Drumsticks are very fundamental to playing the drums. The drumsticks apart from the drum kit complete the drummer. In other words, without the drumsticks, there is no drummer. There exists a wide range of drumsticks in the market with different variations in weight, product material, design and size, to satisfy the taste of every drummer.
What sticks to use with electronic drums, you ask? Electronic drum kits are totally unique compared to the regular acoustic drum kit. They are very fragile and have a limit to which they can handle intense force over a long period of time. It is therefore pertinent to take proper care while selecting drumsticks to play on an electronic drum kit.
There isn’t a single particular drum stick that is the best for electronic drums. There are a few that will do the job nicely, you just have to know what to look for.
What Are Drumsticks Made Of
Drumsticks can be made out of maple, oak, hickory or plastic. Maple is lighter than hickory and enhances faster playing due to its lightweight. Hickory is a harder type of wood and this makes it longer lasting than sticks made out of maple. It also possesses high resilience thus being able to absorb the shock of a heavy playing and hard striking drum player.
The heaviest of the classes of wood using in the production of drumsticks is the oak. The oak drumsticks provide a higher density than maple and hickory thus making it very suitable for extreme drum playing degrees.
Plastic sticks are made of aerospace-grade aluminium tubing. These aluminium sticks provide adequate rebound on a drum kit and are also made to be very durable. The chances of breakage or damage with a plastic stick are very limited as compared to the conventional wooden drumsticks.
Some Drumstick Models
Drumsticks come in various models. These models are denoted by a combination of numbers and one of the letters a,b and s. Each letter has its connotation and application.
A – Used for orchestra. The A-series is lighter than the B series and is used for small band performances and light orchestral shows.
B – Connotes band. Although heavier than the A-series, it is lighter in weight as compared to the S series. It comes in handy for band performances.
S – This connotes Street. It is the heaviest in weight of all the models of drumsticks. The weight of the S series enhances a louder volume for drum players. It is commonly used by drumline performers and marching drummers.
The most popular drumstick models in the market today are the 2B, 5A, 5B and 7A.
2B sticks are thick and very heavy. They are most suitable for a Metallica or Hard rock playing drummer. This is in view of the fact that heavy sticks give the required force and volume for striking the drums and cymbals giving life to a metal or hard rock band performance.
The 5A sticks are the most popular and widely used model among drummers. This is in view of its suitability for both electronic and acoustic drum kit players. They are lighter than the 5B sticks. It covers a broad spectrum as it is suitable enough for jazz playing as well as some types of rock. The major con with the 5A sticks is that due to its very light-weight, it has the tendency to break easily when used for heavy playing for a long period of time.
The 5B sticks are slightly lighter in weight as compared to the 2B sticks, but heavier and thicker than the 5A sticks. They come in very handy for pop, rock and a tad heavier jazz performances. They are highly recommended and suitable for electronic drum players owing to the fact that they cut down on the vibration levels that move through the drumsticks. They cut down the vibration level absorbed by the hands, thereby reducing the risk of injury that can be occasioned by high vibration levels to a drummer who plays for long periods of time.
The 7A sticks are lighter in weight than the 5A sticks and this makes them extremely suitable for light acoustic or orchestral performances, light pop performances, as well as jazz performances. Their light-weight ensures that very minimal damage is meted out to a kit no matter how long a drummer plays on it. It is also suitable for beginners and younger aged players. The light-weight of the 7A sticks makes it suitable for electronic drum kits as its counterpart the 5A sticks. It has the same disadvantage as the 5A sticks as it is easily prone to breaking and damage when used heavily for a long period of time.
Another very vital determining factor to be considered when selecting the drumsticks to use on an electronic drum kit is the type of tip on the drumsticks. There are various types of drumstick tips which give their own unique effect and feel for drum playing. Let us take a look at some of the popular drumstick tips that exist.
Mushroom Drumstick Tip
This type of drumstick tip is very suitable and commonly used for rock drumming. It is very durable and produces louder volume and sound than most other drumstick tips hence its suitability for rock drumming.
Oval Drumstick Tip
Oval drumstick tips produce the highest range of sound compared to other drumstick tips. As the name implies, it has an oval shape which enhances a high degree of warmth in tone and a greater bounce effect. It is one of the commonly used drumstick tips for all types of drum playing.
Ball Drumstick Tip
The ball drumstick tip produces a light, sweet, bright sound. It has a perfect response and brilliant bounce effect, making it excellent for playing on cymbals. The ball drumstick tip is commonly used by jazz players.
Acorn or Fat Drumstick Tip
This drumstick tip produces a heavier, richer and very wholesome sound. It is most commonly used for heavy and loud drum playing. Its heavy tip makes it strike hard on drum skins and also makes it very suitable for cymbal crashing. Rock and Metallica drummers are common users of this type of drumstick tip.
Nylon Drumstick Tip
Nylon drumstick tips can be considered the most durable type of drumstick tips as compared to wooden drumstick tips. They produce light, crisp and very neat tones. They cause less harm to the drum kit skin. This is the most suitable of all drumstick tips to use for electronic drum kits. Smooth sound, durability, very minimal damage to your kit, what more can you ask for?
What Sticks To Use With Electronic Drums
Any drummer who purchases sticks will most definitely have come across drumsticks from Promark, Zidijan, Vater, Vic Firth. However, which of the drumsticks from these manufacturers is the most suitable for your electronic drum kit. Let us take a look at a few.
The 7A Nylon Anti- Vibe Sticks by Zidijan
As the name implies, the anti-vibe sticks are programmed to reduce the intensity of vibration effects in the hand of a drum player. Zidijan achieved this anti-vibe model by putting inches of rubber behind the drumsticks. This drumstick has a length of 15.5” and a thickness of 0.520” giving it a thinner feel and a lighter weight. This makes them very suitable for light playing and most especially for electronic drum playing.
The Vh5An Nylon Tip 5A Drumsticks by Vater
This model has a nylon tip and is made of hickory. It possesses a thickness of 0.57” and a length of 16”. The thickness makes enhances a lighter grip and makes it very suitable for light drum players the nylon tip ensures that less damage is caused to your drum kit. It comes in very handy for your electronic drum kit.
LA Specials 5B Nylon Tip Hickory Drumsticks by Promark
These are semi-professional drumsticks suitable for light play and practice. They are very durable and suitable for electronic drum kits considering the fact that the drum player does not need to be a hard hitter to produce crisp, neat or loud sounds with these sticks on an electronic kit.
The American Classic eStick by Vic Firth.
This drumstick was specially designed for playing on electronic drum kits, however, this does not totally knock out its suitability for use on a regular acoustic drum kit. The part beneath the tip of the drumstick is thinner than the other part of the stick enhancing a greater bounce effect on the kit. Another unique feature of this drumstick is that it has a wide tip which creates a fuller effect when it hits the drum pad and creates a better performance on the electronic kit than it would on a regular acoustic kit.
So, if you are looking for the perfect sticks to use with your electronic drums, you can check out any of these sticks at your regular drum accessories retailer and apply the tips for selecting the perfect sticks.