Nothing new to report at Ahead except that the Joey Jordison stick has been renamed the speed-metal stick, although the construction remains unchanged.
Duratech comes in colors
Faux-wood was the key word at Duratech, a maker of combination wood and synthetic sticks. The result is lightweight sticks that have wood’s warmth and feel but won’t chip like the organic alternative. They come in a rainbow palette of colors and trippy designs.
It was hard not to get lured into the HipTrix tent where its glow-in-the dark sticks were as lightweight as they were eye catching. Looks amazing on a dark stage.
Nashville-based Innovative Percussion gave Blue Coats Drum & Bugle Corps hotshot Tom Rarick his own signature series keyboard mallets. These handsome strikers sport synthetic cord-wrapped heads for marimba (round head) and vibraphone (oval head). All seven models have slightly heavier cores and 11/32" polished birch handles. There are also three new timpani/xylo/bell combo-stick models; Bundlz and Bundlz-Lite alternative multirods available in birch or bamboo; and the very cool hybrid-style Sweepz combination brush/drum stick.
Los Cabos branches into brushes
Los Cabos, a small but progressive Canadian company noted for its red wood sticks, took its first swipe at brushes with the new Standard brush and the nylon Clean Sweep brush, with rubberized grips.
Pro-Mark’s Billy Ward signature stick gives drummers something to hold onto
Comfortable grip was also a theme at Pro-Mark, where the Billy Ward signature stick, nicknamed The Bulb for the bulbous enlargement at the stick’s fulcrum point, should please many a palm. Pro-Mark also unleashed signature sticks from Ray Luzier, Thomas Pridgen, Pete Lockett (tip-less Voyager stick), and several sleek Doug DeMorrow Xylo/Bell mallets in three colors of dense rubber tips. We also liked the Tom Freer triangle beaters in brass and stainless steel tips, the Nick Petrella Multi Percussion mallet, and the Jeff Ausdemore marching stick, a thick timber in two tapers.Regal Tip heaps on the attitude with a trio of new Extreme Metal sticks (made of wood, not metal)
Storied stick maker Regal Tip — pioneer of the nylon-tip way back in 1958 — went all head-banger this year with its Extreme Metal sticks in Grind, Speed, and Death variants. They come with a heavier diameter, a beefed-up taper on the business end, and patented E-tip technology. Each model has its own unique graphic, sports black nylon tips, and is designed to be light and fast, with Speed being the narrowest and Death the thickest.
Over at Vater there was big band glamour in the Swing and 52nd St. Jazz sticks, inspired by the company’s earliest iterations from Jack’s Drum Shop in Boston in the ’50s. The Cora Coleman-Dunham, Tito De Gracia, and Hitmaker were also biggies. The Traditional 7A and Hitmaker had that classic all-purpose vibe. Thinking light, the company introduced its Sugar Maple line in nylon-tipped Power 5A, Power 5B, and wood-tipped Session models, all of which feel noticeably nimbler in the hand than standard hickory. In Vater’s lacquer-free sanded-grip Nude line, the thick-necked Universal comes in oval-shaped wood tip, while the Fusion sports a nearly round tip in both wood and nylon. There was also an eco-friendly bamboo version of the Splashstick, for added weight over the standard birch dowels. Its rubberized handles are aptly colored green. Don’t forget the Gong Mallet and the DSK.
Vic Firth’s Kinetic Force sticks
Vic Firth’s American Classic Kinetic Force sticks have strategically placed metal weights in the stick butt, providing a counterbalancing mass that smoothes out twitchy wrists. Vic Firth also rolled out a number of signature lines: Cindy Blackman’s sports a fat neck, Tommy Igoe’s features a “Taj Mahal” tip, ?uestlove’s far-reaching 17" has a white finish, the Aaron Spears stick tapers seamlessly into its tip rather than being notched, and drum corps king Bill Bachman got his very own Billy Club. Vic Firth left no genre unturned, with punk- and metal-oriented sticks by Marky Ramone and Rammstein’s Christoph Schneider, respectively, while Lee Beddis got a massive 17"-long/0.7" diameter plank, and Andrew Markworth got his own yarn-wrapped vibes mallet. The rubberized coating on the Extreme Vic Grip — essentially an American Classic X5A and X5B stick — says all you need to know. The retractable-brush Rock Rake and the softer-bristled Jazz Rake both got a redesign.