What characteristics should a beginner look for in drumsticks? This is for a beginner just starting out, teaching myself how to play the drums.

Is it weight? Thickness? Strength? Or something else?

  • Get a middle of the road size, like Vic Firth 5A, or the (vague) equivalent for other brands. If you want to buy less often in the beginning, you might also want nylon tips.
    – Linuxios
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 3:32
  • I think it is possible to save this question and not close it by interpretating it in a more general sense: "what characteristics to look for in drumsticks for a beginner"
    – Tim H
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 8:02
  • 1
    Updated as per Tim's comment. Should be answerable now.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 11:17

2 Answers 2


There is a lot of personal preference when it comes to drumsticks. Some of the important factors you will get/have to choose from are:

  • Material (different woods and synthetics)
  • Diameter/weight
  • Tip style (the shape of the tip)
  • Tip material (can be different from the rest of the stick - wood or nylon usually)

What I did when I started drumming is I purchased a single pair of several different types of stick and played with them to see what I liked.

Different tip shapes and materials affect the tone you get. Different weights affect the loudness and also the nimbleness of the stick. The diameter is linked to the weight and also has an effect on comfort.

Most drummers I know have a favorite stick that they, uhh.. stick with, but some drummers may change sticks between songs to get different amounts of volume or tone.

The main thing as a beginner is find a stick that feels comfortable and sounds reasonably good to you. Get a selection of maybe five to ten different type and play around with them. Hopefully you have a retailer in your area who can help you pick out the most popular alternatives to experiment with.

I do recommend picking one kind of stick and noting what it is and buying and using it exclusively for a while. Getting to know one stick really well will help you tell the difference in sticks if and when you want to change.


When you choose a drumstick, you want to take into consideration:

1. The matierial of the drumstick
2. The weight and the thickness of the drumstick
3. The material of the tip
4. The shape of the tip
5. The length of the stick

1. You can get nylon ones, but, these are usually much more expensive and most beginners won't notice a difference between them and wooden sticks (except for the substance feel). I would personally recommend wooden-made sticks and the best wood for beginners is probably hickory. If you don't want (for some strange reason) hickory drumsticks, you should get maple sticks.

2. You will see drumsticks are measured using a number then a letter. The number represents the weight of the stick - the higher the number, the lighter the stick - and the letter represents the thickness - the further up in the alphabet, the thicker the stick. You would use a lighter and thinner stick for jazz and blues drums, a medium size and weight for rock and pop, a thicker and heavier stick for heavy rock and metal. A beginner would be good using a 5A which is a medium size aand weight.

3. The tip material, for a beginner, should be wood - usually the same type as the rest of the stick. You can get nylon tipped drumsticks but you don't need to use them unless you are perfecting complex rudiments and I don't recommend them for playing.

4. Tips come in many shapes and different shapes give you very slightly different sounds. For a beginner, the best shape would be the mushroom shape (also known as the tear drop or acorn shape). It probably won't make much difference at all what style tip you have if you are just learning.

5. The length of the drumstick does really matter. If you get used to playing with a small stick, you won't be able to play with a large stick. A beginner should get used to a medium stick. 16"/40cm is a good size.

  • 1
    I strongly disagree with point 3. The main difference between wood and nylon tip drumsticks is the sound when you hit your cymbals with the tip. Get whichever one you think sounds better. If you don't know, then the norm is wood for most music, nylon for loud genres of rock and metal.
    – Edward
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 17:53

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