Most of you might think that drumsticks are just a tool for drummers to play the drum, but in fact, not all drumsticks are made equal. There are a variety of drumsticks available in the market, hence choosing the right pair of drumsticks is a knowledge in itself. Read on to learn more about how to choose the ideal pair of drumsticks for you.
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If you want to drum, one of the most important accessories you need is a pair of drumsticks. Yet, the importance of choosing a pair of drumstick that matches your playing style often seems to be overlooked. There are a variety of drumsticks that are sold in the market today, so choosing one that suits you might not be as easy as you thought. Here are some factors to consider when you plan to buy a pair of drumsticks:
Type of Wood
One of the first considerations that you should make is the type of wood used to make the drumsticks. Drumsticks are usually made of three types of wood – maple, hickory, or oak wood. Each of them has a slightly different feel, which in turn determines how the stick transmits and absorbs vibrations and how much it can flex.
Drumsticks made of hickory are highly favourable as they have high flexibility and impact resistance. They are the most versatile drumsticks of the three wood types. Maple wood drumsticks, on the other hand, are much lighter than hickory so you will not feel their weight even after prolonged drumming. They are ideal for light, fast playing. Moreover, as they are softer and stiffer than hickory, they produce sweeter and brighter sounds on drums and cymbals. Oakwood drumsticks are dense and heavy, making them more durable than the others. Due to their increased weight, they produce more prominent sounds on the drums and cymbals and are suitable for intense playing styles.
Shape of Drumstick Tip
Besides considering the type of wood that you prefer, you should also think about the tip of the drumsticks as well as each tip has its own unique tonal quality. The tips basically come in four basic shapes which are rounded tips, barrel tips, triangular tips, and olive-shaped tips. Barrel tips have a wider contact surface, thus producing a broader and more diffused tone. Triangular tips produce a focused medium sound, whereas round tips are known to create bright contact sounds that work especially well on cymbals. Olive-shaped tips produce a range of sound, from diffused to tightly focused, depending on how they are held.
Materials for Tips
Other than the shape of the tips, the material covering the tips will also lead to the generation of different sounds. Tips typically come in wood or nylon each with its advantages. Nylon tips produce brighter sounds on the cymbals and are capable of lasting longer without showing any signs of chipping or splitting. However, if you prefer a softer and warmer sound, then you should go for wooden tips instead. Some companies have started producing drumsticks with tips made from delrin, as they supposedly have higher durability as compared to nylon and wooden tips.
Numbers and Letters on the Drumstick
When you purchase a pair of drumsticks, you will come across a series of numbers and letters. Generally, the numerical parts signify the circumference of the stick whereas the letters represent the recommended application of the sticks. All you need to remember is the higher the number, the smaller is the circumference of the stick. Hence, a 7A stick has a smaller circumference than a 2B stick and vice versa. In terms of the letter suffixes, the drumsticks will either be labelled “S”, “B” or “A”. “S” sticks are designed for Street usage such as in drum corps and marching bands, whereas “B” models are intended for band applications and symphonic orchestras, and lastly “A” sticks which are recommended for Orchestra used such as dance orchestras that require softer playing.