Gear review – Ed Thigpen Signature Brushes

Disclaimer: The Ed Thigpen brush I’m reviewing is the one with the wooden handle. There is another model of brush that also bears Ed Thigpen’s name. It’s pictured below. Don’t confuse the two. Got it? Good!


The Ed Thigpen brush has all the best attributes of your typical plastic handle brush but it also comes with 2 inches of wood shaft near the butt of the brush. It succeeds in areas where other brushes have failed. There have been wood handle brushes that have great rim click sounds, but when you go for a rim roll or rim flex the wood makes an undesirable sound. Likewise there have been plastic handle brushes that allow you to play rim flexes and rim rolls silently but lack the ability to play a rim click. This brush blends the two together to get the perfect hybrid brush; so simple it’s downright genius. It must be… I mean, no one else thought of it.

In terms of construction the brush is top quality. It’s a telescopic type, meaning that the brushes can be pulled inside the handle via a push/pull rod. Like most telescopic brushes the push pull rod has two little bends towards the back that act as a lock so the brush will stay at the same length once it has been locked in. Though rod pretty much stays in place regardless of where you have it set. There is a narrow spread setting (the spread is how wide the brush wires fan out) and wider spread setting. The rod ends in a ring that is for easy pulling purposes but you can use it to get all kinds of crazy sounds. The rod is very easy to maneuver, it doesn’t get stuck or come out of place. Straight out of the box (or tube in this case) there is a little resistance from the rod but given some time it breaks in and becomes very smooth. Telescopic types have always been my favorite because of their versatility and utility. Big thumbs up there.

The actual rubber that wraps the handle of the brush is very firm. I find that lots of rubber brush handles seem to just squish in my hands… not a feeling that I particularly like. This one is strong and gives nice resistance. Other brushes that use very stretchy rubber coatings use the squishiness of the coat to make the stick easy to grip. The rubber on this one is textured so it prevents slippage in that manner. If you’re the type that holds the brush further back I think you’ll find that the wood section of the handle is a bit more difficult to keep hold of then the rubber section. I think you’ll find that the fulcrum of this brush (depending on how you have your rod set) will land so that the area where you grip the brush straddles the both the wood and the rubber section of the handle. So you get a little bit of everything with this brush.

The bristles of the brush itself are kinda sparse. This means that the sound you get isn’t as thick as say the Vic Firth Jazz brush, but it doesn’t grip the head like the jazz brush either. The wires aren’t very stiff so you don’t get as much bounce out of em as you would another brush. So you’re going to need to develop your wrist muscles to get out that stroke that you could normally bounce. Though thats the nature of all brushes, it’s more pronounced in this one. If this bothers you then you can use a narrower spread setting to get more of a stick like bounce out of the brush.

I give this brush 5 of 5 stars. It’s my favorite all around brush. There are some specialty brushes I like for weird stuff but in general a pair of these are my weapon of choice.

5 Mics

They are pricy but if you’re saving up for a pair of brushes, hold out till you can get these.

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