Myths about Pipe Band Drum Sticks

So, we all know there are way too many drums sticks on the market. Many, many options in all different shapes, sizes and colours. But if you take the time to go through them all (which can take a heck of a lot of time and money!), then you will discover there’s literally one or two options on the market that deliver incredibly consistent pairs time and time again.

All too often I hear discussions about picking drum sticks. The key things people throw around when offering advice on picking drum sticks : 1) Roll them on a flat surface to ensure they roll smoothly 2) weigh each stick so they match each other to the exact gram 3) pitch each stick evenly.

To put it bluntly – if you wanted to do all of the above things then I would suggest you might need 200 sticks to find 5/6 pairs to tick all of those boxes. It’s really unrealistic and not required. If both of our hands performed perfectly (i mean like a robot!) then we might start getting down to variables like exact weightings – but none of us are robots. Personally, I threw my drum stick scales out the window about 7 years ago. Feel is much more important to me, if the sticks feel balanced – joy! Don’t go wasting time trying to weigh them.

Rolling the sticks on a table …well if you find new pairs that don’t roll evenly then you are playing a stick that hasn’t been manufactured with quality controls in place.  I no longer roll sticks on a table – as I’ve been happy with the stick brand I’ve played for a long time now.

Pitching – this is pretty important. Try to look for sticks that are evenly pitched and on the higher end.  Who is the #1 stick manufacturer on the planet? Vic Firth. This may only be my opinion but I’ve tested (thoroughly) every other pair of sticks on the market and not one is as consistent and well balanced as the Jim Kilpatrick KP2 by Vic Firth. I’ve played these sticks for years in the Canterbury Caledonian Pipe Band and as a soloist and they have never let me down. Great pitch, fantastic balance and they are forever consistent. I have had similar conversations with other top pipe band drummers and rock/jazz drummers – time and time again, Vic Firth comes out on top.

I see other sticks coming onto the market  with the “latest technology” or non-lacquered surfaces to “stop the sticks slipping”. In my opinion, it’s all commercial rubbish. Stick with the tried and tested products and you will not go far wrong.

Everyone has different likes and dislikes, but one thing that will always outlast others is quality.

Whatever stick you play, be sure you have tried and tested all the sticks on the market and make the best decision based on quality, balance, feel and pitch.  It’s a pretty important part of what we do as drummers, so invest wisely.

Happy Drumming!

James

 

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