Talk:Percussion mallet

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WikiProject Percussion (Rated Start-class, Top-importance)
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the discussion of the specific numbering/lettering scheme: "A" for orchestral, etc. There is no standard among makers, especially for the sticks designed for professional orchestral players.I am a professional orchestral player. hahaha! Cooperman, for instance, uses a numbering scheme, and some makers use sponsors' initials to designate a line (CL for Chris Lamb, etc.). This is a general article; information about the product lines of various makers is too specific. jp2 18:06, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

Many brands use a similar numbering/lettering scheme, do they not? I'd always been perplexed as to what this meant exactly, and found the discussion interesting. I'm not sure if most of the different manufacterers all mean the same thing by "7A", "2B" etc, but think that if they do then something of this should be mentioned. Lupin 21:40, 19 May 2005 (UTC)
My understanding and experience are to the contrary: numbering/lettering schemes are either maker-specific or market-specific. Maybe a drum corps equipment page might be a good spot for discussion of the scheme used for that market? jp2 06:06, 10 September 2005 (UTC)
Once again, I've removed the numbering/lettering scheme discussion, as it doesn't belong here. Feel free to make an article about models of drumsticks. jp2 17:54, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
It seems most, if not all manufacturers, follow the general numbering/lettering scheme that was devised by Ludwig when they first began mass-producing sticks, according to a drumstick overview by Pearl. While they won't be exactly the same, they are consistent enough to be considered as meaning the same thing (not a very significant difference); for example, many people (IMO) will specify a 2B-size stick for starting out on concert snare drum, and a 5A stick for general drumset playing.
Then, of course, do manufacturers make their own specific models, but many of them will have sticks in the above traditional scheme. Worth expanding upon? 20:52, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
The linked-to Pearl article distinguishes between the "traditional" number/letter scheme and the "contemporary" scheme in which notations are idiosyncratic to each producer. My one-minute survey of Steve Weiss Music's catalog came up with far fewer products on the traditional scheme than on various manufacturer-specific schemes. I will link the Pearl article to the main page, if it is not there, already. If someone wants to write a subarticle or chance the main article, as well, , they can: Wikipedia is not controlled by me, no matter how opinionated I am. :-) jp2 01:39, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

I moved discussion of grips out of xylophone and added grip data to this article. An overall grip page would be nice, similar to the arguably misnamed advanced mallet techniques page (which currently deals with four-mallet techniques only). jp2 06:10, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

The 'mallet' section has been re-added. jp2 00:51, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

What is "kelon"? I've never heard of such a thing. A quick google search yields some companies named "Kelon"; is it maybe a brand name for nylon, or some similar synthetic material?

What about adding something about all of the different drum tips. something like this or would that be too much for this page? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Kelon is a ceramic/Nylon composite. I created a disambig but the material still needs an article.--Theodore Kloba (talk) 21:17, 15 November 2012 (UTC)


Frankly, I'm appalled at the "B quality rating" given above by no less than two wikiprojects... this article needs major work even to get to that stage IMO. But the standards at Wikipedia:WikiProject Percussion/Assessment are quite a lot harsher than those at Wikipedia:WikiProject Musical Instruments/Assessment. It might scrape a B at Musical Instruments, but not at Percussion. Interesting that Musical Instruments rate this as Hign importance... Musical instrument articles that are extremely important to the understanding of the subject, such as major instrument classes (guitar, flute, dumaflachy, etc.). Agree with that. Probably should get a top at Percussion, or should we try to be consistent?

Maybe the name is the first problem. Would the average reader really call my standard 7N jazz stick a percussion mallet? Maybe musicologists might, but this is a general encyclopedia, written primarily for general readers. See Wikipedia:article titles.

So do we need a separate article on drum stick? Doubtfull, I think it would just be merged with this article in time.

Watch this space. Andrewa (talk) 21:18, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Drum sticks.jpg
Percussion Beaters.jpg

Some images that might help ------------------>

Lots to do! Andrewa (talk) 23:53, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

On reflection, I decided to write a separate article on drum sticks, see Talk:Drum stick#Restarting this article for reasons. It's not a split, no text or sourced information has been copied from this article (and in fact there are no reliable secondary sources cited in this article).

Still lots to do here, see below. Andrewa (talk) 19:09, 8 February 2012 (UTC)


Still lots here that is just plain wrong... for example Though most performers prefer using metallic brushes more than plastic brushes because of their increased durability [1]. Wrong on both counts, the two sound completely different, and steel brushes are relatively fragile, I suspect that's one reason the nylon brushes were developed in the first place.

I also suspect that whoever wrote this is just guessing (or alternatively quoting some uncited source that is themselves in turn guessing) that steel is always more durable than plastic, and that drummers would therefore prefer nylon for this reason. If they had actually played them both then they would quickly know that the sound is very different, and that if you bend just one strand of a steel brush it's never the same again, or if you get them sweaty they rust, while my (rustproof) LP nylon brushes feel like they'd go through the automatic clothes washer without a problem (I don't intend to try it).

The problem is, how much more of this inaccurate guesswork is here? It's even worse than WP:OR, and very common in our kit drumming articles.

I guess the problem is that it's also common in what you hear over the counter in some suburban music shops, in my appalling experience. In my younger days I used to often go into strange music shops and ask whether they had any electric twelve string guitars, and the normal answer was "they don't make them", which translates roughly as "we don't have one and it's time for my coffee break". I owned two at the time, a Maton (Australian) and a Shergold, and the Easybeats (Australian) and Byrds had hardly kept them a secret, playing their Rickenbackers and Fenders. I demonstrated this phenomenon more than once to a touring band in a country town... the poor staff didn't really know what to make of these jeans-wearing louts who came in, asked an innocent-sounding question and collapsed into laughter when we got the answer I had predicted. Backpedal, backpedal! Anyway, drum shop jive is often even worse (and to be fair, camera shops and computer shops can be at least as bad). Getting better with the Internet but still much room for improvement.

Wikipedia is now part of the answer, and also now part of the problem. Andrewa (talk) 19:53, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Cut from the Drum stick article[edit]

Soft sticks[edit]

Cartwheel mallets, with wooden shafts and heads of felt held between steel washers
Soft sticks with fibreglass shafts
Main article: percussion mallet

Soft-headed percussion mallets, such as cartwheel mallets, are called soft sticks when used in a drum kit.

They are used particularly for single-beat rolls on thin crash cymbals, and on tom-tom drums to produce a boomier sound with little attack similar to a tympani stroke.

The shafts are commonly made from wood, fibreglass or similar materials, the heads from rubber, felt or other textiles, and the heads are sometimes covered with leather or cloth.


Rutes and nylon brushes: Pro-Mark Hot Rod (19 canes), Pro-Mark Lightning Rod (7 canes), Livingstone (19 canes), Vater AcouStick (7 canes plus 6 nylon strips), LP light brush partly extended, the same brush fully extended
Main article: rute (music)

Rutes are sticks composed of bundles of wooden canes, normally of birch wood or bamboo, and have been part of orchestral percussion for many years. They were introduced to kit drumming by the 1985 release of the patented Pro-Mark Hot Rod.

Several other models from Pro-Mark (Cool Rods, Lightning Rods, Thunder Rods) and other manufacturers (Vater SplashStick and AcouStick, Vic Firth Rute, and others) quickly followed. The tone produced by most rutes can be adjusted by moving a colar along the shaft of the stick.


Steel brushes in use on a snare drum
Main article: brush (music)

Steel brushes have been part of Jazz drumming for many years, used particularly on the snare drum. More recently, nylon brushes have become available that produce a sound intermediate between a steel brush and a rute. Some nylon brushes can be used partly extended for an even more rute-like effect, particularly in very soft passages.

Some beaters such as the Vater AcouStick combine nylon strips with wooden canes, and are part nylon brush and part rute.


Many specialised sticks are produced, including:

  • Sticks with no tips, instead being a plain cylinder of wood with rounded or slightly rounded ends:
    • Sticks with two butt ends for kit drummers who prefer to use the butt end of the stick. An example is the Zildjian Absolute Rock, also known as the double bummer.
    • Timbale sticks, which are similar to double-butt kit drum sticks, but lighter in weight and smaller in diameter, and have a hemispherical end for playing.
    • Bachi sticks used for Japanese Taiko drumming, in many weights and lengths.
  • Sticks with no butt, but a drumstick tip at one end and a soft mallet head at the other, for quick changes between the different sounds produced by hard and soft sticks.
  • Sticks that combine a drumstick tip at one end with a serated beater on the stick body, for use with some latin jazz rhythms.
  • Side drum sticks, simple all-wood sticks with conical bodies tapering towards the head and no shoulder:
    • Used by pipe band side drummers.
    • Heavier sticks with the same profile used by some military band drummers, for example the band of the Royal Marines.
    • The heaviest of all of this pattern used by re-enactors of American Civil War and other historical settings featuring side drums. (The most authentic drums are also larger than modern side drums, to better compete with the gunfire.)
  • Sticks for Korean drums:
    • The gungchae is used on the bass head of the janggu, and is composed of a bamboo root shaft with a hard rounded head of birch wood or antler. Although it has a large head giving a similar appearance to a soft stick, the head is actually hard.
    • The yeolchae is used on the treble head of the janggu, and is composed of a strip of giant bamboo.
  • Sticks for playing hand drums, with a pad that imitates a hand, made by Regaltip and others.
  • Sticks for Punjabi drums:
    • The dagga used on the bass head of the dohl, is about 10mm diameter, of bamboo or cane, and has a quarter-circle bend on the end used to strike the drum, which is struck with the flat of the stick.
    • The tihli is used on the treble end of the dohl, and is of thin bamboo or cane and straight.
  • Heavy hard sticks for playing the alfaia bass drum.
Bachi, used in Taiko drumming 
Special wooden sticks: RhythmSaw has a rippled body for Latin rhythms, Zildjian Absolute Rock has no tip, Premier KP3 is an extra weight pipe band side drum stick 
A collection of drumsticks and other beaters, including hard and soft sticks and one double-ended pair that combine hard tips with soft heads at the other end 
Alfaia showing the heavy hard sticks