There are so many different types of drumsticks available, and every drummer tends to develop preferences over time when it comes to choosing the most comfortable drumstick size for their playing style.
With that being said, no wood sticks are more popular than your classic 5A and 5B drumstick options.
These are what most drummers start off with, and so many drummers keep playing them for the rest of their drumming careers.
If you’re looking for new drumsticks, you may be wondering which of these drum stick sizes you should choose. In this guide, we’ll look at the differences between 5A and 5B drumsticks.
5A drumsticks are the most popular drumstick option in the world. They’re known as the “standard sticks,” and they can easily be found when walking into any music shop.
While sizes may differ slightly according to what brand you’re looking at, most 5A drumsticks are 16”, and they have a thickness of 0.565”.
This size tends to feel very comfortable in your hands, and that’s why 5As are so loved by the vast majority of drummers.
5A drum sticks can be used for any style of music. They’re very versatile, and they’ll allow you to play both hard and soft to get varying tones from your kit. While thinner sticks are usually preferred for light styles, 5As will still easily get the job done for any playing style.
Here are a few pro drummers that use 5A drumsticks:
- Dave Grohl
- Ringo Starr
- Phil Collins
5B drumsticks also have a length of 16”. However, they’re a bit thicker with a diameter of 0.595”.
5B sticks are great for getting louder tones out of your drums. Their thick shafts allow you to play loudly and achieve more power without using too much force. They’re not quite as popular as 5A sticks, but many drummers love the feeling of using slightly thicker sticks.
With 5Bs being thicker and louder, they’re great options for styles like rock and metal. They’re a bit too thick and heavy for jazz and softer drumming styles.
If you’ve never tried 5B drumsticks out before, you should give them a go to feel exactly how they compare to 5As.
Here are a few pro drummers that use 5B drumsticks:
- John Bonham
- Cobus Potgieter
- Chad Smith
Difference Between 5A and 5B Drumsticks
The biggest difference between 5A and 5B drumsticks is their thickness. 5B sticks feel a bit fuller in your hands, giving you something a bit beefier to hold onto. Some drummers love that feeling, while others prefer the slimmer feeling of 5As.
In addition to being a thicker stick, 5Bs are also slightly heavier. This allows them to produce a bigger sound with less intensity from your strokes. You don’t need to hit as hard as you do with 5As to play loudly.
However, it’s easier to play faster strokes with the lower weight of the 5As. You’ll find that a lot of drummers who use 5B sticks utilize their wrists, while many drummers who play 5Bs utilize their fingers more.
Those aren’t set rules. They’re just common trends amongst the drummers that use both types of sticks.
5A and 5B sticks are fairly close together in their specs compared to other drumstick types. So, transitioning from one to the other is quite easy. That’s why some drummers keep both types in their stick bags for whenever the situation requires them.
How Important is Drumstick Size?
The type of drumsticks you use will determine how comfortable you feel while playing the drums.
As drummers, we always get accustomed to whatever stick type we’re currently using. We don’t realize that there are other sticks that feel a lot more comfortable to use until we try them. It’s the same as someone getting used to their poor vision before realizing that they need to wear glasses.
So, drumstick size isn’t the most important thing in the world. You’ll be able to play the same patterns and grooves with any drum stick size.
However, you’ll eventually find that some sticks feel much better in your hands than others, and you’ll never want to use other sticks after discovering that perfect stick size.
Are There Other Drumstick Sizes to Choose From?
There are several types of sticks to choose from apart from standard 5As and 5Bs. Those ones are popular as they suit most drummers. They always just seem to work.
Here is a list of other drumstick sizes:
- Extreme 5A
- Extreme 5B
All those stick types have varying sizes and thicknesses in relation to 5A and 5B drumsticks. It’s a good idea to try them all out if you can, as you may find that one of them feels amazing in your hands compared to everything else you’ve tried.
Some drummers like to switch between different sticks for varying playing styles. It’s a good idea to have two or three sizes in your stick bag, but anything more than that would arguably stifle your drumming.
What are the Best Drumstick Brands?
The top three drumstick brands on the market are Vic Firth, Vater, and Promark. All three of these brands have classic 5A and 5B options, but these size drum sticks all feel slightly different from each other.
The Vic Firth 5As are the most popular option out of those three brands, but the sticks from Promark and Vater are also solid options.
A few other good drumstick brands are Zildjian, Meinl Stick & Brush, Ahead, Wincent, Tama, and Regal Tip.
Again, all those brands offer standard 5A and 5B drum sticks as well. That’s why those stick types are so easily found in music stores.
They’re also all very similarly priced. So, the best thing to do is try out each option from the different brands to see which ones you like the most.
To recap on the differences between 5A and 5B sticks, 5A sticks have a standard weight and length, while 5B sticks have the same length with a thicker shaft and achieve more power.
5A drumsticks are the most universally loved option. You can use them for any playing style and setting. 5B sticks are better for rock drummers who want more energy and volume on the drum kit. It’s a slightly heavier stick that is ideal for rock playing metal, rock, pop, and punk.
Don’t discount other stick types, though. There are sticks that have specs that fall in between 5As and 5Bs, so you should try those out as well to find the right stick for you.