Sticks, Sticks, Sticks

I talk to a lot of drummers about sticks. It’s amazing the differences in players and their preferences. Here’s my take.

Ive been a fan of Buddy Rich’s stick way back before Vic Firth even sold them. Ludwig made a model, 15AL (laminated maple) that were identical to the now VF Buddy Rich Sigs. I use the Rich sigs for heavier work. What I like most about these sticks is the fact that due to the long, beadless taper, the majority of the stick’s weight is closer to the fulcrum. This gives a more effortless feel (especially in my traditional hand) with the stick feeling like it’s moving around the fulcrum, not in front of it. So for rock, funk, or louder worship settings, I use the BR sigs.

For the longest time, for jazz and fusion, I used the Weckl sigs (back then they still painted the tips and your coated heads looked like the underside of a bandaid within 10 mins.) Then about 5 years ago I switched to VF Erskine sigs. They felt nice, and I loved the tip. But when the VF Erskine Ride’s came out I loved them so much, I forgot about the regular Erskine sticks. I used the ride sticks up until about 2 months ago.

In a rehearsal, I was working with my K ride, swinging away to So What, or Footprints or something and as an experiment, I switched from my Erskine Ride to my BR sig. I was amazed at the difference in sound in my ride! So I got to thinking, how do the other sticks sound on the K?? I tried every stick in my bag: VF 5As, VF Extreme 5A, VF SD1 Generals, Vater Studios, Vater Chad Smith Funkblasters. Then I came to a pair of Jack Dejohnette sigs that I had gotten several months back and tried those. I couldn’t believe how good this stick sounded on that cymbal. The overtones were magnificent and the “tah” of the ride was PERFECT!!

I later tried the stick comparisons on both my 21″ Sweet Ride, and 20″ A Medium Ride, but neither of those displayed as much tonal variations from the different stick models I tried (perhaps the traditional quality of the K). So now, I’m using the Dejohnette sigs for all my jazz work. It’s made my K sound 100% better.

It’s amazing just how much a stick can change the sound of a cymbal. Sweet. The end.

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