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The basic types of drumstick include brushes, mallets and the wooden sticks we know of today. Brushes are normally used in jazz music, blues music or swing. They produce a softer sound than the hard crash of a wooden drum stick. The bristles are commonly made from wood or metal with a rubber coating and their shaft (middle section) is usually made from aluminium or wood. Metal bristles can be more durable and some brushes have retractable bristles to ensure they are kept in good shape.
Mallets or beaters have a soft tip made of rubber, nylon or acrylic. The tips are wrapped in soft materials such as yarn or latex. Some are not wrapped, but are made of heavy woods. Covered mallets are traditionally used in marching bands. Thick wooden beaters have origins in Native American and Aztec tribes as well as in Africa where they were (and still are) used for cultural purposes as well as entertainment. The shaft of beaters or mallets is usually made from birch of rattan.
Traditional wooden drumsticks are usually used by rock musicians or metal musicians. There are different types of wood and different sizes of sticks depending on what kind of music they want to make. Common woods used to make drumsticks include oak, hickory or maple. Hickory and maple make softer sounds and oak is a thicker, more durable wood that is more suitable for hard rock or metal drumming.
Most professional drummers are very particular about the type of drumstick they use. Drummers may also choose several different types for different styles of playing. Harder woods produce a louder sound which is ideal for large gigs or venues. In addition, drumsticks thicker in circumference can be more durable. A thinner drumstick may be more suitable for smaller venues but not so suitable for constant playing, especially if it is rock music that you will be playing. Nylon tips are the most popular type of tip used as opposed to wood as these are more durable and prevent the wood from splitting.
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