If you’ve just set up your electronic drum kit and you’re just missing a set of sticks, then you’ve probably noticed that there’s an overwhelming amount to choose from. Different lengths, diameters, tapers, tips, material … If you’re just starting your epic drumming journey, it can be tough to pick through what’s out there. And, while some or all of these questions can be answered by our other blog: How Do I Choose the Right Drum Sticks?, we’ve put together this blog to help explain the kind of sticks you’ll need to play an electronic kit.

Drumsticks for an Electronic Kit: Which Ones Do You Need?

The Short Answer

The answer might be incredibly simple, since you can actually use any standard drum sticks to play an electronic kit. While using standard sticks will get sound out of your electronic kit and won’t do the kit any harm, it’s worth noting a few points when looking for the sticks you’re going to use, and we’ll be going into more detail about this in a bit. But first of all, we’d like to make it clear that using more specific sticks like beaters or rods can have little to no effect on the sound of an electronic kit. Using brushes is not even possible, with some exceptions. As such, this blog focusses on normal drumsticks.

The Material

Since most sticks are made from hickory, you’re likely to end up with a set of hickory sticks in your hand at some point. A lot of other kinds of wood are used to make sticks and, including hickory, you can actually use any of these to play an electronic drum kit. However, you’ll also find plastic or carbon-fibre sticks available. Since these are fairly stiff, they shouldn’t be used to play an electronic kit as they may quickly cause damage. Actually, one of the bonuses of playing an electronic kit is that wooden sticks will last much longer.

The Diameter

Whether you’re playing an acoustic kit or an electronic one, if your sticks are not sitting snugly in your hands, you’re not going to be playing comfortably. The right stick shouldn’t be too thick or too thin, so the best sticks to start with is usually a set of 5As. These have a medium diameter and are considered the standard. By seeing how a pair of 5As feel, picking out the right sticks is made easier: for example, if they feel too thick, then try a set of 7As (the higher the number, the thicker the stick). It’s best try try out a few thicknesses to find out what feels best for you.

Drumsticks for an Electronic Kit: Which Ones Do You Need?

The Length

It’s also worth experimenting with the length of your sticks. The longer the sticks, the more the balance, or centre of gravity, is weighted towards the tip of the stick. With short sticks, the centre of gravity is more towards the back end of the stick, where you’re holding it. If you were to play with two sticks with same diameter and an average ‘taper’ (more about this in a moment), and one stick was longer than the other, the shorter stick would actually feel more powerful because of the way it’s balanced. An average stick length of around 16-inches is what we recommend for playing an electronic kit.

De taper

The ‘taper’ refers to the way a stick gradually gets thinner from the bottom end to the tip. Although it may not seem like it, the taper actually has just as much effect on the balance of the stick as the length. The taper also has a big effect on the ‘rebound’ of the stick (how much it bounces back from the skin). A long taper means that the balancing point of the stick is further towards the tip. So, if you have a longer stick with a short taper, then the stick will almost automatically fall to the skin of the drum. If you’re a fairly loud drummer with a lot of power, then a short taper is the best choice. If you want more speed and a fast response, then a longer taper will feel better. A long stick with a long taper tends to have a bigger ‘sweet spot’ (balancing point), and a good example of sticks like this are the Freestyle sticks from Vic Firth. So, the taper of your sticks has a bigger impact on your playing than you’d think, and when playing an electronic kit, it’s best to play it safe and go for some medium taper sticks.

The Tip

The tip is the playing end of the stick and comes in various sizes and shapes. When playing an acoustic kit, you can immediately hear the effect of the shape and material of the drum stick tip. However, when playing an electronic kit, this has no effect at all. Also, you can’t really tell the difference between a thick or thinner stick in terms of sound when playing an electronic kit, since most electronic kits simply operate by triggering a pre-recorded sample when the skin is hit. As such, it doesn’t really matter what kind of tip or thickness you choose, but it is the case that wooden tips can cause more wear to electronic drums fitted with mesh-heads. It’s also a really bad idea to play with a damaged tip since this can actually tear the mesh-head. Nylon tipped drumsticks are a little more easy going on mesh-head drums, but you could just use a set with wooden tips and make sure not to use them if they get damaged.


So, if you’re a beginner, then just get yourself a nice set of popular, affordable and standard 5A sticks to play your electronic kit with. Then, once you have a few beats and skills down, you can start experimenting with different kinds of sticks. Since the kind of sticks you play with will have little to no effect on the sound of the electronic drums, you only need to pay attention to the few points outlined in this blog and, ultimately, how the sticks actually feel while you’re playing. And, if you’re thinking about switching to an acoustic kit – it’s worth remembering that the kind of sticks (the thickness, tip material and shape) you use will have a big effect on the sound. If you need a little more advice on which sticks to choose, then you can find some further help here.

What sticks do you play your electronic drum kit with? Let us know in the comments below.

See Also …

» How To Become a Drummer
» How Do I Choose the Right Drumsticks?

» Drumsticks and Beaters
» Drumstick Bags
» Drumstick Accessories
» Drumstick Bulk Packs
» All Drums, Percussion and Accessories

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