First, about your grip. When I started I had a teacher who told me that palms down, 'all wrist action' was the proper way to hold the sticks when playing drum kit — he called that 'matched grip.' This is also called 'timpani grip' as that is how timpani is played. I have seen many drummers play this way. Later I was told either palms down or thumbs up were BOTH called matched grip. They said matched referred to both hands 'matching' their movement. As opposed to so-called 'traditional grip — where one hand holds the stick between the fingers, palm facing up, stick is at a right angle to the arm, while the other hand holds it like when playing matched. In this grip, the hands do not both match each other. Although this is called traditional grip, in fact it is the newer method. It was invented to play a marching snare, when slung around your neck with a strap, that caused the drum to tilt, and this grip provided a method to hit the angled drum. it also seems to me to be related to how a certain African drum carried around the neck is played.

Anyway, I play many variations of matched grip. Your grip affects your playing.

For example - I do 2 (maybe 3) slightly different method for hitting doubles based on grip.

One style— after first hit, make the stick bounce against middle to pinky fingers with rebound of the first hit, snapping the stick back down—this is a more finger-based grip wrist based grip.

2nd style— I'm holding the stick a little tighter (NOT TIGHT - just tighter than usual grip), and my entire grip (although mostly my index finger curled around stick seems to do the work) fights against the first bounce to force stick back down. This is a more wrist based grip than fingers— thumbs to the side.

Now, when I am playing more thumbs up, I don't hold stick too tight, but I don't let it rebound. The grip pushes it back down for a 2nd hit. This is really like method 2, but my grip is thumbs up instead of thumbs side.

I also mix the style- depending on my grip at the moment, and what I'm playing. You can never have too many ways to play a stick...!

Breaking sticks: I have heard there is a composite stick that plays like wood but is more durable, but I'd say try changing your technique a bit first. See if you let the stick rebound first before you simply find a stronger stick. Often, a change in stick handling will reduce some breakage. If you play really hard, sticks will break, but there are things you can do to reduce it somewhat — like not hitting cymbals at right angles with the stick, and letting the stick rebound....

I too hit VERY hard, but I notice I no longer go through heads & sticks like I used to. I once split a metal rim on my snare when using kevlar™ heads! Now I use coated ambassadors on my snare and I don't break them. I have to change them when they get old first. Before I changed heads because they would rip— often going through 2 snare heads a gig! (I would have the 2nd snare set up ready to go, and by the end of the gig both snares heads were shot!) For me, the change had to do with letting the stick rebound instead of really pushing it 'through' the head like I used to do. I started really forcing the stick deep into the head, because it was louder & seemed to give a more 'compressed' sound. I think that was due to the stick actually muffling the head. I have since found that letting it rebound lets it ring more & can give you the volume you need/want. If I need the same muffled sound I use Remo O rings. Letting the stick properly rebound saves heads, sticks AND YOUR BODY FROM DAMAGE ! !

Holding the stick too tight also can make stick break more. And I can go much faster now. The stick is back up immediately, instead of really having to lift it back up. I guess I stop the down force right before the stick hits now. [See section on grip] I still use 5Bs usually, but in the past I would sometimes play the snare stick backwards for a louder crack. I also learned that by muffling the drums less, I don't have to hit as hard for cutting volume. Also, constant rim shots eat away at the edge.

Also watch how you hit cymbals - hitting them against the edge so that it cuts into the wood is BAD for cymbals as well as the sticks.... Glance off them.

Try different brands' sticks in a similar size, although every company has it's own determination of what a 5b is... I find that if I switch brands, same size, it feels like a totally different stick —and then I end up getting used to that brand... I just play 5B vic first or promark - whichever I feel like at the time. Most of these extras are just marketing hype (it seems to me) but try everything.... I'm trying to settle on a specific brand but every time I try something else, I check it out, then another, and when I'm used to a stick, others feel odd..... I do like a stick not too stiff - but not too flexible. I've had the experience that sometimes a slightly lighter stick will seem to break less often as a really heavy stick - I think because when I hit with a stick that was too heavy for my needs, it has too much momentum & snaps instead of bounces., And not much flexibility - too rigid.... so try a slightly more flexible stick - just as an experiment... may not work at all.... HOME

Losing plastic tips: If you play plastic tip sticks, & the tips keep coming off, try adding glue to the tips before using the sticks - so you don't loose the tip when it flies off.. Place it where the wood & the tip meet (avoid getting in on the area that hits the head) Some brands' tips come off more than others. A few years ago the brand I was using (I forget which is was...) always popped off—some were loose right out of the pack - so I added glue around bass of tip where it meets wood before I played them. I also pick up lose tips whenever I find them at gigs & such. I also save good sticks that have lost their tips. I glue the tips onto the sticks & voila ! — A new stick. I usually try to put a tip on that matches the original, as different tips do have slight different sound & feel. Also, the tighter the tip is on, the better, so use strong glue. Home