Favorite brushes

dogmanaut

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I was reminded while listening to some Pentangle yesterday that I should probably take another stab at really learning to play with brushes.

I was never very happy with my old set — a pair of Vic Firth retractable ones with white knurled plastic handles. They were always getting stuck. Lucky for me, the black rubber inside them literally melted into a sticky viscous goo a few years ago (and ruined my whole stick bag in the process), so I’m in the market for a new pair.

What do you guys recommend?
 

Rockin' Billy

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Tigerdrummer

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I was reminded while listening to some Pentangle yesterday that I should probably take another stab at really learning to play with brushes.

I was never very happy with my old set — a pair of Vic Firth retractable ones with white knurled plastic handles. They were always getting stuck. Lucky for me, the black rubber inside them literally melted into a sticky viscous goo a few years ago (and ruined my whole stick bag in the process), so I’m in the market for a new pair.

What do you guys recommend?
I got some Jeff Hamilton brushes for Christmas and I like them. I am not much of a brush player though
 

Seb77

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Are you looking for jazz or country/rock oriented sounds?

Wire/rubber:
Regal Tip retractable is probably recommended most often for jazz.
VF heritage brush is their more traditional model.
I like the soft old-school Ludwig brushes with red handles, but they feel quite different.
I also have a nice pair of Rohema brushes. A German company with very competitive pricing over here.

Plastic: Sometimes I like the darker sounds of plastic/nylon bristles.
Retractable: LP or again Rohema come to mind.
Non-retractable: Regal Tip whiskers.

There are also longer/heavier models for louder playing, country etc.
 

Soulfinger

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I was never very happy with my old set — a pair of Vic Firth retractable ones with white knurled plastic handles. They were always getting stuck. Lucky for me, the black rubber inside them literally melted into a sticky viscous goo a few years ago (and ruined my whole stick bag in the process)
Same happened to me. Worst brushes ever, and really uncomfortable too.

Are you looking for jazz or country/rock oriented sounds?
That is a very good question.

For jazz, the VF Heritage (purple rubber handle) are nice, but my favourites are the Regal Tip Classic (583R). If you like a bigger handle, I can recommend the ProMark TB4 and the Rohema wire brushes (which look pretty identical but are a little softer). All good allround brushes.

The Regal Tip Jeff Hamilton are rather stiff and have great rebound which is cool for playing in a stick-like manner (rudimental stuff, train beats etc.). I find them too harsh sounding for jazz playing, but then again I´m no Jeff Hamilton.
If you consider nylon brushes, Regal Tip Whiskers are the best IMHO. Again, not my favourite sound for "classic" jazz playing, but great for anything else.
 

Matched Gripper

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I was reminded while listening to some Pentangle yesterday that I should probably take another stab at really learning to play with brushes.

I was never very happy with my old set — a pair of Vic Firth retractable ones with white knurled plastic handles. They were always getting stuck. Lucky for me, the black rubber inside them literally melted into a sticky viscous goo a few years ago (and ruined my whole stick bag in the process), so I’m in the market for a new pair.

What do you guys recommend?
Yeah, I'm not a fan of the heavy white VF brushes. They're heavy and combersome to me with the hard plastic handles. However, I really like the purple VF brushes. They are light weight, easy to grip with a softer rubber handle and seem to have slightly softer wires for a more subtle sound. They are very similar to the traditional black Regal Tip brushes, but, a bit lighter and (I think) softer wires than the RT's.

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thejohnlec

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I’ve had the same pair of black rubber Regal Tip brushes for probably close to 20 years. They’ve held up really well, feel great, and sound excellent.
 

dogmanaut

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I’m not much of a jazz drummer, but ideally, if I’m going to devote any time to learning real brush technique, I’d want something that could get the classic jazz brush sound. I’ll look at some of the options you guys recommended for that. Thanks!
 

felis

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I really like the Heritage brushes.
The wire diameter is a bit small which is great for flexibility, but one pair I have has some wires that are starting to hang out too far.
Still - I use them really a lot, and I'm not gentle with them, so I guess that's to be expected.
 

shilohjim

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I love the Ed Thigpen Regal Tip brushes with the half wood, half rubber handle. Don't know if they still make them, but I play a lot of brushes, and they've performed flawlessly for well over a decade.
 

paul

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I've been using the black rubber Regal Tip Clayton Cameron model non-retractables for years. I like brushes that are close to the diameter of my sticks (VF SD10). Also, I take some black electrical tape to narrow the spread to get a more articulate sound. The sound of the metal ring on a pair of retractables being drug across a ride cymbal is pretty pleasing as well, but I'd probably glue them in place and tape for a narrower spread.

Over the years I've played with a lot of different brushes, and my tastes have changed with my abilities and music. They're like sticks: find a pair that feels good when you play them. Then be open if the time comes that they don't work for you and try another pair.

I love playing with brushes. My big band leader even got us a chart on Diva's "Brush Work," a drum feature that, like the name implies, calls for brushes all the way through. Patrick Williams's arrangement of "In the Still of the Night" is also fun, and a challenge.

Good luck, and have fun.
 

NobleCooleyNut

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I play a lot of brushes with a Big Band and various small jazz groups . I have e used a lot of various brush models over the years but the model I always come back to is the Regal Tip Ed Thigpen signature brush . It is by far my favourite brush model . The wire gauge is not too heavy and stiff and the hybrid wood/rubber handle is nice .

some others that I have used and liked :
Regal Tip Clayton Cameron (non-retractable)
Regal XL ( wood handle non-retractable )
Vic Firth purple Heritage brush - just hit these as ai have been trying to find something if Regal Tip goes under .
 

multijd

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Regal tip 583r. If you can find them buy them. I scoured the internet a few months and bought as many as i could find/afford. I might have a dozen pairs which should last about a dozen years if/when we get back to it...
 

Elvis

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I was reminded while listening to some Pentangle yesterday that I should probably take another stab at really learning to play with brushes.

I was never very happy with my old set — a pair of Vic Firth retractable ones with white knurled plastic handles. They were always getting stuck. Lucky for me, the black rubber inside them literally melted into a sticky viscous goo a few years ago (and ruined my whole stick bag in the process), so I’m in the market for a new pair.

What do you guys recommend?
VF Legacy.
Sinc turned me onto these and I've been eternally grateful - https://vicfirth.zildjian.com/legacy-brush.html

Elvis
 

pwc1141

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Vic Firth purple model are a good middle weight suggestion. I happen to like their white ones but as they are new I don't have (yet) any of the problems mentioned above. I found the Jeff Hamilton brushes wires too stiff for my style.
 


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