Drum stick

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A selection of Nick Mason's customised drumsticks, from various makers, displayed at the Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains exhibition Pink Floyd Their Mortal Remains - 2017-10-13 - Andy Mabbett - 27.jpg
A selection of Nick Mason's customised drumsticks, from various makers, displayed at the Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains exhibition

A drumstick is a type of percussion mallet used particularly for playing snare drum, drum kit and some other percussion instruments, and particularly for playing unpitched percussion.

Contents

Specialized beaters used on some other percussion instruments, such as the metal beater or wand used with a triangle, and particularly beaters or mallets used with tuned percussion such as xylophone and timpani, are not normally referred to as drumsticks. Drumsticks generally have all of the following characteristics:

Construction

The parts of a simple drumstick Drumstick anatomy.svg
The parts of a simple drumstick

The archetypical drumstick is turned from a single piece of wood, most commonly of hickory, less commonly of maple, and least commonly but still in significant numbers, of oak. [1] Drumsticks of the traditional form are also made from metal, carbon fibre and other modern materials.

The tip or bead is the part most often used to strike the instrument. Originally and still commonly of the same piece of wood as the rest of the stick, sticks with nylon tips have also been available since 1958. In the 1970s, an acetal tip was introduced.

Tips of whatever material are of various shapes, including acorn, barrel, oval, teardrop, pointed and round.

The shoulder of the stick is the part that tapers towards the tip, and is normally slightly convex. It is often used for playing the bell of a cymbal. It can also be used to produce a cymbal crash when applied with a glancing motion to the bow or edge of a cymbal, and for playing ride patterns on china, swish and pang cymbals.

The shaft is the body of the stick, and is cylindrical for most applications including drum kit and orchestral work. It is used for playing cross stick and applied in a glancing motion to the rim of a cymbal for the loudest cymbal crashes.

The butt is the opposite end of the stick to the tip. Some rock and metal musicians use it rather than the tip.

Conventional numbering

Plain wooden drumsticks are most commonly described using a number to describe the weight and diameter of the stick followed by one or more letters to describe the tip. For example, a 7A is a common jazz stick with a wooden tip, while a 7AN is the same weight of stick with a nylon tip, and a 7B is a wooden tip but with a different tip profile, shorter and rounder than a 7A. A 5A is a common wood tipped rock stick, heavier than a 7A but with a similar profile. The numbers are most commonly odd but even numbers are used occasionally, in the range 2 (heaviest) to 9 (lightest).

The exact meanings of both numbers and letters differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, and some sticks are not described using this system at all, just being known as jazz (typically a 7A, 8A or 8D) or heavy rock (typically a 5B) for example. The most general purpose stick is a 5A. However, there is no one stick for any particular style of music.

Techniques

Traditional grip Traditional Grip.jpg
Traditional grip
"Fire-sticks" used by Top Secret Drum Corps Top Secret DSC 1189.jpg
"Fire-sticks" used by Top Secret Drum Corps

Grip

There are two main ways of holding drumsticks:

Traditional grip was developed to conveniently play a snare drum while riding a horse, and was documented and popularised by Sanford A. Moeller in The Art of Snare Drumming (1925). It was the standard grip for kit drummers in the first half of the twentieth century and remains popular, and the standard grip for most snare drummers.

Matched grips are standardized for most other instruments, and became popular towards the middle of the twentieth century, threatening to displace the traditional grip for kit drumming. However the traditional grip has since made a comeback, and both types of grip are still used and promoted by leading drummers and teachers.

Related Research Articles

Drum kit collection of drums and other percussion instruments

A drum kit — also called a drum set, trap set, or simply drums — is a collection of drums and other percussion instruments, typically cymbals, which are set up on stands to be played by a single player, with drumsticks held in both hands, and the feet operating pedals that control the hi-hat cymbal and the beater for the bass drum. A drum kit consists of a mix of drums and idiophones ⁠— ⁠most significantly cymbals, but can also include the woodblock and cowbell. In the 2000s, some kits also include electronic instruments. Also, both hybrid and entirely electronic kits are used.

Percussion instrument Type of musical instrument that produces a sound by being hit

A percussion instrument is a musical instrument that is sounded by being struck or scraped by a beater including attached or enclosed beaters or rattles struck, scraped or rubbed by hand or struck against another similar instrument. Excluding zoomusicological instruments and the human voice, the percussion family is believed to include the oldest musical instruments.

Snare drum type of drum

The snare drum or side drum is a percussion instrument that produces a sharp staccato sound when the head is struck with a drum stick, due to the use of a series of stiff wires held under tension against the lower skin. Snare drums are often used in orchestras, concert bands, marching bands, parades, drumlines, drum corps, and more. It is one of the central pieces in a drum set, a collection of percussion instruments designed to be played by a seated drummer and used in many genres of music.

Bass drum percussion instrument

The bass drum, or kick drum, is a large drum that produces a note of low definite or indefinite pitch. The instrument is typically cylindrical, with the drum's diameter much greater than the drum's depth, with a struck head at both ends of the cylinder. The heads may be made of calf skin or plastic and there is normally a means of adjusting the tension either by threaded taps or by strings. Bass drums are built in a variety of sizes, but size does not dictate the volume produced by the drum. The pitch and the sound can vary much with different sizes, but the size is also chosen based on convenience and aesthetics. Bass drums are percussion instruments and vary in size and are used in several musical genres. Three major types of bass drums can be distinguished.

A crash cymbal is a type of cymbal that produces a loud, sharp "crash" and is used mainly for occasional accents, as opposed to a ride cymbal. It can be mounted on a stand and played with a drum stick, or by hand in pairs. One or two crash cymbals are a standard part of a drum kit. Suspended crash cymbals are also used in bands and orchestras, either played with a drumstick or rolled with a pair of mallets to produce a slower, swelling crash. Sometimes a drummer may hit two different crash cymbals in a kit at the same time to produce a very loud accent, usually in rock music.

The ride cymbal is a standard cymbal in most drum kits. It maintains a steady rhythmic pattern, sometimes called a ride pattern, rather than the accent of a crash. It is normally placed on the extreme right of a drum set, above the floor tom.

Snare drum technique

Snare technique is the technique used to play a snare drum.

Percussion mallet object used to strike or beat a percussion instrument

A percussion mallet or beater is an object used to strike or beat a percussion instrument in order to produce its sound.

Drumline section of percussion instruments usually played as part of a musical marching ensemble

A drumline, also known as the battery or batterie, is a section of percussion instruments usually played as part of a musical marching ensemble. A drumline can also be a section on their own competing against other drumlines. Marching bands, drum and bugle corps, and indoor percussion ensembles are some examples of groups that include a drumline.

Marching percussion

Marching percussion instruments are specially designed to be played while moving. This is achieved by attaching the drum(s) to a special harness worn by the drummer, although not all marching bands use such harnesses and instead use traditional baldrics to sling their drums. The drums are designed and tuned for maximum articulation and projection of sound, as marching activities are almost always outdoors or in large interior spaces. Articulation is paramount to producing a "clean" sound from all the drummers in the line. These instruments are used by marching bands, corps of drums, drum and bugle corps, fanfare bands, indoor percussion ensembles, and pipe bands. A marching percussion ensemble is frequently known as a drumline or battery.

Davul large double-headed drum

The davul, tapan, atabal or tabl is a large double-headed drum that is played with mallets. It has many names depending on the country and region. These drums are commonly used in the music of Middle East. These drums have both a deep bass sound and a thin treble sound due to their construction and playing style, where different heads and sticks are used to produce different sounds on the same drum.

Traditional grip technique for holding drum sticks

Traditional grip is a technique used to hold drum sticks while playing percussion instruments. Unlike matched grip, each hand holds the stick differently. Commonly, the right hand uses an overhand grip and the left hand uses an underhand grip. Traditional grip is almost exclusively used to play the snare drum, especially the marching snare drum, and often the drum kit. Traditional grip is more popular in jazz drumming than in other drum kit styles due to the early jazz drummers evolving their style from marching and military styles and instrumentation, although it is also used by several rock drummers.

A tenor drum is a membranophone without a snare. There are several types of tenor drums.

The rute, also known as a multi-rod, is a beater for drums. Commercially made rutes are usually made of a bundle of thin birch dowels or thin canes attached to a drum stick handle. These often have a movable band to adjust how tightly the dowels are bound toward the tip. A rute may also be made of a bundle of twigs attached to a drum stick handle. These types of rutes are used for a variety of effects with various musical ensembles. A rute may also be a cylindrical bunch of pieces of cane or twigs, bound at one end, like a small besom without a handle. The rute is used to play on the head of the bass drum. Rute are also constructed from a solid rod thinly split partway down.

Orchestral percussion are percussion instruments used in orchestras and concert bands mainly in classical music and related styles. The term can also refer to the department or study of performance on said instruments at a music school or conservatory. Generally within such a department, students are required to study all aspects of orchestral playing; with marimba, snare drum, and timpani being the three most basic areas of study. Orchestral percussion usually does not include a drum set, but some compositions do require one.

Derek Roddy American musician

Derek Roddy is an American drummer and snake breeder, originally from Deerfield Beach, Florida. His ability to record entire drum tracks in one or two takes earned him the nickname "One Take".

Percussion section One of the main divisions of an orchestra

The percussion section is one of the main divisions of the orchestra and the concert band. It includes most percussion instruments and all unpitched instruments.

Grip (percussion) percussion-playing technique

In percussion, grip refers to the manner in which the player holds the percussion mallet or mallets, whether drum sticks or other mallets.

Unpitched percussion instrument percussion musical instrument that produces sounds of indeterminate pitch

An unpitched percussion instrument is a percussion instrument played in such a way as to produce sounds of indeterminate pitch, or an instrument normally played in this fashion.

Classification of percussion instruments

There are several overlapping schemes for the classification of percussion instruments.

References