Very thin sticks cause me physical stress

thejohnlec

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I’ve been a 5B guy for about 15 years now (Vater wood tip). I’ve often maintained that it’s easier to play softer with a heavier stick than it is to play louder with a lighter stick.

That being said, I keep some Zildjian 7As in the bag for low volume. What works for me is just actively embracing the weight difference. This prevents me from sacrificing any technique while saving me the physical repercussions of having my musculature react to the weight difference as well as a significantly different kit on smaller format, low volume gigs. It sends my playing in different, fun directions as well.
 

bolweevil

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Same here. I switched to 7A when I was in a blues band, but when I went back to playing harder rock I found that if I'm striking the drums harder my grip increases a bit, and the thinner stick led to my hands cramping up. I went back to 5A and all is well.
 

GiveMeYourSmallestSticks!

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I’m surprised no one has mentioned Vic Firth SD5s. They are about the size of a 2B where you grip them but smaller than a 7A at the shoulder and tip and they are maple so it’s about the quietest stick I’ve ever used.
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These were recommended to me at one point, and I picked up a pair. I love the round tip and long thin taper, but the balance is definitely pretty weird and takes quite a bit of getting used to.
 

hardbat

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I switched to the tiny Bopworks sticks some years back because I preferred the way they sound, given the music I'm playing. But they naturally transmit more shock/vibration to the hand than a larger stick would. If I were playing louder music, I'd use larger sticks. At one gig last year that got louder than I was expecting, I left the gig literally with bruises on my hand. I'm sure that's because of the combination of small sticks and lots of rimshots.
 

m_anderson

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I’m surprised no one has mentioned Vic Firth SD5s. They are about the size of a 2B where you grip them but smaller than a 7A at the shoulder and tip and they are maple so it’s about the quietest stick I’ve ever used.
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You beat me to it. A specialty stick for sure. I like them a lot for specific light rhythms. Easy to break if you don't use them right.
 

swarfrat

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SD5 is about 10db quieter than a 2B if you wail on it. But mostly it's like driving in 2nd gear. It's easier to go 35mph but you just can't drive 55
 

thejohnlec

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You beat me to it. A specialty stick for sure. I like them a lot for specific light rhythms. Easy to break if you don't use them right.
To anyone who uses these or similar, is there any problem with pitting the heads or are they too light to do that?
 

dboomer

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I guess you can pit heads with anything if you hit hard enough. I don’t have any problems with them with my playing but I only use them when I don’t wanna be loud.
 

fishaa

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Want another pair?
PM me your mailing addy.

Elvis
That’s really nice. Thank you.
I haven’t been home (NYC) since the beginning of June. Had to get out!!

IF I return I’ll definitely hit you up.
Aaron
 

m_anderson

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To anyone who uses these or similar, is there any problem with pitting the heads or are they too light to do that?
You would break this stick before putting a dent in the head. I use the tip on the edge of the head, very gentle tapping with light rim shots, emulating the eighth notes of the hi-hat, and butt in the other hand for rim clicks. Very effective with some latin rhythms, and frees up the hi-hat to do some interesting syncopated foot work. I'm a southpaw, so I try to stay away from saying left or right, since it's always the opposite for me.
 

Elvis

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That’s really nice. Thank you.
I haven’t been home (NYC) since the beginning of June. Had to get out!!

IF I return I’ll definitely hit you up.
Aaron
Great! Look forward to hearing from you! =)
 

Pibroch

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  • Would these be a possibility for the OP: Vic Firth SRH (Ralph Hardimon Corpsmaster Signature)?
  • They're used at the drum set by the technically immaculate Emmanuelle Caplette - including cymbals, not just when teaching drum patterns and technique. Or might the cymbal sound be too much of a comrpomise? Anyway am going to order a pair and find out as I sometimes have similar problems to the OP and I only play quiet soft rock gigs
  • OVERVIEW
    • Strong, Responsive Hickory
    • Long Tapers
    • Large Barrel-Shaped Beads
    • Length: 17"
    • Diameter: 0.710"
    • Most Popular Marching Sticks

  • "Vic Firth Ralph Hardimon Snare Drum Sticks are the most popular marching sticks out there. Their balance is exquisite thanks to the long taper, rebounding very quickly off the drum to grant the player a great deal of control.
    A fat barrel-shaped tip helps you get the most sound out of every stroke without feeling too heavy - in fact, these sticks actually feel quite light in the hands.
    Made of strong hickory, these sticks can handle a beating (but if you play a lot of rim shots you should still reinforce them with some stick tape). The white painted finish looks great from the audience's perspective.
    If you need a brighter tone, these sticks are available with nylon tips. There's also a version specifically designed for younger hands.
    Length: 17"
    Diameter: 0.710""
  • [above description written by Michael Dooley - Lone Star Percussion website]
 
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GiveMeYourSmallestSticks!

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I switched to the tiny Bopworks sticks some years back because I preferred the way they sound, given the music I'm playing. But they naturally transmit more shock/vibration to the hand than a larger stick would. If I were playing louder music, I'd use larger sticks. At one gig last year that got louder than I was expecting, I left the gig literally with bruises on my hand. I'm sure that's because of the combination of small sticks and lots of rimshots.
I don't doubt this can happen, but the opposite can just as easily be true too. I find playing with the birdlands effortless, while larger sticks have given me more fatigue, bruises and blisters. But again, I'd say it's a question of choosing the right tool for the job. For my approach, my stature (5"5 and slight build, smallish hands) and what I'm trying to achieve, the birdlands sound and feel best.

I'm not trying to play loud or heavy music, but enjoy playing a lot of jazz and world music-inspired patterns of doubles and triples; polyrhythmic and linear stuff. Most of my playing is at home in my townhouse, and I try to keep it to a medium volume at the most. I don't want to muffle or mute my drums, and don't want an e-kit, so I try to control volume dynamics through stick, drum and cymbal choices (and my actual playing obviously). I'm lucky to have a 6.5 hammered black beauty, a drum with projection and articulation when using a light touch, but can achieve a very high volume level and ringing rim shots with ease when needed. It's also worth mentioning that in the case that I do need to get substantially louder, I drop my grip back to the butt of the stick and it's more than sufficient. I have a very loose grip and keep my hands pretty open, getting the sticks to do as much of the work for me as possible and imagining that I'm just guiding and influencing their movement rather than using them to hit anything.

My benefits from this have been my sense of dynamics and control when playing with other musicians (so I've been told). I've also found that the added challenge of summoning rebound and clean sticking from these has helped/forced me to hone my mechanics and stick control, something I really notice when switching back to slightly larger sticks. While that could be the best argument to switch back, I've yet to find anything that sounds as good to my ear for what I'm playing as these sticks. There's nothing wrong with the way they sound on a drum, and they bring out the magic of every cymbal they touch.

I do agree though, that for louder music the birdlands would be the wrong choice, for fear of breaking them or yourself in the process.
 

Twakeshima

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Last time I played lighter sticks the same thing happened to me. Stressed muscles etc. and by the end of the session I had broken one in half. I find it’s easier to get more volume with less effort with heavier sticks. If you’re playing soft it’s virtually no effort. And when you’re playing hard it gives you that extra weight.
 

chollyred

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Since most of my drumming now is on an old ekit with rubber pads, I had to get away from thin sticks. the vibration was really inflaming the joints in my thumbs. I switched to 2Bs and let the sticks do the work. I also found I don't drop them as often. when I play acoustic, I usually play 5As, Occasionally 7As or rods for low volumes.
 

RIDDIM

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I keep some lighter weight sticks - Jake Hanna's, SD4, Vic Firth Jazz - in the bag for lower volume gigs. Some of my cymbals can be too washy if over driven. For louder music, bigger sticks (e.g., Zildjian Super 5B) take more of the shock and distribute less of it to my hands. While I appreciate the ease of getting around a kit with say, 7As, trying to play harder with smaller sticks transfers more shock to the hands.

That said, when I record, most of the engineers I've worked with favor a heftier stick because it gives a better signal and makes their jobs easier. What I've found in engineering my own stuff is that the close mic'd and recorded kit generally sounds better on studio monitor speakers, headphones, the car, PC, earbuds - when played with heftier sticks. And one can play quietly with heftier sticks.

One of the kings of this is Sean Rickman, who can play with huge sticks on an Earth ride and wide open kit on a restaurant jazz gig, burn the house down, and still stay at whisper jet level. When I first saw this, it showed me that stick size was not the issue in playing softly; playing softly was the issue.

It took me a minute to develop the ability to play quietly with them, but that's just a matter of attitude - if you think you can or can't, you're probably right - and doing the work to develop the facility.

Some things to think about. I hope this is of use.
 


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