Slight Drum Stick Rant; Customer and Quality

Stretch Riedle

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After reading the Regal Tip thread, and especially post #58, I knew I had to start a new topic.

I run the drum department at Starving Musician-Santa Cruz. We carry Vic Firth, Regal Tip, Pro Mark, Vater, AMR, Zildjian, Firewood and Los Cabos drum sticks. Not a lot of different models, but a decent variety. (Hell, we could probably do just fine selling Vic Firth 5A Wood tip, and Los Cabos Seconds ONLY!)

So my pet peeve is this: I understand checking sticks out carefully, rolling them on glass, sometimes tapping them by your ear to hear the pitch, visual inspection for grain differences, etc... Ok, I understand WHY you do this. But I came up with one question that I sometimes ask a drummer, and that is... Are your ARMS identical? Same size? Same weight? Equal in every way? Because if they aren't, the stick wouldn't matter so much would it??? And the truth is, very few humans have equal arms. Right-handed people usually have a larger right arm [because we use it more often].

Just my two cents.

Stretch

P.S. If you need Regal Tips, check our website for what is remaining in stock. We ship free on orders over $40.
 

equipmentdork

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After reading the Regal Tip thread, and especially post #58, I knew I had to start a new topic.

I run the drum department at Starving Musician-Santa Cruz. We carry Vic Firth, Regal Tip, Pro Mark, Vater, AMR, Zildjian, Firewood and Los Cabos drum sticks. Not a lot of different models, but a decent variety. (Hell, we could probably do just fine selling Vic Firth 5A Wood tip, and Los Cabos Seconds ONLY!)

So my pet peeve is this: I understand checking sticks out carefully, rolling them on glass, sometimes tapping them by your ear to hear the pitch, visual inspection for grain differences, etc... Ok, I understand WHY you do this. But I came up with one question that I sometimes ask a drummer, and that is... Are your ARMS identical? Same size? Same weight? Equal in every way? Because if they aren't, the stick wouldn't matter so much would it??? And the truth is, very few humans have equal arms. Right-handed people usually have a larger right arm [because we use it more often].

Just my two cents.

Stretch

P.S. If you need Regal Tips, check our website for what is remaining in stock. We ship free on orders over $40.
They're probably not, but neither do I want to introduce yet another imbalance...I need all the help I can get! :)
BTW, I have bought from your store years ago and have an old "Use an accordion, go to prison. It's the law!" bumper sticker.



Dan
 

lrod1707

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We most definitely have different arms but I still will make sure at the least that the sticks are straight and the tips aren't splintered. Everything else like pitch, grain difference, etc.., I could care less!
But I do respect that some people really are critical of those things. I see it this way, they are paying good money for 2 pieces of wood so whatever makes them feel good is OK by me!
 

Murat

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As a shop owner myself, I do respect people's ways when going about buying products but I would like to add something to what Stretch said that kind of ties to it. I have a customer who always comes and buys a pair of VF5As and a pair of VF5Bs. He uses the 5B on his left hand, the 5A on his right hand. We talked about this with him as I was puzzled at first. He said his weak hand (left) could use all the help it could get from the heft of the 5Bs and he said he was more comfortable doing ghost notes with the heavier stick. He also said his fills sounded more even as the weight of the 5B compensated for his lack of power on his left hand.
So, different strokes...
 

tillerva

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Interesting take on the two different stick approach. I haven’t read the other thread so I apologize if I’m covering something already done but if I buy a few pairs of sticks at a time I can missy certainly feel the difference when I drop one stick and grab another, random one (same size) - sometimes the weight deference feels like a ton!
 

hsosdrum

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I use the same model stick in both hands (VF 55A, 5B or 5A wood tip), but when I buy them I always choose a slightly heavier stick for my left hand (I use a marker to mark the tip of the butt of the right stick with a dot so I can quickly tell which is which.)

I play matched grip most of the time and I find that using a slightly heavier stick in my left hand helps make up for the power imbalance between my two hands. Plus, I prefer the feel of a slightly lighter stick when I play my ride cymbal.

So keep on rollin' them sticks, folks!
 
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paul

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The store where I buy sticks lets me bring a small digital scale which I set on the counter. They bring out 10-12 pair of Firth SD10's. I weigh them all and pick out 5-6 pair and the whole transaction is done in five minutes or so. The sticks used to vary as much as 30% in weight, although they were well matched and straight. Last time I went I got six pair that are all within .05 oz. per pair. Firth consistency has been steadily improving over the years I've been buying them, and I appreciate Lone Star Percussion's willingness to accommodate me. It's why I drive 30 miles across Dallas to buy sticks.

Besides, they have a lot of cool stuff.
 

repete

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The store where I buy sticks lets me bring a small digital scale which I set on the counter. They bring out 10-12 pair of Firth SD10's. I weigh them all and pick out 5-6 pair and the whole transaction is done in five minutes or so. The sticks used to vary as much as 30% in weight, although they were well matched and straight. Last time I went I got six pair that are all within .05 oz. per pair. Firth consistency has been steadily improving over the years I've been buying them, and I appreciate Lone Star Percussion's willingness to accommodate me. It's why I drive 30 miles across Dallas to buy sticks.

Besides, they have a lot of cool stuff.
I used to do the same thing with the scale. Drum shop guys thought it was a little overboard but understandable. The last few pair I got were Los Cabos online so I had to take my chances.
 

drummer5359

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When I first started gigging in the mid 1970s, quality control of drumsticks was to put it kindly, lacking. The only way to get a decent pair of sticks was to take them out of a bin and roll them across a counter top to try to find a couple of pairs that were not shaped like bananas. Bowed drum sticks were more common than straight sticks. Sometimes I was happy to find a couple of pair with only a slight bow. At the time I played Pro Mark or Regal Tip, but I found the same problem across the brands.

I remember reading in Modern Drummer a claim by the Vic Firth company, that they had come up with a process to manufacture sticks that didn't bow. They were also matching them by weight. I tried Vic Firth and was surprised that their claim was true, rolling sticks suddenly seemed like a thing of the past. I'm guessing that this would have been around 1996-1997. (I'm merely speculating on the time-line, but I think that I'm at least close.)

Other companies now also make straight sticks, but I've stuck with Vic Firth over the years because they were the first ones that seemed to get it right. And to me it was a very important innovation. This is my opinion, your mileage may vary.
 
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Matched Gripper

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After reading the Regal Tip thread, and especially post #58, I knew I had to start a new topic.

I run the drum department at Starving Musician-Santa Cruz. We carry Vic Firth, Regal Tip, Pro Mark, Vater, AMR, Zildjian, Firewood and Los Cabos drum sticks. Not a lot of different models, but a decent variety. (Hell, we could probably do just fine selling Vic Firth 5A Wood tip, and Los Cabos Seconds ONLY!)

So my pet peeve is this: I understand checking sticks out carefully, rolling them on glass, sometimes tapping them by your ear to hear the pitch, visual inspection for grain differences, etc... Ok, I understand WHY you do this. But I came up with one question that I sometimes ask a drummer, and that is... Are your ARMS identical? Same size? Same weight? Equal in every way? Because if they aren't, the stick wouldn't matter so much would it??? And the truth is, very few humans have equal arms. Right-handed people usually have a larger right arm [because we use it more often].

Just my two cents.

Stretch

P.S. If you need Regal Tips, check our website for what is remaining in stock. We ship free on orders over $40.
If you're a slammer who leaves dents in your drum heads and only plays your high hats and cymbals with the shoulder of the stick, then straight sticks probably don't matter. Otherwise, it matters.
 
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supershifter2

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After reading the Regal Tip thread, and especially post #58, I knew I had to start a new topic.

I run the drum department at Starving Musician-Santa Cruz. We carry Vic Firth, Regal Tip, Pro Mark, Vater, AMR, Zildjian, Firewood and Los Cabos drum sticks. Not a lot of different models, but a decent variety. (Hell, we could probably do just fine selling Vic Firth 5A Wood tip, and Los Cabos Seconds ONLY!)

So my pet peeve is this: I understand checking sticks out carefully, rolling them on glass, sometimes tapping them by your ear to hear the pitch, visual inspection for grain differences, etc... Ok, I understand WHY you do this. But I came up with one question that I sometimes ask a drummer, and that is... Are your ARMS identical? Same size? Same weight? Equal in every way? Because if they aren't, the stick wouldn't matter so much would it??? And the truth is, very few humans have equal arms. Right-handed people usually have a larger right arm [because we use it more often].

Just my two cents.

Stretch

P.S. If you need Regal Tips, check our website for what is remaining in stock. We ship free on orders over $40.
I agree all that sillyness is laughable. I order sticks by the gross. Vater 3A hickory wood tip. Not all are the same identical weight. BUT every stick I ever used made the drums and cymbals sound the same. That goes for the drum head tap test. More stupid nonsense. I heard about the tap test some years ago and did it quite a few times on heads that I order. The local music and drum store doesnt stock the heads I use. The tight heads and loose heads all sounded the same once they were on the drums and seated in. Imagine that , the timbre of a drum stick ! lol ! reminds me of the guy I have seen at putting a cymbal up to their ear to see how long it sustains. lol ! Anyone can hear things if they try. Reminds me of the audiophiles that swear a $1000.00 power cable made their stereo sound better. A friend use to work at a Mark Levinson-Audio Research-Conrad Johnson type store and laught at the gimmicks. I wonder if Buddy Rich ever ear tested his sticks and heads. Wax ! lol

Btw if you cant play with mismatched sticks then you are way too dependent. Several times over the years I have had a stick break during a song and I kept using it and made it work because I didnt want to miss a note. I have also played with warped sticks without a problem. If i can do it with deformed wrist and parts of my forearm bones missing then you can with your normal arms. Maybe I should change my name to Mongo Bones ! lol ! Oh throw me some bones will ya ! lol
 

jaymandude

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Everyone has different levels of expertise and awareness. How good are your hands ? How sensitive to balance and warpage are they ? And weight distribution in the stick ? I can play with anything, but at over 10 dollars a pair I'm going to make sure they feel good. Period. I can take me 30 minutes to pick out 3 pair.


I gave a freind some Zildjian Roy Haynes i stopped using. The next time I saw him in a club he said to me.. " Those sticks feels amazing" Yes, they do, I make sure they do..

What's actually ironic is they don't even make a stick I like, I have to buy certain models and cut them down to 15 5/8, router the end, and put shellac on them..
 

CC Cirillo

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As long as they aren’t warped, have fairly tight grain, and at least somehow feel “similar” in weight, I figure I’m good to go.
 

lrod1707

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I used to do the same thing with the scale. Drum shop guys thought it was a little overboard but understandable. The last few pair I got were Los Cabos online so I had to take my chances.
And how did it work out with the online Los Cabos sticks? I've found that they are pretty darn perfect every time. I don't know what kind of magic those guys do to the sticks but the consistency and QC is way above average. I guess it's the fact that they are a small company still and probably meticulously watch every step in the building process like hawks. Every drummer needs to give them a shot to see how good they really are. I loved their red hickory 5B's but they are to thin and started to hurt. And the 2B is way to much. I had to switch because they don't make something in between. I'm hoping that they eventually will.
 

lrod1707

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What's actually ironic is they don't even make a stick I like, I have to buy certain models and cut them down to 15 5/8, router the end, and put shellac on them..
Have you thought about getting custom made sticks? Probably even cheaper when you buy them in bulk.
 

repete

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And how did it work out with the online Los Cabos sticks? I've found that they are pretty darn perfect every time. I don't know what kind of magic those guys do to the sticks but the consistency and QC is way above average. I guess it's the fact that they are a small company still and probably meticulously watch every step in the building process like hawks. Every drummer needs to give them a shot to see how good they really are. I loved their red hickory 5B's but they are to thin and started to hurt. And the 2B is way to much. I had to switch because they don't make something in between. I'm hoping that they eventually will.
Each pair is very consistent and they are very well made but there is still the uncontrollable difference in weight between other sticks of the same model. I’ve never used them before so I ordered 5A hickory, red hickory and maple. I found the maple sticks lighter and are more durable than the others but I have mainly been using the red hickory. The are holding up very well.
 

supershifter2

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when the hihat starts chewing the shoulder they no longer weigh the same. I play on the top of the hihat cymbal hihat with the shoulder of the stick. took a little practice and been doing it fur 10 years
 

hsosdrum

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I haven't broken a stick in over 10 years, but after a while they begin to lose their resilience because rimshots break-down the cell walls in the wood. When the sticks' response begins to get 'mushy' I replace them with a new pair.
 


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