7 Must-Have Drumstick Bag Accessories

Maybe you’ve just joined a new band, spent a lot of hard hours learning the setlist and finally, it’s time for the first rehearsal… or maybe even the first gig. However, on arrival, you quickly realise that the drum kit provided is not just less than optimal, but sounds like pounding on a pile of protesting margarine tubs. Everything has been set up badly and there’s a list of other small, potentially frustrating issues that’ll need fixing before anything will sound good. Luckily, you’ve come prepared, because you remembered to stash just seven magic tools and accessories away in your drumstick bag!


It might seem too obvious, but rule number one is: never forget your drumsticks. I’m only saying this because I’ve heard a few sob stories about drummers turning up to the rehearsal room expecting sticks to be provided a few times. It would be pretty rare to find spare drumsticks kicking around a rented rehearsal space and if there were any, they’d be highly unlikely to be drumsticks you’d actually want to play with. It’s just always smart to have your favourite sticks with you, and make sure that you take enough pairs as well, so your gig or rehearsal isn’t rudely interrupted by something as stupid as a broken stick. It’s also worth having a few different sorts of sticks that you feel comfortable playing with so that, if the situation requires it, you can easily step over to a thinner or thicker set.

A Drum Key

Another absolute essential: your drum key. All I can say is, never leave the house without one. It’s not only useful for tuning up the drum kit, but you’ll need it to set up the stands so they suit your height and reach. If the drummer that played before you was built like a tree, then the cymbal stands are likely to be too high for you. And if the memory locks have already been tightened, you won’t be able to do much about it. You’ll have to play standing up, which is not exactly ideal. So, make sure you always have a drum key handy. Or preferably, a few of them since they’re also easy to lose. Keep a couple safe and tidy in your drumstick bag and maybe keep another one on your keys for good measure.

7 Must-Have Drumstick Bag Accessories

Felts, Cymbal Bushings & Wingnuts

If you’re anything like me, then your cymbals will be one of your most important assets, so making sure they’re well protected is a must. You can learn more about how to keep your cymbals happy and healthy in my other blog, How to Make Your Cymbals Last Longer. But a great start is to make sure that all of the smaller widgets involved are always kept in your stick bag. Often, the cymbal stands set up in rehearsal spaces or on small pub stages have really bad felts or no felts at all, as well as no cymbal bushings and missing wingnuts. I once had to bear the horror of placing my beloved cymbal atop nothing more than a metal washer. I don’t recommend it, so to prevent any heartbreak, have a good stash of felts, bushings and spare wingnuts tucked away in your stick bag.

A Spare Clutch

This bit might not mean anything to most drummers, but I have actually had to play a show using a drop clutch that kept closing the hi-hat – all on its own. Which is fair, because that clutch had probably survived the playing of a few generations of drummers. Ever since, I’ve always carried a spare clutch in my stick bag. You can pick one up for around a tenner and, if you’re ever in need, it’ll save you from a whole world of pain. Nothing is so frustrating as a hi-hat with a will of its own.

7 Must-Have Drumstick Bag Accessories


Yeah, yeah. Drummers make noise. That’s the job. Luckily, there are people out there who have designed these ingenious little things that mean you don’t have to go deaf in the process. Kit your ears out with a good-quality pair of earplugs and always keep them in your drumstick bag so you’ll never forget them, whether you’re just rehearsing or playing a gig. Tinnitus is no joke, kids!

Damping Gels

A little pack of damping gels can do wonders, whether you need to temper the volume or rein in the sound. Just one little gel pad can transform a messy booming snare into a nice and compact, cracking snare. Always keep a pack in your stick bag!

7 Must-Have Drumstick Bag Accessories

A Metronome

If you have read any of my other blogs, you’re probably aware that I’m a big fan of the metronome. As such, alongside my sticks, my drum keys, my felts, bushings and wingnuts, my spare clutch, earplugs and my gels, I always have a metronome ready-packed in my drumstick bag. Sometimes, there’s nothing worse than a band that’s slowing down and speeding up mid song, so it’s worth making sure that you and your band rehearse each song at a fixed and tight tempo. If you already learned to do things the wrong way, then it’s going to be very hard to unlearn it, and let’s be fair, it’s far more fun to work on new material than trying to train yourself to plod along to a metronome. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you!

If you’ve followed the list to the letter, then your drumstick bag is probably pretty full right now. Maybe you’ve got a little bit of space left over? What could you wedge in there? Or is there some other item or lucky charm that you never play without? Let me know in the comments!

See also…

» Drumsticks
» Drum Keys
» Cymbal Accessories
» Hi-hat Clutches
» Hearing Protection
» Damping Gels
» Metronomes
» Drumstick Bags

» Five Essential Apps for Drummers
» How to Make Your Cymbals Last Longer
» Drum Kit Configurations: Try These Variations!
» The Pros and Cons of Drumming with a Click-Track
» What do you need for drumming?
» How to tune your drum kit

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