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From Brushes to Brooms: The Complete Guide to Drum Sticks

February 15, 2019

From Brushes to Brooms: The Complete Guide to Drum Sticks

types of drum sticks

When it comes to choosing a pair of drum sticks, there are a lot of factors that can influence your decision. Knowing what’s out there can help you decide which sticks are best for your drumming style. Here, Edmond, OK drum instructor Tracy D. breaks down the different types of drum sticks…

As drummers, we get to play a wide variety of instruments, and just as a painter uses many different brushes and tools in his or her arsenal, we should employ various types of sticks to achieve different effects. Those of you who venture into the broader world of percussion will have a particular interest in variety.

Here, I will discuss several types of drum sticks and their applications, so get ready to fill up your stick bag!


How Are Drum Sticks Made?

Before we get into the different types of drum sticks, let’s go over some drum stick anatomy.

Wood Type

Drum sticks are generally made of wood, and the type of wood can impact the durability. For example, oak and hickory drum sticks are durable, while maple is lighter, but less durable.

Build

The taper is the grade from the body to the tip of the stick. A thicker taper is best for loud, intense beats; while a more narrow taper is better for a lighter sound.

The tips are made of wood or nylon, and the shape of the tips affects the sound. Try an oval tip for a well-balanced sound, an acorn tip for a rich sound, or a barrel tip for high volume. You can also get drum sticks with a teardrop tip and a round tip.

Size

Have you ever wondered what the numbers on the drum sticks mean? They have to do with drum stick size. The number indicates the drum stick circumference. It may seem counter intuitive, but for the most part, a lower number indicates a higher circumference, so the 7A is smaller than the 5A.

The letters help to identify the application; the most common letters are “A” (orchestra), “B” (band), and “S” (street).

types of drum sticks

5A

The 5A is the most common type of drum stick. While they’re commonly used to play rock, you can use them for just about any type of drumming. The 5A is a middle-of -the-road drum stick, and a general-purpose tool.

7A

7A drum sticks are smaller and thinner. Because they are more lightweight than the 5As, they’re ideal for younger drummers and jazz musicians.

2B and 5B

These sticks are much heavier than the other two types, and as a result, they pack a lot more power!

Want to learn more? Check out this video for a behind-the-scenes look at how drum sticks are made.


Types of Drum Sticks

Now that you understand how drum sticks are made, let’s look at the different types of drum sticks!

Looking for something specific? Here’s what you will find in this section:

Cheap Drum Sticks

When you’re just starting out as a drummer, you may be overwhelmed by all the new gear. While a brand new drum set isn’t required for a beginner, you should at least have a decent set of drum sticks to use for practice.

While you may be looking for a pair of cheap drum sticks, I’ve got good news for you: most drum sticks are pretty affordable. In fact, most pairs are less than $8.

If you have a set budget in mind for drum gear, a basic pair of cheap drum sticks will be just fine to help you get started.

Beginner Drum Sticks

Beyond an affordable pair of drum sticks, many new drummers want to know if there are specific beginner drum sticks. Again, here’s where the letters and numbers come in. Many drum experts recommend 7As for beginners, especially kids, who are learning how to hold drum sticks, as well as proper technique and control.

5As are generally recommended for adults and teenagers since they’re ideal for drummers with average-sized hands.

Kids Drum Sticks

These sticks are great for smaller hands, and they’re made by some of the best-known companies.

Vic Firth Kidsticks