By Contributing Author Dango
Wondering what the best drumsticks for electronic drums are? Check out these top options for a quality pair.
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Finding the right drumstick for a new player is a bit of a journey that is based on the player’s physical size, as well as the music they are playing.
When shopping for drumsticks to use on electronic kits you can use most of the same principles as shopping for traditional drumsticks, but with a couple differences.
Choosing the Best Drumsticks for Electronic Drums
The biggest factor that I consider when playing on an E-kit is generally choosing a lighter model stick that will ultimately do less damage to mesh heads or rubber cymbals.
But there are no perfect sticks designed specifically for E-kits that truly make a difference. It’s just marketing at that point, so let’s check out some great overall stick options that will work on your electronic kit.
6 Best Sticks to Use With Electronic Drums
General sticks sizes from all the major brands consist of 7A, 5A & 5B, and 2A & 2B.
The larger the number, the smaller the stick is for these main examples. There are several other options from every company, each with added length or girth, as well as options with nylon tips, plus different wood types and finishes.
The key is finding a stick you feel comfortable with regardless of what you’re playing.
Even if you prefer a bigger rock model stick for acoustic drums, you may want to consider something slightly smaller for E-drums.
For instance, I typically play around the 5B size and diameter so I would naturally size down to a 5A for electronic drums. Anything smaller seems too big of a jump for me, but you can experiment and most stores will let you try different sizes on mesh heads.
Promark Select Balance Rebound 565 Wood Tip 5A
- Rebound Balance taper for a back heavy stick that feels like it's doing most of the work
- .565" diameter comparable to most 5A models
- Exclusive quarter-sawn hickory for the most consistent, durable, and straight wood grain
The 5A is one of the best selling models from every company, and I find that Promark makes this one as well as anyone.
This model is 16 inches long, which is standard, and .565 diameter.
The select balance model is offered in both forward or rebound options, depending on the player. I definitely prefer the rebound model, which is rear weighted.
Promark offers all of the general sized models in wood tip also, which is what I greatly prefer. On electronic cymbals, the wood tip is slightly more quiet.
Made in the USA from Hickory, every pair is pitch matched for ultra consistency. Promark sticks are made in Houston, Texas.
This is one of the best options out there–you can’t go wrong with this one.
Vic Firth American Classic 5A
- The world's best-selling stick!
- Great all-around size and weight for any musical situation
- Tear drop tip for rich cymbal sounds
With very similar specs to Promark, Vic Firth also offers the 5A in 16 inch length and .565 diameter of American hickory.
Available with wood or nylon tip, it comes in a teardrop shape.
This is a super well-balanced stick that is typically recommended for jazz and lighter playing, which makes it great for mesh heads.
Vic Firth is based out of Boston and has been around over 50 years. Another one of my top picks, you can check out these 5A sticks here.
Vater Los Angeles 5A VH5AW
- Model VH5AW
- Length: 16"
- Diameter: 0.570"
Vater’s model comes in at a standard 16” length, but it’s slightly beefier than the previous two models, being .570 in diameter.
It also is front weighted toward the bead, which is opposite of both the Vic Firth sticks and the Promark Rebound Balance.
I greatly prefer the feel of rear weighted sticks which would make me skip Vater all together, but that is just personal preference.
Vater’s stick quality is great and many people like this forward feel for their playing. These sticks are made from Select American hickory, and matched by weight. Vater is based out of Massachusetts.
- The world's most popular drumstick size
- Classic stick choice for beginner drummers and professionals
- Mid-sized shaft and medium taper
Zildjian are obviously known for their cymbals but got pretty heavily into the drumstick market with several artist models from rock players like Dave Grohl and Travis Barker.
Generally, my experience with them was that most broke easier than the bigger three stick brands previously mentioned, but their quality control may have significantly improved after Zildjian and Vic Firth merged.
The Zildjian model is 16” hickory like everyone else, but is slightly skinnier, being .560 in diameter. It also features an oval wood tip but is available in nylon tip as well.
This model is slightly lighter than the rest. Zildjian is based in Boston.
Innovative Percussion Vintage Series 5A
- White hickory, medium taper with an acorn tip.
- Length – 16 1/8”
- Diameter - .565”
Innovative Percussion, or IP, is the newest of these brands to enter the stick market and be competing with the big boys.
They boast an impressive artist roster, considering their company was formerly known for just making classical mallets.
Their sticks are a little bit more expensive than all of the rest, but their quality stands up to the others.
The only real difference in their 5A model is the length being slightly longer than everyone else’s at 16 ⅛ inches. I actually prefer slightly longer than 16, but I’m not sure why their stock models are longer.
These are hickory with an acorn tip. Innovative is based out of Nashville, TN.
Meinl Stick & Brush Drumsticks 5A American Hickory
- ALWAYS FEELS THE SAME: raw wood dowels are pre-sorted by weight and density before becoming drumsticks; this ensures a narrower weight range for your go-to sticks, so they always feel the way you...
- WHY IT MATTERS: there's no adjusting to a different weight when you buy a new pair; having this consistent of a feel with your drumsticks helps you stay focused while performing and practicing
- STANDARD 5A SPECS: 16" long, 0.565" diameter, acorn shape wood tip, medium taper
Meinl is also a well-known cymbal and percussion manufacturer who recently joined the stick market.
These 5A models are American Hickory, but are apparently made in Germany where they make their cymbals also.
These are 16” long and .565 diameter to stay in line with most of our options.
Meinl also offers long models and heavier models of 5A, similar to all the other companies.
These are the only ones on this list that I have never personally played. I’m sure they are solid and if you love Meinl stuff, then check them out.
If you are new to stick shopping, stick with the other 5 as they are easier to find.
Differences When Playing Electronic Drums vs. Acoustic Kits
There really is a big difference in the feel and bounce of electronic drums, and especially the cymbals.
Dynamics are a weird thing to get used to when the rebound is totally different on a pad.
As I mentioned before, a smaller model, or at least a lighter model of what you use on an acoustic kit is really a wise option.
Electronic kits are expensive and can be harder to replace broken parts on. Be mindful of how hard you hit E-drums.
Should I Choose Nylon or Wood Sticks?
Nylon sticks were popular when I was a kid, and quickly seemed to go out of style.
It’s totally up to your ear, but I personally think wood is a better option on E-kits, especially for the cymbal volume.
One of my biggest pet peeves of electronic kits is when you see someone playing live and hear the drummer’s sticks clicking on the pads or cymbals, louder than the actual amplified volume of the drums.
Nylon will slightly add to that clicking volume if you hit a rim or even the cymbals, so I generally recommend using wood.
How to Take Care of Your Drumsticks
There’s really no one secret to taking care of sticks. The reality is, they are made of wood and will eventually chip and break.
Sometimes they can last for months with light use, but that’s not very likely if you’re playing acoustic drums and cymbals with them.
Sticks should last significantly longer when used strictly on electronic kits due to the decreased velocity used to play.
However, even if you’re using drumsticks for electronic drums, you should always keep a backup set of sticks on hand, especially if you are playing any kind of live gig.
Sticks can always snap or break off mid set, even for no reason, and you don’t want to be stuck without a backup.
Our Top PickS:
I have personally endorsed both brands and toured with both brands at different times in my career, and have been very impressed with quality control on both.
I switched from Vic to Promark about 8 years ago and have been very impressed with the sticks being pitch paired and staying in round.
This changed when D’addario bought Promark and upped their quality control significantly. These two brands have been around the longest in the stick world and have the artists and experience to back up their names.
They are available everywhere in the world.
Drumsticks aren’t that expensive and are also sold in bundles, or bricks. I suggest buying a few pairs if you like a model.
Avoid Cheaper Sticks
I would not buy the Guitar Center knockoffs or any other cheap brand.
Those cheaper B grade sticks from other companies are notorious for unevenly matched pairs, sticks out of round or warped, and overall bad weights. You may also get a pair that is super light, or that breaks on the first hit.
The big companies are all so good now that you can really expect a good, high-quality pair every time, even when ordering online.
Thirty years ago you might have needed to sort through a bin at a drum store to find good feeling sticks. Nowadays the technology is so consistent that it’s not an issue with the big companies.
Try Out 2 or 3 Pairs
A good pair of sticks is only somewhere around 10 bucks, so don’t buy cheap. Instead, buy a couple good quality pairs.
Maybe buy one from 2 or 3 different companies and see which you like best. Maybe buy a 5A and a 5B to try out.
Only you can decide what feels comfortable, but once you start trying out options of drumsticks for electronic drums, you will really enjoy all the diversity each of these companies has to offer. Good luck!