Effect of stick weight on sound

Talktotommy

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Only long ago when I was first starting did I play with lighter sticks. Since my late teens until now I’ve always preferred 2B size sticks. I think originally I was just going for a louder sound but the more I played I was able to use them more dynamically.
I use brushes occasionally for a totally different dynamic but I never ever change stick weights or size.
I think I became very comfortable with the weight in relation to how I hit the drum and was able to get my preferred sound with that weight stick. I’m not a jazz guy certainly more rock.
I don’t consider myself a masher by any means. I would say medium heavy when needed depending on the feel of the song.
Just curious if you guys change stick weights And how you feel it affects your sound.
 

multijd

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This is a very interesting topic. And yes I do change sticks both weight and bead shape are my main concerns. Usually a hickory stick with a wooden tip but occasionally a nylon tip. Generally I like heavier but thin sticks (regal tip jazz and thins similar). I liken it to changing mallets on a marimba, vibraphone or timpani. Different sounds for different applications.
 

notINtheband

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Years ago I went to my local drum shop looking for a new stick.
The manager really helped me out.
He asked me to describe the stick I thought I needed.
I showed him what I had been using and mentioned I would rather have a slightly longer stick,
Same thickness, wood tips, but I had switched to nylon because I was sheering off part of the bead, yet the nylon tips would come off so it was a wash. Needed a strong cross-sticking sound. I described the kind of finish I liked.
He took all this into consideration and sure enough he handed me what would become my go-to stick since that day.
A Neil Peart signature shira kashi oak by Pro-Mark.
it’s heavier than most but wow did ever answer every request I had. Durable, comfortable, just does everything I need. Like I had designed it myself.
 

cruddola

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I know that feeling well. I felt the same way when I test-drove Zildjian's Mangini model of sticks years ago. I needed a couple inches longer for a tour that had a ton of percussion junk with my sister's band. Those two inches made for a much easier and less tiring gig. I had my dad laminate rosewood hickory and ash wood and turned with the same profile. I started with 40 pairs and have only ten pairs left. Perfect! Zildjian still sells them without the Mangini. I have at least 50 pair. They are my favorites to this day. I also like those resin Aquarian sticks too.
 

Supernoodle

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I play VF 5As mainly and they can vary in weight. Sometimes a particular pair makes the snare and other drums 'pop' better, and it's usually a heavier stick. Cymbals (ride) is another matter, heavy sticks sound bad...

Vater 5A Los Angeles seem to be more consistently on the heavy side so they feel and sound good on the drums.
 

hsosdrum

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When the arthritis in my hands acts up I often switch from VF 5A to VF 5B sticks. The 5Bs feel more comfortable when my hands are hurting*. They also produce a heavier ("meatier") sound, so I need to remember to lay back when I use them.

*Getting old is fun! Ask your parents, aunts, and uncles all about it!!
 

Seb77

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If a stick is too heavy it can hinder your ability to paly fast and soft, on the ride for example, but also around the kit. You always have to fight the weight. If a stick is too light, the lack of momentum can aso be counterproductive, even at low volume.

Another aspect that varies between sticks but is independent of weight is the pitch that the wood rings at, this influences the ride/tip sound on cymbas and cross-rim snare sound.
 

Supernoodle

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Another aspect that varies between sticks but is independent of weight is the pitch that the wood rings at, this influences the ride/tip sound on cymbals and cross-rim snare sound.

Yeah exactly... sometimes the cross-stick is just awful
 

GiveMeYourSmallestSticks!

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If a stick is too heavy it can hinder your ability to paly fast and soft, on the ride for example, but also around the kit. You always have to fight the weight. If a stick is too light, the lack of momentum can aso be counterproductive, even at low volume.

Another aspect that varies between sticks but is independent of weight is the pitch that the wood rings at, this influences the ride/tip sound on cymbas and cross-rim snare sound.
Great points Seb! I use very small and thin sticks (VF AJ5, Bopworks Birdlands), for exactly these reasons. While these sticks are small, they are hickory rather than maple, and so they actually play a bit heavier than some of the larger maple sticks I've tried (never personally liked the feel of maple). For speed and articulation, I haven't found anything better, and for the beautiful cymbal sound nothing else comes close. I'm not a basher, but do play in a band with electric instruments. I've never had a problem with volume being too loud or quiet, and am often complimented on my ability to play with controlled and responsive dynamics.

I get the idea that larger and heavier sticks may provide more rebound and require less work, but I actually think having to do the work has made me a better player. I saw a video of Tony Williams once discussing his technique, and the fact that he isn't depending on bounce or rebound, but intentionally playing every note with force. I would say that especially with these smaller sticks, this is the necessary approach. It also requires one to play less from the fulcrum, and more by using your smaller fingers from the back/bottom of the stick.

Anyhow, with sticks as with so many other things, different strokes for different folks!
 

notINtheband

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I was a Beta-Tester for Promark in 2015-16 when they came out with the Forward Balance and “reverse balance”(don’t remember if that’s what they called the 2nd one).
Where they placed more weight fore, and then more weight aft, in their sticks.
I was thrilled to get the sets and took them to a gig the day I got them.
First time I ever held them was at soundcheck. I wasn’t expecting much of a difference but WOW, did I ever screw up that soundcheck! The first song I used the rearward weighted stick and I can’t count the number of playing mistakes I made as a result of the sticks balance being weighted like that. It was embarrassing and I quickly assured the band what the issue was with a second song soundcheck where I went back to my normal sticks.
Later I played both sticks during rehearsals and decided they did have some merit here and there, but not enough for me to use them regularly.
I still have both beta test sets, though I don’t intend to use them again.
 

paul

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One reason I switched to my current stick was the sound of the stick on my ride cymbal. I also look for a relatively beefy sound from the snare drum, and finally, a consistent feel in my hands. Mine is a maple SD10 Swinger from VF.

I decided long ago that rather than carrying multiple types of stick I'll just use one, and rely on technique to control volume and play the correct style. It also makes for a much lighter stick bag, as I rarely need to carry more than 2-3 pair.
 

Tama CW

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Effect of stick weight on sound?

Just addressing that single issue with sticks that are otherwise identical.........I feel the lighter stick gives a slightly ower pitched, deeper, woodier sound. At least to my ear.
 

paul

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My experience is the opposite; the lighter stick has a higher pitch and a thinner sound.
 

Frank Godiva

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Was chatting about this with @JDA and he recommended some 5b sticks from DCP; can’t remember the name. I had been using VF5a then took his recommendation to use a heavier stick and work on my touch more.

great advice. The heavy stick produces a cleaner sound at low volume and the cross stick is much easier.
 


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