Let me start off by saying that both drum sticks and drum heads are an incredibly personal choice but on this page I am going to give you my recommendations based on my own experience advising students throughout the years.
There are a few ‘standard’ stick sizes out there in the world. You probably know what I’m talking about. 5A. 5B. 7A. 7B. etc. Now, while these sizes are quite similar from company to company, there do vary in feel and exact specifications.
That having been said, my preferred stick company (just because I’ve used them FOREVER) is Vic Firth. They are an incredibly high quality and consistent stick made by a company with a very rich history in the drumming community.
Recommendations For New Drummers:
These two stick sizes are the industry gold standard for beginners. Why? They are a known quantity to pretty much all teachers and they tend to fit a variety of hand sizes.
- Vic Firth American Classic 5B: The 5B size stick, which is made by multiple manufacturers, has been an absolute workhorse for beginning drummers for decades! It is probably one of the most-stocked and used sticks in existence and has a good balance of all the factors mentioned in this article.
- Vic Firth American Classic 7A: The 7A is a lighter, narrower version of the 5B, which is great for younger or smaller drummers who need something with less weight. If you are a heavy hitter, this may not be the stick for you as it is a bit thinner.
Yes – there are cheaper sticks out there and you should definitely go out to your local music retailer and try out a bunch of sticks to see which brands and sizes you favor. Before tackling this daunting task however, go check out this article I wrote which goes into great detail on how to get the most out of your stick selection quest!
While there are a few drumhead manufacturers out there – really the only two big players in the industry are Remo and Evans. Interestingly enough, both of these companies were started at roughly the same time, under similar circumstances with a similar cast of characters – so they actually share quite a bit of history.
For beginning drummers, I can unequivocally say that it doesn’t really matter which brand you go with as the results will be practically identical. Once you get into really high end gear and you develop a certain taste in drum sounds, at that point you’ll likely start to play around a bit more.
So – for my recommendations here, I am going to give you my picks for a 14″ coated snare drum head from each company:
The gold standard for MANY MANY years and the head you will find on a ton of snare drums out there is the Remo 14″ Coated Ambassador. This is a single ply head which produces a warm yet resonant sound. This is also a great drum head for toms, although a lot of folks like 2-ply heads on these drums, which in the case of Remo would be an Emperor (instead of Ambassador).
The Evans equivalent to the Ambassador is going to be the Evans 14″ Coated G1 drum head. This will produce very similar characteristics and tonal qualities as well. If you are looking for a 2-ply head from Evans, you’ll be looking at their G2 line.
I can’t stress enough that a lot of this is personal preference, but if you’re looking to get setup with the industry standard in sticks and heads, the above recommendations will never fail you and every drum shop on the planet will have plenty of stock of these items due to their popularity!