i use Vic Firth 5b as my regular every day stick but i practice with ( what ever crappy sticks are around or) the Vic Firth Leggireo if i want to dish out the cash. i practicing with them because they build a nice pocket in my finger and there great for building wrist muscles. because there meant for snare players they have a real nice bounce and the head on them allows for more precise hits like on the ride bell or when using the hi-hat for accuracy. i personally have found that the only difference between the woods used for the stick is the price. whats your thoughts on this, & what kind of sticks do you like to use best.
I’m such a creature of habit. I’ve used the Vater 5A wood tip for the better part of the last quarter decade. Oh yeah, I’m also old. Very, very old.
But seriously, as far as the wood is concerned, I’ll be honest — I’m not sure I agree that price is the determining factor. Before I switched to Vater I used another well-known brand (which will remain nameless for obvious political reasons) since I was ten years old. I was perfectly happy with the stick for a long time until it began to seem as if the weight of the sticks grew lighter and they broke more easily — almost shattered sometimes, to be honest. I wish I could pretend to be an expert on the subject, but I’m pretty sure the change in mass had less to do with the quality of the wood and more to do with the moisture content — which actually is attributable to the manufacturing process. I’m going to enlist an expert opinion here. Stay tuned.
I wrote to Alan Vater and asked if he could explain how moisture content changes the way a stick feels in your hand. Here’s what he had to say:
“Wood is cellulose fiber and water. The more water you extract out of the cellulose fiber the weaker and lighter the wood. The opposite is also true — the more moisture you leave in the wood the stronger and heavier the wood. Vater kiln dries its hickory to 10% to 12% moisture. Some of our competitors use a furniture drying schedule that is 6% to 8%. Vater Drumsticks have a tendency to feel a little heavier then other brands, and this higher moisture content is why.”
I would like to switch to the Vater David Silveria Dsk Signature Drum Sticks,( they are a quarter inch longer and hickory so they are lighter than oak)however, no one carries them locally so I have no way to try them out, and I don’t want to order a dozen pair on line and then not like them.
I used to use Ahead sticks exclusively. I had 9 pair of the Tommy Lee model. The plastic sleeves would wear down rather quickly and the aluminum underneath would make contact with my cymbals and crack them. I eventually went back to wood sticks because replacing wood sticks is a lot cheaper than replacing Ziljian K crashes. But than again, back then I did used to beat my drums like they owed me money.
Yup. You got that right.
We start as drummers, but through time, practice, experience and a lot of trial and error, we become musicians.
And one day, we’ll be the old dudes all the new kids are ignoring to their own peril.
Has anyone had any experience with the Ahead sticks?
I haven’t had much luck with synthetic sticks. If they’re made of a plastic compound, they usually feel too rubbery in my hands. Aluminum feels too stiff. (This is beginning to sound like Goldilocks!) The only synthetic sticks that ever felt comfortable in both weight and balance are a unique and rare genre made of carbon fiber. The first time I came across carbon fiber sticks was back in the early ’90s with an L.A.-based company called Mainline. They had a pink hue and felt remarkably like wood in both weight and balance. The company made them for a few years, but finally discontinued them (we were told that manufacturing costs made them prohibitive). A number of years went by until Carbosticks made its debut with what appeared to be an almost identical formulation. Apparently, they’re still in business although I rarely see them in stores. Truth is, I never gave carbon fiber sticks a proper road test, and can’t account for their durability, but if you’re looking for an alternative to wood, you might want to give them a smack or two.
I still have a pair of the tommy lee Aheads and i was rather impressed by them. I used to use them all the time. of course that was just after the point in my career when i had to change the heads after every other gig and I was hand lathing my own solid aluminum sticks because of the abuse i put them through. currently im able to make 5A’s last a few weeks lol I’ve tried to lighten my hands and use lighter sticks for dynamic purposes. I dont use the tommy lee’s anymore because they are a little on the heavy side.