There are different letters and numbers that different drumsticks carry, such as 5A, 7B. What do they represent? Does the material used (different woods, aluminium, etc.) have a bearing on the labelling?

1 Answer 1


I have found the following information on this website:

The letters will tell you the weight of the stick( A, B, S or D):

A (orchestra) is the lightest type of stick out there. This was the type of drumstick used in an orchestra, but nowadays is used in a wide range of musical styles.

B (band) is a medium weight stick – this kind of drumstick was used in concert bands. In more modern music, they make a great choice for rock drummers and people who are playing with a louder band.

S (street) is a heavyweight stick – in a more traditional setting you’d use this stick in a marching band. It’s not as common to see this kind of stick out and about these days.

D (dance) is also nowadays a bit of an oddity, but was traditionally used in dance bands. The 8D, which is the most popular stick of this kind, is a light and long stick.

The numbers will tell you the thickness of the sticks.

The smaller the number, the thicker the stick.

The larger the number, the thinner the stick.

A stick with the number 7 would be pretty thin, whereas a stick with the number 2 would be pretty chunky. The most common numbers you’ll see on a stick are 2, 3, 5 and 7 – though there are also other possibilities out there.

5 is considered the standard choice in the drumming world – so it’s a great place to start.

One strange exception to the numbering system is that a number 1 stick is longer, not thicker.

If you see the same number repeated twice this normally means that it’s the same as a normal stick of the same number, but with something extra added, normally slightly more thickness or length.

Manufacturers will sometimes put two different numbers on the stick – for example 85. This would be a stick that is somewhere in-between an 8 stick and a 5 stick.

Here is a picture reprensentation:

enter image description here

Here is a chart of some different combinations:

Drumstick Sizes Stick Length Thickness Suggested Styles
3S (Vater) 17.25” .730” An absolute tree trunk of a drumstick. Sometimes used in drum corps
2B 16.25” .630” A thick log of a stick, for playing super loud and heavy
5B 16” .595” The classic stick choice for rock and louder styles
Extreme 5B 16.5” .595” Same as a 5B – but slightly longer
Extreme 55B 16.5″ .610” Like the Extreme 5B, but even fatter
5A 16” .565” The most popular stick in the world. A great all-rounder
Extreme 5A 16.5” .565” Like a 5A, but a bit longer, for more reach and power
55A 16” .580” Halfway between a 5A and 5B. For someone who wants the best of both worlds
3A 16.19” .580” Like a 5A, but a little longer and fatter. Suits medium volume styles of music
1A 16.81” .580” Super long stick for easy reach around the kit
7A 15.5” .540” The classic stick choice for jazz and softer styles
8D 16” .540” Good for jazz and soft styles – longer than a 7A, making it easier to reach your drums
Extreme 8D 16.5” .540” A longer version of the 8D
85A 16” .550” A blend of the 8D stick and the 5A stick. A lighter stick, but not too light

As far as i can see, these labels won't explicitly tell you anything about the material they are made of.

  • There is an table like representation of the different wieghts and sizes, but i am not able to make a table like representation inside my answere. Does anyone know how to do it?
    – Olli
    Commented Jun 1, 2022 at 9:56
  • 2
    Tables don't use html-style code, they're much simpler - see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/356997/…
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jun 1, 2022 at 10:02
  • 1
    @Tetsujin thanks. I didn't know that detail. I added the table view of different combinations.
    – Olli
    Commented Jun 1, 2022 at 10:25
  • 2
    While it doesn't say anything about the material of the stick, I believe at least Vic Firth appends an N to designate a nylon tip, i.e. 5BN would be a 5B stick with a nylon tip. I used to prefer playing nylon tipped sticks because it gives an interesting sound difference between pinging the ride cymbal with the tip vs. the broad side of the stick. Commented Jun 2, 2022 at 6:34

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