New Gear 2009: Sticks

By DRUM! Staff Originally published in DRUM! Magazine's 2009 Trade Show New Products Report

The DRUM! crew hit the 2009 NAMM trade show with a full complement of photographers, video gear and extra freelance writers designed to help us cover every single new product our readers might see in the coming year. At the end of it all, we had amassed specs and info on more than 450 products. Here's our Sticks report. Look for related stories on drum sets, hand drums, cymbals, hardware, accessories, electronics ... well, you get the idea.

3drumsticks

DW’s line of drum sticks stands out with its Xcel model, a 16.75"-long stick that gives drummers a little more reach than the standard 16.25". Introduced in 2006 as the Xcel 5B, for 2009 the company has added an Xcel in 5A width.

Ahead

Ahead introduced the Hybrid stick, offered in a concert version with a 5B handle and 5A shaft, at 16.25" in length ($34.99); and a studio version, also with a 5B handle and 5A shaft, at 16" ($16).

Blackwood/Carbosticks

Ray Ayotte, former creative force and namesake of the Ayotte Drum Company and current owner of Blackwood Drumsticks, has a couple of new and renewed products cooking for 2009. In addition to the new Blackwood Jesus Diaz signature stick, Ayotte is reintroducing synthetic Carbosticks after a few years out of the limelight.

Innovative Percussion

Innovative Percussion’s Combo series sticks have added Rock sticks featuring an acorn shaped tip, or the longer 16.5" model with a barrel tip. IP’s retractable wire brushes now come in medium- and heavy-gauge wire. The “crossover” Jamz bundle stick combines the lightness of a brush and the articulation of stick. New Hybrid bundle sticks include the Flip Bundle, Wood-Handle Bundle, Caps Bundle, and Fanned Bundle. Pair these with one of three new practice pads.

Pro-Mark

Amidst all the “System Blue” hoopla at the Pro-Mark booth involving new products that capitalize on the stick maker’s new partnership with the Concord Blue Devils drum corps were a few new products for drum set players, including a couple of signature sticks from Keith Harris and Billy “Thunder” Mason. The Harris model is American hickory and measures 16.125" long and 0.551" in diameter, with a round wood tip. The Billy “Thunder” Mason model is American hickory and measures 16.25" long and 0.6" in diameter with a barrel-shaped wood tip.

Stealth Rods feature nylon “bristles” that produce a softer sound than traditional Hot Rods.

Rocket Rods feature rods constructed from durable bamboo dowels surrounding a foam core for plenty of long-lived, bouncy, low-volume action.

Like the Rocket Rods, the Viper Rods are made with a solid maple shaft and bamboo dowels, but they’re smaller in diameter than the Rocket Rods, and feature a plastic core instead of the Rocket Rods’ foam core.

Regal Tip

Regal Tip unveiled three new Performer series models from heavy hitters Keith Carlock (16" x 0.555"), Tony Clufetos (16.25" x 0.630"), and Walfredo Reyes Jr. (16" x 0.6").

These new brushes feature a durable rubber handle with an adjustable wire spread. Also available in a telescoping version with a notched pull handle.

Silverfox

It was a flash-storm photo op over at the Grover Pro/Silverfox booth, as company owner Neil Grover was joined by the newest artist on the Silverfox endorsement roster, Trevor Lawrence Jr. The hip-hop/R&B heavyweight was pumping his new lighter-weight physique (50 lbs. lighter) alongside his new signature stick and Buds multi-rod specialty sticks. Also new for Silverfox were the Sweet Pea, Boston Basher, and Christian Micallizzi model sticks.

Vater

Vater gets in on the goth game with the new Eternal Black series, which features three new models — Warrior, Punisher, and Destroyer — as well as a 5A, 5B, and Power 5B, all available in both wood and nylon tip and finished in a cool black stain.

To balance out the darkness of Eternal Black, the new Gospel series sticks, available in 5A, Fusion, and 5B models, are finished in a white stain, as pure as your immortal soul — right?

Three new signature stick models graced the Vater display at this year’s NAMM show: a Derek Roddy model that’s between a 5A and a 5B and features a quick taper into a small acorn tip (16.25" x 0.590"). Mike Wengren’s new model is between a 5B and a 2B with a quick taper to an oval nylon tip (17" x 0.625"). And the Brian Frasier-Moore model, which is just a bit thinner than a 5A in the grip, and has a gradual taper and a barrel tip (16.5" x 0.565").

Vic Firth

This aluminum-tip beast may look dangerous, and it probably is, but nothing will give your cymbals a ping like the Silver Bullet. And talk about durable!

On the opposite extreme from the Silver Bullet rests the pillow-like soft tip of this sleek, balanced alternative to bulky, top-heavy mallets.

Looking to draw a little more attention to yourself? Of course you are. Try painting some light-pen-style arches around your kit in a darkened club with these babies and try not to get noticed. When the LED bulb in the tip starts to dim, just plug in the stick via a USB cable and you’ll be ready to light up the show again in no time.

Loads of new signature sticks from Vic Firth, so let’s get to it: Joey Heredia’s maple stick features an extended tip and is 16.188" in length and 0.58" in diameter. Lenny White’s stick is a combo of a 5A and a 5B with an oval tip and is 16" long and 0.580" in diameter. The Jeff Davis model also sits somewhere between a 5A and a 5B, but with a little extra length, at 16.25" and 0.585" in diameter. Andrew Hurley’s new stick has a medium oval tip and a full-sized shaft and measures 16.5" x 0.630". Nicko McBrain’s stick combines a 5B shaft with a thick neck and tip and measures 16" x 0.595". The Paul Leim stick is a thin 8DN with a beefier neck and oval nylon tip and measures 16" x 0.545". Finally, the Vinnie Paul stick features an enlarged teardrop tip and measures a lengthy 16.875" and a burly 0.63" in diameter.

A few more wicked black sticks on the market couldn’t hurt, and Vic Firth has just unveiled a new black 5AB and 5BB in the hickory American Classic line.

Zildjian

Zildjian went dark with its Travis Barker Pitch Black model in 16.375" length and 0.595" diameter with a pronounced round tip and flat butt end. Also available in white with red-and-blue lettering. 3drumsticks DW’s line of drum sticks stands out with its Xcel model, a 16.75"-long stick that gives drummers a little more reach than the standard 16.25". Introduced in 2006 as the Xcel 5B, for 2009 the company has added an Xcel in 5A width.