How we pick our products
Here we present all the drumsticks we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best drumsticks for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of when buying drumsticks.
- 1 Summary
- 2 The Best Drumsticks in the United Kingdom: Our Choices
- 3 Guide: Questions you should deal with before buying drumsticks
- 3.1 Are there specific drumsticks for certain genres?
- 3.2 What materials are sticks made of?
- 3.3 Are certain sticks louder or quieter?
- 3.4 Are there drum sticks for children?
- 3.5 What genre do you want to play?
- 3.6 How long have you been playing drums?
- 3.7 How expensive are drumsticks?
- 3.8 What accessories are available for drumsticks?
- 4 Decision: What types of drumsticks are there and which one is right for you?
- 4.1 Advantages and disadvantages of sticks made of maple
- 4.2 Advantages and disadvantages of hickory sticks
- 4.3 Advantages and disadvantages of oak sticks
- 4.4 Advantages and disadvantages of hornbeam sticks
- 4.5 Advantages and disadvantages of sticks made of aluminium
- 4.6 Advantages and disadvantages of carbon sticks
- 5 Buying criteria: You can use these factors to evaluate and compare drumsticks
- 6 Facts worth knowing about drumsticks
- The range of drumsticks is large and many beginners are unsure which drumsticks are the best choice. Drumsticks can be classified according to the type of material used, the size and the shape of the head.
- All of these variables affect the sound and feel. The standard sticks are size 5A hickory sticks with a teardrop-shaped tip. If you are unsure or have just started playing drums, you will probably make a good choice with such a stick.
- If you have a favourite drummer, you can also research which sticks he uses. After all, the sticks probably have a decisive influence on the sound you have come to love.
The Best Drumsticks in the United Kingdom: Our Choices
What alternatives are there to drumsticks?
There are many alternatives to the classic drumstick. We have listed the 3 most popular ones. Many drummers own several instruments and use them as needed. Rods are drumsticks that consist of a compound of several thin wooden sticks. They are used for quieter pieces of music such as pop ballads. A (jazz) broom consists of a plastic handle and a wire collar. With a drum broom it is possible to use additional playing techniques such as wiping. Percussion sticks come in many different shapes. The stick is usually made of wood and the mallet of fur and/or felt. It is mainly used in the orchestra with timpani, gongs or marimbas. We have summarised the characteristics in the following table:
|Material||Wood||Metal/Plastic||Wooden stick with fur/felt mallet|
|Well-known piece of music||Oasis-Wonderwall||Miles Davis-All Blues||Gustav Holst-Mars|
Guide: Questions you should deal with before buying drumsticks
Are there specific drumsticks for certain genres?
The answer is no. The different classifications of sticks were also made with the idea that certain sticks simply seem more suitable for certain genres than others. So you certainly wouldn’t play jazz music with a very heavy stick. These are more suitable for harder genres. If you want to play quieter and create a warmer sound, you tend to go for an oval head shape and a smaller thickness.
Nevertheless: The boundaries are fluid here, and the most important thing is that you can develop a good feeling for playing with the sticks. Because a good feeling is much more important than sticking to (supposed) rules when choosing a stick.
What materials are sticks made of?
Basically, drum sticks are made of wood. The types of wood that are most commonly used are:
- Oak wood
- Hickory wood
- Maple wood
Besides sticks made of wood, there are also sticks made of carbon or aluminium. The material from which the stick is made influences the sound and the feel. Sticks made of hickory, for example, are very elastic and therefore easy on the wrists when playing and are best suited for (long) drum rolls. The following table lists all the relevant properties of the different materials.
|Oak wood||Somewhat harder, denser wood with high durability – and volume.|
|Hickory||Very popular with many drummers. Springs very well and still has a good punch|
|Maple||Very light wood that is suitable for fast pegs. Not for loud playing.|
|Laminate||High rebound and great look. Wears out quite quickly in some cases.|
|Aluminium||Extremely durable. Very hard (cold) sound, best for metal.|
|Carbon||Comparable to hickory in feel. However, more durable – and more expensive.|
Beginners who don’t know exactly where they want to go are usually well advised to use hickory drumsticks. Advanced drummers will inevitably have to try sticks made of other materials – because which drum sticks you prefer is often also a question of individual taste.
Are certain sticks louder or quieter?
The clear answer here is: Yes. The thicker and heavier the stick, the louder In addition, the shape of the head is also decisive. If you are aiming for maximum volume and assertiveness, you are well advised to use 2B sticks with a ball head. However, it always depends on how well you can handle the sticks. In most cases, drummers don’t have to deliver high volume, because on larger stages the drums are picked up with microphones and amplified via the PA system.
Are there drum sticks for children?
Besides the usual stick sizes, there are also drum sticks for children. The adult sizes are simply not suitable for small hands. Under the heading “Drumsticks for children” you will find a wide selection.
What genre do you want to play?
Ask yourself the question: Which genre do I want to play mainly? Is it more rock or do I want to get started in country or jazz? For rock and metal, you need thicker, heavier sticks, while for jazz, softer, springy sticks are recommended. If you don’t want to commit to one genre, hickory sticks in size 5A are a good choice. These are the absolute standard in the drum business and best all-rounders.
How long have you been playing drums?
Some sticks may only be recommended after you have gained some experience. In general, it is not really recommended to start with very thick sticks as a beginner. Sure, they are louder and bang more, but certain techniques are harder to play with them than with light all-rounder sticks. If you are just learning the instrument, try to get along with all-rounder sticks first. If you have been playing for a while, feel free to try them out!
How expensive are drumsticks?
Good sticks can be bought for as little as 10 Euros . In fact, a pair of drumsticks can cost over €50 if you want special materials or additional features. Tip: If you are looking for something extravagant for breathtaking drum solos, you can find drumsticks with light effects in online shops. These drumsticks have a small LED built into the head that lights up in different colours. If the lighting technician pays attention and turns off the lights in time, the dancing lights create a great effect. The original idea has its price: sticks of this kind cost about 66 euros.
What accessories are available for drumsticks?
Manufacturers have developed a number of useful accessories for drumsticks.
The classic is a drumstick bag. These are worthwhile if you not only play at home but also want to be mobile with your sticks. Another advantage is that a bag for sticks can be bought for as little as €5 and is certainly a sensible investment. Besides these bags, there are also stick holders that can be attached to your drum kit. Available for as little as 10€, these serve their purpose very well; they make flying sticks a thing of the past, and ideally you have access to several different pairs of drum sticks; this way you can adjust your playing yourself in the course of a song, for example from a drum broom to normal drum sticks, or to easily change strengths, for example if you want to play a ballad after a heavier song, and so on. I would also like to mention the well-known tape. You can wrap this around your drumsticks so that your hands don’t slip when holding the sticks.
Tip: Tape is especially useful for heavily lacquered sticks, as they can become quite slippery in sweaty hands. Tape, which is available in different colours, also enhances the look of your drumsticks.
Decision: What types of drumsticks are there and which one is right for you?
One important insight is that there is no such thing as the perfect drumstick. Every drummer has their own preferences in terms of weight and feel. It is generally recommended that you buy several different pairs of drumsticks. This way you can find out which sticks feel best and you will be prepared for different styles. The question of which sticks are best for you depends above all on the choice of material. Drumsticks are made of wood, aluminium or carbon . The most common types of wood are:
Advantages and disadvantages of sticks made of maple
Drumsticks made of maple are the perfect choice for fast, light playing where only a low volume is needed. Maple sticks have excellent bounce and are therefore easy on the wrists when playing. The disadvantage is obvious: the light, soft wood is damaged more quickly. If you play a lot of rimshots or like to hit the cymbals hard, you probably shouldn’t get sticks made of maple.
Advantages and disadvantages of hickory sticks
Drumsticks made of hickory wood are the classic par excellence. They have a good balance of hardness and weight – not too hard, but not too soft either. Of course, if you want to play very fast and can accept a loss in volume, maple sticks are the better choice; at the same time, a drummer who wants to get the maximum boom out of his drum kit will tend to go for sticks made of oak or hornbeam.
But hickory sticks are the happy medium – they are easy on the wrists because they have a good spring, but at the same time they really heat up your snare. If you are unsure or have just started playing drums, you should choose hickory sticks.
Advantages and disadvantages of oak sticks
If you are looking for hard sticks with a long life span, you will make the right decision with drum sticks made of oak. Especially fast playing can be quite tiring with sticks made of oak – but you will be rewarded with a hard, assertive and loud sound. Especially for harder genres, oak drumsticks can be worthwhile.
Advantages and disadvantages of hornbeam sticks
Sticks made of hornbeam are rather a rarity. These sticks are even harder than sticks made of oak, but in general the difference is rather small. If you are looking for something strong and resistant, you can definitely give hornbeam sticks a chance.
Advantages and disadvantages of sticks made of aluminium
Aluminium sticks are probably the most durable drum sticks on the market. In addition, there is very little difference in size and weight between the two different sticks of a pair, as they can be made to size. in addition, the head can be unscrewed and exchanged. Disadvantage: light cymbals can easily be damaged by these extremely hard sticks.
Advantages and disadvantages of carbon sticks
Carbon sticks are probably the premium drum sticks par excellence. They can be compared to hickory sticks in terms of playing style. However, they are much more durable and do not damage the cymbals as aluminium sticks do. The material absorbs sweat, so the sticks do not become slippery. Disadvantage: They are quite expensive.
Buying criteria: You can use these factors to evaluate and compare drumsticks
Besides the choice of material, there are some other buying criteria to consider. These include:
- Head shape
- Series dispersion
Just like other instruments, drum accessories come in different sizes: Drumsticks are no exception. Unfortunately, the sizes are not standardised. However, the following can be taken as a guideline:
- 7a: Light and soft. Perfect for jazzy numbers
- 5a: Slightly heavier and fuller; jazz and light rock
- 5b: The classic all-rounder size: Perfect for rehearsals and rock
- 2a: Ideal for harder rock
- 2b: The strength for heavy rock and metal
These are only general guideline values of a recommendatory nature. There is no doubt that you can also play jazz with a 2a stick. Under certain circumstances, this can be your personal signature? If you want to find your ideal drumstick, there is no way around trial and error. If you are unsure which sticks are suitable for you, check out which sticks your favourite drummer uses. Sometimes there are also signature sticks of famous drummers that can be suitable for trying out.
Besides the material and the size of the sticks, there are also different head shapes. While the size and the material mainly influence the feel, the shape of the head has a decisive influence on the sound. The most common head shapes are:
In addition, there are heads made of nylon. These usually have an oval shape. In order to predict the sound characteristics of the different head shapes, one must understand some physical principles: The smaller the contact area of the drumstick when hitting a head, the brighter and clearer the sound. As humans, we perceive high frequencies much more strongly than lower frequencies – our ears are simply very sensitive in this frequency range. Therefore, a bright and clear sound is more assertive and is perceived more strongly. This is especially desirable in heavier genres, when the snare of the drum kit has to compete with several electric guitars. Darker, lower frequencies are perceived as warmer and more peaceful. So if you are playing acoustic or jazz, you may need a stick with the right head shape for these cases. The table lists the different head shapes and their sound characteristics.
|Head shape||Sound characteristics|
|Oval||Rich depths, dark(er) sound|
|Drop||Sounds close to the oval head shape, but with a slightly more central sound.|
|Acorn||Very good punch, fat sound. Not the best for jazz or soft ballads.|
|Ball||Clear treble – therefore particularly assertive, but less “boom”.|
|Barrel||Loud sound, very assertive.|
An important purchase criterion should also be the durability of the sticks. Problem: Often you can only find out the durability by trial and error, because it also depends a lot on your own playing style. For example, if you always play the snare in the middle, the sticks will wear less than if you hit the snare more on the edge. A good option is to study customer reviews and use common sense. If it’s a wooden stick, make sure the grain is even and make sure the sticks appear to be of good quality.
A criterion that should not be underestimated: Can you assume that the sticks you have chosen will still be available in 5 or 10 years? It can be quite annoying if you get used to certain sticks only to find out later that you can’t buy any more of them. So it’s worth making sure that your sticks are made by a reputable manufacturer so that you can be sure that they will still be available in the future.
Just as important as the durability of the sticks is the so-called series dispersion. Series dispersion means that two different pairs of the same model have different properties; this can be the case especially with very cheap sticks. With aluminium drumsticks, the serial dispersion is lowest because a standardised manufacturing process is used. Be careful with sticks made of wood. So also make sure that each stick of your drumstick pair feels the same and has the same centre of gravity characteristics. This promotes the feeling of playing and makes playing drums easier.
Of course, the price is also a decisive purchase criterion for many people. Good news: most drumsticks are quite affordable. However, if you play very hard music, you might want to think about getting some more expensive and durable sticks so that you can save money in the long run.
Facts worth knowing about drumsticks
How should I hold my drumstick?
When playing the drums, there are different ways of holding the stick. There is the basic grip (German grip), the French grip and the so-called traditional grip.
Can I build a drumstick myself?
That is definitely possible. However, it is very difficult to build two sticks in such a way that they both weigh exactly the same, have the same centre of gravity and so on. Nevertheless, if you like to do it yourself, you can find many suitable examples on the internet of how something like this can work.
Picture credits: skeeze / pixabay.com