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Drum stick for best definition on ride cymbal?

Tubwompus

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If I could offer a tip for if your ride’s too washy…

If you’ve not yet tried it, if you can mount your ride at a really steep angle, I mean almost perpendicular to the floor, then play it like normal but with the arc of the stroke being ALMOST parallel to the top of the cymbal, that’ll get you more definition than usual for that cymbal in a pinch.
 

kdrumSTL

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It can depend on the specific cymbal sometimes too, just to complicate matters. I had a thin 21" Agop Mel Lewis that I played for a bit with various ball-tipped or oval-tipped wood sticks, and I never liked it, those tips just brought out some nasty overtones no matter where I was riding on the cymbal. As soon as I tried that cymbal with an acorn-tip stick, it sounded really, really good.

The acorn-tip stick (wood tip) that I used with it, and that I still like on a lot of cymbals is the Zildjian John Riley. They seem to be very scarce these days though, and I haven't found a good replacement yet. (not to hijack this thread, but replacement suggestions for the John Riley are welcomed!)
 

nuthinmuffin

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I've been trying out quite a few drum sticks lately with the goal to find the stick which results in the best definition on washy thin rides. Currently I'm using an SD2 (maple) which I feel gives me the best definition from the sticks I have around. However, I wonder if there are better options to achieve this goal.

What kind of stick and tip shape are you using with thin and washy cymbals?

Thanks in advance!
Hi all

I've been trying out quite a few drum sticks lately with the goal to find the stick which results in the best definition on washy thin rides. Currently I'm using an SD2 (maple) which I feel gives me the best definition from the sticks I have around. However, I wonder if there are better options to achieve this goal.

What kind of stick and tip shape are you using with thin and washy cymbals?

Thanks
I've been using Vic Firth AJ1 for most of my jazz and theater work for more than a decade. great stick except for maybe a super low volume gig. it doesn't feel like holding a pencil and has great rebound...nice well defined tip sound
 

groovemastergreg

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I've found that nylon-tipped sticks give a better definition on cymbals. Vater Fatback 3A/Hickory/nylon ball tips & ProMark Shira Kashi Oak PW707N(round ball tip) are my go-to sticks for drum set playing.
I’m a 3A nylon tip man myself. 52 year drummer. Moved to the Vater 3A nylon tip 20 years ago. Fits me better than a 5A yet thinner than a 5B or 2B. I wish other makers like pro mark made a 3A that fits me as well as the Vaters. I’ve never had a Vater warp despite being a heavy hand sweater. Can’t say the same for other brands. I play blues and rock mostly but have done much jazzing over the years. When playing lighter music, I go for the extended length Vater 7A with nylon tips.
 

Remington700

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Hi all

I've been trying out quite a few drum sticks lately with the goal to find the stick which results in the best definition on washy thin rides. Currently I'm using an SD2 (maple) which I feel gives me the best definition from the sticks I have around. However, I wonder if there are better options to achieve this goal.

What kind of stick and tip shape are you using with thin and washy cymbals?

Thanks in advance!
Nylon tips will always give a better definition and ping (and volume). The harder wood stick tips (oak, etc.) will also contribute to that.

Wood tips with the smallest footprint area will also give the best definition. The classic Promark oval tips would be a good example, they leave a tall, narrow impact spot if you look at the impact marks they leave on heads and pads.

Round and barrel-shaped tips will bring out a broader tone and add more body... sometimes a lower tone and more wash depending on the cymbal.
 

erict43

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I've found that round tips give good definition. My current preference is Mike Johnston's NE1 stick from Vic Firth. With a light ride, a light touch is also important. I've used maple sticks for that too. Since I have large hands I find that maple sticks are preferable to thin sticks for me when I want a really light touch. I know it seems obvious but if you want more definition you need to control the wash no matter what stick you're using. Sometimes a gel or bit of tape on the cymbal is a good way to go if you have a particularly lively ride.
 

Remington700

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I've found that round tips give good definition. My current preference is Mike Johnston's NE1 stick from Vic Firth. With a light ride, a light touch is also important. I've used maple sticks for that too. Since I have large hands I find that maple sticks are preferable to thin sticks for me when I want a really light touch. I know it seems obvious but if you want more definition you need to control the wash no matter what stick you're using. Sometimes a gel or bit of tape on the cymbal is a good way to go if you have a particularly lively ride.
Yes, TAPE!
 

RyanLovesDrums

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Yes, TAPE!
This guy on his YouTube channel recommended that if you’re going to put tape on a cymbal put it here like he has it. Not sure if he’s correct, never tried it.
7E839B89-BB0E-4442-86E8-701AFDA665B5.jpeg
 
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For me it's the Bopworks Birdland model. I LOVE that stick.

Wholly agree, Mtarrani!

A great company and superb service, I use the Birdland for all practices and quieter sessions like church. A lovely feel providing good, fast articulation. I lke their West Coast model, too, and the '40s Swing Classic' that I used for some added body on a live date last month (unamplified kit). I still treasure these when they were originally sold as the Gene Krupa model (same stick), replete with some rather nifty GK reproduction autographs in blue!
Regretably no longer distributed in UK, and postage here prohibitively expensive (not the company's fault), so the last order was kindly brought over by visiting son-in-law from Houston.

Anyway, Bopworks highly recommended!
 
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marc3k

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Thanks for all inputs. There's a lot of valuable information here! I appreciate it!

What kind of music are you playing?
Mostly jazz (piano trio). I'm still looking for that perfect cymbal sound. I'm working on my "touch" and try to play as softly as possible. Even though I have several nice cymbals, I have a particular washy one which I would like to play a bit more.

I think I will try some smaller sticks with small tips.


I see that these bopworks birdland are mentioned often - it seems that they are often out of stock. Will they be produced again?
 

mtarrani

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Wholly agree, Mtarrani!

A great company and superb service, I use the Birdland for all practices and quiter sessions like church. A lovely feel providing good, fast articulation. I lke their West Coast model, too, and the '40s Swing Classic' that I used for some added body on a live date last month (unamplified kit). I still treasure these when they were originally sold as the Gene Krupa model (same stick), replete with some rather nifty GK reproduction autographs in blue!
Regretably no longer distributed in UK, and postage here prohibitively expensive (not the company's fault), so the last order was kindly brought over by visiting son-in-law from Houston.

Anyway, Bopworks highly recommended!
I also use the 40s Swing when I need to project more. I like the West Coast to a point. It does draw nice sounds out of my drums and cymbals, but the diameter is a bit larger than I personally like. That said, there is magic in all of the Bopworks models in my opinion.
 

mtarrani

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Thanks for all inputs. There's a lot of valuable information here! I appreciate it!


Mostly jazz (piano trio). I'm still looking for that perfect cymbal sound. I'm working on my "touch" and try to play as softly as possible. Even though I have several nice cymbals, I have a particular washy one which I would like to play a bit more.

I think I will try some smaller sticks with small tips.


I see that these bopworks birdland are mentioned often - it seems that they are often out of stock. Will they be produced again?
Chris (at Bopworks) estimates that they will be back in stock in about two weeks.
 

kdrumSTL

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If you're ordering from Bopworks and have a little extra cash, you might also try one of their acorn-tip models. Their 7D Mel Lewis, their 40's Swing Classic, and their 8D Blakey models all have acorn tips pretty similar to the Zildjian John Riley. The John Riley model is 16" long, 0.55" diameter, so Bopworks' 8D is probably the closest.

Personally, coming from playing roughly 16" long sticks in various weights and diameters, I have a very hard time adjusting to a different balance point in a roughly 15" long stick. One inch can make a big difference! (TWSS)!
 
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mtarrani

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If you're ordering from Bopworks and have a little extra cash, you might also try one of their acorn-tip models. Their 7D Mel Lewis, their 40's Swing Classic, and their 8D Blakey models all have acorn tips pretty similar to the Zildjian John Riley. The John Riley model is 16" long, 0.55" diameter, so Bopworks' 8D is probably the closest.

Personally, coming from playing roughly 16" long sticks in various weights and diameters, I have a very hard time adjusting to a different balance point in a roughly 15" long stick. But YMMV.
I, too, am accustomed to the longer, 16" sticks. I played the Promark Elvin Jones model for decades. When I ordered Bopworks sticks I ordered one of each model except their Memphis and Rhythm & Groovz models. I was very surprised by how quickly I took to the Birdlands. I was skeptical at first, but after taking them to a rehearsal I ordered a bunch more and made them "my stick." I think my personal technique fit the geometry of the Birdland, although I occasionally use the 40s Swing, which is vastly different in all aspects.

That said, I am still on a quest to find the perfect brush (the Regal Tip Ed Thigpens were the penultimate for me, but nothing else comes close.) That is another story for another time.
 

kdrumSTL

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I forgot about this! It's not a good demonstration cymbal for a thin, jazzier & washier ride, but it might help give you a good idea of the different tonal qualities of stick tip shapes.

I can't really see nor hear much difference at all between the teardrop and the acorn tips. And I don't really think I agree with the descriptions of the sounds presented in this video, but it's still nice to have the side-by-side comparisons.

Use your own ears and see what you like. All in all, the finer details of our sound on the drums is mostly for us, individually, as drummers. If we're happy with our sound, that's one less impediment towards playing together well as musicians. I've come to find that the audience perception of drum and cymbal sound (the finer details) doesn't matter nearly as much as it does to us personally.
 
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JazzDrumGuy

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Hi all

I've been trying out quite a few drum sticks lately with the goal to find the stick which results in the best definition on washy thin rides. Currently I'm using an SD2 (maple)
Due to medical reasons (wrist surgery after a car crash), I could not grip thinner sticks. I had to switch and found the SD2 Bolero - WOW! I think it's the perfect stick for jazz - a very woody tone, light although a thick stick and it feels real good in the hands. My only gripe is I blow thru the soft maple and after a month or so, it looks like a tip-less spear. I only wish they came in hickory.

I also mess with the Zildjian Bill Stewart sticks. I have added some electrical shrink wrap to thicken up the handle as they are thin sticks. I get a nice sound but nowhere as good as the SD2.
 

cobaltspike

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Hi all

I've been trying out quite a few drum sticks lately with the goal to find the stick which results in the best definition on washy thin rides. Currently I'm using an SD2 (maple) which I feel gives me the best definition from the sticks I have around. However, I wonder if there are better options to achieve this goal.

What kind of stick and tip shape are you using with thin and washy cymbals?

Thanks in advance!
Either 5A or 7A nylon tip.
 

Pauldrums

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Wow, such a diversity of opinion! great to read, though. I have used Regal Tip JH (Jake Hanna or Jazz Heavy) sticks for years and found that they suit both big band and small jazz combo's where cymbal sound needs to be defined. My main ride is an Zildjian 18" small bell ride.
The only problem for me the JH sticks are hard to come by in the UK.
 


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