Why I switched to Vater 5A's

NoMotivationDrummer

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I used to love the Vic Firth 2B sticks, but I have run into some problems while using them.

First of all: Blisters. Lots and lots of blisters. When I would use 2B's I would get large blisters at the base of my fingers and up and down the finger as well. It became so painful that I couldn't play. If I did play, they would pop and cause even more pain. If they did pop, even washing my hands would be painful. I am assuming that the reason I got so many blisters is because I was playing with such heavy sticks.

Second: I can't crash heavy rides with them. With 2B's, it is much harder for me to crash on heavier rides like the Sabian B8X and B8. This is a problem because those are the cymbals that my local School of Rock uses. With 5A's, it is much easier to crash on rides that are not thin and/or light. This has helped me a ton and I love it.

The stick I prefer is the Vater Power 5A Acorn. They are incredibly durable and last forever. I have used them at a gig and a few live practice sessions plus practice on my eKit an they have only a few dents and scuffs.
 

WesChilton

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No matter the brand, there is a MASSIVE difference from a 5A to a 2B! Blisters can be from many things, I used to get them with ProMark sticks of any size because of the heavy varnish on them. I switched to Vic Firth sticks and they completely went away. Big heavy sticks like 2Bs can definitely cause problems if you are a hard hitter and grip very tightly.

I dont quite understand why the move to a 5A would allow you to crash on heavy rides easier... its a significantly smaller and lighter stick, so you have to put more work into the stick. I would have thought a drop like to a 5B would have been a more logical change. But at least you found something you like, and thats good.
 

NoMotivationDrummer

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No matter the brand, there is a MASSIVE difference from a 5A to a 2B! Blisters can be from many things, I used to get them with ProMark sticks of any size because of the heavy varnish on them. I switched to Vic Firth sticks and they completely went away. Big heavy sticks like 2Bs can definitely cause problems if you are a hard hitter and grip very tightly.

I dont quite understand why the move to a 5A would allow you to crash on heavy rides easier... its a significantly smaller and lighter stick, so you have to put more work into the stick. I would have thought a drop like to a 5B would have been a more logical change. But at least you found something you like, and thats good.
I am definitely a hard hitter and I grip sticks tightly, like you said. That is probably what caused the blisters. It could also be the finish on the Vic Firth sticks.

As for why I can crash easier on the 5A's. I think its because I'm such a hard hitter, I can put more power into the stick without exerting as much force with a 5A compared to a 2B. It is also easier on the hands and I don't get tired as easily when playing double riding hi-hat grooves and such. I enjoy double riding groves a lot even it they take a bunch of stamina at high speeds. It is well worth it to get that funky sound.
 

WesChilton

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Well, I definitely get that a 5A doesnt wear you out as much... I have pretty big hands, but I could never play a 2B. Those are like baseball bats. I did finally move up to a 55A though and thats a great sweetspot for me.
 

TheBeachBoy

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I normally use a 5B but picked up a pair of 2B's with a gift card. They're great for some things but I couldn't use them for a full 3 hour gig. And the finish on different brands can make a huge difference on how tight I grip them. If my hands get too dry/slick I use Working Hands lotion which gives them a bit of tack for better grip. Not as aggressive as Gorilla Snot or sex wax either.
 

equipmentdork

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I made that switch from 5Bs to 5As. I like to switch between Vic Firth 5As/Extreme 5As, Vater Los Angeles, Zildjian Super 5As, and the old Pro Mark 747s.

Like the OP, I was enjoying the 5Bs, but getting those gigantic, painful-as-fick blisters.


Dan
 

kevinyarger

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I would actually have guessed it to be the opposite. I was over gripping my 5a's while play fast and heavy hard rock which would give me blisters and my hands would cramp. Randomly I used a pair of Thomas Lang Signature VF's(.650 in diameter) at a gig and I had no cramps or blisters the whole show. I realized that I gained some volume from the heavier sticks which allowed me to relax my grip, causing less friction on skin and no fatigued muscles. I haven't had a blister or even a callous on my hand in over 15 years and I've even gone back to using 5a and 5ab style sticks.
Dave Elitch has a great online course(or even taking a private lesson is great) that can help.
I will also add that VF's have an ingredient in their finished sticks that gets super tacky in my hands if I'm sweating, I found if I know it's going to be a hot gig to switch to a no lacquer finished stick instead or even a Vater model stick.
 

phdamage

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I am definitely a hard hitter and I grip sticks tightly, like you said. That is probably what caused the blisters. It could also be the finish on the Vic Firth sticks.

As for why I can crash easier on the 5A's. I think its because I'm such a hard hitter, I can put more power into the stick without exerting as much force with a 5A compared to a 2B. It is also easier on the hands and I don't get tired as easily when playing double riding hi-hat grooves and such. I enjoy double riding groves a lot even it they take a bunch of stamina at high speeds. It is well worth it to get that funky sound.
I am a 5B basher and have been forever. I got blisters all the time in my early years of playing - and still get them from time to time. a lot of it has to do with how fast the band i'm playing in is, so some of it is kind of unavoidable for me. however, the best thing i've found is warming up and stretching. if i don't warm up enough, my forearms can cramp up, which causes me to grip the sticks tighter and then it's a feedback loop from there. if you're playing some fast songs, do some jumping jacks, jump rope, jog somewhere - anything to get your heart rate up and loosen up.

one thing i've found generally that i learned from boxing of all things, is that staying loose always makes for better performances. when i switched to playing a double bass pedal, i started having a lot of the same difficulties with my feet that i used to have with my hands during performances. loosening up and relaxing helped me steer clear of a lot of that.
 

langmick

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I've used these for a long time and swear by them. I'll get 3pr, tone match, I can usually get 3 good pairs out of this. Then sand the varnish off in the gripping area. It's a litter slippery to me. They last forever an sound great with Remo heads and Pasties.
 


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