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    The way drum stick sizes are determined varies per manufacturer. Many drum sticks sold though, have numbers that indicate their length. The following is an example. 

    Drum Stick Dimensions 

    The number 1 sticks are usually 16.75" to 17.25" long while the 2 is 16.00" to 16.50". Number 3 drum sticks are 15.50" to 17.00" long and number 5 are 16.00". Number 7 is 15.00" to 15.75" long and number 8 is 16.00" to 16.50". Number 9 is 16.00" to 16.50" long. 

    How to Choose Drum Sticks 

    Many people make the mistake of buying drum sticks based on their looks and how light they are. The fact is that some types of music require particular sticks. Aside from the drum stick size, the material used is important too. 

    How to Choose Drum Stick Wood

    Three major types are available: hickory, maple and oak. Hickory is the most common wood used and is quite strong. Maple sticks are not as heavy and more flexible. Oak is the strongest, and ideal for intense drumming. 

    Drum Stick Tip

    There are two major drum stick tips used: nylon and wood. The nylon tips are suitable for electronic drums. They can also be used to shield your V-drum kits from scratches and splinters. The wood tips are best for rock music. The wood tips can also be used for other types of music. These tips come in different shapes, so you need to experiment to see which is best for you. 

    Conventions Used in Drum Stick Sizes 

    Most drum sticks have a number and letter. Three of the most widely used are 7a, 5a and 2b/5b. 7a is a thin stick. It is recommended for soft quiet music and jazz. It is also ideal for new drummers who aren’t yet used to handling large sticks. 

    The most widely used though, is the 5a drum stick. It is solid and well rounded. These 5a sticks are used mostly for rock music, but they can be utilized in practically all music genres. The 2b/5b drum sticks are big and heavy. They are stronger and much louder. 

    Traditional and Contemporary Model Numbers 

    Two systems are used to designate drum stick models. The traditional models consist of the numbers and letters (5A, 2b etc). The contemporary models are based on the manufacturer’s standards. For this reason they vary widely. 

    Drum Stick Circumference 

    Numbers are used to denote the drum stick’s circumference. The lower the number is, the thicker the stick will be. 


    Three letters are used to determine the drum stick’s application: S, B and A. S is for drum sticks with a large diameter. They are for marching bands. B is for medium sized sticks used for symphonic concert bands. The A is for softer music and bands. Of the three types, its diameter is the smallest. 

    This guide for choosing drum stick sizes should help you make better decisions when deciding what to buy. But if the manufacturer has its own sizing conventions, you should study it so you can get the right size. 

    1. carl radcliff

      December 2, 2010 at 7:39 am

      Im looking for a really small drumstick for light jazz work. I found a beginners snare drum kit with a pair of old “9A” sticks, can you tell me where i can get these again? The new 9A sticks are made differently and is not what i need, i need the old 9A stick which is smaller and shorter than a “regal tip 7A” and is ideal for light jazz gigs. Please advise, i really appreciate your assistance.

    2. Sam

      January 11, 2011 at 10:36 am

      You’ll be lucky Carl.
      Promoco used to sell what were at different times called, “Jazz” or “School” sticks which were 3/8″(about 1cm) thick, and 15″ long which I used for years on all the quieter stuff, but they seem to have gone out of business as I haven’t been able to get any for a couple of years now.
      It’s worth asking in every music shop you pass, as someone may have some old stock; they weren’t fast sellers except to me.
      I hand whittled a pair of timbale sticks to a similar profile, which lasted some time, but took hours to make.
      I’m now looking at getting a local wood turner to make them for me.
      Good luck, Sam

    3. Luke

      May 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm

      Hi, I was wondering.. Is it appropriate to use light sticks like maybe 5A or 7A for light rock?
      I play practically all genres, and i really like nylon tipped sticks. So I got confused when you wrote that nylon tips are best for electric sets. Because I use nylon tips for acoustic drums too.

      Do you know which size my drumsticks should be?

    4. unholy low

      June 30, 2011 at 7:25 am

      nylon tipped drumsticks have a different bounce than a wood tip also usually less durable. the more natural something is makes it that much better (always). no one can tell you what stick you should be using ,suggest, yes but when it comes down to it experimenting with what does and doesn’t work for you will determine your outcome. put it this way it you wanna play quietly use 7a, if you wanna play loud snatch up some 5bs and blow some minds. word of advice though ditch the nylon they’re whack.

    5. Stephon

      July 27, 2011 at 4:21 pm

      Truly it is the drummers choice to select the size drumsticks that feel good in your hands. Its like two guys with the exact color suit on.. the difference will be the shirt and tie may be the difference from one another.Remember drumsticks in your hands should feel real comfy.. as if the stick is a part of your hand and fingers and use your wrist to play drums not your arms. The arms is the chain , the wrist is the ball ..Ball and Chain. Arms = chain for distance and position ..wrist = ball for connection and power. 7A ..8A ..5A are the standard sizes in drumsticks

    6. Chris

      November 4, 2011 at 8:47 pm

      Luke- whatever fits your playing style works, there really isn’t a “wrong” type of stick for anything if it feels food to you. (with the possible exception of using marching sticks for very soft music, but as I said, anything goes in drumming.) also, nylon tips work for everything, tips don’t make a major difference for acoustic kits, it’s all up to your personal preference and what fits the music.
      Hope that helps some


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