Vic Firth’s VicBeaters have been out for a little while now
Felt and Wood
These are basically the same design and dimensions, but two different materials. They have two playing surfaces – side on and flat.
Visually, the design might look a little different or unconventional – it did to me anyway – but it’s something that you get used to very quickly.
The respective heads are perfectly weighted and really comfortable to play; they’re not too light or too heavy. The felt head is medium hard and the wood is hard maple.
I spent most of my time using these beaters utilizing the edge/side on option but the flat side is quite comfortable too. For me, the felt head produced a thick fat sound while the wood beater produced a similar sound but with a bit more attack. Both gave, unsurprisingly, a slightly fatter sound using the flat side.
If you know anything about bass drum beaters, this will be probably be fairly self explanatory and not much of a surprise. The beater has a felt core and a big fluffy outside. The sound produced by this combination is warmer, slightly quieter and softer, but not without still having some definition.
I didn’t have a cajon to hand so I can’t say how it sounds in that context, so I used on my bass drum instead.
If this beater looks like a small bouncy ball with a rod through it then that’s probably not far off the mark. On a kick drum, the foam rubber head produces a warm full sound with some notable attack, but less than the wood model. I could also feel this beater when playing more than the others, meaning I could feel the foam move slightly each time it hit the head.
This is the one that looks like a shrunken mallet. The wooden shaft definitely made this the strangest looking bass drum beater I’ve come across but Vic Firth says that it ‘distributes weight for an unbelievable sense of balance and throw’.
Whatever the case, this model delivers what I think is good all round sound and performance; nice tone, good attack without being overly clicky but also not too quiet either, and has a comfortable feel. Although the beater might give the impression it’s heavy or cumbersome, it genuinely feels well balanced and weighted and produces a nice solid thump, albeit possibly slightly lighter in punch than the regular felt design.
I found these beaters to all deliver well in their respective areas.
To my surprise – since I’m not usually one to use a wood beater – I used the wood model the most because it produced a good solid sound with a nice attack that worked well in my live situation. That said, I could happily use any of these models because they offer nice options across a reasonable enough spectrum to warrant having at least four of them in your bag at any one time to cover many different musical situations. They’re also priced pretty well too.
For more, check out – http://vicfirth.com/vickick-beaters/
Video best heard through headphones.