They’re no longer the ‘novelty’ they once were, with a huge variety available – but why use aluminium drum sticks?
Musicians can be pretty resistant to change, at times. Digital pianos and drums have only fairly recently been accepted as a ‘norm’. Guitarists are at their happiest playing through valves (technology that arose in the early 1900s).
Perhaps, it’s a fear that the true ‘spirit’ of music will be lost, but musicians tend to adhere to then ‘old ways’ of doing things.
The fact that aluminium drum sticks have become so popular, then, is a bit of an anomaly. What is it that makes drummers desert wood in favour of these?
Why use aluminium drum sticks?
To understand the reasons why drummers switch to aluminium sticks, it’s worth looking at the brand behind their popularity- AHEAD. Back in 1992, an engineer at a sports company named Easton.
Easton made arrows, hockey sticks, baseball bats, and cycle parts from lightweight, high-grade aluminium. As a drummer, this engineer realised that there could be many benefits from using aluminium as a drum stick material.
He developed a stick based around a tube of thin, aerospace-grade aluminium, using a polyurethane sleeve for the upper half, and taper section of the stick, with a threaded, nylon tip.
The advantages of this design are very significant….
Perhaps the most important benefit of this design is the greatly reduced ‘shock levels. Essentially, they transfer far less of the impact vibration to the drummer’s hands. These vibrations can cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Arthritis and fatigue (the plague of many drummers), so keeping these to a minimum is very important. AHEAD claims its sticks reduce stick shock by up to 50%!
This aspect of AHEAD sticks is one that often gets overlooked. Aluminium is a surprisingly flexible material. This, combined, with the hollow design and supreme balance, this makes the incredibly fast sticks, with excellent rebound (10% better than wood).
In addition, this makes them surprisingly powerful, for less physical effort.
As you might expect, aluminium drumsticks are tougher and more durable than wooden sticks. They don’t split or snap anywhere near as readily as wooden sticks. Though tips and sleeves wear (again, far less frequently than wooden sticks), these can be easily replaced.
Though they have a larger initial cost, aluminium sticks last many, many times longer than wooden equivalents.
Why not give them a try? You’ll be amazed.
Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.