Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Drumsticks

4. Anatomy

4 Things that make a drumstick

  • length
  • thickness
  • shoulder
  • head

The relation of these elements to each other accounts for the balance, character and general feel of the stick.

Length

The length influences the balance and the fulcrum point. Longer sticks have more range and levering. Shorter sticks are more easy to control and feel faster.

Thickness

The thickness determines weight and durability, in addition, the grip depends on the thickness. Thick sticks are heavier and last longer - Thin ones present themselves with a lighter, more subtle sound.

Shoulder

The profile of the shoulder influence the weight distribution and the rebound. A longer shoulder is more flexible and responds better. A short shoulder makes the stick stronger and plays heavier.

Length and weight

Nearly all sticks range between 38,5cm and 42.5cm. Longer sticks do not a have better range because the stick is not held at the end but at the fulcrum point. This is where the front end weighs as much as the rear. Shorter sticks are not a good idea to play with. An exception are specially made short sticks for children.

Sticks weights vary between 40 grams at the lower - and 70 grams for the upper end. The weight obviously depends completely on the dimensions and the material. The most common design is the stick having its largest diameter at its end and continuing the same diameter down to the shoulder. This is also the measure given by the manufacturer (except weight and length). The stick then sooner or later reaches the shoulder and has its smallest diameter exactly before reaching the head. The fulcrum point depends mainly on where the shoulder starts. A Drummer who holds the stick at the very end, should select a stick, which has quite a long shoulder. The same applies the other way around, a Drummer who prefers to hold the stick in a more central position should choose a shorter shouldered stick.

Influence on the sound

The weight of the stick depends, as already mentioned, on its length and thickness, density and the material it is made of. The heavier the stick, the fuller the sound on the drum kit. This means it produces the full spectrum of the instrument, overtones, middle ranges and depths. This obviously can only be done to the point where the instrument reaches its limits.

In comparison a lighter stick produces a more overtone-rich spectrum. A lighter stick also gives less pressure and volume. This is handy when adapting a non miked set to small locations, a club for instance. The further the point of gravity of the stick moves forward, meaning short shoulder, the fuller and louder it becomes. This thing with volume and sound is easily tried by simply reversing the stick.

The rear end is heavier and the sound produced changes enormously in comparison to the head. The full sound of a heavier stick obviously also effects the cymbals. Often that is somewhat unwanted, however, it can be influenced by the shape and the material of the head.

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