If you’re a drummer than apart from your drums, there’s one other piece of equipment that you need before you can start playing, that is, of course, your drumsticks! Your sticks are as important as the drums you play and it's important you get the right ones for you.
If you’re a beginner then you might be feeling a little overwhelmed by all the choice out there. But don’t worry, this handy guide is here to take you through some of the best options currently available, so you can find something that suits you and start playing!
This guide will take you through some of the best options, has an FAQ section to answer some of your biggest questions and will make sure you feel prepared to buy the sticks that are right for you!
Our Top 5 Drum sticks:
- Vic Firth American Classic Drum Sticks
- Promark LA Specials 5B Hickory Drum Sticks
- Vater VH5AW Wood Tip Drum Sticks
- Pocket Stix Maple Drum Sticks
- Zildjian Maple Green Dip Drum Sticks
1. Vic Firth American Classic
Starting off we have a true American classic. These sticks are 5As made from hickory, with wooden tips. Hickory is a great wood for drum sticks because of how durable it is, These sticks are built to last and as long as you use them for the right kind of playing you should be using them for a long time. It’s important to remember that because these are 5As they are really designed for light, fast, steady drumming and are good for all modern genres.
If you’re more of an extreme drummer than these probably aren’t the sticks for you. Despite that, they’d suit either beginners or more advanced players despite being basic sticks. These are good all-rounders, and if you’re not sure what you’re looking for these are a great choice for any drummer. But even if you are a more experienced player these are worth considering for the versatile sound they can produce.
Made from hickory making them durable
Great all-rounders, perfect for beginners or more advanced players
Good for all modern genres
Make a great versatile sound
Jazz style musicians might find this stick a touch heavy
2. Promark LA Specials 5B Hickory Drumstick
These drumsticks are a great option for young beginners and young players. These sticks are incredibly comfortable to use, so if comfort is an important factor for you then these are a great option for you. The grip on these means that you never have to worry about dropping them while you’re playing, you won’t have to hold onto these really tightly which helps relax your hands and reduces hand sweat which again means you don’t have to worry about dropping the sticks as you play.
These are 5Bs and are a great all-rounder for most genres. These sticks are made from hickory so as long as you use them right, they’re not going to break on you anytime soon. They have wooden tips to help you get that natural sound many drummers are looking for.
5Bs so slightly thicker than 5As so you don’t have to worry about drumming slightly harder and breaking your sticks
Great grip so you don’t have to worry about dropping them and instead can relax your hands
Made from hickory for durability
These sticks are great for keeping your hands dry and reducing stress
Great versatile sound for all genres
Probably not the best sticks for professionals or performing
- Three pair of 5B drumsticks.
- Hickory is the most popular wood choice for drumsticks due to its resilience, responsiveness, durability, and classic feel
- All LA specials drumsticks are designed and manufactured in the USA
- The Package Dimensions of the Product is 0.5"H x 16"L x 0.5"W
3. Vater VH5AW Wood Tip
These sticks from Vater are made from hickory with wood tips and are great quality. They’re slightly heavier towards the tip which helps with response and attack on the drums which makes them a great option for any drummer. Vater only uses the best hickory in their sticks, so if you do decide to go with these then you’ll know that you’re buying perfect straightness, grain structure, and moisture content making these the perfect sticks for someone who really cares about the quality they’re playing with.
They’re 5As so perfect for a lighter more consistent style and they come in a range of colors including black, white, and nude so you can find something that suits you and your look!
5A great for most genres
Made from hickory for durability
Only the best high-quality wood, these will last you a while
Well balanced and slightly heavier towards the tip perfect for really attacking the drums
Might be a little heavy for some players
4. Pocket Stix Maple
Our next stick is one that’s perfect for the young drummer. Pocket Stix Maple are light and slightly shorter than a normal stick, so are perfect for kids from 8 and up. Most drum sticks are 16” but these are only 11” which is why they’re called ‘pocket stix’.
They’re 5A made from maple wood making them slightly lighter than hickory and they can literally fit in your back pocket. If you’re looking for a great workout stick for a beginner’s drumstick than this is a good option. They’re recommended for 8 and up but if someone supervises there isn’t a reason why you couldn’t give these sticks to a younger child.
Maple making these sticks lighter than hickory
Much better sound than a plastic stick
Shorter so perfect for children
Wood tip for a great sound
While these can come in a variety of colors the paint will chip off with use
- The Drumsticks That Fit in Your Pocket - 1 Pair 5A Maple- 11" Long
- Lightweight Durable Maple Produces Quality Sound
- Perfect for kids ages 2 and up
- Ideal Addition To Beginner Drum Sets
- Better Sound & Feel Than Plastic Sticks
5. Zildjian Maple Green Dip
Yes, the world famous guitar brand Fender also makes ukuleles. Over the years their brand has expanded and they now offer a variety of stringed instruments.
With such a big brand name it's not surprising that Fender came out with the Montecito tenor ukulele.
It is a good quality ukulele that would be considered in the mid range price range.
- Made out of Koa wood, which is the traditional wood used to create ukuleles in Hawaii.
- Features a Fender telecaster style headstock which gives it that rock and roll feel.
- Wood quality gives it a beautiful tone.
- Has that one of a kind Fender design.
- Available in multiple colors.
- Has a no-tie bridge which makes it super easy to change the strings.
- Has a solid top giving it a resonant tone.
- Users have complained about it going out of tune fairly often.
- Lightweight alternative to hickory
- Allows more sensitive and controlled playing
- DIP grip provides back weight to the stick
- Play with maximum grip at maximum speed
- Extra lightweight 7A profile with more reach
Best Drumsticks Buyer's Guide
If you ‘re looking for sticks for the first time then it might be worth going onto YouTube so you can hear what some of the sticks you’re looking at sound like. The sound is, after all, the most important thing when it comes to your drumming along with the drums themselves. If you have the chance definitely to try out some sticks to get a feel of what’s good for you and your playing.
It’s important to remember that different sticks feel different and working out what’s best for you is a process that you should try and enjoy. Find sticks that suit you and help you strive to be the best player you can be. While it can sometimes seem that any sticks will do, especially if you are a beginner because the sooner you have your sticks the sooner you can start drumming. Most drummers feel like this at some point, but drum stick are so important for your sound and the wrong stick can make it much harder to play.
If you’re a beginner, you don’t want to start with the wrong sticks because you may begin to doubt yourself and stop playing. The right stick can actually make it easier to learn because you can focus on developing your skills instead of trying to make the sticks work for you. More advanced players may have the skills and equipment like a drum machine, to compensate for poor sticks, but generally, it is much easier to get the right thing for you, so you can just focus on making great music.
The right stick will help you progress faster, which is what every musician wants.
It might be you’re a complete beginner, or maybe you are still thinking about whether to start drumming. So here’s an FAQ section that’ll answer all your burning questions:
What are the Different Kinds of Wood for Drumsticks?
Different woods have different properties and are used for different sticks. It’s important to think about what kind of wood you want because the wood will influence the kind of sound you’re looking to make on your snare drum.
Some of the different woods used are
The wood used most is hickory. Hickory grows slowly so it is dense and heavy, which means that your sticks won’t wear out quickly or break making this the best wood for making durable, long-lasting sticks. They also have a versatile sound, so many drummers use them for all different kinds of music
Hornbeam is mostly used in Europe since hickory doesn’t grow there and hornbeam has some of the same qualities as hickory. S if you’re looking for something dense and heavy, hornbeam is another option for you. It also makes that versatile sound that can be applied to many different genres.
Maple grows slower than hickory and hornbeam which makes it less dense and heavy. It’s lighter and is far more bendy so it's suited to a less violent style of play. It’s easier to play faster with maple sticks and they’re great sticks for beginners because they’re so light. Beginners also find that they can get a better grip on maple sticks, which means they can really focus on getting the technique need to progress quickly.
Finally, you can get oak drumsticks. These are much harder to find, these are the heaviest and most durable kind of stick. But they’re more suited to an advanced style of play. Most well-known brands will have oak sticks, but they’re less versatile so they can’t be used for all genres.
You can get plastic or metal sticks, but most drummers don’t think they make the sound like wooden sticks. They are much harder to break which can make them a great beginner stick, but if you want to play properly at some point you’re going to have to upgrade to wooden sticks. If you think you’re only going to be a casual player, then these might be worth considering, but for players looking to take their music seriously, it’s recommended that you look at wooden sticks.
Most of the time sticks are lacquered to make them durable and to stabilize the moisture content of the wood. You can find un-lacquered sticks that are less slippery, so you can get a better grip, which if you typically have sweaty palms could be a good thing. Unlacquered sticks can feel more ‘natural’ which can be important for some players, but as you’ve seen plenty of lacquered sticks have a great grip which can be useful for a player just starting out. It’s all about what feels best for you, and what you feel can enhance your playing.
How do I hold drumsticks?
While you may think it’s just a matter of picking up your sticks and going at it, its actually very important that you have the right technique when you play. If you get the basics right from the start then you’ll find it easier to play, and you won’t have to waste time correcting bad habits once you reach a certain level. While it might seem like you’re delaying getting started, once you’ve mastered holding your sticks properly you shouldn’t have any problems progressing quickly and smoothly until you’re playing like a pro.
Holding your stick the right way is really important because if you hold your sticks wrong you won’t be able to have the balance you need for great playing, and you’ll lose the important bounce that all great drummers have. So, you need the right technique to become a great player. If you’re having lessons than your teacher will be able to watch and keep an eye on how you are holding your sticks and will correct you when necessary.
But a growing number of young drummers are self-taught so here’s a quick tutorial on how to correctly hold your stick:
- Hold your hand out flat with your palm facing up
- Lay the stick in the first joint of your index finger
- Put your thumbprint against the stick opposite the index finger
- Wrap the rest of your fingers around the stick, so several centimeters of stick rests against the back of your hand
- Now turn your hand inwards so your index finger knuckle is the highest point
- Now turn your hand inwards into a more natural position. The index finger knuckle will be the highest point of your hand.
This should be enough to get you started, and there are plenty of videos on YouTube on other methods. If you’re thinking of playing jazz than this method won’t work for you. It always seems like the easiest option to just throw yourself into drumming and skip the basic steps you should do as a beginner. But unfortunately, there isn’t a short cut to playing awesome music. Practicing is how you get better, and by going slow you’ll ultimately come out a better player.