A Beginner-friendly Guide to the Most Popular Drum Stick Sizes

Drum stick sizes— an awfully confusing topic among drummers that sends some into a frenzy to find the right size. However, finding the right drum stick size doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking experience. Perhaps you’re confused about what stick size would be best for you, but don’t worry, this guide has you covered.

The Best Sticks Featuring Different Drum Stick Sizes

Let’s face it, you won’t be able to perform at the best of your ability if you have the wrong drum stick size. Therefore, if you want to play at your peak performance, then you should have a drum stick that works well with your hand size.

In this guide, I’ll explain to you the basics of different drum stick sizes, helping you discern which one is best according to your style. That’s why, whether you’re picking between 5A vs 5B drumsticks or any other drum stick style, then this guide is for you!

What are the Factors that Determine Drum Stick Sizes? — An Introduction

ProMark drum sticks on a snare drum - drum stick sizes

Every drumstick has its unique features. Whether be it dimension or handle size, each specific feature will mold how drummers approach their kit. That’s why it’s important to know the factors that constitute drum stick sizes if you want to get the best playing experience possible.

Drum Stick Length

A common adage among drummers is that the longer your stick, the better it will be. This maxim came from the belief that a longer drum stick size would have a better fulcrum. However, this is a myth, and it’s far from the truth.

Before we dive deeper, let’s first define the word “fulcrum”. Within the drumming community, a drum stick’s fulcrum is where both sides of a drum stick equilibrate. Having a good fulcrum provides users with a better stick grip and playability. Moreover, having a good fulcrum can help in eliminating muscle strain when playing ghost notes and other types of techniques.

Therefore, if you’re looking for a drum stick with ample length, you should go with the standard stick size. Currently, the standard stick size for drums is 15” up to 17.25”.

Diameter

We are all born different and unique. That said, each hand of every drummer would have different sizes and capacities. Therefore, there’s no objective measurement on what drumstick diameter to get as it’s dependent on your hand size.

Still, a drum stick’s diameter affects how it plays. First, a thicker stick diameter will provide a more durable feel. This increase in thickness also allows sticks to hit harder, providing users with better projection along the way.

However, it’s crucial to remember that the thicker a stick’s diameter is, the heavier it becomes. That’s why your drumstick diameter should depend on your playing capacity as a drummer. If you’re a beginner, then I would suggest a standard diameter and thickness of 5. You could go with a thicker stick if you want a louder projection or a heavier stick feel.

Drum Stick Sizes and Labels

Vic Firth Drum Sticks on a Snare Drum - drum stick sizes

One of the most confusing aspects of drum stick sizes is their labeling system. In my experience, most beginners have a hard time grasping the concept of drum stick size labels. That’s why let’s dive deeper into what these letters and numbers stand for.

Drum Stick Size Label Format

The format for labeling drum stick sizes consists of a number and letter. For instance, manufacturers would label their drum stick sizes as 5A, 5B, 2B, and more. Each number and letter corresponds to a change in the size of drum sticks. Now that we got the format down, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of the labeling system of drum stick sizes.

Drum Stick Size Number

When talking about drum stick sizes, there will always be a number in front of it. This number represents the overall weight of a drum stick. The drum stick number sizes range from 1 going up to 9, with the latter being the lightest and the former being the heaviest.

Size Lettering System

During the 1900s, the letter system of drum stick sizes was different. Instead of the letters describing a stick’s diameter, they indicated the specific settings they were designed for.

Here is the drum stick size letter labeling during the 1900s:

  • A- designed for orchestras and concerts.
  • B- features specifications suitable for band settings.
  • S- constructed for street and outdoor use.
  • D- Gretsch designed these drumsticks specifically for dance music.

This drum stick size letter labeling existed in the 1900s when microphones weren’t widely used. That said, this size lettering system indicated the level of projection a stick can produce for a specific environment.

Today, the letters within drum stick sizes correspond to diameter. In this lettering system, A comes with the smallest diameter and it gets bigger depending on the letter.

What are the Different Drum Stick Sizes and Which One Should You Get?

In our current drum stick market, various drum stick sizes exist. Each stick size comes with a specific weight and diameter. Consequently, delivering a specific feel and performance for different genres and uses. Therefore, let’s get down to business and look at the popular drum stick sizes you could use in your drumming.

5A Drum Stick Size

5A is the standard drum stick size— and rightfully so. Firstly, 5A drum sticks offer a balance between dimension and weight, delivering a performance that’s comfortable to play in any genre.

Secondly, 5A drum sticks deliver a playing feel that’s easy to use, making it perfect for beginners. That’s why a 5A stick size is the best stick for electronic drums, especially for beginners.

Vic Firth 3-Pair American Classic Hickory Drumsticks Nylon 5A

Today, the best 5A drum sticks would be the Vic Firth American Classic Hickory. This drum stick set features a design that helps drums produce a well-defined sound. Vic Firth also designed the American Classic with features that enhance cymbal and hi-hat response thanks to its back-cut tips.

Lastly, this drum stick series features select hickory materials, making it extremely durable against hard hits. That’s why if you’re looking for an easy-to-use drum stick, then the Vic Firth American Classic Hickory is for you!

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5B Drum Stick Size

5B drum sticks offer a thicker construction than the 5A. This increase in drum stick diameter delivers better sound projection, making it ideal for live settings. However, this drumstick construction is heavier than a standard drum stick size. In terms of length, both 5A and 5B drum sticks sport a length of 16”

Vic Firth 6-Pair American Classic Hickory Drum Sticks Wood 5B

The Vic Firth American Classic Hickory also dominates the market of 5B drum sticks. Like its 5A counterpart, this drum stick size also features select Hickory materials that provide users with durable performance.

Furthermore, these drum sticks come with back-cut tips that enhance cymbal response and tone. Aside from that, Vic Firth specifically designed the 5B Classic Hickory stick set with a design that offers a clear and defined tone.

Therefore, if you want better projection without straying away from the feel of standard drum sticks, this is for you!

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3A Drum Stick Size

The thickness of 3A drum sticks sits between 5A and 5B; however, this stick size comes with a longer construction of 17”. Aside from providing enhanced projection due to its thick diameter, it also features a punchy sound that allows drums to punch through mixes.

Vic Firth American Classic 3A

If you’re looking for the best 3A drum sticks, then the Vic Firth American Classic 3A would be your bet. It sports the same select Hickory materials as the other American Classic drum sticks. However, its barrel tip is where the magic happens.

What separates the Vic Firth American Classic 3A from other drum stick sizes is its capacity to deliver bright and detailed cymbal tones. That’s why if you play fusion and rock music, this would be the best drum stick for you.

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1A Drum Stick Size

1A drum sticks boast the longest and thinnest construction among drum stick sizes. Typically, 1A sticks come at a length of 16.25” up to 17.25”, allowing them to deliver a subtle drum sound. In addition, their thin construction lets them deliver a lightweight feel.

Vater 1A Wood Tip Hickory Drum Sticks, Pair

Currently, Vater 1A Drum Sticks are one of the best in the market today. These sticks also utilize Hickory wood materials, providing ample durability for all drumming styles.

The Vater 1A sticks are also extremely unique! These drum sticks come with a 5B style grip, allowing users to still have a grip reminiscent of standard sticks. Moreover, various professional drummers, such as Mike Mangini and Chad Smith trust Vater.

Therefore, if you’re looking for tried, tested, and affordable drum sticks, you should go with Vater.

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2B Drum Stick Size

You’ll need the best projection when you’re drumming for a metal band. That’s where the 2B drum stick comes in!

2B drum sticks feature the thickest diameter among other drum stick sizes. In addition, it also sports a 16” length like standard drum sticks. This specific construction allows these drum sticks to deliver unparalleled sound levels for dense mixes. That’s why this is the choice of drummers that play alongside high-gain guitars and rumbling basses.

Promark Rebound 2B ActiveGrip Acorn Tip Drumsticks, One Pair

If you’re in the market for 2B drum sticks, the Promark Rebound 2B has you covered. Firstly, this stick comes with hickory wood materials that can withstand even the hardest of hits. This feature makes it perfect for drummers who swing all their hearts out in every performance.

Secondly, these sticks come with ProMark’s heat-activated ActiveGrip. Thus, allowing the sticks to enhance their grip against sweat and body heat.

If you’re a hard-hitter or just looking for the best projection possible, 2B sticks are for you!

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7A Drum Stick Size

The 7A stick size features a thin construction that is 15” up to 15.75” long. This specific construction allows it to be fast and subtle without losing power. That’s why jazz drummers favor 7A drum sticks over other drum stick sizes.

ProMark Classic Forward 7A Hickory Drumsticks, Oval Wood Tip, Four Pairs

If you’re looking for the best 7A drum stick, you’ll surely love the ProMark Classic 7A Drum Sticks! These sticks come with Hickory materials, providing incredible durability and responsiveness.

Moreover, this stick size underwent ProMark’s meticulous construction consisting of precision cutting and weight-matching. This provides users with the best pair of drum sticks on the market.

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8D Drum Stick Size

An 8D drum stick features a thin construction, just like the 7A, but with a 16” up to 16.5” construction. This feature makes it an incredible jazz drum stick without compromising reach, especially if you’re operating a 7-piece drum set.

Vic Firth 6-Pair American Classic Hickory Drum Sticks Wood 8D

The best 8A drum stick is the Vic Firth 6-Pair American Classic, which is a no-brainer considering its features. These sticks come with facets that enable drums to deliver a detailed and full sound. Moreover, it also comes with the standard American Classic back-cut tips, allowing users to have better cymbal sound and response.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Drum Stick Sizes

What is drum stick 5A vs 7A?

5A drum sticks are the current standard size for drum sticks. They feature a 16” length that delivers balance between dimension and weight, making them perfect for beginners.

On the other hand, 7A drum sticks feature a thin construction that’s easy to use but shorter in length. This drum stick size is only 15” up to 15.75” in length, making it suitable for subtle playing. Its unique combination of dimensions is why 7A drum sticks are the choice of most jazz drummers.

Are 5A or 5B drumsticks better?

The debate between these two drum stick sizes is a common talking point within the drumming community These drumsticks only differ in terms of diameter— with 5A being the thinner stick.

As a result, 5A drum sticks are generally lighter and balanced than 5B drum sticks. That means that 5A drum sticks are easier to use than the latter, making them ideal for first-time drummers. However, the thicker construction of 5B allows drummers to have better projection than 5A.

The choice between these two drumsticks boils down to preference. If you’re a hard-hitter who needs that extra boost in projection, you’ll be better off with 5B drum sticks. Conversely, if you just want to have a decent drum stick playing feel, 5A would be good for you.

Are 5B drumsticks good for beginners?

Even though 5B drumsticks are heavier than your standard drumstick, this doesn’t mean that beginners can’t use them. That said, 5B drumsticks are also suitable for beginners, especially if they need that extra projection.

What does 5A mean in drum sticks?

As stated in this guide, 5A is the current standard size for drum sticks. The 5A label indicates that the stick features a medium-sized diameter and weight. In addition, this also means that the drumstick has a diameter and length of around 0.565” x 16”.

What are 7A drumsticks used for?

Due to the thin construction and 15” – 15.75” length of 7A drumsticks, they are great for subtle playing. In this light, 7A drumsticks do extremely well in jazz drumming.

What is the Best Drum Stick Size? — Our Verdict

Man holding two drum sticks - drum stick sizes

In summary, identifying different sizes of drum sticks is not that hard— given that you know its basics. It’s also important to remember that there is no right or wrong when choosing among stick sizes. This decision should boil down to preference and playstyle.

That said, there is no real answer on what is the best drum stick size. We are all born different— giving us different hand sizes and abilities. Therefore, you should look for a drum stick size that is easy to grip and swing around without straining. However, if you’re a beginner, using 5A drum sticks is a good starting point.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you find the best drum stick size according to your needs and preferences. If you have further questions, please send them in the comment section. Also, don’t forget to check our other drum-related guides if you enjoyed reading this piece.

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