tl;dr: In my opinion, the best beginner drum sticks are a pair of 5A sticks because its weight and size is easy for most to get used to. I personally use the Vic Firth 5A Hickory sticks. People with smaller hands may want to try 7A sticks which are lighter.
If you’ve ever walked into a music store thinking that getting a pair of drumsticks would be a breeze, you’ve probably felt the same despair and confusion when you saw their “wall of sticks”.
If you haven’t had this experience, read this guide first.
Here, I list are some of the best beginner drum sticks for different types of drummers.
There are many choices out there, I picked the range that I think you should zoom into for a quick and accurate decision.
To prevent over-analysis, I spent over 23 hours researching, adding and eliminating drum sticks before narrowing down the selection to just 7:
Comparison of the Best Drumsticks for Beginners
You can click on the name of the drum stick to skip to the section where we share a little more about the sticks and what we thought about it.
|Drumstick||Brand||Length (Inches)||Diameter (Inches)||Body Material||Tip Material||Surface Coating||Price Range|
|Vic Firth 5A American Classic *||Vic Firth||16||0.565||Hickory||Wood||Lacquer||$$|
|Vic Firth American Classic 7A||Vic Firth||15.5||0.540||Hickory||Wood||Lacquer||$$|
|Promark R5AAG Rebound 5A Active Grip Acorn||Promark||16||1.565||Hickory||Acorn||Promark's Active Grip (TM)||$$$|
|Promark TXPG747W American Hickory Pro-Grip||Promark||16.25||0.551||Hickory||Wood||Promark's Pro-Grip||$$$$|
|Vater VXD5AW Xtreme Design 5A Hickory Drum Sticks||Vater||16.5||0.580||Hickory||Wood||NIL||$$|
|SODIAL 5A Maple Wood Drumsticks||SODIAL||16||0.551||Maple||Wood||NIL||$|
|CheetahDrumsticks 5A Maple Wood||Cheetah||16||0.551||Maple||Wood||NIL||$|
Best Beginner Drum Sticks
Vic Firth 5A – Hickory Drumsticks
If you are an adult learning to drum, the Vic Firth 5A is what I’d recommend you to start with.
In the universe of drumsticks, there are 3 common weights; 2 , 5, and 7. (if you are thinking of purchasing the drumsticks for a kid, read the next section)
On top of the numbers, there are A, B and S drumsticks – the alphabets co-relate to the diameter of the drumsticks. If you are purchasing your first drumsticks at a music store, test out the different sizes and weights. But, if you are in a hurry and busy, and want the drumsticks delivered to you, go for the mid-range drumsticks.
Start with the mid-range if you are beginner. In this case, I’d recommend Hickory 5A drumsticks.
And oh, drumming can be tiring on the arms.
You can probably protect your arms by using hickory wood sticks that are known to absorb shock.
How the Vic Firth 5a feels
The Vic Firth 5A are sticks are lacquered and tend to be less slippery compared to the raw wood finish.
Many drummers agree that they are a pair of balanced sticks that are easy on the wrists, and are friendly to beginners.
Something to note, wooden tips are known to be less durable, especially if you are a heavy cymbal rim thrasher.
If you want them to last longer, you might want to consider the Vic Firth 5A sticks that come with a Nylon tip.
Best beginner drumsticks for kids
Vic Firth 7A – Hickory Drumsticks
Now…if you are purchasing the drumsticks for your kid, you might want to go for the 7A drumsticks instead.
Younger kids who are learning to play the drums for the first time will find the 7A more comfortable to play with because they are generally lighter in weight than the 5A sticks.
Drummers in the forums and on reddit are still debating on the actual durability of these sticks.
I think that it’s probably due to a case of poor quality control
If you notice that your kid is blazing through his sticks very quickly, you might want to get the 5A sticks for him to try instead.
I’ve also explored other drumstick options for beginners below. If you are still window-shopping for drumsticks, the next few sections might offer something interesting >D
List of Contents in this article (click to skip to section):
- Comparison of Best Drumsticks for Beginners
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Beginner Drumsticks for those with sweaty palms
To prevent the drumsticks slipping away from your hands, and causing potential harm to your instructor, band mates or audience, you might want to consider this:
Promark R5AAG Rebound 5A Active Grip Acorn
Promark seems to have captured the hearts of drummers with sweaty palms with their range of Pro-grip drumsticks and stick wraps.
Now, they have outdone themselves with the Active Grip series which features drumsticks with thin heat activated coating that becomes ‘stickier’ as your palm temperature increases.
And it seems drummers are raving over it.
The Promark Rebound 5A sticks are a pair of well-balanced drumsticks that are usually smooth and non-sticky.
However, once you (the drummer) start sweating in the palms, the coating on the Promark Rebound is activated and it’ll start to feel stickier.
and do not feel sticky until you start sweating during your drumming session.
Plus, the coating doesn’t transfer onto your hands, so there’s no need to worry about making a mess.
If you want drumsticks that are more responsive, you might want to try the version with Acorn tips instead.
However, in all honesty I could not tell the difference with these tips. And I doubt most beginners would either.
Best Beginner Drumsticks at below $5
You spent all your moolah on those drumming lessons and have only 5 bucks in your wallet?
Regardless of how much you have in your pocket, this drumstick will allow you to get started with drumming:
SODIAL 5A Maple Wood Drumsticks
You should be able to afford to get several pairs of SODIAL’s 5A Maple Wood sticks…if you can find spare change at the back of your couch.
Compared to hickory, maple wood is less dense.
So you’ll be right to expect these sticks to be light and maybe even less durable if you are a heavy hitter.
If you are not brand sensitive, this is a great pair of sticks for you.
Especially if you are a beginner who is looking to explore drumming, or don’t want to spend too much on this new hobby just yet.
However, you should note that the Sodial 5A sticks do not come with a finish and may slip while you play.
You might want to consider getting the Stick Grip Spray if you face any issues with slippery drumsticks.
This stick may not be as comfortable or long-lasting, but hey, you’ll need it to start drumming.
In all honesty, with it’s price tag, this stick is provides great value especially for beginners who are looking for their first drumsticks. Check if the SODIAL 5A Drumsticks are still available on Amazon here
Frequently Asked Questions
Since I first published this article, we have received some questions from readers.
Of all the questions, we notice a similar trend as well as some frequently asked questions.
I hope this section will help you to choose a suitable pair of drumsticks, as a beginner drummer.
If you’re looking for your first pair of drumsticks, this section will cover some of the questions that you may have:
How to choose your first drumsticks?
Drumsticks are not created equally.
You should choose a pair based on your playing style and your comfort level.
I’ve shared some of my thoughts on what you should look out for when choosing your first drumsticks previously:
What do the Numbers and Alphabets on a drumstick mean?
When choosing your drumsticks, you’ll noticed numbers and alphabets that differentiates their sizes.
What do they mean?!
Well, it’s simple:
- Numbers: suggest the weight of the drumstick
Beware, the numbers are inversed to the weight; the higher the number, the lighter the drumstick.
Standard numbers are: 2, 5, and 7.
Fun Fact; the number originally represented the circumference of the drumsticks. The thicker the sticks, the heavier they are.
- Alphabets: indicate the thickness of the drumstick
A are the thinnest drumsticks and S are the thickest drumsticks.
Standard alphabets are: A, B, and S.
Fun Fact; the alphabets were originally used to refer to the purpose of the drumsticks, which happened to correspond with the thickness of the stick.
Most manufacturers produce drumsticks with these annotation. However, with the advancement in technology and research, most of them also offer signature drumsticks or unique drumsticks that no longer follow these numbers and alphabets.
You should always seek to test your sticks before purchasing them.
Now that you know what the numbers and alphabets mean;
Which drumsticks are best for a beginner
Beginners should start with a pair of 5A drumsticks.
You’ll find that 5A drumsticks are of average weight and size, hence it is good to start from there.
Girls who are new to drumming might want to start with a pair of 7A drumsticks instead. I personally found the 5A sticks a little too heavy for me, especially during the initial practice sessions.
What is the difference between 5a and 7a drumsticks?
A 5A drumstick is heavier than a 7A drumstick, but both of them are of the same thickness.
As mentioned above, the numbers on the drumstick gives you an idea of the weight of the drumstick while the alphabet gives you an idea of the thickness.
What size of drumsticks should I use?
Your ultimate choice really depends on your playing style and your music genre.
It would be advisable for you to test out drumsticks of different sizes and designs whenever you can.
Here’s a quick guide:
- Pop music drummer: 5A drumsticks
- Heavy metal drummer: start with 5B sticks if you are new. Try 2B sticks if you want something heavier.
Read our guide to the best drumsticks for heavy metal drummers for more.
- Marching Band drummer: Look for ‘S’ series sticks, these were originally created for you.
How to stop drumsticks from slipping from my hands?
One of the most common issues with drumsticks is grip.
No drummer would want a stick to fly through the stage during a performance.
If you have sweaty palms, you probably have it worse.
Here are 3 accessories you might want to consider:
There are various reasons drummers tape their sticks.
The main reason is for added grip.
Experienced drummers often recommend the Promark Black Stick Rapp drumstick wrap in forums.
You do have to note that you’ll need to paste the stick wraps onto your drumsticks manually.
A secondary function of such tapes is for decorative purposes.
Drummers in Bucket brigade or marching bands tend to decorate their drumsticks for visual reasons.
If you are looking to decorate your stick, you can consider electric tapes as a cheaper alternative.
The stick grip by Groove Juice is a product that has been highly recommended in various forums.
This is a transparent rubber based spray-on adhesive that improves the grip on your drumsticks.
No you no longer have to worry that the stick grip spray adhesive will not transfer onto your hands after they are dried. (Sweaty palms, rejoice!)
Plus, the stick grip adhesive does not (significantly) affect the weight or dimension of your sticks so you won’t have to readjust to your sticks after applying the grip spray.
There are long standing debates on whether you should use drummer gloves.
However, I’m on the side that drummers should make use of whatever equipment they can get their hands on, to drum better.
Drumming gloves are usually worn for 2 purposes;
- To improve grip or to,
- To reduce the occurrence of callus on your fingers
I think it boils down to personal preference.
Many famous drummers wear gloves too.
Some of them include: Phil Rudd (AC/DC), Johanne James (Threshold) and Carter Beauford (Dave Matthews Band).
I hope this article has helped you with choosing your first drumstick.
When choosing your first pair of drumsticks, you should consider the weight, feel and durability of the drumsticks that you are considering.
Let me know which sticks you went with in the comments below!