Drumstick size guide | Finding the perfect stick for your playing

Drumstick size guide

Drumsticks are extremely personal to every drummer. We all have a feel we want to have from the sticks and a sound we want to get from them. 

Although drumsticks do seem simple at first glance, there are many details to consider when making your choice. 

In this drumstick size guide, we are going to look at the different elements of the stick and what these areas affect.

The drumstick size guide explained

This drumstick size guide is going to cover the different elements of the sticks and how the different options affect the sound and feel. 

This guide doesn’t cover the different woods available. That is a big topic that needs its dedicated feature. For our guide on the different drumstick woods, check this article.

The anatomy of a drumstick

A drumstick is made of a handful of different elements. 

anatomy of a drumstick
  1. Tip
  2. Shoulder
  3. Body/ shaft
  4. Balance point/ fulcrum
  5. Grip area
  6. Butt
  7. Diameter
  8. Length
  9. Weight

Drumstick Tips

The tip is a key part of the drumstick as it touches your drums. The shape and material has a direct effect on your should but doesn’t have a huge impact on the feel.

Drumstick tip material

There are two options when it comes to the material that makes up the tip. 

  1. Wood – the tip is carved from the same piece of wood as the rest of the stick. In general, there are more tip styles available in wooden tips.
  2. Nylon – the tips is created from nylon and is glued onto a wooden stick. Nylon tips on drumsticks are incredibly durable and will outlast the rest of the stick. Nylon tips also produce a brighter sound than wooden tips.

Drumstick tip shape

There are multiple tip styles available when it comes to the tip. Hybrid models are also available that sit between the standard shapes. 

drumstick tip shapes

Barrel tip drumsticks

Barrel tips are stubby much like the shape of an actual barrel. They produce a bright and articulate cymbal sound. 

Oval tip drumsticks

The shape is very similar to that of the barrel tip but fatter at the centre point removing the flatter sides. Oval tips produce a full sound. 

Round tip drumsticks

Round tips are essentially a ball on the end of your drumstick. The shape helps to accentuate the cymbals sound. The shape is popular amongst jazz drummers.

Taj Mahal tip drumsticks

These tips are fatter at the beginning of the tip and then become narrower at the top. This diverse shape allows you to get multiple sounds from the stick depending on the angle you hit your cymbals.

Teardrop tip drumsticks

The shape is similar to that of the taj mahal tip but it isn’t as fat at its widest point. Due to this, the tip gets a lot of surface contact with the cymbal. This produces a rich sound. Teardrops tips are the most common tips found on drumsticks.

Drumstick shoulder

The shoulder of the drumstick can have a drastic impact on the feel of the stick. It greatly changes the weight distribution of the stick and the balance point of the stick.

The type of shoulder styles is referred to as the taper. 

If you have a long taper you have a long transition between the body and the tip. A shorter taper has a shorter transition between the body and the tip. 

A short taper pushes more weight towards the tip of the stick. This moves the balance point further towards the tip also. The shorter the taper the faster the response making them popular amongst faster players.

Drumstick grip area

There are two most common finishes for drumsticks. Lacquer or natural. In recent years manufacturers have been creating new options for the grip area of the stick. 

  • Lacquer – a slick feel that is moisture resistant. 
  • Natural – no lacquer. A tight grip but susceptible to moisture.
  • Custom grips – manufacturers are producing new grips to help drummers get a better hold of the stick in different situations. There are too many to list though as they vary by brand and each brand is trying something different.

Drumstick diameter

The diameter of the drumstick has a big effect on the overall feel of the stick. A thicker stick will feel different in your hand due to the size. The stick overall will be heavier and the stick will likely be more durable.

The diameter of a stick is very personal to the drummer and it is impossible to know what is right for you without going to a drum store and giving some a try. Or you could order a selection of sizes to try at home.

The majority of sticks have a diameter of around 0.57″ (1.45cm). 

Drumstick length

Much like the diameter of a drumstick, the length is subjective to the player. A longer drumstick will give you more reach but it will increase the overall weight of the stick.

The majority of sticks are around 16″ (40.6cm) long. That being said, longer drumsticks are being introduced to the market by manufacturers. An example of this is the Vic Firth American Concept Freestyle Drumsticks

Drumstick weight

The length and diameter are the determining factors in the overall weight of the stick. 

When you are looking for a stick it is key to find one that has a comfortable hand feel, reach and weight. You need to balance these three factors.

If you have a stick that is too heavy it is going to hinder your playing.

If you are starting to play the drums at a younger age, you will likely want to progress to a heavier stick as you grow.

Drumstick sizing guide

When shopping for drumsticks the sizing can be confusing. What do the numbers and letters mean?

The basic rule is that the higher the number, the lighter the stick. The lower the number, the heavier the stick.

The letter historically determined the application.

  • A – orchestra
  • B – band
  • S – marching
  • D -dance

This is no longer the case. If you find a drumstick that feels use it how you wish. 

The most common sizes are:

  • 7A – diameter .540″ (1.37cm) length 15.5″ (39.37cm)
  • 5A – diameter .565″ (1.44cm) length 16″ (40.64cm)
  • 5B – diameter .595″ (1.51cm) length 16″ (40.64cm)
  • 2B – diameter .630″ (1.6cm) length 16.25″ (41.28cm)

With 7A being the lightest and 2B being the heaviest.

If you have no idea where to start, try a 5A. This is the most commonly used size. From this medium size stick, you can determine if you need to go heavier or lighter, longer or shorter. 

Our thoughts

Drumsticks are extremely personal to each drummer. When a drummer finds a size that fits, they like won’t change. 

Take your time finding the size that works for you. Order some pairs, give them a go and keep trying more until you find the perfect pair for you.

It is worth taking your time to find the pair that feels best to you. If you are going to be playing for years and almost every day, a comfy pair of drumsticks is crucial to your overall enjoyment and development. 

I hope our drumstick size guide has helped you find the perfect pair for your playing.

What is your favourite drumstick? Let us know below.

Drumstick woods | Which type of wood makes the best drumsticks?

drumstick wood types

Drumsticks are made from a range of different woods and other materials. But why are different woods used? What is the best drumstick wood?

In this guide, we are going to talk you through the different types of materials used to make drumsticks and what the benefits are of each.

Wooden drumstick guide

When you are buying a wooden drumstick there are two main factors to consider when it comes to the wood type. 

The weight of the wood and the durability. 

Take a look at our drumstick wood graph to see how the woods compare.

drumstick wood guide graph

If you are looking for more information on different drumstick sizes, check out our drumstick size guide.

Hickory Drumsticks

Hickory is the most common material used to make drumsticks. Hickory is the favourite of brands such as Vic Firth, ProMark and Vater.

Hickory isn’t the strongest of the wood used for sticks but it is fairly dense and hard. One of the best attributes of hickory is that it is a great shock absorber. This makes it easier on your wrists which is good for drummers who practice for long durations. 

Key features:

  • Medium weight
  • Good shock absorber 
  • Durable 

Oak Drumsticks

Oak drumsticks are often made from Shira Kashi Japanese Oak. Oak is around double the weight of hickory. Keep that in mind if you are going to pick up your usual size stick in oak.

Oak is a hardwood, therefore, having a longer lifespan. With oak drumsticks, you are less likely to break from rim shots and splinter away from hours of cymbal hits.

A few brands make oak drumsticks but ProMark are the most common choice.

Key features:

  • Heavyweight and durable

Maple Drumsticks

Maple drumsticks are lighter than hickory sticks. They are about 10% lighter. This is great if you like a thicker stick but don’t want the weight that comes with it.

Due to their low weight maple drumsticks are associated with faster playing. 

The main downsides are that maple drumsticks aren’t as common and are the most likely to break from the wood sticks.

Key features:

  • Lightweight and quick

Hornbeam Drumsticks

The most uncommon type of wood found in drumsticks is hornbeam.

It is lighter and less durable than hickory but it is more affordable.  

Hornbeam can usually be found in budget drumsticks.

Key features:

  • Low budget

Metal & Plastic Drumsticks

If you are looking for an alternative to wood drumsticks Ahead has created something for you. These sticks are made from an aluminium alloy with polyurethane sleeves that cover the shaft and shoulder of the stick.

Ahead drumsticks have many unique benefits over that of a wood stick. Mainly that they produce less shock making them far better for your wrist and elbow health. This is important for drummers who play a lot and have been playing for many years. 

These sticks are expensive to purchase but get cheaper over time as you only need to replace the drumstick sleeve going forward. 

Key features:

  • 50% less shock
  • 10% more rebound 
  • Last up to 10 times longer than wood drumsticks

Our thoughts

It is impossible to definitively say there is a best type of drumstick wood or material. Each player has their style and feel that they like to have from their sticks. 

For example, I play hickory sticks and have my whole drumming career except for a brief year playing Ahead sticks. In the end, they didn’t feel right for me and went back to hickory.

You also have to keep in mind that as drummers progress, they may want to change stick type to achieve different goals. This is especially common if you start playing at a younger age into adulthood. 

What’s your favourite wood type for your drumsticks? Or have you tried the Ahead sticks? Let us know in the comments.

Vic Firth American Concept Freestyle Drumsticks | Longer sticks for the modern drummer

vic firth american concept freestyle drumsticks

Vic Firth American Concept Freestyle Drumsticks have been designed to meet the needs of the modern drummer. Drummers are after sticks that can be flexible to different playing needs.

This is where the Vic Firth American Concept Freestyle sticks aim to shine.

What is unique about the Vic Firth American Concept Freestyle Drumsticks?

The Vic Firth Freestyle sticks are longer than the average drumstick. These are drumsticks have a length of 17″ which is around 1″ longer than the average drumstick. 

The drumsticks also have an extra-long taper increasing the fulcrum (balance) on the stick.

Vic Firth American Concept Freestyle drumsticks explained

The Freestyle drumsticks are made from hickory with a lacquer finish like the other models offered by Vic Firth. This gives them a familiar feel in your hand.

The final difference compared to the American Classic sticks is that these feature a hybrid tip shape. This sits between a teardrop and a round tip. It aims to give you a similar feel to a teardrop with a bit more ping when using the tip on cymbals. They also shouldn’t leave dents in your heads as you can get when playing heavier with round tips.

Who are these sticks for?

The Vic Firth Freestyle sticks are worth considering for several reasons.

The extra length of the Vic Firth American Concept Freestyle Drumsticks

It is becoming more common for drummers to want a longer stick to use when playing. Vic Firth has had an extreme line of sticks for many years that are longer but these sticks take things a step further. 

Increased balance point

If you find the stick moving around in your hand a bit as you play this will be less of an issue with these sticks. Due to the extended fulcrum, you can afford for the stick to move a little without ruining the stick feel.

A diverse tip

A hybrid tip is a great option for drummers that have a diverse range of genres to cover. These tips give you the flexibility that you can’t get from the existing American Classic range and worth a try if you like teardrop feel but want more cymbal clarity.

What sizes are the Vic Firth American Concept Freestyle Drumsticks available in?

The Vic Firth Freestyle drumsticks are currently available in five sizes.

  • Freestyle 5A
  • Freestyle 5B
  • Freestyle 7A
  • Freestyle 55A
  • Freestyle 85A

The model names match up against there equivalent sizes so if you normally play a 5A, Vic Firth would suggest trying the Freestyle 5A.

Where can I buy these sticks?

You can pick the Vic Firth Freestyle Sticks up from your local drum shop or most online retailers. 

If you are going to order online, here are our top picks.

Our thoughts

Initially, I was sceptical about the Freestyle sticks. Are there many more ways to innovate on all the existing drumstick models? But the more I looked into them the more I can see the appeal.

Currently, as an Extreme 5B player, I am going to be trying the Freestyle 5B. The extra reach is always something I have liked from a drumstick and the hybrid tips are also an interesting addition.

The only downside I can see of these sticks is that they do cost an extra few dollars per pair. That doesn’t sound like much but it will add up over the years.

Overall, I think there is a lot to like with these sticks and they are worth a try if after a fresh feel. Drumsticks are all down to personal preference so they won’t be right for everyone. Pick up a pair and see how they feel.

Jay Weinberg 908 Signature Drumsticks from Vater

Jay Weinberg 908 signature Vater drumsticks

The Jay Weinberg 908 Signature drumsticks from Vater are here! Being the drummer for a band as influential and globe dominating as Slipknot, you would imagine you would need a pretty special drumstick to live up to the task.

Let’s see what the Jay Weinberg 908 Signature Drumsticks are trying to achieve and what makes them unique.

About the 908 Signature sticks

If you somehow haven’t heard of Slipknot, let us explain what a drumstick has to go through. Relentless blast beats, blistering fills, aggressive beats and thunderous breakdowns. And not to forget, these are long sets of over an hour. That is a big ask for any drumstick. 

This is why the Jay Weinberg 908 Signature drumsticks have been developed. These sticks need to be able to take a beating whilst providing comfort for those long shows. 

We’ve created a drumstick that’s truly unique and that has its own character, but feels familiar and versatile, to suit any drummer’s style.

Jay WeinbErg (Drummer for Slipknot)

Of course, like most Slipknot related signature products, the 908 drumsticks from Vater have a unique design on them. You can see Jay’s signature like you would on all signature drumsticks but you also get a nice “908 Hand-Selected Hickory” logo and three nails for good measure.  

What size are the Jay Weinberg 908 Signature Drumsticks?

The 908 drumsticks sit at a size between a 5A and a 5B with an extra 1/4″ length for extended reach. The drumsticks also have a quick tapper to add more weight to the tip giving a quick response making it perfect for medium to high tempo playing.

Vater 908 drumstick specification
Credit – Vater Drumsticks

A medium-size barrel tip on the sticks gives cymbals a cutting sound when used without losing too much definition. 

Vater Jay Weinberg 908 Signature Drumstick from Specification:

  • Material – Hickory
  • Tip – Medium barrel
  • Size – 41.28 cm (16 1/4″)
  • Diameter – 14.9 mm (0.585″)
  • Taper Length – Short
  • Weight – Medium/ heavy

Where can I buy these drumsticks?

Luckily for you, Jay Weinberg is an extremely popular drummer so you will be able to find these sticks at your favourite online suppliers or local drum shop. 

If you are looking to order online, here are some of our recommended shops. 

What do we think?

It sounds like the Jay Weinberg 908 Signature Drumsticks from Vater do achieve what they set out to. They sit in the evermore popular sweet spot between the 5A and 5B for comfort with the extra length and short taper for speed. These drumsticks are perfect for the music Slipknot are playing. 

These drumsticks also look great. I love that they have that something special that Slipknot injects into everything they touch.

I don’t think these drumsticks will be for everyone. The extra weight at the end of the stick may be too far from what most drummers are used to. 

We recommend picking up a pair and seeing what they feel like. 

If these sticks sound appealing but you are looking for something slightly shorter, we have a suggestion for you. Have a look at the Luke Holland Signature sticks from Meinl Stick and Brush. These are very similar in many ways but are slightly shorter with a round tip. 

Luke Holland Signature Drumsticks from Meinl Stick and Brush

Luke Holland Signature drumsticks Meinl Stick and Brush

Luke Holland has gone from being a YouTube drumming child prodigy to a professional drummer known globally. Surprisingly he didn’t have his signature drumsticks yet. Luckily, Meinl Stick and Brush has come to the rescue and has created the Luke Holland Signature Stick.

About the Luke Holland Signature Sticks

Luke Holland is a very diverse drummer that transcends genres. From his work with Jason Richardson (fast and technical metal) to RÜFÜS DU SOL (dance) and everything, you can imagine between you need a versatile stick. 

This is where the Luke Holland Signature stick came from. 

It is designed to be used for a wide range of applications. A taper and length that gives a great balance of both speed and power, a ball tip for clarity on both cymbals and drums as well as a thick shoulder for enhanced durability.

As someone who needs a fluent combination of power & finesse, I am very proud of this stick & what it allows me to accomplish behind the kit.

Luke Holland

What size are the Luke Holland Signature Drumsticks?

The Luke Holland signature stick has a diameter that sits between a 5A and a 5B, a length of just over 16″ with a short taper and a ball tip. 

Luke Holland Signature Drumsticks
Credit – Meinl Stick and Brush

Full Specs

  • Material – American Hickory
  • Tip – Round
  • Size – 41.1 cm (16.2″)
  • Diameter – 14.7 mm (0.58″)
  • Taper Length – Short
  • Weight – Medium

Where can I buy Luke Holland signature sticks?

Luckily Luke is a popular drummer and his sticks can be picked up from a range of online drum stores.

We recommend checking out either of the following.

OR

Our thoughts

Luke Holland is a very accomplished drummer with a clear need for a versatile stick. Combine this with the product excellence of Meinl and you should have a great pair of sticks.

If you have tried 5A’s and 5B’s but neither of them feels quite right we suggest giving these a try. 

Have you given these drumsticks a try? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Vic Firth Doubleglaze drumsticks | What are they? Do you need them?

vic firth doubleglaze drumsticks

One issue drummers often come across is being able to hold onto drumsticks. Although this is more of an issue for beginners, it can also be an issue for those playing live shows under hot and sweaty conditions. Vic Firth has recognised this and has come up with the Vic Firth Doubleglaze drumsticks to give you a bit more grip when you need it.

What are Vic Firth Doubleglaze drumsticks?

Vic Firth Doubleglaze drumsticks are the Vic Firth drumsticks you love but with a bit of extra grip. This has been achieved with a special DoubleGlaze lacquer formula that has been created by Vic Firth. As to what is in this formula we aren’t sure. 

A consistent and classic feel that’s great for extra grip when you need it.

Vic Firth

Why would drummers want Vic Firth Doubleglaze sticks with more grip?

There are many reasons drummers would want a stick with a little bit of extra grip.

  1. You are new to learning the drums and just need a bit of extra help whilst you learn.
  2. You are playing live shows on very hot stages. As you get sweatier the sticks get slippier and become hard to hold onto. 
  3. You are a sweaty player and need some extra grip.
  4. For some reason, you are dropping sticks and you need something to help you out.
  5. You are holding your sticks extra hard causing hand pain. A stick that is easier to hold may relieve some pain.

There are many reasons you may want to try out these drumsticks with a bit of extra grip.

What are the alternatives?

There are two main alternatives that drummers have used over the years. 

Stick tape

Stick tape is a great alternative when looking for a bit of extra grip. There are some disadvantages to consider though. 

  1. It takes time to wrap up your sticks
  2. It can be costly buying all the tap
  3. It can cause an imbalance in your sticks

Drum gloves

Drum gloves do increase the amount of grip you have on the drumsticks but they do have a different feel. This could be the make or break for you. If you like to feel the response and nuances of your sticks when playing your drumkit it is likely drumming gloves are not for you.

If you are looking for a full guide on different drumstick types and sizes, check out this article.

What size Vic Firth Doubleglaze drumsticks are available?

You can currently get the sticks in the following sizes:

  • 5A
  • Extreme 5A
  • 5B
  • Extreme 5B
  • 7A

The range isn’t that great at the time of writing but the most popular sizes are covered. Hopefully, more sizes will be added as time goes by.

How much do Vic Firth Doubleglaze drumsticks cost?

From what we have seen these sticks cost around £1 ($1) more than the standard stick. If these sticks help with your playing this seems like a reasonable cost to us. 

Where can I buy Vic Firth Doubleglaze drumsticks?

You can pick up Vic Firth Doubleglaze drumsticks from most drum stores.

UK/EU you can pick up these sticks from Gear4music here.

Or order on Amazon

Final thoughts

The Vic Firth Doubleglaze drumsticks are a great solution for drummers looking for a little bit of extra grip. At the end of the day, this will all come down to your preferences. We recommend you go and pick a pair up and see if they are right for you.