Music Products Seminar
Dr. Sandy Schaefer
The basic accessory every drummer
Materials: various woods (maple, hickory,
oak, persimmon), carbon ﬁber, plastic,
Sizes: length, diameter, taper, tip shape,
Parts of the Stick
Different sticks for different uses.
Concert style - heavier, some prefer
round tips. Most prefer wood tips. Enough
ﬂex in taper to roll smoothly.
Rock - heavier than jazz sticks, some use
concert sizes. Usually nylon tips and
thicker neck for durability. Recording
drummers usually prefer wood tips
Jazz - lighter than rock, good taper for
ﬂex (good bounce off the cymbal). Most
prefer wood tips
Marching - heaviest stick (promotes open
rolls). Usually wood tips.
Rock Maple - lighter, good ﬂex and rebound.
10% lighter than hickory
American Hickory - heavier, more durable SP .
82 @ 15% moisture
Japanese shira kashi white oak, SP .90 @ 15%
moisture, 10% heavier than hickory
Persimmon - beautiful ﬁnish
Metal - Ahead Sticks
Graphite - Aquarian
Light & glows - Hip Trix, Powerstix
Shape controls contact area. Contact area
controls overtones. Small contact=higher,
NylonTips - originally designed for rock
drummers, durability. Harder surface
means higher overtones (brittle sound)
Wood Tips -= warmer sound, less highs,
damaged by cymbals
Sticks identiﬁed by number/letter
Common sizes: 2A, 2B, 5A, 5B, 7A, 8D,
2S. Lower number = larger diameter.
B= band, A=orchestra, S= marching
(street), D= dance band.
No real standardization between brands
Some drummers have stick slippage
Some sticks have roughened area or
plastic grip to help
Gorilla Snot applies to the stick
Zildjian has a Dip series with plastic
Models - famous drummers
assemble their favorite from the variety of
length, diameter, tip, & woods
Roll on counter to check for warping. The
tip will wobble on a warped stick. Put the
good ones in a pile
Weigh/balance sticks using the same
hand. Sort similar sticks.
Check pitch on counter or using the clave
facilitate some concert situations sticks
sometimes have mallets at the other end.
Manufacturing Process: Vic
Firth (Newport, Maine)
Wood cut 1” squares and kiln dried for 2
weeks. 50% of fresh cut wood’s weight is
water. Drying contracts & hardens wood.
Improperly dried wood sticks warp.
(Sawdust & shavings ﬁre the kiln)
Vater uses a vacuum process (24 hrs.)
Pro-Markhas additional “Millennium II”
process. It strengthens the wood, adds
resonance, reduces warping.
After reaching desired moisture content
Wooden squares placed in doweling
wood dowels inspected and graded into
several categories, (color, grain
straightness, mineral streaks, blemishes
and structural defects). Best grain pattern
used for the tip end. Length is cut.
Stick shaped with grinding wheel. Two-
step process (butt then tip).
Each model has a different grinding wheel
and steel template (.001” accuracy).
Grinding done underwater to keep stick
from burning (water is ﬁltered & recycled)
Pro-Mark uses high speed lathe, doesn’t
heat the wood as much
Timpani sticks and bass drum beaters and
lathed, sanded, & varnished.
Sticks with complex shaped on Computer
Numerical Control lathe.
Sticks put in tumbler to add the ﬁnish.
Pro-Mark has non-toxic ﬁnish, sticks less
sensitive to moisture changes
Another inspection, Pro-Mark has 7 inspections
Inspected for straightness by infrared
ﬁber optic sensor.
Sticks sorted by weighed
Sticks sorted by tone, struck with
hammer, & frequency analyzed by
Pro-Mark sorts by weight and pitch also.
Sticksmatched by color, placed in
package, bar coded, wrapped in bricks of
12 pair, and shipped.
Originally were “ﬂy whisks” used for softer
Classic brushes are thin metal wires in a
rubber coated handle. The wires retract
into the handle.
Today some brushes are made of plastic
A bundle of wooden dowels in a plastic/
rubber handle. Dowels in various
thickness’. Softer than sticks/louder than
trademarks_drumsticks.htm lists 90
Drum manufacturers once marketed
their own brand of sticks
Now stick specialists control the market
Retail stores can their own brand of
Vic Firth -(vicﬁrth.com) timpanist Boston
Symphony, began making timpani sticks,
expanded line. Has complete line of
sticks, mallets, beaters, practice pads,
stick bags, and wearables.
Pro Mark - (promark.com) Houston TX
1957. Oak, Hickory, and oak. 50% of oak
sticks made in Japan. Also concert
percussion sticks, practice pads, etc.
- the country’s oldest cymbal
manufacture moved into drums sticks in
1988. Has a standard stick line plus anti
vibration sticks, coated sticks, and
roughened grip sticks.
Vater (vater.com). Started in 1940s, hand
made sticks out of his music store
American Drum - family owned, started
with marimba mallets
Cooperman - (cooperman.com) makes
rope tensioned drums for drum & ﬁfe
corps. Sticks are persimmon wood
Ahead (bigbangdist.com), alloy sticks,
with replaceable plastic sleeve and plastic
Graphite sticks & power sleeve
Square Beat - (squarebeatsticks.com),
yep, another spin on an old idea.
Trueline - (trueline.com) unique designs
Hip Trix - (hiptrix.com) glow in the dark
sticks. No batteries, luminescent
- (powerstix.com), multi-colored
LED lights inside a polycarbonate stick