Sticks (again): Which brand is the best (i.e., consistently well-finished, durable, straight)?

Targalx

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Well, don’t laugh, but I’ve had a remarkably consistent pairs of sticks from Guitar Center’s Sound Percussion house brand. I buy several 2B bricks a year. They’re great and very inexpensive. I don’t know who makes them for GC. I was told Vater did a while back, but not sure if they still do.

I did buy an unbranded bag of 2Bs from GC as practice sticks. They weren’t nearly as good. But they were even cheaper and were perfect for rehearsal sticks.
 

Griener

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I do not use sticks thicker than .520 (and .512 is my preferred diameter), nor do I use sticks shorter than 16 inches. They have no sticks that come close to meeting both of those attributes.
LA Backbeat will be the right sticks for you. It’s a one man enterprise and Frank Kincel is a great guy doing business with.
He made a .505 model for me which is amazing for acoustic settings. Make sure you understand his descriptions right: J(azz) means lighter wood, B(ounce) means longer taper, X is extra length.
And his prices are very affordable, even with shipping and taxes to Berlin in my case.
 

853guy

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Initially it was Zildjian, because I was a brand fetishist and needed the same sticks as the cymbals I played and t-shirts I wore (the Omar Hakim and Steve Smith signature models, both of which would either lose the ball-shaped nylon tips or splinter the elongated barrel tips within days).

Briefly tried ProMark and just never liked them for whatever reason.

Then several years playing Vic Firth. 5As, 5Bs, Extreme 5As and 5Bs, 2Bs and Rock models, all of which would break eventually. Swapped to the Shogun Oak series, but still broke them.

Swapped to the Ahead aluminium sticks. If ever there was a poster child for great idea in theory, and crap idea in practice, these were it. Complete absence of tone, response, playability combined with average durability.

And then Vater. I don't think I've ever, ever broken a Vater stick under any circumstances. Yes, they'll wear away around the shank where rim shots happen, but otherwise I've found them to be really consistent in terms of feel, response and tone. Tried some sugar maple 8As recently for lighter playing and love them.

Recently tried some Wincent sticks, which seem fine, but still prefer Vater overall.

FWIW.
 
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017

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I've had the best luck with Vater and Pro-Mark regarding straightness, with Vic Firth being the worst. Consistency in finish is probably a wash between the three. I've never tried any other brands.

I don't break sticks, so I can't comment on durability.
 

Heartbeat

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I'm a Los Cabos endorser because the first time I held a pair, they felt perfect. High quality, weight matched, no rough spots, and they last forever. I primarily use their 5A Intense (a 16.5" 5A), but also like the 77A, Jazz, Power Maple, and Jive maple. With other brands, I snap maple sticks, but not Los Cabos.
 

varatrodder

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I'm a Los Cabos endorser because the first time I held a pair, they felt perfect. High quality, weight matched, no rough spots, and they last forever. I primarily use their 5A Intense (a 16.5" 5A), but also like the 77A, Jazz, Power Maple, and Jive maple. With other brands, I snap maple sticks, but not Los Cabos.
I keep hearing good things about Los Cabos, but unfortunately they don't offer a small stick in a 16" length. The closest the have is a 7A (but it's too short) and the 77A (but it's too long).
 

pjmariner

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Like most, I have tried lots of sticks, mostly in the 5a and "rock" sizes from all the brands. Played Promark oak 747 for long time. Now, my main stick is the Vater Los Angeles 5a (short taper, larger tip). Straightest, most dense hickory sticks I have ever played, extremely durable.
 

halldorl

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For over a year I’ve been using Tama oak sticks, OakLab Full Balance model. So far they are extremely consistent; weight, finish, straightness. I buy them in bulks. They are always the same weight which I think is pretty impressive.
 

repete

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I've been very happy with Los Cabos sticks. How happy? - Happy enough to have bought a T-shirt
 

MrDrums2112

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The Regal Tip Bob Gatzen (and later Billy Martin - same design) sticks were my favorites for years. I also like the Vic Firth Steve Gadd sticks.
 

flatwins

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I have tried a lot of brands over the years, but always go back to Promark. I've enjoyed using their sticks since the mid-60s. Their oaks have the best feel, weight, and bounce for me.
Pretty much me as well. I stray, I try new sticks, and I pretty much always come back to ProMark 747s.
 

Johnnythunder

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I used to play regal tip "rock" sticks for years. I liked them, but kept breaking on me. Switched to Zildjian "super 5-B's and never looked back. I guess its like buying a pair of shoes, what's comfortable for one guy doesn't always translate to what's comfortable for another. I think I read somewhere that Zildjian owns Vic Firth. Just sayin'
 

Rick

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I’ve used ProMark 747s forever as well.
I played ProMark 747's for a lot of years... college (1980) through about 2006. I switched for a while to the original Dave Weckl signature sticks. And for the past 8 years or so have been playing Vic Firth X5A's, which I'm super happy with. The 747's were good, but I found that they would splinter really badly from rim shots. I've never had a pair of Vic Firths do that.
 

hefty

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A couple years ago someone listed Vic Firths (Extreme 5b's) on Reverb for like $2.99 a pair. Maybe it was an error in the listing but I bought all 20 pairs they had and still haven't worked through all of them. So Vic Firth it is!
 


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