What do those crazy letters and numbers on your drumsticks (5A/5B/7A/3S) mean??

davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
edited September 2008 in Rock Band
I've had at least a half dozen people PM me asking about different drumstick types, so I figured I would just create a post and let everybody read it here.

(And yes, I know I just posted this almost identically in another thread, but that thread title wasn't really relevant so thpbbbbbbbt!)

One thing that everybody needs to to keep in mind when purchasing sticks: every stick is different. Zildjian's 5A and Pro Mark's 5A and Vic Firth's 5A are not going to all be identical.

The stick model (5A/5B/7A/7B/etc.) refers to the length and thickness of the shaft and taper of the stick. The model designation does not necessitate the size nor shape of the tip of the stick.

Number:
The numerical portion signifies the circumference of the stick. In general, the lower the number the larger circumference, and the greater the number the smaller the circumference. For example, the 7A is smaller in circumference than a 5A which in turn is narrower than the 2B. The exception is the 3S, which is larger in circumference than a 2B despite its number.

Letter:
The letter suffix: "S," "B," and "A" originally indicated the recommended application.
  • "S" model sticks were designed for Street applications such as drum corps and marching band, and are typically the largest diameter sticks.
  • "B" model sticks were intended for Band applications such as brass bands and symphonic concert bands. Smaller in circumference than the "S" models, they were easier to control and thus especially popular with beginning drummers. To this day the 2B is recommended by teachers practically everywhere as ideal starter sticks.
  • "A" stands for Orchestra. "A" model sticks were designed for big band or dance type orchestras. They're smaller in circumference than "B" series sticks and lend themselves well for softer type playing. Nobody really knows why Ludwig chose to use "A" for "orchestra" (I think it was because they didn't like the way the "O" printed on the stick), but they were the first and now everybody uses it.
Tips:

There are Round tips: image

Barrel tips: image

Pointed (or triangle) tips: image

And Tear Drop (or olive) tips: image

And of course, the same shapes are also available in nylon tips.

I'm not even going to get into the different types of wood available for drumsticks unless people specifically ask for it.

I realize that was probably way more information than anybody needed, but it never hurts to learn something new everyday!

Comments

  • QueensoftheStoneAgeQueensoftheStoneAge Rising Star
    edited March 2008
    What size are the sticks that ship with the game?
  • killer_roachkiller_roach Washed Up
    edited March 2008
    Not completely sure, but I think they are 2B sticks.
  • CENACHAINGANG54CENACHAINGANG54 Hardware Guru
    edited March 2008
    I believe the ones that ship with the game are 5A. Great post David, you are dead on. So tell us what kind of sticks you like. I use either a 5a and a 7a depending what I am playing.
  • SveppiSveppi Road Warrior
    edited March 2008
    I just bought some awesome 5A DIP Zildjians.
  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited March 2008
    CENACHAINGANG54;441773 said:
    I believe the ones that ship with the game are 5A. Great post David, you are dead on. So tell us what kind of sticks you like. I use either a 5a and a 7a depending what I am playing.
    The RB stock drumsticks are probably 7A with round tip. I'm fairly certain they're not 5A, as the Zildjian 5A that I have are significantly thicker than the RB ones, and they're definitely not 2B.

    I personally use the Zildjian Black Dip 5A with nylon Tear Drop tip, both on RB and on my real kit. I've been using them for years now.

    image
  • edited March 2008
    You couldn't have posted this at a better time, i'm going to get some stick's tomorrow and i had no idea what kind to get, thanx davidshek.
  • shadebugshadebug Road Warrior
    edited March 2008
    fantastically useful stuff, too bad it'll end up in the graveyard, would've been really helpful
  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited March 2008
    shadebug;441829 said:
    fantastically useful stuff, too bad it'll end up in the graveyard, would've been really helpful
    What graveyard? You mean the Community's Best Hits forum? One can only hope! :D
  • orange_blackorange_black Road Warrior
    edited March 2008
    good post, davidshek!

    i use Vic Firth's signature series Jack DeJohnette:
    Jack DeJohnette (SJD, SJDN)
    A stretch 5A for extra reach. Great for jazz and fusion. Available in wood or nylon tip.
    L = 16 5/16", Dia. = .565"
    i like the extra length, as its makes it a little easier getting around the kit at faster tempos, and it allow me to relax even more during the not-so-faster tempos.

    :)
  • shadebugshadebug Road Warrior
    edited March 2008
    davidshek;442799 said:
    What graveyard? You mean the Community's Best Hits forum? One can only hope! :D
    nah, as long as it's here the officious n00btard can search for drumsticks and numbers and stuff and they might find this thread. Once it gets moved to the community's greatest hits only the people that already know where it is will find it
  • barbaraann72barbaraann72 Rising Star
    edited March 2008
    shadebug;442903 said:
    n00btard
    image
  • shadebugshadebug Road Warrior
    edited March 2008
    they're the bad kind of n00b that don't bother to think things through slightly, we were all n00bs at some point, doesn't mean we were n00btards
  • vsTerminusvsTerminus Road Warrior
    edited March 2008
    Thanks for the post. Good info. Makes me sound less like a ****** when I talk to a drummer :)
  • QueensoftheStoneAgeQueensoftheStoneAge Rising Star
    edited March 2008
  • White_PointerWhite_Pointer Opening Act
    edited March 2008
    I believe the ones that ship with the game are 5A.
    The RB stock drumsticks are probably 7A with round tip.
    Nah, the drumsticks with RB are neither 5A nor 7A - they are too light to be either of them (I use both kinds of sticks quite a lot, though I only use Vic Firths). To be honest I'm not sure exactly what they are...they could be something like an 8A.

    White_Pointer
  • smokinjoesmokinjoe Opening Act
    edited March 2008
    Great info here thanks for the lesson on drumsticks.
  • darknessmoondarknessmoon Road Warrior
    edited March 2008
    Tremendously useful stuff... I never really knew the difference of all the stick sizes...

    I think this thread deserves to be stickied and/or placed in the Community's Greatest Hits Forum. :cool:
  • HakkenHakken Opening Act
    edited March 2008
    davidshek;441799 said:
    The RB stock drumsticks are probably 7A with round tip. I'm fairly certain they're not 5A, as the Zildjian 5A that I have are significantly thicker than the RB ones, and they're definitely not 2B.

    I personally use the Zildjian Black Dip 5A with nylon Tear Drop tip, both on RB and on my real kit. I've been using them for years now.

    image

    These are a great pair of sticks for a good low price, I too use them on my real kit and my rock band kit. Also a good pair of drum sticks are the Zildjian 5A Anti Vibe Sticks. Another great pair of sticks.
  • ErnunnosErnunnos Opening Act
    edited March 2008
    White_Pointer;444822 said:
    Nah, the drumsticks with RB are neither 5A nor 7A - they are too light to be either of them (I use both kinds of sticks quite a lot, though I only use Vic Firths).
    They're the same size as my 7As, but I think they're made out of pine or some other trash wood, or they're the rejects from QC, and not finished. Mine actually had splinters, and never rolled straight.
  • Solid_SnakeSolid_Snake Rising Star
    edited March 2008
    This looks copied directly from this website.

    http://www.drumsoloartist.com/Site/Drum_Sticks.html

    I'm sure the info is more useful here, but a little credit to the site never hurts.
  • R4di4ti0nR4di4ti0n Road Warrior
    edited March 2008
    funny, snake, but i didnt get that. Ever think it may be possible, that in the FINITE world of drum sticks, a guide would be similar?
  • shogun290shogun290 Opening Act
    edited March 2008
    Dip sticks are really nice, but the grip tends to rip if used a lot.
    I think the RB sticks are Ludwig 7A's as mine have the Ludwig logo and RB logo.
  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited March 2008
    shogun290;445495 said:
    Dip sticks are really nice, but the grip tends to rip if used a lot.
    I think the RB sticks are Ludwig 7A's as mine have the Ludwig logo and RB logo.
    Anything tends to succumb to wear & tear if used a lot :)

    I never have a problem with the grip on my Zildjian Dips. I break them way quicker than the dip would wear off :p
  • Teh_Nfsjunkie91Teh_Nfsjunkie91 Rising Star
    edited March 2008
    R4di4ti0n;445402 said:
    funny, snake, but i didnt get that. Ever think it may be possible, that in the FINITE world of drum sticks, a guide would be similar?
    lol you're a tool. Here's David's post.
    davidshek;441605 said:

    Number:
    The numerical portion signifies the circumference of the stick. In general, the lower the number the larger circumference, and the greater the number the smaller the circumference. For example, the 7A is smaller in circumference than a 5A which in turn is narrower than the 2B. The exception is the 3S, which is larger in circumference than a 2B despite its number.

    Letter:
    The letter suffix: "S," "B," and "A" originally indicated the recommended application.
    • "S" model sticks were designed for Street applications such as drum corps and marching band, and are typically the largest diameter sticks.
    • "B" model sticks were intended for Band applications such as brass bands and symphonic concert bands. Smaller in circumference than the "S" models, they were easier to control and thus especially popular with beginning drummers. To this day the 2B is recommended by teachers practically everywhere as ideal starter sticks.
    • "A" stands for Orchestra. "A" model sticks were designed for big band or dance type orchestras. They're smaller in circumference than "B" series sticks and lend themselves well for softer type playing. Nobody really knows why Ludwig chose to use "A" for "orchestra" (I think it was because they didn't like the way the "O" printed on the stick), but they were the first and now everybody uses it.
    This is from the site that snake posted.
    Number
    The numerical portion signifies the circumference of the stick. In general, the lower the number the larger circumference, and the greater the number the smaller the circumference. For example, the 7A is smaller in circumference than a 5A which in turn is narrower than the 2B. The exception is the 3S, which is larger in circumference than a 2B despite its number.

    Letter
    The letter suffix: "S," "B," and "A" originally indicated the recommended application.
    "S" model sticks were designed for Street applications such as drum corps and marching band. The largest diameter sticks of their day, their massive size naturally enhanced volume and sound projection demanded for these styles.
    "B" model sticks were intended for Band applications such as brass bands and symphonic concert bands. Smaller in circumference than the "S" models, they were easier to control and thus especially popular with beginning drummers. To this day the 2B is recommended by teachers practically everywhere as ideal starter sticks.
    "A" stands for Orchestra. "A" model sticks were designed for big band or dance type orchestras. They're smaller in circumference than "B" series sticks and lend themselves well for softer type playing.
    I guess by now you're wondering if "S" stands for Street and "B" stands for Band, why does "A" stand for Orchestra?
    and by the way, these images:

    Tips:

    There are Round tips: image

    Barrel tips: image

    Pointed (or triangle) tips: image

    And Tear Drop (or olive) tips: image
    are linked directly to the site that snake posted. http://www.drumsoloartist.com/Site/SiteImages/olivetip.jpg

    Right click on the image yourself.

    In conclusion, Radiation, you're an idiot. Davidshek, you need to give credit where credit is due. It's called plagiarism, and not many people like it.
  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited March 2008
    Teh_Nfsjunkie91;455339 said:
    Davidshek, you need to give credit where credit is due. It's called plagiarism, and not many people like it.
    pla·gia·rism
    –noun
    1. Literary theft. Plagiarism occurs when a writer duplicates another writer's language or ideas and then calls the work his or her own.


    I never claimed that I originally wrote any of that. This is all common and widely available information, I just happened to grab most of it from that page and reformat/reword some of it for this community.

    Who cares where it came from? I never said I wrote it. I wasn't aware that we were supposed to provide a bibliography for every post we make on here. It was useful information for this community, so I posted it.

    "No good deed goes unpunished", I guess. Oh wait, I didn't write that phrase either! Should I credit the original author? :rolleyes:
  • The Tony ShowThe Tony Show Unsigned
    edited April 2008
    Great thread, davidshek- I'm stopping by the music store tonight to replace my crappy sticks and this is just the info I needed.

    *edit* Went to the store on my lunch break ad got a set of Vic Firth 5ANs with nylon tips. Just drumming on the steering wheel I can feel a difference in the weight that I like. Thanks again for the thread.
  • KEWBKEWB Road Warrior
    edited April 2008
    Not an expert on drumsticks or anything, but I would say that the TIPS of the set that came with the game are teardrop, or maybe pointed. Either way, i've used them enough that they're pretty much "splinter" tips now.:D
  • NasenblutenNasenbluten Opening Act
    edited April 2008
    Teh_Nfsjunkie91;455339 said:
    lol you're a tool. Here's David's post.



    This is from the site that snake posted.



    and by the way, these images:


    are linked directly to the site that snake posted. http://www.drumsoloartist.com/Site/SiteImages/olivetip.jpg

    Right click on the image yourself.

    In conclusion, Radiation, you're an idiot. Davidshek, you need to give credit where credit is due. It's called plagiarism, and not many people like it.
    you sir are the biggest tool of them all don't put a man down alot of noobs just come in and look at stuff and don't search so something like this is helpful

    people need to stop b eing such internet douchebags in these forums
  • wareyewareye Unsigned
    edited September 2008
    thanks man, was clueless about buying new drum sticks
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