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Stickpiphane, or why I switched from 7A's to 5A's

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  • Stickpiphane, or why I switched from 7A's to 5A's

    I needed a word for an epiphane about drum sticks...

    Last weekend my teacher was listening to me do doubles on some snare drills and said they were weak, that the doubles sounded weaker than my other strokes (think the Haskell W Harr Drum Method books for those of you who went through those).

    I spent all week trying to correct it and concluded that the 7A's were the primary problem, they are so light they are hard to control for doubles. Not impossible, but holding back the playing just a wee bit.

    I watched a lot of videos on holding sticks and finding the fulcrum, and noticed most drummers play less choked up on the sticks than I do. I adopted this position to take strain off the wrists, and it works well for that, but coupled with 7A's make doubles really hard to control. I tried less choked up (meaning more stick between me and the drums and less behind my hands) and things got better on the doubles, more control, more dynamic range, but I could feel the wrist impact coming back too. I noticed the sticks felt heavier held like that and I got to thinking that a heavier stick might be easier to control without me having to choke out, meaning best of both worlds, so a quick trip to GC and I bought a couple pairs of 5A's.

    Bottom line is I was right, playing with the 5A's everything works better, more control, more dynamic range with less effort, especially the doubles. I don't have to choke way out with them either, my preferred playing position (designed to take strain off the wrists) works great with the 5A's and gave me even more control over doubles than choked out 7A's did. My "choke position" is now in the range of what I see other drummers doing.

    Saw my teacher again and he agreed, said 5A's are easier to control than 7A's. The funny part was I remember he had tried to disuade me several times from using 7A's. Starting way back at the beginning, he said it would be harder to play well with them, funny how he knew that. :-) But at the time my technique was bad and I was having wrist problems (from the bad technique). So the 7A's were a nice crutch to avoid wrist injuries while developing my technique. I actually played 7A maples (the lightest stick I could find) for the first several months of playing, then went to the heavier 7A hickories after I learned the choke-up thing greatly helped the wrists, and now I find 5A hickories are a nice sweet spot for me, and my stick position is approaching normal, if there is such a thing.

    I suspect this is old stuff for many veterans out there. :-)

    Mini-kit: TD-9 + Alesis Control Pad + Alesis Sample Pad + PDX-6 snare
    Micro-kit: Handsonic HPD-20 + an old pair of hands.
    Speakers: QSC-K10 "thumper", DBR-10 "little thumper"

  • #2
    Now try a set of 5Bs. ;-)
    eKit (TD-30KV): http://www.vdrums.com/forum/performa...y-s-drums-td39
    aKit: (Tama Starclassic): http://www.vdrums.com/forum/acoustic...ma-starclassic
    TD30Browser: http://www.vdrums.com/forum/general/...4-td30-browser


    • #3
      I must admit I use 7as Promark Milleniums and don't find a problem with doubles at all compared to my 5a sticks. I guess it's down to the individual, taste, preference, technique and what you are used to. Still, if it works using 5as...use 5as. Good luck with those doubles :-)


      • #4
        I dont really know why it would make that much of a difference. The only difference between my 7As and 5As is the length....and i cant tell the difference unless i drop a stick and pick up one that doesn't match.

        I do see your point though. Between the 2.....the longer stick does change leverage and therefor seems much heavier depending on grip placement. I don't really have a "set" placement for my grip. I judge each stick individually by it's own fulcrum point and what I am playing at the moment. Most sticks are not perfectly equal in weight...and even if they are....could feel much different depending on the hand you are using. It's all about technique and adaptation.
        Last edited by fulrmr(Daniel); 03-22-14, 02:16 PM.
        8 piece DIY Acrylic, 2x2Box DrumIt5, Gen16 4xDCP, DIY Acrylic&Gen16 Conversions, Sleishman Twin-QuadSteele hybrid, Gibraltar&DrumFrame rack, DW9502LB, Midi Knights Pro Lighting


        • #5
          I use 5As. 7As are more like chopsticks. I uses 2Bs in Marching Band, try those!

          5As seem to be the best balance for everything in my experience.
          Yamaha DTX-502 / (3) PCY155 Cymbals / HH65 HH Pedal
          Roland KD-9 Kick / DIY Snare (1 zone with DTX...)


        • #6
          I've been using 5A's and my teacher suggested 5B's. I haven't made the switch yet. He has been working me on the free stroke an I grip at the flag on Vic Firth sticks. Loose wrists bend elbows, shoulders relaxed.
          Equipment: TD-30KV, DW9000 hardware, ROC-N-SOC Throne, Behringer ULTRATONE K3000FX Amp, JBL EON 615 Powered Speaker, Yamaha MG06X. 1965 Ludwig Super Classic. Black diamond pearl. Zildjian K Custom Dark cymbals, DW 7000 hardware, DW 9000 kick pedal.


          • #7
            I only use 5b's. after trying a ton of different ones they are a nice mix. heavy enough that they hit good and hard, but not "chopsticks" like a 7a.. I would suggest them forsure


            • #8
              I think we can all adapt to almost any stick. The advantage of 7A sticks on electronic drums is they make the least noise in the room when you play through headphones. There seems to be more concern in this community about ambient noise than about ease of controlling double-strokes. 7As are a bit skinny for a comfortable tight grip, but that just trains you to employ a relaxed grip to save your hands from aching. And if you ever use French grip, you cannot beat a 7A for speed.
              __________________________________________________ _____
              Always seeking a compact one-piece solution to electronic drumming.


              • #9
                Yeah , instead of letting GAS get me in trouble I went back to practicing and playing again. Switched from 5a to 7 a , loosened my grip a ton because my hands have been hurting a lot . Something good came out of all this! I am relaxing, enjoying practicing, and best of all, I am at least for now, not obsessing over what I need to buy to make my kit petfect! I started doing intervals of singles, doubles, and paradiddles, and triplets very slowly ten on each hand in sets of five and really am concentrating on matching the sound and stick height on each hand . What I see is that I have been playing sloppy and on pain,
                Last edited by hemiboy; 04-11-14, 11:40 PM.


                • #10
                  When this thread came out , I was convinced that I needed to switch to 7 a's and now I realize that I am always going to experiment with sticks, and drum angles and adding and subtracting equipment because I am always avoiding just practicing on what I am week with . Like, my left hand, double bass pedal work, staying in the pocket, to name a few out of so many! This obsession with everything other than working on my weaknesses is actually a form of GAS because when it is bad, I always go out and buy something new and after the novelty wears off, it is never enough! When I am like that, I am not enjoying playing because it has become a job. What about you guys?
                  Last edited by hemiboy; 07-05-14, 01:35 PM.


                  • #11
                    I've been trying the 5Bs and decided to make the switch. I'm am getting better rebound as my teacher suggested.
                    Equipment: TD-30KV, DW9000 hardware, ROC-N-SOC Throne, Behringer ULTRATONE K3000FX Amp, JBL EON 615 Powered Speaker, Yamaha MG06X. 1965 Ludwig Super Classic. Black diamond pearl. Zildjian K Custom Dark cymbals, DW 7000 hardware, DW 9000 kick pedal.


                    • #12
                      Never tried 5 b's unless some of the signature sticks like Buddy Rich or Dave Weckl are 5 b's, anybody know?


                      • #13
                        None of this is a surprise! The better your technique, the more work the sticks do themselves. The more stick there is, the more work it does! I had an orchestral teacher when I was a teenager, only had a couple of sessions with him - best technique I've ever seen and he played with sticks that were practically baseball bats.


                        • #14
                          Hmm, before I said I used 5As... but actually I am using 5B and larger. I measured the diameter (the labels wore off so I don't remember what I bought): 0.63" (Some 747 Rock or something) and 3As (0.58").

                          I find the ~5Bs to be the right size. I just sampled some 5As in the store and found them just a tiny bit too thin.
                          Yamaha DTX-502 / (3) PCY155 Cymbals / HH65 HH Pedal
                          Roland KD-9 Kick / DIY Snare (1 zone with DTX...)


                          • #15
                            I must say that - although I started out striving for the thinnest sticks - over time I've concluded that, for me, medium to thicker sticks provide much greater control. The larger mass produces more of a clearly delineated balancing point, and the larger diameter more fully fills the hands with more surface contact area over which you can influence stick handling.

                            The weight difference is minimal in the context of placing stress on the hands/joints - and different woods have different densities anyhow, so you can compensate accordingly if that's really much of a concern at these weight ranges anyhow.

                            As this this old guy has come around to appreciate that sometimes bigger IS better. Keep experimenting to see what works best for you at whatever stage your playing has reached.