6. Other sticks
Rods, Tala Wands
Rods and Wands are mostly bundled staffs from wood or bamboo. Sound and volume depend on the material used. You can fan out the end as with brushes and so influence pressure, sound and rebound.
Tala Wands are a new development of Steve Smith. They are made from a foam core around which thin wood or bamboo sticks are arranged. The whole is held together by a thin PVC coating. Tala Wands are excellent sticks for quiet gigs or to practice with. They make it possible for the drummer to play fast and aggressively at a reduced volume. Tala Wands have a realistic rebound for a light stick.
A definite classic. Brushes have fan-like arranged wires made of metal, They are simply adjusted by pulling them out, or pushing them in. Change the length and the firmness and by doing so the sound. Brushes also come in plastic, surprisingly plastic brushes are louder. Metal sounds cleaner in comparison.
For Jazz and Country music brushes are indispensable. To effectively use a brush you should play a coated drum skin. In general one would have a coated Ambassador on the Snare, and therefore no problem. Brushes are also very well suited for quiet play - but they have no rebound.
Timbale sticks originate from Latin American Percussion. They are perfectly straight with no tapering shoulder or head and are approx 16", or 40,5cm in length. Timbale sticks are available in different diameters. The thicker the stick the louder it is. Timbale sticks are mostly made from Hickory.
Mallets are sticks with a beater at the end. They come in a variety of shapes to play on a diversity of instruments. The most commonly used materials are felt, yarn, wood, plastic and rubber.
The mallet is selected according to the size of the instrument, i.e. small instrument - small Mallets, large instrument - large Mallets.
The sound created by the bass drum beater, which actually is a mallet also, are listed below.
- more weight - deeper tone.
- less weight - more overtones.
- harder materials create clearer tones.
- soft materials are warmer.
- a large contact area makes for a dampened tone.
- a smaller contact area delivers a well defined punch.
Mallets can be used to produce a standing cymbal sound. For this a medium density felt head is a good idea. There are special combination sticks, with one regular end and a felt beater at the other.
Different instruments are played with different Mallets. Timpani Mallets have mostly a maple shaft with a exchangeable felt head. The keyboard percussions, xylophone etc.are played with yarn or wood Mallets.
It is a good idea to experiment with a set of different mallets. In this way you can experience the full sound spectrum of your instrument.