How to choose the drumsticks?
There are two basic parameters for choosing sticks:
1. The sound
2. The motoric parameter
For the musician, both of these parameters are very important, and as you gain percussion experience, you also learn to make the right choices in terms of drumsticks.
Drumsticks are for a drummer what a brush for a painter. If you want to bring out selective, precise sound, hard drumsticks with a small head (oval or ball) will work better – the smaller surface of the stick’s contact with instruments (especially cymbals) will provide a more selective and punctual sound.
So if you prefer a more blurred, „wider” sound, use sticks with a thicker tip and softer wood (eg Maple). The hardest and most durable sticks are made of hickory wood or oak. Hickory sticks are the most popular, not only because of the optimal sound, but also high durability.
It is very important that the sticks of pair should sound the same or at least have a similar sound. High-end drumsticks, such as ROHEMA, which I use, are carefully selected not only in terms of size and weight, but also in sound, so that both sticks sound perfectly the same.
When you buy sticks, do a simple test – tap both on any surface (or gently on your own head) and check that the sound of the sticks is the same.
The second test is to assess the precision of their performance. Start rolling both sticks on a flat surface, such as a table, and check if they are not bent in one direction, which will be seen when rolling them (bending the stick is the so-called „Banana” ).
Avoid such gnarled sticks because they are not suitable for playing at all!).
In addition to the sound, we expect the drumsticks to be technically convenient for us.
It is worth choosing the right sticks in terms of our body construction and preferences.
Of course, sticks differ in length, thickness and weight, so choose the optimal size to start with – e.g. medium size and thickness – each manufacturer has a different marking for their sticks, but find your optimum.
A stick that is too light will not have enough strength to play with greater dynamics, and to rebound properly, while a stick that is too heavy will overload the wrists, causing hand pain and technical difficulties.
Too long sticks will not be comfortable in playing a drum set – you will hook it with the instruments, just like a too short – it will be difficult to reach the whole drum set.
The thickness of the stick is also important – depending on the size of your hand and the length of your fingers, it will be easier for you to play with thicker or thinner sticks. I recommend starting with medium-thick sticks again.
And finally, how to balance the sticks. It is also a very important parameter that distinguishes high-end sticks from the inferior ones.
A well-balanced stick will have adequate strength, even with less weight, so it will recover better impact energy.
How do you check the balance?
Grab it approximately 1/3 of the length from the end with your index finger and thumb and hit the hard surface (snare drum, drum pad, table), checking that it bounces well and willingly „goes back” up.
You can use heavier sticks (eg Rohema Jatoba) to practice the snare drum, they have better reflective properties, and your hands do not get tired like when you play heavier sticks on the whole set.
So much theory, the rest you have to check yourself in practice.