Anatomy of a drumstick
  • Butt-end
  • Grip area
  • Body/shaft
  • Shoulder
  • Taper
  • Neck
  • Tip

Sticks length affects the overall play character and balance of the stick. In general, shorter sticks weigh less. They are quicker and easier to control. Longer sticks increase reach, leverage and provide greater power, response and feel of stroke flexibility.

Grip area is the thicker, counter balance end of a drumstick to hold it and although was not specifically designed as the area to play, but some drummers flip drumsticks to use butt-ends for special drum effects. They create more powerful and fuller tone than the tip end when played on drums and cymbals.

As the grip area on the whole is used to hold a drumstick for the most part when playing drums so that it should be felt comfortable in your hand when you play.

Body / Shaft is the longest and biggest area of a drumstick. The part of this area near to the grip area can be used to hold a drumstick in traditional grip. Mostly the body is used to produce specialty strokes like the snare rim shots. The shaft takes the most impact and so the power strokes are produced.

Shoulder is the area of a drumstick between the body and the neck, i.e. where a drumstick shaft slopes into the neck; it is the area where a drumstick starts to narrow. Drumstick shoulder is often used to hit hi hats and crash cymbals. Front-heavy sticks feature shoulders that are closer to the stick tip. This produces less response (inertia) and rebound, allowing you to dig in and be "on top" of the music.

Taper is a narrowing area of the drumstick. The term "taper" is sometimes used to identify the shape and the length of the drumstick shoulder. Obviously, the length and the shape of the taper influences power and the density of the drumstick. The length and thickness thinning effect on flexibility, sensitivity and sound of drumsticks. There is a feeling that the sticks with short and thick taper are more stiff and provide greater durability producing more powerful and volumetric sound than sticks with a long and narrow taper, which tend to be more fragile and bendable, but sounding is more delicate.

A taper affects the sence of stick balance and sence of balance direction. The length and diameter thinning of taper effect on flexibility, sensitivity and sound of drumsticks.

A long taper produces a back-heavy feel (or a rear-weighted feel) with more flex, yielded and faster response, which optimizes finesse and agility.

Drumsticks with a long and narrow taper have tend to be more fragile and bendable, but sounding is more delicate.

A short taper provides stiffer strokes and durability with a front-heavy feel (or a front-weighted feel). Such a taper is for better volume and speed optimizing. There is a feeling that the sticks with short and thick taper are more stiff and provide greater durability producing more powerful and volumetric sound than the drumsticks with long and narrow taper.

Front-weighted sticks feature shoulders that are closer to the stick tip. This produces less bounce and response allowing you to dig in and be ”on top” of the music.

A medium taper provides the best balance between the tip and the butt.

Neck is the small part of a drumstick that connects the shoulder to the tip and allows to identify the end point of the shoulder and starting point of the tip. Thus, it serves as a bridge between shoulder and tip. The neck shape is predetermined by a shoulder shape and a tip shape.

Drumstick neck is usually the thinnest part of drumstick with the exception of some specialty drumsticks and mallets that don’t narrow near the tip. Thinner necks flex more, making a drumstick more responsive.

Tips of drumsticks are different shapes and sizes. The size of the tips influence the intensity, volume and duration of the resulting sound. Tip shapes dramatically affect the type of sound sticks will produce when you use them since they are the part of the stick that makes the most contact with drumheads, cymbals and other percussion instruments.

There are so many shapes of tips that sometimes it is just not an easy task to group by type the drumstick tips. In addition to variations of tip shapes, the tips can differ from one another in in length, size, processing, and material. There are 8 major types of tips:

Pointed or triangle-tipped
Music styles, application: jazz, funk, fusion, blues, groove, swing, ect.
Specifics: Is the most popular tip, which gives middle, focused of sound.
It suits perfectly for accented playing staccato using traditional grip and especially for soft, warm, not “acute” drumming.
By parallel grip, it produces with minimal effort a strong cutting sound.

Ball tip
Music styles, application: Excellent for studio work, playing in a symphony orchestra, as well as for playing light jazz by symmetrical or traditional grip.
Specifics: Focuses sound (which is clearly can be seen when playing cymbals) and significantly reduces sound changes when playing at different angles of drumstick inclination. Suitable for bright, vivid, impressive playing and clear sounding. the game you play. The small round tip produces a highly focused sound and especially it is delicate with cymbals. Drumsticks with bigger ball tip provide more volumetric and saturated sound.
This tip is "brooks" no errors in sounding so it is expedient to use the drumsticks with such a tip only by advanced drummers with a properly hand training.

Barrel tip
Music styles, application: light rock, jazz, funk, fusion, blues, groove, etc.
Specifics: It has a larger contact area with drumhead than ball tip and as if “spares” the drumhead surface "deadening" errors when sounding. The focus of the sound is medium, but has a certain volume, in other words it is widely focused, full sound.
In comparison with a round tip produces less bright and punctuated cymbal sound. Recommended for beginners.

Cylindrical tip
Music styles, application: Perfect choice for drummers playing different styles: from rock and metal to jazz and pop.
Specifics: First and foremost, designed for powerful, rhythmic and loud playing Due to the large contact area with the drumhead, emit a dull, muted, open, diffused and not sharp sound. Also suitable for soft and quiet plying. Produces dull middle sound attack.

Olive-shaped tip
Music styles, application trash metal, gothik metal, hard metal, rock, jazz, fusion, swing и пр. с большим количеством down-ударов на тарелках.
Specifics: Featuring a rounded shape perfectly shows itself in a quick drumming in the style of speed metal. This tip is recommended for primary education hand training. Perfect for a quick alternating up-down drum playing and delayed using of concentrated (directed) cymbals strokes or drum strokes for soft focused sounding. Thanks to the "knob" allows controlling the sound and touching area of drumhead in a very wide range, depending on the slope angle of a drumstick to drumhead. This tip produces a full low sound, spreads the energy over a wider area (compared with a ball tip or triangular tip), thus prolonging the lifespan of the drumheads. A good choice for those who play hard. When playing cymbals emits rich sound.

Oval tip
Music styles, application: rock, metal, pops, marsh, etc.
Specifics: Suitable for loud highly punctuated drumming with a powerful sound attack. Recommended for marching drums for performances on the big stages and stadiums.

Teardrop tip
Music styles, application: swing, jazz, blues, fusion, etc. Often, the choice of jazz drummers. "Easy and fast" drumsticks with the teardrop tip is the perfect choice to play in the orchestra and jazz band.
Specifics: Produces filled with high-pitched sound spreading energy over a narrow drumhead area; produces rich cymbal with focused sound attack. Ideal for soft, accent of sound especially in nontraditional enough. Recommended for dull-sounding accents while playing in slow and medium tempo. It has good rebound for clear and precise strokes.
It is ideal for soft accented playing by parallel grip.
By non-traditional grip it perfectly suitable for dull acceptation on ride by mean of up-down strokes, for example, when playing a swing rhythm by stick tip. Also recommended for performance heavy speed-metal and especially for training exercises.

Acorn tip
Music styles, application: rock, metal, pops, funk, swing, jungle, blues, etc.
Specifics: Produces a fairly bright, powerful sound by low attack. Shows a good degree of clarity and articulation when playing ride cymbal. Good in fast passages from powerful loud playing to a quiet dull rhythmic pulsation. Perfect playing by traditional and parallel grip.