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

esooy

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I think I read somewhere that Zildjian owns Vic Firth. Just sayin'
You are correct, Zildjian does own Vic Firth sticks. Yet they are still making both brands. I guess there is enough brand loyalty to do both. (shrug emoji). Zildjian owns Balter mallets too (used to be Mike Balter Mallets).
 

Cauldronics

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The newest sticks I’ve bought are Zildjian and Tama, which have both impressed me with their quality. Evenly weight-matched, well-balanced and well-finished.

As importantly, they had profiles and weights that I wanted, including type of tip.

Vic Firth are still my go to, but I’d be fine switching to T or Z if needed. The good thing is having the choice. There’s no shortage of good sticks out there.
 

Redbeard77

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I've played Vic Firth X5B sticks for years, and they're well-made and hold up great except sometimes the tips chip prematurely. It bugs me more than it really affects anything, but I've recently switched to Wincent sticks now that they're more widely available in the USA (Pearl is the distributor). I play the Mike Miley signatures and have been very pleased with them so far.
 

fusseltier

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I've been using Promark American classic 5A wood tip for over 40 years and sometimes 747 rock.
I gave up on vic firth and others.
 

mjohnson12

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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.
Thanks for the mention on the X5A's. The extra length would be interesting to try. Also the Vic Firth Steve Smith seems similar to the 747 with a 5Aish diameter base with a shorter taper.
 

Rick

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Thanks for the mention on the X5A's. The extra length would be interesting to try. Also the Vic Firth Steve Smith seems similar to the 747 with a 5Aish diameter base with a shorter taper.
You're welcome! Yeah, I really like that extra half inch in length. Of course everybody has different preferences... but the first time I picked up a pair of those sticks in a music store I had to try them. Been my stick ever since. It just fits (me).
 

Deafmoon

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For the last few years it’s been Meinl Hybrid 5B fir me. I’m very happy with them.
 

mathale

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Has anyone noticed that the labelled side of their sticks seem to always ride face up (so that the brand name is visible)? Kind of like weighted/loaded dice? My Vic Firths do that. Man, that would be bogus. Maybe that's what they mean by weight-matched? LOL
 

jakeo

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Capella had my favorite finish. I'd buy some new ones, but it seems like CJ is only making one stick, and it's not what I'm looking for.

Regal Tip were inconsistent on a good day, but now impossible to order, if you're expecting any time frame at all.

Pro Mark, Vater, Los Cabos, and Innovative Percussion all have similar satin lacquer that doesn't stick to my dry hands at all.

Meinl sticks don't stick to my hands and so far I've had two of two pairs of sticks lose half a barrel tip within a week or two of buying them.

Vic Firth is okay. I play VF 5A Double Glaze sticks.
I'm liking Meinl's BIG APPLE SWING 5B - HARD MAPLE - SB124. 16 " .6 Dia.
They feel nice in my hand and have been holding up. Getting a really nice sound on my ride too. You can lay into things and it doesn't get too loud.
 

EvEnStEvEn

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I play VF 5A Double Glaze sticks.
^ They're a new model to me and I'm still on my first pair but I absolutely love them for their tacky grip. I'll be buying more! They're perfect for everyday general playing and amplified dance gigs.

For jazzy playing and lower volume situations I still use Vater Manhattan & Vater Sugar Maple Phat Ride models. Love those too.
 

slow larry

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I'd been playing 5a for pretty much ever, and had been using Promarks 5a Rebounds for a while. Evan's 3p logistics outsourcer screwed up a large head order so D'addario gave me a punch of there store scrip and I got the Claus Hessler stick, which are 5a rebounds with an even more exaggerated taper and smaller tip, plus the active grip.

I'd seen the active grip on sticks on stores but it was always so ugly and I don't really drop sticks ever, I didn't even notice these had it as you can't tell through the firegrain. The extreme rebound taper is amazing and the balance point is sooo far back on the sticks less than an inch of butt sticks out of my hand. I've been looking for these sticks forever.
 

Browny

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I’ve just used plain old VF 5B wood tips for years now. Really happy, don’t think I’ve had any duds, like how they feel in my hands and on the drums.

And you can get them at pretty much every drum shop. We don’t have as many brands/models readily available in Aus - mainly see VF, Vater and Zildjian - so being able to consistently get the same product almost anywhere is a big plus for me.

They’re also a pretty standard stick, so I’m not feeling out of place if I borrow someone else’s, rather than if I was used to playing something maple/oak/extra long/atypical diameter/etc
 

cruddola

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The absolute best sticks are the ones you have. Learn to play with anything. I went to a couple of Louis Bellson clinics and that was one of his strengths. He could do an almost silent and graduated to thunderous buzz roll with a shortened parade (bat) stick in one hand an a near pencil-sized dowell stick in the other without any deviation. A seven-inch long bat and a 21-inch dowell. Absolute magical! He said parade and marching drummers were the best at it. He said that Gene Krupa and Sonny Payne were at the top of that game. So was Bill Cobham. He witnessed Sonny Payne play a ten-minute solo on a snare with just wire coat-hangers at an after-hours Jazz joint. He said those guys could play with anything and modern drummers were a spoiled bunch that lacked dynamic control and syncopation even with the greatly-improved stick offerings those old-school drummers never had. I still practice dynamics and syncopation with different brands and sized sticks that he preached to this day four decades later.
 

fusseltier

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like I said, I stopped using vic firth sticks, but I still have a rare pair over 30-35 years old that I will use on rare occasions.
vic firth American classic magnum rocker, about medium weight and no tips, both ends are the same.

20210613_103824.jpg 20210613_103658.jpg
 

stick2it

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Since I kicked this thread off it's seen 1k views and lots of input . Thanks to all contributors. I learned about some manufacturers I'd never heard of -- Los Cabos seems especially worthy of looking into. I tried Innovative Percussion's sticks because I love their yarn-wrapped bass drum beater; but I encountered defects in the two pair of sticks I received (one pair warped, one pair had large crevices in the bead). I tried Scorpion sticks: well made, but the bead was twice the size of any bead I've seen terminate the shaft of a drumstick; apt maybe for playing in a rock band named "Scorpion." Still curious about Wincent. But in the end, I've made peace with my Vic Firths (lately 85A and 85A Freestyles) which are mostly made well (not warped, at least). Looking forward to learning more from this thread, but I wanted to get a thanks out to those that contributed.
 

jeffintampa

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Since I kicked this thread off it's seen 1k views and lots of input . Thanks to all contributors. I learned about some manufacturers I'd never heard of -- Los Cabos seems especially worthy of looking into. I tried Innovative Percussion's sticks because I love their yarn-wrapped bass drum beater; but I encountered defects in the two pair of sticks I received (one pair warped, one pair had large crevices in the bead). I tried Scorpion sticks: well made, but the bead was twice the size of any bead I've seen terminate the shaft of a drumstick; apt maybe for playing in a rock band named "Scorpion." Still curious about Wincent. But in the end, I've made peace with my Vic Firths (lately 85A and 85A Freestyles) which are mostly made well (not warped, at least). Looking forward to learning more from this thread, but I wanted to get a thanks out to those that contributed.
I'd like to have some old 11A ,Joe Morello model. I think Ludwig made them. Looong taper and 16 and a half inches.
 

ludwigjim

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For a long time, Vic Firth has been my go-to manufacturer for drum sticks (and brushes and mallets). I'm mostly a small group jazz player, and I like, especially, an 85A and the longer "freestyle" version of the same, both made of hickory with wood tips. But in the past couple of years, I've purchased Vic Firth drum sticks online that have felt a little rough in the hands or have had beads that are uneven (which translates to too-uneven sounds produced when playing a ride cymbal). For my Vic Firth pairs that are a bit rough or uneven, I give them a very light sanding with very fine sandpaper. But I shouldn't have to be doing this, it removes a little of the lacquer finish, and I never had to do this with Vic Firth sticks that I purchased years ago, many which have held up well over the years. (I'm still a fan of Vic Firth heritage brushes and timpani mallets.)

There are many brands of sticks out there: old ones like Promark, Regal Tip, and Vatar; and new ones like Innovative Percussion, Wincent, and Scorpion.

Which drum stick brand is best (i.e., consistently well-finished, durable, straight)?
Which brands are uneven in quality?
Has anyone else experienced inconsistencies with Vic Firth drum sticks (since they were bought by Zildjian)?
Like stick2it mentioned, Vic Fifth 85A is my go to stick. At 71 yoa, it just feels right. Haven‘t had any quality issues yet but will keep that info in mind next time a get a few pair. Always buy mine local from a mom & pop store and he hands me five or six pairs and let’s me roll and sample till I find what I like. Usually doesn’t take more than a minute.
 


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