A long-standing debate among drummers around the world is the type of stick they use. 5A vs 5B Drumsticks is one of the most debated stick-related topics since they are somewhat similar yet so different. However, do they really make much difference when it comes to your playing and sound?
Maybe you are curious on whether which of these sticks is better. In addition, maybe your concern is which will be the best sticks for electronic drums or acoustic drums. If your question revolves around these, then read along because you’re in the right place!
5A vs 5B Drumsticks — The Best Drumsticks from Amazon
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A Beginner-Friendly Guide to 5A and 5B Drumsticks
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of 5A and 5B Drumsticks, let’s first get through the basics of a drum stick. In addition, we’ll also have to discuss the labeling of drumsticks to know what 5A and 5B mean. Through these pieces of information, we’ll have ample knowledge when we discuss our topic— 5A vs 5B Drumsticks.
The dimensions of drumsticks refer to their diameter, weight, and length. Although a drumstick’s dimension doesn’t directly contribute to stick sound, it does make a big difference in terms of playing feel. This is where the difference between 5A vs 5B drumsticks lies.
The stick length of a drumstick will determine your fulcrum. A drumstick’s fulcrum is its balance point where both sides of a drumstick are equal in weight. Having an accessible fulcrum is important in drumsticks as it provides drummers with a better grip and playing feel. Moreover, fulcrums help to reduce hand strain when doing various stick motions, which can benefit a drummer’s playing stamina.
A common myth passed among drummers is that the longer your stick is, the better its fulcrum. However, this is far from the truth. If you’re looking for drumsticks that have the best fulcrum, you’ll want to find at least a 15” long drumstick. It’s also important to note that the standard length of drumsticks should not exceed 17.25” for the best performance possible.
There is no right or wrong measurement when it comes to drumstick diameter since not all hands are the same. The general rule when it comes to drumstick diameter is the larger it is, the more durable a drumstick will be. However, as a drumstick becomes thicker, the heavier it becomes.
In conclusion, the diameter of the stick determines how thick a drumstick would be. In addition, this also factors into the overall weight of a drumstick. Therefore, buyers should find the right balance between their hand size and the stick’s diameter for the best playing comfort.
Not all drumsticks share the same weight. Depending on its material and size, these numbers may vary. As stated, a drumstick’s weight is directly proportional to its diameter and length. The larger these figures are, the heavier the drumstick’s feel will be.
Furthermore, similar to stick diameter, a drumstick’s weight purely boils down to preference. If you’re a hard hitter and you want more projection, you’ll want to get heavier sticks. However, if you want a more delicate approach to your playing, I suggest you get a lighter stick.
Drumstick Sizing Labels— 5A vs 5B Drumsticks
Now we have discussed the basics of drumstick length, diameter, and weight, we can now move forward to sizing labels. When sizing standard and bass drum sticks, each letter and number corresponds to a specific measurement.
If you’re going to get a drumstick without knowing its labeling system, then you’ll have a hard time. Therefore, read closely as I discuss the drumstick sizings in the easiest way possible.
The numbers within the sizing label of a drumstick correspond to the stick’s weight. This measurement goes from 1 up to 9— the higher the number, the lighter a stick’s feel becomes.
The Lettering System
On the other hand, the lettering of a drumstick’s size describes its diameter. The general rule here is that A comes with the smallest diameter and it gradually gets bigger per letter.
The traditional lettering system for drumsticks was a tad bit different during the early 1900s:
- A – for orchestra and concert use.
- B – used in band settings.
- S – made for street settings, such as marching bands and the like.
- D – specifically used by Gretsch to describe drumsticks for dance music.
During the 1900s, microphones weren’t as popular as they are today. Therefore, these codes were utilized by manufacturers to show the dynamics these sticks were capable of producing. That’s why the drumstick’s letter size dictates its diameter’s thickness, which directly scales to its projection capacity.
Combining Numbers and Letters
When combined, the letters determine the overall size and feel of a drumstick. Here are some of the most common drumstick sizes today:
- 5A drumstick – known as today’s standard size, 16” in length.
- 5B drumstick – a thicker version of the 5A that offers better projection, 16” in length.
- 3A drumstick – middle-ground between 5A and 5B in thickness, 16”-17” in length.
- 1A – the longest and thinnest drumstick, 16.25”-17.25” in length.
- 2B – features the thickest stick diameter perfect for loud projections, 16” in length.
- 7A – a thin stick suitable for subtle hi hat playing, 15”-15.75” in length.
- 8D – thin but longer in comparison with 7A drumsticks, 16”-16.5” in length.
The figures above are just an approximation since most brands do not have the same formula when crafting drumsticks. That’s why it’s still crucial to know the specifications of a drumstick’s brand before buying one.
5A vs 5B Drumsticks — A Side-by-Side Comparison
In conclusion, our comparison with 5A vs 5B drumsticks came to fruition. By learning how drumsticks are labeled, we were able to identify certain similarities and differences between the two.
Both 5A and 5B drumsticks feature the same length; however, their difference begins to show through their thickness. Does this difference in construction contributes a significant change to the playing feel of both drumsticks? The short answer to this is yes. Still, let’s dive deeper into why we came to this conclusion.
As stated, a 5A drumstick is today’s basis for the standard drumstick sizing. Consequently, this makes a 5A drumstick perfect for beginners to professionals looking for a balance between stick thickness and length. This sizing also makes it accessible and comfortable for almost hand sizes.
Conversely, a 5B drumstick features a thicker diameter than a 5A drumstick without any noticeable change in length. This change in thickness delivers enhanced projection, especially when hitting low-volume gear, such as a small snare drum. However, the tradeoff here is when we’re talking about 5A vs 5B drumsticks — the former wins in terms of playability.
In comparison, a 5A drumstick is generally lighter than a 5B drumstick. This means that a 5A drumstick is more comfortable to play through extended periods. But, if you’re playing needs an extra “oomph” in every hit, you’d want to use a 5B drumstick.
Going back, both drumsticks feature the same length— which is a pro on its own! This means that if you own 5A and 5B drumsticks, they’ll fit within the same drum stick holder and bag. Consequently, this saves you money in the long run!
Looking at this comparison, we can say that 5A and 5B drumsticks have their differences and similarities. Still, choosing between these drumstick styles is heavily dependent on your preference.
Frequently Asked Questions between 5A vs 5B Drumsticks
What are 5B drumsticks used for?
Unlike a 5A drumstick, a 5B drumstick features a thicker construction that delivers better projection than the former. That said, 5B drumsticks are excellent for hard-hitting genres, such as rock and metal.
Are 5B drumsticks good for beginners?
A 5A drumstick is the best option for beginners since they’re lightweight and more comfortable to use. However, if you’re looking to play with better projection, then utilizing a 5B drumstick can help you a lot.
Not only does it deliver better projection, but 5B drumheads also come with the same length as 5A drumsticks. As a result, this provides beginners with a familiar feel. In a nutshell, you don’t have to pit 5A vs 5B drumsticks since they are both great for beginner drummers.
Is 5A or 5B drumstick thicker?
When comparing the thickness of 5A vs 5B drumsticks, 5B drumsticks are thicker than the former. However, both drumsticks share the same standard 16” length, making them ideal starting drumsticks for beginners.
What is the best drumstick for a beginner?
Both 5A and 5B drumsticks are perfect for beginner drummers. However, when choosing between 5A vs 5B drumsticks, I would generally recommend 5A drumsticks more. The main reason behind this is that a 5A drumstick offers a balanced feel. In addition, 5A drumsticks come with a slimmer diameter than 5B drumsticks, providing beginners with a lighter swing feel.
Are 5A drumsticks light?
I wouldn’t say that 5A drumsticks are extremely lightweight since they sit within an average weight. Furthermore, 5A drumsticks are the standard drumstick weight, and they are also the recommended weight for beginners. Nevertheless, they are still light in comparison with a 5B drumstick, which weighs significantly heavier than 5A sticks due to its thicker diameter.
5A vs 5B Drumsticks — Our Verdict
Choosing between 5A vs 5B drumsticks still boils down to your preference and needs. If you want to dish out incredible projection without losing the feel of standard sticks, a 5B drumstick is perfect for you. A 5A drumstick on the other hand is excellent for drummers who want the best balance between thickness and length.
I hope that this guide has shed some light regarding the similarities and differences between 5A and 5B drumsticks. If you liked this article, make sure to check here for more drum-related guides!
With over 30 years of experience, drumming has been a huge part of Joe’s life. He has experienced every stage of drumming imaginable – from playing in my parents’ garage, to playing local venues and to doing national tours.
Today, Joe tutor kids on how to play drums and shares all the things he has learned about drumming to all of BasicDrummer readers. He also reviews the best drums and gadgets not only for kids but also for beginners as well.