How to Choose the Perfect Pair of Drum Sticks

7A vs. 5A vs. 5B vs. 2B vs. SD1 Generals

How to Choose

Being a percussionist, I have gone through many sticks in my lifetime. I remember prior to taking my first lessons being instructed to purchase a pair of drum sticks in preparation for my first lesson. As in most cases, the teacher gives a brand and a size of drum sticks to purchase for a starting drummer, but the question is “why?” I did not understand the difference between drum sticks and perhaps some of you don’t know, but there are differences and we want to help you understand which drum sticks to choose. How do you choose the perfect pair of drum sticks? Below we will list a couple of the most common pairs of drum sticks that we offer at

Sizing Information

Drum sticks are sized in a unique way. First, there is a number that is usually involved with the size of a drum stick. Unlike with normal sizing where the smaller the number means a smaller size/weight, drum sticks are opposite of that. The smaller the number, the heavier the stick and the larger the number, the lighter the stick. Drum stick sizing also have a letter after the number. The two most common letters are “A” and “B.” The difference between the “A” and “B” is that a pair of drum sticks with an “A” is thinner and a pair with a “B” are thicker. Now that we understand a little of how the sizing works, we will jump into the actual drum sticks.


The 7A pair of drum sticks is the lightest option that we offer. Since they are lighter, they work best for lighter musical settings. These are usually for people wanting to play at home with lighter sticks for faster playing.


The 5A pair of drum sticks is slightly heavier than the 7A but is the same thickness. They are also designed for light and fast playing but offer a bigger sound because they are slightly heavier. These are basically in the middle of the pack and are the most versatile for most styles and genres. We offer two pairs of 5A, the Vic Firth and the Zildjian Cool Blue drum sticks.


The 5B pair of drum sticks is very similar to that of a 5A but is slightly thicker. Since the 5B is slightly thicker, there will be a more powerful sound when hitting the drum, but for the most part everything else is the same. The 5B model is the traditional stick size used in a classroom. We offer two pairs of 5B, the Vic Firth and the Zildjian Cool Blue drum sticks.


The 2B size drum stick is a bit heavier than the 7A, 5A, and 5B models. It shares the same thickness of the 5B model, but weighs just a bit more. The 2B model works well for heavy rock, band, and practice applications. Most percussion students start with a 2B model size pair of drum sticks. We offer Vic Firth’s 2B size drum sticks.

SD1 Generals

The SD1 Generals are the thickest pair of sticks we offer at Hyson Music. They are ideal for orchestra, rock, and band settings. They are great for practice to develop hand and wrist strength. Also, some students who start with a size 2B pair of sticks will move up to the SD1 Generals. Vic Firth is the only brand that offers the SD1 General as part of their line.

Artist Series

We also offer at Hyson Music the Zildjian Travis Barker signature drum stick. This specific pair of drum sticks were created for Travis Barker. It has been created with specifications designed specifically by Travis Barker for his needs and wants while playing. They are a traditional 5A size drum stick. The Zildjian Travis Barker signature drum sticks come in either a black or white color.

Vic Firth Percussion Education Pack

For those percussionists that either want a pack with sticks and mallets or are required by your school band to not only have drum sticks, but mallets as well, we also offer the Vic Firth Percussion Education Packs. We offer the EP-1 which is the standard percussion pack that comes with a pair of SD1 drum sticks, two pairs of hard plastic mallets, and a stick bag to store and hold your sticks and mallets. We also offer the EP-2 which is the step up version of the EP-1 which has two pairs of drum sticks, the SD1 and SD2 (same as SD1 just a little shorter in length), one pair of hard plastic mallets, one pair of yarn mallets, one pair of timpani mallets, and a stick bag. These two are great options for someone needing more than just drum sticks and are starting to advance into more difficult literature.

Final Verdict

In terms of drum sticks, there are many options out there. Hopefully you have an understanding of how to choose the correct size stick. Since many companies offer different sizes and various names, it can get a bit confusing. The sticks mentioned above are the general sizes that most students and players use to either practice or perform while playing the drums. In most cases, your teacher will guide you to which pair of drum sticks to buy, but they will usually stick to the sizes mentioned above. If you have any questions about any or all of these choices, you can give us a call at Hyson Music at 877-884-9766.