Breaking sticks

I bought some Vic from Musician Friend and during the 5th song on the first set it BROKE about a 3rd of the way down the shaft. Now I play hard also, but I can usually go 1-1 1/2 shows before a wear one down enough it breaks. So I called Musicians Friend and they replaced it for free...

I had to cry myself to sleep the other night.. I sat down behind a kit in a studio for the first time in many many many months.. bought a brand new pair of sticks from the venue, and the head of my vic just went flying within the first 30 seconds... I couldn't believe it!

It must have just been a rotten apple though, because evne though i was hitting quite hard, it's just as hard as i normal play, and i've had to retire many pairs of vics because they're splinter so much from rimshots, but would NOT break!!

they've still got my faith and devotion though!
I broke a stick at the studio last week! It was a 7A, and I was playing the ride cymbal. Everything had to stop. It was a little embarrassing, but I got it back together pretty quick. That stick must have been ready to break, it was pretty old I guess, and I just happened to pull it out of the bag. The thing is, I never break sticks, I just don't do it.

It was a really nice ride cymbal, I think it was a UPF, something like that.
Its weird, because i've gone a year and a half without breaking a stick before. It might just be my playing style. I don't do rim shots very often... maybe thats why. I've been playing with the stand Vic Firth 5a's, and i almost never break them. I play hard, but I also use lots of dynamics, instead of consistently slamming the whole time...
I can't remember the last time I actually BROKE a stick. The tips will chip off till it ceases to rebound properly and I'll relegate it to smoker fodder. When I use nylon tips, sometimes they pop off and they all wear out in the area where I hit rim shots and eventually I have to toss them when the grain pops loose. When I hit hats, I alternate tip/shoulder with the accent on quarters so I don't shred them on the shoulder. One of my bands is pretty heavy and loud and I hit pretty hard live but I still don't break sticks. Hell, I've had 4 or 5 hour gigs playing all kinds of stuff and I don't break them. What I learned was, drums have a limit to how hard you hit them before they cease to get any louder and the tone goes away. If you want a dead flap, then by all means, pound on it like a gorilla. However, I buy good heads and tune my drums to sound GOOD, so when I need volume, I draw as much sound as the drums will let me and let the mics and the PA do the rest of the work. In the studio, if you want a Dave Grohl dead flap sound, you still don't need to pound them till your sticks break. I have a genetic disposition for arthritis, so I'm going to do my damnedest to postpone the worst of it and not play drums like an ogre. :)
I've only now, after about 5 months of actually rehearsing in a studio broke one stick (did so far only drum at home with the silencers on my kit) - I don't hit that hard most of the times, but sometimes you got to let off some steam....
i use maple drumsticksfor the majority of my practise and i still dont break them. i am quite a hard hitter but i found that after a certain point the harder you hit makes no difference in sound it simply makes it sound like a dead flap.
Here's a bit of information for those looking into their first pair of sticks or those thinking about trying a new brand/tip/model/wood type sticks.
The first thing to consider is the wood. Personally I don't think there are good woods and bad woods, different woods are suitable for different styles. Here is a quick overview of the 3 main types of wood used in drum sticks.

Oak is very heavy for it’s size. Oak sticks have a heavy feel, so they feel good in smaller diameters. Oak absorbs much less shock than Hickory, which means it passes the shock on to your hands, therefore Oak should be played on softer surfaces (i.e. snare drums not turned too high, rack and floor toms, and thinner cymbals) and at lower volume levels.

Maple is lighter feel than the other two woods, so you can have a much larger diameter stick in your hand without a heavy or slow and sluggish feel. Maple sticks are great for orchestral or Symphonic playing. Maple, like oak, has a lower shatter point, so when Maple sticks are taken to a drumset, rimshots with lead to quick failure on the sticks, unless playing low volume applications like soft jazz.

The benefits range from very durable wood with a high shatter point, meaning it can take a get deal of abuse before breaking. Hickory sticks tend to chip away as they are played on cymbals or rimshots, as opposed to Maple and Oak, that can merely snap in half when the much lower shatter point is reached. The most important benefit is how Hickory sticks absorb more than twice the about of shock as the other woods. This means more of the vibration that stick occurs due to contact with a rim as in rimshots, or cymbals, is keep within the stick as opposed to transferred on to your hands, wrists, forearms, and elbows.

The next thing do think about is the tip, nylon or wood?
Wood tip sticks offers a warmer and quieter sound, thus they tend to have thicker necks.Nylon tip sticks due to the louder projection of the nylon tip tend to have thinner necks, and offer a very consistent sound during the lifetime of the stick.

Another vital parameter for a great stick is the tip shape.
Round, acorn, and arrow are the most common shapes for drumsticks. There are probably 20 or more variations on these 3 main shapes due to slight preference drummers will have for their performing situations or styles. Most of these variations can be seen on each drumstick Manufacturers’ Endorser Signature lines of sticks.
The acorn bead offers the great versatility as opposed to the round bead which offers the least versatility. The round bead offers a cleared articulate less warm sound than an acorn bead, and more uniform sound since despite the angle striking a round bead to a surface it will be the same. An acorn bead offers 3 clear positions of shape of the bead for different sounds. The arrow bead offers the warmest sound when propely played on the flat or large surface of the bead, but requires more advanced training to play acorn beads correctly and consistently.

Drumming beginners may become confused about all of the markings on drumsticks (5A, 5B, 2B etc.) However, the markings are rather simple.
A stands for orchestral, or symphonic style of music therefore narrower necks and small beads for quieter style of playing.

B stands for Band, therefore needing more neck and bead size to perform within a louder and larger performing group.

S stand for street, or marching band style of performing, therefore a thick diameter stick for projection and volume needs.

Hope that helps guys :)

Dan x

that is very helpful information, thank you very much Danplaysdrums!
I always tend to switch back & forth between 5A & 5B depending on the size of the room & the type of songs I play....I play mostly Vic but seriously I would not mind any 5A-5B from ProMark and Vater.
Not a big fan of Regal Tip, just personal opinion
I would highly advise against carbon sticks of which the tips are carbon as well. Yes, these sticks are more durable (even though I did break those as well on an acoustic kit), but the carbon tips are so solid that you very easily make holes in your drum heads. Or at least, that's what experience tells me.

If you break your sticks because you play (too) loud there is not much you can do unless playing more silently. However, some genres simply do not allow you to play quietly. (In which case it would miss a lot of attack.) I am not saying it is not possible to play more quietly in that specific genre, I am saying that it will not feel right.

I easily break a pair of sticks every ... three months let say? And that on an electronic kit. I dare say that my technique is fine, so that is not really a problem. I did notice that I am playing too loud, notwithstanding the genre I am playing. Even on quiet, groovey jazz tunes I tend to hit the pads too hard. Once you realise that, it is just a matter of adaptation to the genre. It is quite easy with an electronic kit: you can mix your sound to an ideal balance between the songs/play-a-longs/metronome and the drumset.
Re: Breaking sticks left and right...

I really dont understand how people break so many sticks. I've had the pair I'm using for at least 4 months.

I used to never break sticks. And I used to tiny jazz sticks. All of the sudden I started playing bigger venues and hitting harder and my sticks are going left and right.
Re: Breaking sticks left and right...

I really dont understand how people break so many sticks. I've had the pair I'm using for at least 4 months.

I know a dude who has been using the same ProMark 7A Hickory sticks for the last five years.. And yes, I'm serious :)
If you're breaking sticks, it's probably due to holding them too tight, or other general bad technique. Letting the sticks breathe by holding them a little more loosely and maybe repositioning your fulcrum should help.
I've been using Vic Firth Rock nylon tip sticks since last October, not broken one pair yet. Yeah boiiii
I always use Vic Firth 5B's but they break so easily! Even on my electronic drumset. Any ideas for other sticks?

You shouldn't be breaking sticks on an electronic kit. In fact a pair of sticks should last a year or two on an electronic kit.
Just picked up a few pairs of BOSO sticks. Made out of bamboo. I would recommend checking them out. I've been getting some interesting sounds out of my kit. Durable as all get out.
On one hand, I haven't broken a stick in 20 years.

OTOH, I have about six pairs that I use and rotate fairly regularly.
I like to practice with various stick weights.
I usually pitch them when the tips get too worn down.