keeping sticks from breaking

BoHuggabee

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i'm someone who only buys 1 or 2 pairs of sticks at a time, uses them up, and has an excuse to go to a music store. no big bags of sticks. my current pair just happens to start splintering this last week, when every music store is closed, and shipping is down. which got me thinking on how i can keep playing without worrying about breaking my sticks. i don't have a lathe yet, so i can't just make new sticks on my own...sticks take a lot of hits from metal, which dents the fibers of the wood and over time wears it down, causing chips, breaks and other issues. i decided to impregnate the sticks with epoxy, sand the epoxy layer smoother and thin, then coat it in flex seal that i patted on to keep in splotches, (hoping the thinner layers will keep a better tone for rim shots while still retaining the benefits of the rubber coating.) epoxy will prevent the wood from splintering, while the flex seal cushions the metal before hitting the epxy and even the wood. was thinking about another coating on top of the flex seal to keep it more rigid and transfer the energy to the rubber clumps, but epoxy might just crack

anyone have other methods for preserving the life of drum sticks?
 

NobleCooleyNut

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I may have broke 5 sticks in 50 years of playing to be honest . I have more issue with tips splitting than actual stocks breaking or wearing down .
If you have that much of a problem with sticks breaking why not purchase a pair or two of Easton Ahead drum sticks ? These will last you years .
 
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BoHuggabee

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I may have broke 5 sticks in 50 years of playing to be honest . I have more issue with tips splitting than actual stocks breaking or wearing down .
If you have that icy of a problem with sticks breaking why not purchase a pair or two of Easton Ahead drum sticks ? These will last you years .
ya, splintering and you'll just happen to stick the cymbal right into it and half the stick flies off lol

i had the aheads as a kid, and decided to order another pair, but like i said, shipping is down and music stores are all closed. fixing a pair of sticks that have just started splintering i think is preventative and might triple the life of the sticks
 

cworrick

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Well, take the Ahead idea and modify it.

Most hardware/construction stores are still open since they are deemed an "essential" business.
Find some rubber tubing that will fit tightly over your sticks and buy a couple feet of it.


I'm not a heavy hitter and my sticks will last me at least a month. Like Noble said, I have more problems with chipping the wood tips away than breaking.
I saw the Ahead sticks when they came out and my first thought was - two objects repeatedly hitting each other, Something has to break.
For me, I'd rather the stick break than the head, or worse yet a cymbal. As such I swore I would never use them.
 

Old Dog

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I would rather destroy a $10 pair of sticks every so often, than taking the chance of hitting my drums and cymbals with something that will break THEM, instead of itself.

And stick are READILY available online. At least the sizes and brands I like.
 

rculberson

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Ahead sticks are softer than wood sticks. They last a sh!t ton of time longer than wood sticks, and the replacement sleeves are cheaper than a new set of sticks.
 

Geardaddy

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I tried the Ahead sticks years ago and there were 2 things I didn't like about them. First was the feel. With the solid aluminum core they have zero flex and would make my hands hurt from playing. Second was the replaceable plastic sleeve. It served its purpose, but sounded awful on rim shots and on the hi-hat cymbals.
Lately I've been using the Aquarian X-10 graphite sticks with the red cushion grip. They last much longer than wood sticks and don't sound bad on the rim shots and cymbals. There is a slight difference in sound from wood sticks, but again, not a bad difference. And since I've developed some arthritis in my hands, the cushion grip lets me not grip the stick as tightly so my arthritis doesn't flare up from playing. I guess the only bad thing about them to me is that with the cushion grip, cross sticking doesn't work very well. But you can buy them without the grip too.
 

rculberson

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The core is hollow aluminum, not solid. Ahead sticks have significantly more flex and shock absorption for me than any wood stick. Tried the Aquarian sticks but didn’t care for the sound on cymbals.
 

mtarrani

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I may have broke 5 sticks in 50 years of playing to be honest . I have more issue with tips splitting than actual stocks breaking or wearing down .
If you have that icy of a problem with sticks breaking why not purchase a pair or two of Easton Ahead drum sticks ? These will last you years .
Same here. I have a hard time understanding how people wind up breaking sticks (or drum heads or cymbals). I usually toss sticks after they start getting whittled, but that takes years. Brushes, on the other hand, seem to have 6-14 months playing life with me. But the problems come from me too hastily returning them to a bag after a gig than anything else. One bent wire seems to quickly inspire the rest of the wires to follow suit ... but I digress :)
 

bigbonzo

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I used to break heads and sticks constantly when I was in the marching band in high school and drum corps. Since then I rarely EVER break sticks. I think a lot of it has to do with technique. Though, I couldn't tell what I do differently, other than having my drums and cymbals set up so that I don't hit the rims and the very edge of my cymbals.
 

TheBeachBoy

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I used to go through sticks faster, but after adjusting my cymbal heights and angles they last me quite a bit longer now. I have a pair I started using second week of September and they will last me a bit longer. I did coat them with superglue to hopefully help them last longer. That's the only thing I've done to them. The main part is the tip, which has chipped a tiny bit. Not enough to be noticeable on my cymbals, but it's there. Still better than when I'd go through a pair a month. I'm gigging (or was until recently) the same amount, so the only change was the cymbal angle/heights.
 

RogersLudwig

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I may have broke 5 sticks in 50 years of playing to be honest . I have more issue with tips splitting than actual stocks breaking or wearing down .
If you have that icy of a problem with sticks breaking why not purchase a pair or two of Easton Ahead drum sticks ? These will last you years .
I prefer wooden tips and they do crack and split after use (the Vic Firth AJ-1), but I don't believe I have broken more than four or five sticks in 50 years.
 

J-dubya

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I too only buy a few pair at a time and I tend to use a lot of rim shots so I shred the shaft fairly quickly. But in the past few years I've avoided breaking them by not using them at all.:-( Now that I'm getting back into drumming, I've adjusted my playing to avoid frequent rimshots. The new room I'm set up in is pretty lively so rimshots are extremely loud. In the past I've tried a variety of non-wood sticks, but find they are either too stiff or too soft.
 

Rick

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I used to break heads and sticks constantly when I was in the marching band in high school and drum corps. Since then I rarely EVER break sticks. I think a lot of it has to do with technique. Though, I couldn't tell what I do differently, other than having my drums and cymbals set up so that I don't hit the rims and the very edge of my cymbals.
I really think that's the biggest factor (technique). If you allow the stick to rebound properly rather than burying it into the head... unless you're just an incredibly heavy hitter... sticks shouldn't be breaking. I can't remember the last time I broke a stick. It was probably high school or maybe college marching band. And I'm 60 now, so that was a REALLY long time ago! lol
 

greegor

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I don't know what I did but the other day I split two sticks in a row. Really ticked me off! A combination of a new drumset, taping cymbals to quiet them and wanted to try new sticks last year (Vic Firth SD2's) after using 5A's forever. I didn't realize the new sticks are maple, so maybe too soft for me.

In the old days, we all used to wrap the tapered shaft with electrical tape. Kept a number of sticks alive, even after starting to break. :)
 

J-dubya

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One thing that I don't think has been mentioned is the grain on the stick. This is why I don't like to mail-order sticks because I can't pick them out myself. It's hard for me to explain in text, but if you see a darker grain that loops around, particularly the shoulder or nearer the tip, then that can indicate a weak spot where it will likely break. I try to pick sticks that the grain runs the entire length of the stick.
 

hsosdrum

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I rarely break sticks (although my china cymbals do chew up the shoulders), but after using a pair for a few months they start to lose their stiffness and the rebound begins feeling a bit 'soft'. That's when I toss them into an ever-growing pile and break out a new pair.

Luckily, the day before California went into lockdown I went to Pro Drum Shop and got 3 pairs of Vic Firths, so I hope to be set until we're all freed from our corn teen.
 

CSR

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I haven’t broken a stick (other than beads chipping) in four decades or more. During one song in a big band rehearsal, I broke 5 in a row. Just weak grain at the shoulder, but that sometimes happens with organic materials like wooden sticks. Not the fault of the company, by any means.
147E5836-2DD1-40AC-B760-1CFAA4980362.jpeg
 

Rich K.

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ya, splintering and you'll just happen to stick the cymbal right into it and half the stick flies off lol

i had the aheads as a kid, and decided to order another pair, but like i said, shipping is down and music stores are all closed. fixing a pair of sticks that have just started splintering i think is preventative and might triple the life of the sticks
Where are you that shipping is down?
 

lrod1707

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Where are you that shipping is down?
I wondered the same thing. Everything I've ordered in the last month I've gotten with no issues and on time. (I'm in Central Florida) Matter of fact, Fed Ex & UPS is operating overtime from what I have read. I wouldn't see any issues getting new sticks. And a recommendation to the OP, buy a brick of sticks if you can instead of buying a couple pairs at a time. That might work better for you. Unless you always change brands and sizes trying out new ones. (I know plenty of people that do that) That's what I do and it guarantee's that I always have a fresh pair. At roughly $8 a pair which should last some time, I wouldn't worry about any methods of making sticks last long. I play them till they start feeling weak and I throw them in the recycle bin and grab a new pair.
 

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