Extra long 5A sticks

AustinFitz

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I've been playing 5A sticks forever and love the feel, but I've always felt like they could be a little longer. I need some new sticks anyway, so I started looking for something like a 5A, but around 17" long. The first 2 pairs I looked into were the Regal Tip Alex Van Halen signature, and the Chester Thompson signature. I was interested to try both, but couldn't find either one in stock ANYWHERE online!

That led me to searching 17" sticks from other manufacturers where I came across the Vic Firth American Concept Freestyle 5A. They're 17" long and 0.570" in diameter. I decided to grab a set of those for $10 shipped.

Looking back at the Regal Tip Chester Thompsons again I noticed they said that the model was previously known as the Regal Tip 1A... A quick Google search led me to an eBay auction for a pair of new old stock Regal Tip 1A for $8.99 shipped, so I snagged those too. No specs listed, but if they are indeed the same as the Chester Thompsons then they'll be 17" long and 0.550" in diameter.

I'm really looking forward to trying these out! Anyone else playing anything extra long? I'd love to hear some more suggestions as I'm always trying new sticks.

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Vic-Firth-FS5A.jpg
 
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Mcjnic

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For years, I played the old style Evelyn Gleanie and Dave Weckl sticks. They were both extra long and had that thinner thing going on. They reacted like a whip. They were very similar feeling. I lived somewhat near the Regal Tip factory and had called them for some input. They suggested the Gleanie stick. It was an amazing feeling stick. I believe the nylon tip version of the Regal Tip Gleanie stick was basically a 1A ... if I’m thinking straight. I know I had the nylon tip version as an alternative to the wood tip Weckl.
Now, both players have changed up their sticks (and manufacturers for Gleanie), so they are difficult to locate.
I play a simple readily available stick now.
 

Fifty9Dunes

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I played ProMark Carl Allen 9As before discontinued and went through this exact effort. Now using the VF Extreme 5A as someone else said, wanted to land on a readily available model...you've got me curious on the Freestyle 5As though!
 

scaramanga

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Yeah I went long (and heavy!) and can't go back. Regal Tip "Tichy Stix" and 7Bs. I was able to find the Chester Thompsons on Musician's Friend. The VF Freestyles are a great option unless, like me, you have Sahara dry hands and can't grip anything at least as tacky as a Regal Tip.
 

frankmott

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I've been playing the Regal 1A for virtually all styles for about 20 years. They are perfect for me. I like the Regal lacquer as well.
 

AustinFitz

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Awesome! Definitely a few more models listed in here that I wouldn't mind checking out. I did almost buy a pair of the QuestLove signatures, but I was worried they might be just a little too thin and lightweight for me. I have a feeling I'm really going to like the Regal Tip 1A though. That would be just my luck too since they don't seem to be readily available at the moment lol.

The previous pair of sticks I was using were the Promark FireGrain 5A Rebound. They were alright I guess... I didn't hate them, but didn't love them either. They were just okay. The FireGrain finish was nice looking, but I didn't really find them to last any longer than your average wood tipped stick.
 

SteveB

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I don't see how so many drummers hold the stick right at the butt end...there's no fulcrum that way, but many great drummers like Steve Smith play that way. I like the extra half inch because it puts my hand further down the stick a bit. Most of those guys from the 30's on up played down the stick a ways. Also some of the early sticks were very long and narrow.
 

AustinFitz

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So I finally got both pairs of sticks in! The Regal Tip Chester Thompson 1A came in first. While I really like the 17" length, the .550" diameter is a bit too thin for me, and they're a little too lightweight and flexible. They also sound kinda thin on the drums. Mostly on the snare. When you try to put more power into a stroke, it just gets absorbed into bending the stick. Overall they seem like great sticks, just a little too thin for me.

That made me anxious to get the Vic Firth Freestyle 5A in knowing that they would be a little thicker with a .570" diameter. They finally arrived today, and so far I REALLY like them! They have a smaller tip, and a slightly longer taper than the Regal Tips, but they have a lot more weight to them, and they don't flex when you lay into the snare. Much fuller and more powerful sound to them. The length and diameter both feel really nice on these. The finish is smooth, but not slippery at all, and the balance feels very good. I'll know more after I spend some more time with them, but so far I think I may have found my stick!

I definitely think longer was the right move for me though. The 17" length felt completely natural from the second I picked them up, but after playing 17s for a few minutes, picking up a pair of 16" sticks again felt really odd. They suddenly seemed so stubby! I really hope I've found the one with these Freestyles, but if not, whatever sticks I try in the future will probably be 17" long as well.
 

bigbonzo

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I don't see how so many drummers hold the stick right at the butt end...there's no fulcrum that way, but many great drummers like Steve Smith play that way. I like the extra half inch because it puts my hand further down the stick a bit. Most of those guys from the 30's on up played down the stick a ways. Also some of the early sticks were very long and narrow.
I don't get it either. My thought is that they don't play double strokes. If they do they would need to move their hand up on the stick a little. I think I remember Senri Kawaguchi talking about that.

I've watched my girlfriend's daughter play, and she holds her sticks at the butt end. She doesn't play double strokes.
 

AaronLatos

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I did a video review of the Freestyle 55As... haven't gotten around to uploading yet, will link when I do.

Long story short, I REALLY like them. VF nailed the balance and feel of these. I normally play X55As and was totally happy with them (still am), but with the new taper on the Freestyle models, they feel like they have a little more power while being easier to control, and the whole "expanded sweet spot" marketing line is totally accurate. I wasn't expecting to be this impressed.
 

lcondo123

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I grew up playing the Dave Grohl signature series Zildjian sticks, but eventually those things felt too much like baseball bats for me. I went to Columbus Pro Percussion and demoed a bunch of sticks and ended up falling in love with the Vater 7A Stretch. Solid hickory sticks, I don't believe they're as long as 17", but they're close to it. Thin enough that they feel light and maneuverable, but dense enough that they definitely project when you strike a drum/cymbal the right way.

Edit: Vater 7A Stretch sticks are 16 3/4" in length and are .540" in diameter.
 

scottcyp

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I don't see how so many drummers hold the stick right at the butt end...there's no fulcrum that way, but many great drummers like Steve Smith play that way. I like the extra half inch because it puts my hand further down the stick a bit. Most of those guys from the 30's on up played down the stick a ways. Also some of the early sticks were very long and narrow.
I find myself on the butt end a lot but depending what I am doing. I can be on the fulcrum as well. I let the stick glide around in my hand for the most part as I'm playing I don't have a "set" spot for it. Always have played 7a's
 

scottcyp

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I grew up playing the Dave Grohl signature series Zildjian sticks, but eventually those things felt too much like baseball bats for me. I went to Columbus Pro Percussion and demoed a bunch of sticks and ended up falling in love with the Vater 7A Stretch. Solid hickory sticks, I don't believe they're as long as 17", but they're close to it. Thin enough that they feel light and maneuverable, but dense enough that they definitely project when you strike a drum/cymbal the right way.

Edit: Vater 7A Stretch sticks are 16 3/4" in length and are .540" in diameter.
I didnt know a stick like this existed. Thanks, going to have to give them a try just for fun.
 

Rick

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I play the Vic Firth X5A. Love it! They just feel great in my hands and allow me to play dynamics from very soft to as loud as I want. My progression of sticks over the years (40 years) is pretty small. I played Promark 747's for years. About 15 years ago, I tried the original Vic Firth Dave Weckl signature sticks. Loved those and played them for a few years. Then I found out one of my favorite drummers, Joel Rosenblatt, had switched to Vic Firth and was playing the X5A. Out of curiosity, I picked up a pair in a local Guitar Center and tried them out on the store's practice pad. Immediately liked the way they felt! So I bought a pair to try them out, took them home, and have never looked back. It's the perfect stick for me!*

*Your mileage may vary. ;)
 

Rick

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Oh by the way... just wondering if anyone else has experienced this. I play 2 to 3 gigs per week. I generally get just a few months out of a pair of Vic Firth X5A's. I'm not a heavy hitter at all and the sticks appear to be in great shape. The only issue I run into that causes me to replace a pair is they get a little less articulate on the ride cymbal after a while. I'm theorizing that a slight flat spot develops on the wooden tip after a while (not visible to the naked eye), as I can turn the stick slightly in my hand as I'm playing and get the articulation back. When this starts happening with a pair, I replace them and donate the old sticks to a local high school (they're in basically perfect shape with that one exception). Anybody else run into this?
 

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