Why Do My Drumsticks Keep Breaking

I once broke a wooden broom while ‘fencing’ with my brother when I was young. 

Now imagine hitting a thinner, smaller wooden stick against a hard surface and a sharp surface repeatedly. 

Don’t panic: Drumsticks will break

Fact: It is normal for drumsticks to break!  

While it is very unlikely for your drumstick to break completely when you play, you’ll find that your drumsticks will undergo wear and tear. Splitters, fraying and dents are pretty common ‘damage’ that a pair of drum sticks would have, especially if you’re practicing on an acoustic drum kit regularly.

In general, if you’re drumming on an acoustic drum kit, you may need to change your drumsticks every 3 to 5 months if you’re practicing at least twice a week. If you’re playing on an electronic drum kit, you will still need to change your drumsticks once every 5 to 12 months.

For more information, here’s my answer to “How often should you replace drumsticks”, based on my experience as a drummer.

That said, if you find yourself breaking drumsticks more frequently than usual, here’re some reasons why:

Why do my drumsticks keep breaking? (common reasons)

  1. Poor quality

Drumsticks from unknown brands tend to be hit-or-miss in terms of their quality control. While I have never encountered issues with drumsticks from little known brands, I have friends who would not touch any drumsticks unless they are from reputable manufacturers.

  1. Watch how you’re hitting your cymbals.

One of the most common points where a drumstick breaks is the point where it strikes the cymbals. If you notice that your drumsticks tend to get deep dents along its shaft, you should take note of how you’re playing the cymbals. 

You should be hitting cymbals using the tips of your drumsticks instead of the edges of your cymbals. If you find that you’re hitting the edges of your cymbals without meaning too, you can either choose to lower your cymbals or consciously remind yourself to raise your arm a little higher. 

Nothing breaks a wooden stick faster than being hit on a sharp metal surface continuously. 

  1. You’re going too strong on your rimshots

Drummers who love their rimshots will tend to notice their drumsticks splintering regularly due to the impact of hitting the shaft on the snare drum’s metal rim. 

Depending on the genre of music and your preference, you may want to work on your technique instead of going full strength on those rimshots.

Or, just buy more drumsticks if you can’t do without your rimshots. 

  1. You’re using the wrong drumsticks

If you’re into intense, heavy metal type of drumming and are playing on some 5A drumsticks, it’s pretty much a miracle if your drumsticks survive more than a month of intense practice. 

  1. Not knowing when to change your drumsticks

Splinters and fraying are usually signs that your drumstick is due for a change, especially if you’re a heavy hitter or passionate about your rimshots. 

Check the condition of your drumsticks before each session and change them if you notice splinters or fraying. Replacing your drumsticks at this point will also protect your drumkit. 

  1. You’re practicing a lot!

Not sure about you, most drummers I know practice about 4 to 5 hours a week. Based on that, our drumsticks tend to last between 3 to 5 months.

However, if you’re practicing daily and clocking in more than 5 hours a week, it’s natural that your drumsticks will ‘break’ more often. 

If you’re in this category, don’t cut down on your drum practice. Look for bulk bundles like these so that you can get more drumsticks for cheaper. For example, Vic Firth drumsticks sometimes come in value packs of 3 or 5 pairs. Check with your local music store!

At this point, I hope that you’ve identified the reason behind why your drumsticks seem to keep breaking. 

Now, let’s look at some ways to help:

How to increase the lifespan of your drumsticks?

  1. Get better drumsticks

If you’ve been using drumsticks from an unknown manufacturer, you may want to consider saving up a little more for a pair from reputable companies like Vic Firth, Promark, Vater, etc. I share my pick of the best drumsticks here.

  1. Get the right drumsticks for your playing style

While 5As are the most common drumsticks, they may not be the best for your playing style. Here’re some guides I’ve written previously to help you choose the best drumsticks for your needs:

  1. Improve your drumming technique

Notice the angle at which you’re hitting your drums and cymbals. The main culprit is usually the cymbals because at the speed and impact we’re playing, cymbal rims turn into saw-like weapons that destroy our drumsticks…if you’re using a bad technique.

If that’s you, then it’s time to get back to basics. 

Put in some practice time on the cymbals and try to hit them with the same intensity, but using only the tips of your drumsticks. 

Repeat the same exercise with your drums – if you’re hitting rim shots without intending to, you might need to refine your technique (lift those arms) or readjust the height of your drum heads.

  1. Check your drumsticks regularly

As mentioned above, splinters and fraying are warning signs that you should change to a fresh pair of drumsticks. 

If you don’t wish to throw the old drum sticks out yet, you can retire them and use them solely for practice on a practice pad.

Sometimes, it’s not you, it’s…

One of the other factors we’ve discussed above. 

In my experience, it’s usually down to two common reasons: 

  1. Choose the wrong drumsticks for your drumming style
  2. Hitting rimshots or edges of the cymbals too often, especially when you don’t mean to

But hey, if those reasons don’t seem to fit your situation, choose something off what I’ve mentioned above and see if it works for you.

Let me know how it goes!

Leave a Comment