Brian J. Harris Method
Free Tips

Selecting Drum Sticks

A good pair of sticks will help your learning process flow smoothly. For snare drumming, choose sticks that are approximately 5/8 inch (1.5 cm) diameter and 15 1/2 to 16 1/2 inches (39 to 42 cm) long. It is a good idea to have a separate pair of sticks for drum set to avoid chewing up your snare drum sticks.

Unless you’re looking for firewood, avoid “bargain bin” sticks. They are almost always warped and made of poor quality wood. If you already own some of these, and you don’t have a fireplace, you can use them to prop up a few saplings around the yard.

There are three things to check before you purchase a pair of sticks:

1. Straightness: Roll your sticks on a flat surface and watch the tips. If either tip wobbles up and down as it rolls, the stick is warped. Roll more pairs until you find one that is straight!

2. Straight grain: Look for the grain of the stick to be parallel to the length of the stick. If you see the grain going diagonally, especially near the tip, it will be more likely to break.

3. Similar pitches: With your index finger and thumb, hold the stick gently about 4 inches (10 cm) from the tip with the stick hanging vertically near your ear. Tap the low end of the hanging stick with the other stick and listen to the pitch. Do the same with the other stick. The pitches of the two sticks should be as close as possible.

At this time, I advise my students to use one of the following models of snare drum sticks:

In order for your sticks to make a great sound, your drum must be in good condition and well-tuned. See the articles "Selecting A Snare Drum" and "Tuning Your Snare Drum" for more information.

Check out my beginning snare drum method book The Snare Drum Plays The Zoo for a fun way to get started playing, reading, and writing drum music!

Brian J. Harris Method
Brian J. Harris Method | 4210 North Saranac Drive, Tucson, AZ  85718
Phone: (520) 878-0363 | Fax: (520) 844-8166 | Email:

by Brian J. Harris. All rights reserved.
Web Design by Alan Harris