You play heavy metal but your current sticks don’t feel right?
Ultimately, your choice of drum sticks will be determined by your drumming preference.
But we all know that there are just too many drumsticks to choose from at the music store. And
breaking testing them all isn’t the best way to go for your pocket.
DISCLAIMER! This article is created specifically for heavy metal drummers, if you don’t play heavy metal, refer to this list instead.
Will you be stuck with incompatible drum sticks for the rest of your drumming journey?
Because I’ve done the testing for you and reduced your options to just 10 drumsticks that are suitable for heavy metal drummers.
You’d probably need to test them all to find the best drumsticks for your heavy metal drumming.
But hey, testing 10 sets of drumsticks is way easier than having to deal with thousands of choices.
So let’s get right into it:
Best Drumsticks for Heavy Metal Drummers [Comparison]
|*Best Drumsticks for Heavy Metal Drummers*
Chris Adler Promark TX5AXW Sticks
|0.551″ / 1.4cm
|16″ / 40.6cm
|*Best Drumsticks for Beginner Heavy Metal Drummers*
Vic Firth American Classic 5A
|0.565" / 1.44cm
|16" / 40.6cm
|*Best Drumsticks for Beginner Heavy Metal Drummers*
|0.551″ / 1.39cm
|16″ / 40.6cm
|Steve Gadd Signature Vic Firth Sticks
|0.550″ / 1.4 cm
|15 3/4″ / 40.01 cm
|Best Drumsticks for Power Heavy Metal Drummers
Vic Firth Titans 5B
|0.595" / 1.51 cm
|16" / 40.64cm
|Carbon Fibre Composite
|Ahead Metal Fuse 2B
|0.595″ / 1.51 cm
|16 5/8″ / 14.2 cm
|Danny Carey Signature Vic Firth Sticks
|0.630″ / 1.6 cm
|16 1/2″ / 41.91 cm
|Thomas Lang Signature Vic Firth Sticks
|0.650″ / 1.65 cm
|16 1/8″ / 40.96 cm
|Vic Firth Sticks American Classic Metal
|0.635″ / 1.61 cm
|17″ / 43.18 cm
|Ahead Speed Metal Sticks
|0.540″ / 1.37 cm
|15.69″ / 39.85 cm
Now that you’ve now got the quick comparison, let’s dive deep into the features and benefits of each of the recommended drumsticks.
I’ve categorized the drumsticks for different needs, you can click the subheadings below to skip to the section:
- Best Drumsticks For:
- 4 things heavy metal drummers must consider before choosing the best drumsticks
- How you should choose your heavy metal drumsticks
Best Drumsticks for Heavy Metal Drummers
As a heavy metal drummer, you’ll want to be playing loud, powerful strokes with speed.
After testing over 21++ drumsticks, I would say that Chris Adler signature sticks are the best drumsticks made specifically for heavy metal drummers:
Chris Adler Promark TX5AXW Sticks
Provides great balance between speed and power. Features a longer taper that allows better response.
Diameter: 0.551″ / 1.4cm
Length: 16″ / 40.6cm
Chris Adler is the drummer from Lamb of God:
As you can see, his playing is both fast and powerful, leaning towards speed.
And he is quite a tall guy, so he probably don’t have much issues with reach. His sticks are of average length.
His signature sticks are slightly (14%) heavier than the regular 5As. If you take a closer look at his sticks, you’ll also notice that his sticks are customized with a longer taper that makes the front of the drumstick lighter. This provides better response as well as rebound.
Chris Adler’s signature drumsticks has all the features that makes it the most versatile drumsticks for heavy metal drummers.
At it’s weight, you will likely still be able to drum fast. Plus, drummers using the Chris Adler Promark Signature Drumsticks are always pleased with its ability to rebound which also helps them to drum faster, without being worn out too fast.
With its thickness, you’ll be able to experience greater drumming power as well. You’ll be able to drum loud while maintaining your speed. Best of both worlds.
Best Drumsticks for Beginner Heavy Metal Drummers
Vic Firth / Promark 5As
Standard 5A sticks that are well balanced for most genre of drumming.
Vic Firth 5A
Diameter: 0.565″ / 1.44cm
Promark 5A (TX5AW)
Diameter: 0.551″ / 1.39cm
If you are a new drummer and want to play heavy metal, look no further.
Start with the 5As (or 7As if you need something lighter), get used to playing the drums then explore other drum sticks. It’s always advisable to start with standard sticks and build your fundamentals on it, plus they are one of the most affordable sticks around.
The 5As are one of the most versatile drumsticks that just work.
They are of a manageable weight and hence are ideal for new drummers who have never drummed for long periods previously.
Their thickness is in the mid-range which means it’s easy to get the hang of your stick grip without straining your fingers or wrist.
The only downside to starting with the 5As is that they may not be durable, especially if you are a hard hitter. If you are aspiring to play heavy metal, you’ll want to get a pack of 3 sets so that you have spares around if your drumsticks ever break. Drummers have also feedback that Promarks’ 5As are more durable compared to Vic Firth’s.
As you improve and understand more about drumming, you’ll understand your personal preferences for drumming. Then, you can go ahead and change your sticks for more efficient drumming.
Steve Gadd explains how he tweaks the way he used his drumsticks in the past, for different playing styles:
This leads us on to:
Steve Gadd Signature Vic Firth Sticks
Great for speed drumming, light enough for beginners to handle too. Black finish might come off after several use.
Diameter: 0.550″ / 1.4 cm
Length: 15 3/4″ / 40.01 cm
Material: Maple Wood
Steve Gadd’s signature sticks are between a regular 7A and 5A sticks.
Ok, Steve Gadd isn’t a heavy metal drummer.
But he is a highly regarded drummer whom some would argue is the best there is today. And he had made it onto the list of the 100 best drummers by Rolling Stones magazine. He is a session / studio drummer, hence his signature sticks are lighter and thinner, built more for the regular 4 drums kit.
The best part is that they are great for speed, and Steve Gadd can be pretty fast.
The #1 complain that they have is that the finish have a tendency to come off and will stain their drum heads. If you’d prefer to keep your drumheads clean and looking new, this pair of sticks is not for you.
Another consideration is that the finish is quite smooth and may be slippery.
Despite the downsides of this signature Steve Gadd drumsticks, apparently there are many drummers who find a pair of drumsticks between the 7As and 5As perfect because this signature drumstick remains a popular option among a wide range of drummers because it allows drummers to play fast and accurately.
Best Drumsticks for Power Heavy Metal Drummers
For those of you who want to focus on going loud and powerful on the drumkit, I think this will be the best option for you:
Vic Firth Titan 5Bs
Durable carbon fibre drumsticks that retain the feel and sound of wood sticks while providing consistency across every stick.
Diameter: 0.595″ / 1.51 cm
Length: 16″ / 40.64cm
Material: Carbon Fibre Composite
If you’re a power hitter who often breaks your sticks, this could change all that.
Made from aerospace grade carbon fibre composite, the Vic Firth Titan 5B is said to be one of the most durable drumsticks around.
Drummers who have used the Vic Firth Titan sticks have been blown away by its durability, especially when there was hardly any difference after making several full strength rim shots.
Vic Firth has even put it to a test against its hickory counterpart, you can see the results here:
Despite the mention in the video about the Vic Firth Titans sounding the same as wood, I’ve noticed that there is a slight difference, possibly because of the density of the carbon fibre composite.
The weight of the drumsticks is consistent but because of it there is slightly lesser rebound, even on the snare.
In addition, it could be due to the weight of the sticks, or that it is denser and absorbs less vibration and hence my forearms were tired out by three quarter of my usual practice session.
If you want to train your drumming stamina and speed around the kit, this stick might just have that effect!
Plus, its finishing is really just too cool to ignore:
Click to purchase the Vic Firth Titan 5B now (out of stock on Amazon on last check, you should check with your local music store for options)
Alternatively, if you don’t mind something that may sound a little different, check out:
Ahead Metal Fuse 2B
Perfect for power drumming and provides extended reach too. Made of aluminum and is about 2x more durable than wood drumsticks.
Diameter: 0.595″ / 1.51 cm
Length: 16.625″ / 14.2 cm
2B drumsticks are the heaviest and often thicker drumsticks, which makes them less popular among drummers.
That said, heavy metal drummers love them. All heavy metal drummers would own at least a pair, or tried playing with 2B drumsticks before.
Afterall, these drumsticks are great for power drumming!
Likewise, the Ahead Metal Fuse 2B drumsticks are popular as a power drumming sticks. [See official site]
It is heavier and hence I would only recommend it for drummers who are serious about bringing their heavy metal drumming to the next level. This will take some time to get used to.
The Ahead Metal Fuse 2B is made of aluminum using an exclusive manufacturing method, this makes it more durable than wood. Breaking these sticks would be a rarity indeed.
Plus, the Ahead sticks can be replaced by components (i.e. tips, covers, etc)
Despite the difference in material, the Ahead Metal Fuse drumsticks doesn’t affect the sound of the drums due to the nylon tips.
Another alternative is:
Danny Carey Signature Vic Firth Sticks
These come with a customized grip area for better grip and a tapered butt end for better balance. It also has a shorter taper for a tip heavy feel which can give you more power on the kit. Now comes with a Nylon tip.
Diameter: 0.630″ / 1.6 cm
Length: 16 1/2″ / 41.91 cm
Danny Carey is Tool‘s drummer:
Danny is a great drummer known for his groove and his powerful drumming with his repertoire of bands. [official site]
His signature sticks are heavier (in fact they are the heaviest in our list) and thicker which makes them great for powerful drumming.
In terms of weight, Danny Carey’s signature drumsticks feels almost the same as Thomas Lang’s but it does wear the drummer out faster, so you’d need to build up your stamina if you want to be jamming with this.
Also, they are also relatively longer and gives drummers greater reach, which you’ll definitely need if you are playing on a kit like Danny’s.
You’ll also need to readjust your grip position on this sticks because of the slightly lighter front.
Another recommended pair of drumsticks for power drumming is:
Thomas Lang Signature Vic Firth Sticks
Features a thick shaft and bigger tear drop tip for loud drumming
Diameter: 0.650″ / 1.65 cm
Length: 16 1/8″ / 40.96 cm
Again, yea I know. Thomas Lang is not a heavy metal drummer.
However, he is known for his powerful drumming and groove, take a look:
His signature sticks are built for power drumming and drumming loud.
They are way thicker than the 5As, closer to a 2B. Plus, they are slightly longer for increased reach.
On top of that, this drumstick features a larger tear drop tip that provides a loud and clear response on the drums.
Inexperienced drummers who pick up this sticks will find it heavy and tiring to drum with. Also the balance of this pair of drumsticks varies from the standard 5As, you might need some time to get used to drumming with them.
With that said, these sticks tend to be very durable due to its thickness.
Vic Firth Sticks American Classic Metal
Longer and relatively thicker for better reach and power.
Diameter: 0.635″ / 1.61 cm
Length: 17″ / 43.18 cm
Recognizing the need by heavy metal drummers for customized sticks, Vic Firth released this model.
It is characterized by its longer length and thicker shaft to provide wider reach and greater power. It is also 32% heavier than the standard 5As, you will definitely feel the difference after a couple of minutes with it.
If you want to drum to relatively slower heavy metal that features the drums, this is the stick you should consider.
Also, you will want to note that this the Vic Firth American Classic Metal drumsticks are heavier than Thomas Lang’s signature sticks.
Practicing on these and then switching back to the regular 5As will definitely make you a faster drummer on the 5A sticks.
Best Drumsticks for Speedy Metal Drummers
Ahead Speed Metal Sticks
Great for speed playing and quick response.
Diameter: 0.540″ / 1.37 cm
Length: 15.69″ / 39.85 cm
Built for clear response and speed, the Speed Metal sticks are on the opposite end of the spectrum from the Ahead Fuse Metal 2B sticks mentioned above.
The Speed Metal model is lighter, thinner and slightly shorter compared to the Fuse Metal range. [see official site for more]
Drummers using the Ahead Speed Metal range have commented that it allows loud drumming despite its weight, especially when paired with nylon tips.
If you want to play fast and still have the option to go loud, this is the drumsticks for you.
4 things heavy metal drummers must consider before choosing the best drumsticks
You want to play loud. But at times, you want extreme speed.
Depending on how you like to play, here are 4 features that you must look out for in your heavy metal drum sticks.
In short: heavier for power, lighter for speed
If you like to drum powerfully and loudly, you’ll want heavier drumsticks.
But beware, heavier drumsticks means you’ll tire out faster.
Long playing duration can lead to muscle aches along your arms and back.
So, if you want to be able to go all out, make sure you work on your stamina on the drum kit.
In short: thicker sticks = more power, and vis versa
Likewise to weight, the thicker the sticks, the more power you’d be able to play with.
However, with thicker drumsticks, you might experience a decrease in rebound as the sticks tend to absorb the energy. This means you’ll need to use more energy to play longer sets.
It’s best to start practicing with thicker or heavier drumsticks for a month or two to get used to them.
In short: longer sticks = wider reach
Heavy metal drumkits are some of the most sophisticated kits, usually characterized by the additional drums and cymbals for a wider range of drum sounds.
If you are aiming to own a ‘complete’ heavy metal drum kit in the future, you’ll want to start practicing with longer sticks for increased reach.
In short: denser (wood) material = greater durability
You’d probably playing at full strength for most heavy metal songs.
Hence, you’d want sticks that are durable, so that you’ll not be breaking drumsticks at every drumming session.
This boils down to the material of your drumsticks.
Wood is the most common material, here are some of the common wood that is used to make drumsticks and their relative density:
Density of wood drumsticks
- Oak (most dense)
- Hickory (mid)
- Maple (least dense)
On top of wood, you may also want to consider aluminum drumsticks like those manufactured by Ahead. These tend to be more durable than wood drumsticks.
Also, do note that although drumsticks can be relatively durable, it would be wise to own or prep multiple pairs of drumsticks for each session.
How to choose your heavy metal drumsticks?
There will be times when you just want to go all out and play some powerful heavy metal, and there will also be times where you’ll want to be able to go fast on the drums.
Alas, the ability to go fast or go loud are on two opposite ends.
Heavier sticks are difficult to play fast with, and lighter sticks can’t give you enough power.
Hence, the secret to choosing the best drumstick for heavy metal drumming is to seek a balance based on how you like to drum.
Of course, the best way to choose a pair of drumsticks is to test them out.
But not all music stores welcome drummers to test out their entire range of drumsticks, just to select a pair of sticks that cost no more than $50.
So, unless you are intending to buy in bulk, going to the music store may not be the best idea.
I hope that this comparison piece has helped you narrow down your range of drumsticks for heavy metal drumming, so that you can quickly pick up a pair of drumsticks that’ll be comfortable to play with. Afterall, drumsticks are like extension of drummers. We’ll want to feel as ‘one’ with our sticks. And this can only work if we picked a suitable drumstick.
Now it’s your turn!
Let me know which drumstick you are using currently and if you are a heavy metal drummer in the comments below 🙂