Very thin sticks cause me physical stress

Rich K.

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I have some gigs (small moose lodges with grey haired audiences) that I have to play at a very low volume. I use rods, but for songs that require a rim click (we do a lot of county and slow stuff) I have been using this skinny pair of Pro Marks; I think 7As, but they're thinner than Vic Firth 7A. So Saturday night By the end of the second set, my right hand is hurting as if I hadn't played in a while, though I was in shape. Also my back started hurting and I use a back rest and comfortable throne. I was feeling very uncomfortable playing.
I usually use Regal 5As.
In the middle of the third set I switched to my normal Regal 5As. They felt like clubs after using the skinny sticks most of the night. But after a song or two, all the pain in my hands and back went away; it really upped my playing the last couple of sets and by the end of the night I could have played longer.
Maybe it was psychological, but it felt like using the thinner sticks was causing me stress. Think I'm going to stick with the thicker sticks, even in low volume situations.
 

jaymandude

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Maybe just me, but I have to grip harder with smaller sticks. I've been moving up in size as I get older and ( hopefully) learn more. I can now play as lightly as I need to with Firth 55A's, where I use to reach for Gadd's or 7A's.

Glad it worked out.
 

JimmySticks

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I have some gigs (small moose lodges with grey haired audiences) that I have to play at a very low volume. I use rods, but for songs that require a rim click (we do a lot of county and slow stuff) I have been using this skinny pair of Pro Marks; I think 7As, but they're thinner than Vic Firth 7A. So Saturday night By the end of the second set, my right hand is hurting as if I hadn't played in a while, though I was in shape. Also my back started hurting and I use a back rest and comfortable throne. I was feeling very uncomfortable playing.
I usually use Regal 5As.
In the middle of the third set I switched to my normal Regal 5As. They felt like clubs after using the skinny sticks most of the night. But after a song or two, all the pain in my hands and back went away; it really upped my playing the last couple of sets and by the end of the night I could have played longer.
Maybe it was psychological, but it felt like using the thinner sticks was causing me stress. Think I'm going to stick with the thicker sticks, even in low volume situations.
Hey, easy now! I'm a grey haired Knight of Columbus! :blink: :icon_e_surprised::icon_lol:

Maybe your having to hit harder than you think with the 7As. And now you can hit easier with the bigger sticks which would help your hands. Just my 2 cents...
 
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pgm554

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Tony Williams played with 2B's.
His approach was he could play soft when required,but the extra mass of the stick was there when he needed it.
I remember asking my band director why use a 3s for marching and his answer it was the extra mass of the stick that made for easier execution.
Try a heaver stick and practice dynamics.
I use an SD2 bolero and am able to achieve pretty good control of my volume when needed.
 

GiveMeYourSmallestSticks!

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I love using thin sticks, it's no deficiency or anything to overcome or grow out of (for me). When I use thicker sticks than my usual bop works birdlands, they really do feel like clubs. I've also grown accustomed to the way my cymbals sound with thinner, lighter sticks, and really can't stand the resulting sound when I use what feels like a club to play a ride pattern. I will say that achieving consistent rebound on the drums themselves is definitely easier with bigger sticks, as is achieving a fatter drum sound, but one can certainly learn to compensate. In fact, learning to do those things with smaller sticks has made them even easier to achieve with large sticks and the added mass. This is likely as good an argument as any for using and practicing with a variety of stick sizes in different contexts.

More than anything, it's a question of what you're accustomed to, as so much in drumming comes down to feel. I play with a very loose grip, but do think it took a while to loosen up with the thinner sticks and still feel in control of them. I would wager that any pain and discomfort comes from overcompensating for the fact that they are not your norm or most comfortable and familiar stick type. After lots of time with the birdlands, even 7A and other Vic Firth Jazz models feel big to me. If I really wanted to embrace playing louder, thicker sticks would be my choice. As it is, my bandmates assure me that my little sticks are more than loud enough!
 
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NobleCooleyNut

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I like the BopWorks Mel Lewis model and Regal Tip 8a maple for my Big Band gigs . The Mel Lewis is used for the traditional 40’s Swing Tuned and I switch to the 8as for the more modern ( rock) charts .
I used to use the Regal Tip Jeff Hamilton stick ( a very thin stick) but I did not like the cross stick or ride cymbal sound with these sticks after awhile .

Maple sticks are great for low volume gigs , so much lighter and you can use larger diameters due to the reduced weight . I am not a stick breaker so maple is great for me . The 8a maple being my favourite .
 

lrod1707

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After using 747's forever, I've ended up now in 5B territory. Thinner sticks give me pain. I'm sure aging has to do with it. I feel less vibration in my hands with a 5B. Heavier weight helps as well. If you're a pitcher and spend all day swinging your arm without a ball, you will blow out your shoulder because the ball is your counterweight. So more weight & mass in a drumstick helps your muscles & joints work less.
 

hsosdrum

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Over the past 8 months I've had to switch to larger/heavier sticks because arthritis in my hands makes it more difficult to grip and use smaller sticks. For decades I used Firth 5As, but now primarily use 55As and occasionally 5Bs. I also enjoy the added 'slam' I get from the heavier sticks — they make it easier to draw all the tone out of my drums without having to hit quite as hard.
 

scaramanga

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The weirdest thing to happen to me in the last few years is the realization that I have more control, at any dynamic, when I'm using these massive logs I carry around now. Regal Tip 7B or Tish Sticks. I recall that in my youth concert snare drum sticks were all pretty beefy. That said, I don't always love how the fat tips sound on my cymbals.
 

fishaa

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It’s really a matter of control and playing dynamically. It doesn’t matter what stick is in your hand. Playing quiet is playing quiet. Playing loud is playing loud. But it takes years of exposure to those situations to be good at it.

As my father always said... ‘a carpenter doesn’t blame his tools.’
 

Houndog

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It’s really a matter of control and playing dynamically. It doesn’t matter what stick is in your hand. Playing quiet is playing quiet. Playing loud is playing loud. But it takes years of exposure to those situations to be good at it.

As my father always said... ‘a carpenter doesn’t blame his tools.’
Disagree , this is way more complicated than some old wise saying .
Our fathers weren’t always right .
 

crash

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Vic Firth Teardrops! I’ve tried smaller sticks and like them a lot, but my arthritic hands hate the small size. Bigger sticks are just easier on me. I seem to be able to play the same volume no matter what, so it doesn’t really matter to me.
 

Elvis

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I have some gigs (small moose lodges with grey haired audiences) that I have to play at a very low volume. I use rods, but for songs that require a rim click (we do a lot of county and slow stuff) I have been using this skinny pair of Pro Marks; I think 7As, but they're thinner than Vic Firth 7A. So Saturday night By the end of the second set, my right hand is hurting as if I hadn't played in a while, though I was in shape. Also my back started hurting and I use a back rest and comfortable throne. I was feeling very uncomfortable playing.
I usually use Regal 5As.
In the middle of the third set I switched to my normal Regal 5As. They felt like clubs after using the skinny sticks most of the night. But after a song or two, all the pain in my hands and back went away; it really upped my playing the last couple of sets and by the end of the night I could have played longer.
Maybe it was psychological, but it felt like using the thinner sticks was causing me stress. Think I'm going to stick with the thicker sticks, even in low volume situations.
I stopped using pencils because my hands are getting stiffer as I get older and I find the little sticks on the ground more often than in my hand.
I moved to a 5A size stick with a long shoulder and like you found, all is well again.

Elvis
 

Pibroch

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May also be worth trying a pair Vic Firth AJ 1 (American Jazz 1).

'A 5B shaft that feels full-sized yet plays “lightning fast”.'
 

drummerfriend

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Sample many to find what works best for you. Key is a very light grip to avoid pain. That said, at our age(s) there could be underlying medical conditions that are better served by certain diameters.

I've been using SD4's almost exclusively for 30 years. Occasionally I use a couple others, but it's not very often.
 

JimmySticks

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May also be worth trying a pair Vic Firth AJ 1 (American Jazz 1).

'A 5B shaft that feels full-sized yet plays “lightning fast”.'
So VF AJ1's will make me play lightning fast like BITD, when PF Flyers made me run faster and jump higher!? :icon_e_surprised:

I'm in!:-D
 


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