The Dirty Truth on How to Buy Drumsticks: 4 Things You MUST Know

PHOTO CREDIT: christineredmond.files.wordpress.com

The Dirty Truth on How to Buy Drumsticks: 4 Things You MUST Know

Buying drumsticks may seem as easy as choosing your favorite burger at the local Burger King. There are several choices, but in the end you are still going to end up with the same burger (just with different toppings and sauces).
That is not the case with drumsticks. Sure, in the end you will probably have a pair of whittled down wood sticks to bang on your drum set, but choosing wisely at the music store will save you splintered heartache in the end.

1. The Drumstick Warp Test
An easy way to tell if a drumstick is warped (misshapen) is to do the drumstick warp test. Individually roll each stick on a flat surface. If the head does not wobble up and down and the sound of the drumstick is that of a smooth roll, then the drumstick is not warped. If the head of the drumstick wobbles up and down and the drumstick makes an annoying "clackity-clack" sound while visibly looking like it has had a seizure, then the drumstick is warped. The differences can be much more subtle. Be sure to do a few warp tests and check each stick of each pair to ensure that you do not end up buying one warped drumstick and one balanced drumstick.

2. The No Name Barrel
Every novice drummer has seen it - the barrel of nondescript, no-name drumsticks labeled "Special! Two Pairs for Only $5!" Guaranteed, almost every drummer has several pairs of these sticks cracked and broken in their stick bag. Usually pretty good for smashing against a cowbell, giving to your five-year-old niece, or breaking a car door window, these drumsticks are usually bait for beginning drummers and cash-strapped family members. Do yourself a favor and avoid these mismatched and warped sticks like the plague unless you plan to teach a group of fifth graders how to pulverize a metal trash can through drumming.
PHOTO CREDIT: worshipdrummer.com

3. All Cracked Up
Sometimes the manufacturing error may be on the inside of the stick. Obviously, you should not buy a drumstick with visible cracks on the outside, but you also should test for cracks on the inside. Take two or three pairs of a drumstick that you like. Tap each on a table or other hard surface (not a drum). If any of the drumsticks sound noticeably lighter, there may be a crack inside the stick. Discard the lighter-sounding stick and instead purchase a pair of drumsticks that sound the same. An experienced drummer can tell a cracked drumstick just from the feel of the drumstick. It feels lighter and slightly less controlled.

4. Know What You Want
Finally, when you go shopping for drumsticks, you want to make sure that you know exactly what you need. Are you going to play some lighter jazz gigs for a wedding? Maybe some wire brushes, plastic brushes, lighter drumsticks, or Hot Rods are appropriate. In a heavy metal band or drum corps? Go for a heavy stick that can take a lot of damage. In an orchestra, wind ensemble, or band setting? Buying several types of drumsticks in varying sizes and types will ensure you have the right stick for each occasion.


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