Choosing the Right Type of Drumsticks

February 13, 2024

In this article, I will teach you how to pick the right drumsticks, suitable for your playing style.

I will explain all the different drumstick types and sizes, what are certain types for and when should be used, etc.

Let’s dive in!

Anatomy of the drumstick

On the image below you can see the anatomy of the drumstick.

  • Tip: The tip, which can be made of various materials, significantly affects the sound produced on cymbals and drums.
  • Shoulder: The shoulder’s shape influences the balance and feel of the stick in hand.
  • Shaft: The shaft is the main body part between the butt and taper, affecting the stick’s flexibility, resistance, and is where logos are often placed.
  • Butt: Also known as the grip, it’s designed for a secure hold and can be used inverted for a louder and heavier sound.
types of drum sticks

Choosing the right drumstick type

Sticks could be made out of different materials, and have different shapes, looks, and purposes. Here I will explain when certain type of drumsticks is used.

wooden drum sticks

Wooden Drumsticks

The most common type, used by drummers of all styles for their versatility and traditional feel.

steel drum sticks

Steel Drumsticks

Preferred by heavy hitters and rock drummers for their durability and increased volume. Mostly used for practice.



Used primarily in jazz and softer music genres for creating smooth, sweeping sounds on the drums and cymbals.



Used for orchestral, band, and some jazz settings, they produce a softer, fuller sound ideal for rolls and cymbal swells.



Made from multiple thin sticks bundled together, rods offer a softer sound than solid sticks, perfect for acoustic gigs or lower volume settings.



Feature bundled fibers or rods, ideal for drummers seeking a unique sound with more volume than brushes but less attack than sticks.

drum stick tips

Understanding Drumstick Tip Types 

Drumstick type can substantially influence the sound that the stick provides. Here are the most common tip types with their characteristics:

  • Teardrop: Produces a rich, full cymbal sound due to its larger contact area, ideal for jazz and blues.
  • Round/Ball: Offers a focused and clear tone, perfect for precise playing on drums and cymbals.
  • Oval: Delivers a wide range of sounds, from warm tones on cymbals to full-bodied hits on drums, suitable for versatile playing.
  • Barrel: Creates a broad, loud sound with more surface contact, great for rock and pop music.
  • Taj Mahal: Features a unique, pointed shape that provides sharp, articulate sounds, ideal for intricate playing styles.
  • Arrow: Designed for precision and clarity, with a pointed tip that ensures crisp articulation on cymbals and drums.
  • Unique: Custom shapes designed for specific sounds and effects, catering to drummers looking for a personalized touch in their playing.

Drumstick Weight and Size

The numbering and letters on drumsticks indicate their size and weight, crucial for matching the stick to the drummer’s style and the music’s demands. Here’s a breakdown:

Numbering: Generally, the number refers to the stick’s circumference or diameter. Lower numbers mean thicker sticks. For example, a 7A is thinner and lighter than a 5A, which is thinner than a 2B. Thicker sticks (like 2B) are heavier and provide more volume and durability, suitable for louder music genres such as rock or heavy metal. Thinner sticks (like 7A) are lighter, offering more control and speed, ideal for jazz or softer music.

Letters: The letter often indicates the intended use or the stick’s design purpose. For example:

    • A (for Orchestra) sticks are generally suited for lighter, more dynamic playing.
    • B (for Band) sticks are designed for a heavier, louder playing style.
    • S (for Street) sticks are even thicker and more durable, designed for marching bands and outdoor performances.
    • D (for Dance) sticks, less common, are tailored for lighter, faster playing styles.

Weight and Length Influence on Sound:

Weight: Heavier sticks produce more volume and require more effort to control, impacting the sound’s intensity and the drum’s resonance. Lighter sticks allow for faster, more nuanced playing, suitable for genres requiring subtlety and precision.

Length: Longer sticks extend reach and leverage, offering more power and volume but potentially reducing control. Shorter sticks provide better control and are easier to maneuver for intricate patterns and faster playing.

Size and diameter – here are the most popular:

  • 5A – Standard drumstick
  • 3A – Thicker than 5A but a bit longer
  • 5B – Shorter yet thicker than 3A 
  • 7A – A thin drumstick 
  • 2B – The thickest stick available
  • 8D – Same as 7A but a bit longer
  • 1A – The longest stick available
drumstick types

FAQ Section 

What makes a good drumstick?

Balance and durability. Sticks with better balance tend to bounce more which makes them easier to play. Durability is obvious since every drummer wants his drumsticks to last.

What drumsticks do professionals use?

Professionals use wood drumsticks, brushes, and mallets. Other drumsticks are used for practice. Pro drummers usually use their signature model rather than a commercial model.

What are the best beginner drumsticks?

As a beginner on drums, it is important not to go for the heavy sticks right away. Your muscles aren’t developed to support the weight of the stick, and you can get hurt. Go slowly start with some light sticks like 7A or if these are too light use 5A.

The same goes for the price, there is no need to start with the most expensive drumsticks. Keep in mind that the drumsticks are drum gear that you will buy over and over which can get expensive.

Check out my guide on the best drumsticks to get more sense.

What drumsticks are the best for electronic drums?

I suggest using wood drumsticks in size 5A, that’s a regular mode.

The heavy sticks can hurt the electronic inside of the drum so the best way is to go for some lighter sticks that will cause a lighter impact. Also, the sticks with a plastic tip can be a great option to think about. 

What is drumstick 5A vs 7A?

Drumsticks in size 5a are significantly longer than the ones in size 7a. 5a drumsticks are 16′′ long, but 7a drumsticks are 15′′ to 15.75′′ long (depending on manufacturer). 

Also, 7a is a thinner stick than a 5a. The diameter of 7a is 0.54′′, whereas the diameter of 5a drumsticks is 0.565′′.

What are the lightest drumsticks?

Now when we know how the drumstick marks work we know that the lightest drumstick would be 7A as a basic type but among children drumsticks and signature drumsticks, there are many series thinner than 7A.

What are the heaviest drumsticks?

The same goes for the thickest drumsticks, 3S would be the thickest model out of the basic ones. 

Nowadays you can easily order 10 pairs of your custom model which means you can make the thickest or the thinnest model in the world in no time.

Denis Loncaric
Denis Loncaric

My name is Denis. I am a drummer, percussionist, music enthusiast, and blogger. Drums have been my passion for 15 years now. My idea is to write about the things I like and I am interested in. I want to share my drum passion with fellow musicians who walk, talk, and breathe drums.

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