New Sticks from Vic Firth, Zildjian and Meinl

Vic Firth American Concept Freestyle Series

Vic Firth have designed the Freestyle series of sticks to draw inspiration from the world of freestyle longboard skateboards. The design incorporates an overall length of 17” with extra long tapers for all models to increase the area where a drummer can place their fulcrum.

The range consists of 7A, 85A, 5A, 55A and 5B sizes and we were given 5A, 55A and 5B models to try.

I normally prefer a standard 5A or smaller stick. However, even within my smaller hands the Freestyle sticks felt very comfortable and I really enjoyed the extra length against what I would more normally use. The weight and balance felt good across each model.

I think if I needed a longer stick but with the familiarity of a thinner stick, I’d definitely be looking at the Freestyle series.

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Zildjian Chroma Series

Coloured drumsticks aren’t new, but Zildjian’s new Chroma series boasts to be the world’s first ever metallic painted drumsticks. The pearlescent paint is designed to interact with light sources and provide a cool look.

The sticks are only available in the one size – at least at the moment anyway – and that’s 5A. They come with a diameter of .560, a length of 16”, with a wood tip and come in four colours; blue, pink, silver and gold.

I found the paint/coating to be particularly comfortable to hold on to (giving a different feel to normally finished sticks) and they didn’t slip when playing.

The colouring does work under lighting, although it does – possibly unsurprisingly – come off with playing, but I noticed nothing on my coated heads at all in terms of residual marking. The stick design itself feels good in the hand and plays nicely on both drums and cymbals.

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Yep, Meinl are making drumsticks now too. At least, that’s what I thought when I was presented with four pairs of sticks. However, as I subsequently found out, and certainly never recalled, was that Meinl did actually used to offer sticks and brushes in the 1980s and ’90s.

The company is now offering a multitude of sticks, rods and brushes in various sizes and designs. The models I was given were pairs of Standard Long 5A and 5B, Standard 5B and Heavy 5A.

The sticks are precision crafted in Germany using North American Hickory and also Maple, and are weight and pitch matched.

I didn’t get to try these sticks live, but when I play at home I tend to play the kit to the same level anyway. I spent a lot of time playing the most comfortable pair for my hands – the 5A models – and they lasted for many hours before they started to splinter in the middle after continued rimshots.

The sticks had a premium feel to them, as well as a premium look – lots of visible grain – were solid and comfortable in the hand too.

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David Bateman

February 2019

By | 2019-02-15T00:18:57+00:00 February 15th, 2019|Categories: Reviews|Comments Off on New Sticks from Vic Firth, Zildjian and Meinl
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