal jazz stick, I'd give these a try.
 

Soulfinger

Senior Member
I have the MJC 1, 2 and 3 models - passed on the other two since I don´t care for either maple sticks or nylon tips.

The MJC1 is on the bigger side, true, but very well balanced due to the additional length. The oval tip gives it a darker cymbal sound to avoid "washing out" due to the higher weight. Clever design and very nice playing stick IMHO.

The MJC2 was a disappointment for me - the long tip combined with the long taper does sound rather thin on both drums and cymbals. I really prefer my sticks to be a bit more top-heavy. If you need to keep the volume way down, these might be the ticket though.

The MJC3 to me is more or less a down-sized version of the MJC1. Has a much lighter touch that will work better for really thin and delicate cymbals. Very cool stick as well.

Regarding size - what is a "true" jazz stick anyway? Joey Baron plays 5Bs, the Jimmy Cobb Signature is around a 5B as well, Brian Blade plays VF SD2s which are even bigger, Paul Motian played anything from VF 3As to Promark 5Bs and no, I´m not even going to mention Tony. :)
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
Regarding size - what is a "true" jazz stick anyway? Joey Baron plays 5Bs, the Jimmy Cobb Signature is around a 5B as well, Brian Blade plays VF SD2s which are even bigger, Paul Motian played anything from VF 3As to Promark 5Bs and no, I´m not even going to mention Tony. :)
That was kind of my thought, the OP saying the MJC1 was like a "Marching Stick" when it is actually smaller than a 5B and smaller than something like the Buddy Rich sig (which yes we know Buddy Rich didn't really use but a lot of guys do anyway). Also, just to add to Soulfinger's list, Ralph Peterson uses AJ1s which are .595 (5B) sized.

I know it wasn't for you, but that's why they made such a big sweep of options. There are plenty of people who prefer bigger sizes, and don't bash cymbals. There are plenty who use thinner sizes and bash cymbals.
 

Griener

Member
I can hardly find any sticks from the big companies that are short and thin enough for me and have a long taper.
Vic Firth AJ6 is about the only one I can find, but i settled on the Bopworks Birdland model, which most drummers would consider toothpicks.

In the settings i usually play with un-amplified acoustic basses and no other amplifications except maybe for some singers and guitar players, these are the best sticks for me.
But even Bopworks doesn't offer enough variations for me in the very light department.

Through a thread on www.cymbalholic.com I found out about Frank Kincel from www.labackbeat.com who seems to offer a large variety in that sense.
He is just a one-man-shop, but he seems to be very dedicated and I'm looking forward to receive samples of his different models.

The way sticks were shaped changed a lot after rock music became THE market, music got much louder and the old models with their long taper used to break easily with most of those drummers.
I think Pro Mark was the first company who beefed up their sticks at the shoulder and had sticks from Japanese oak.
That was their ticket to success and put Cappella out of business (that and Cappella's terrible quality control).
But whenever I come across a vintage drum stick from 1968 and before I always like them much more than any of the current models.
Try finding a stick shorter than 16" with a long taper on the market now; there are not too many around.

The problem with those sticks is that the market for those sticks is not large enough.
Regal Tip just discontinued their "jazz" models like the Jake Hanna and the JC.
As a stick manufacture you need drummers who go through sticks a lot, but with my kind of playing even those toothpicks last long enough to put any stick company out of business because they don't sell enough.
 

vyacheslav

Senior Member
I prefer the MJC3 to regular 8Ds. If you put them side by side you’ll see the taper is longer on the MJC3. That gives me more bounce off the ride cymbal. Try playing something like Giant Steps at about 280bpm and see if you don’t get a better bounce.

Good point. I did put them side by side and the MJC3 is .25" longer, hence more room for a longer taper. If the regular 8D was extended by .25", I imagine the tapers would be nearly identical.
 

vyacheslav

Senior Member
I was searching for a while for my ideal jazz stick, and finally found it: the Vater BeBop 525. For me, these play great and sound great at lower volumes, yet still give me the rebound I'm looking for to nail fast ride patterns. Of course everyone wants something different in a stick (that's why they make more than one), but if you're still searching for your ideal jazz stick, I'd give these a try.
I agree! They also come in .500" and .550" diameters. Available in Maple as well. These are great sticks. They are essentially thinner versions of the Vic Firth Peter Erskine Ride Stick, with different weights/thicknesses to choose from, and different woods to choose from too (Hickory or Maple).
 

vyacheslav

Senior Member
That was kind of my thought, the OP saying the MJC1 was like a "Marching Stick" when it is actually smaller than a 5B and smaller than something like the Buddy Rich sig (which yes we know Buddy Rich didn't really use but a lot of guys do anyway). Also, just to add to Soulfinger's list, Ralph Peterson uses AJ1s which are .595 (5B) sized.

I know it wasn't for you, but that's why they made such a big sweep of options. There are plenty of people who prefer bigger sizes, and don't bash cymbals. There are plenty who use thinner sizes and bash cymbals.
I understand what you guys are saying. I know that there are jazz players who prefer bigger or heavier sticks. If it works for them, that's cool. My point was more from a marketing standpoint. I don't think you would necessarily market a 55A or a 5B stick as a "Jazz" stick. Vic makes such a big deal about these being "secret back room prototypes" that all jazz drummers would geek out about. Not the case, at least not with me. But regardless of what I think, if it fills a need in someone's stick bag, that's all that matters.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I understand what you guys are saying. I know that there are jazz players who prefer bigger or heavier sticks. If it works for them, that's cool. My point was more from a marketing standpoint. I don't think you would necessarily market a 55A or a 5B stick as a "Jazz" stick. Vic makes such a big deal about these being "secret back room prototypes" that all jazz drummers would geek out about. Not the case, at least not with me. But regardless of what I think, if it fills a need in someone's stick bag, that's all that matters.
But, I think from a marketing standpoint some people want to be told what to buy. In the end ALL marketing is designed to make you believe that THIS product is what you have to have.

Making a stick labeled "rock" or "jazz" is hardly anything new, but it meets the needs of a particular kind of consumer.
 

Funky Crêpe

Silver Member
I personally like the n.2 and the maple version, I think the 4 ? Either way, I've used the bolero for some jazz gigs . I agree, marketing hype , not be told what to buy etc but there is no such thing as a jazz stick , just personal preference. The mj2 has the closest thing to what I'm looking for , long thin taper, back weighted . Very nice stick.

There will s no more reinventing the wheel here . Decades of stick research by major companies both European and North American have given us pretty much the lot . From this , we have an incredible amount of choice and also many custom companies . Anything released as a special new thing these days regarding sticks is just a marketing gimmick
 

Ang

Member
I agree! They also come in .500" and .550" diameters. Available in Maple as well. These are great sticks. They are essentially thinner versions of the Vic Firth Peter Erskine Ride Stick, with different weights/thicknesses to choose from, and different woods to choose from too (Hickory or Maple).
I’d like to try the BeBop 525 or 550 in maple is my current favorite stick is the Sugar Maple Super Jazz from Vater. The only place that I’ve seen all of these sticks in one place was Maxwell’s in NYC.
 

drumhammerer

Silver Member
I love the mjc 5 for lighter stuff. The difference from the 8d is the tip. The tip on the 8d is basically the stock 7a tip, whereas the mj5 tip is rounder, and I can tell a big difference in them. The mj5 tip is much cleaner on the ride, not as loud on the drums, and the 8d tip produces a much washier ride sound, and digs into to the drum heads a little more.
 
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