You also need to think about the long-term health of your electronic drum heads, though, which are overall both more delicate and more expensive than standard heads. Because of this, you’ll want to look for a drumstick that has nylon tips, even if you typically use a stick with wooden tips on your regular drums.
A lot of sticks come with a variety of tip options, so you may be able to find a nylon-tipped version of the sticks you already use. If not—or if you want to pursue some different options—the four sticks listed here are all excellent choices for use with electronic drums. They are, in our humble opinion, the best drumsticks for electronic drums period.
Zildjian 5B Nylon Black Drumsticks
The shaft of these sticks is made from American-grown hickory, the same wood commonly used to make baseball bats. As you can imagine, then, it’s capable of standing up to a lot of force without cracking, meaning these sticks will last you a good long while, especially on an electronic kit.
The 5B weight is both versatile and comfortable for most players. It’s the consistency of these sticks that makes most players love them. They’re guaranteed straight and never bend or warp, meaning you can count on each new set you buy to give you the same great response as the last. This among the best drumsticks for electronic drums, awesome all-around for players of all genres and experience levels—and an especially great value at less than ten bucks a pair.
Vic Firth Signature Series, Buddy Rich
There are a lot of incredibly designed sticks in the Vic Firth Signature Series, but for the purpose of electronic drums the Buddy Rich are perhaps the best-suited. These sticks use a modified 5A design that has a larger neck and shoulder, as well as a wider tip. Not only does this give you a more powerful and articulate response on drums of all styles, it means you don’t have to use as much force to get the dynamic shifts you’re looking for, ultimately sparing your electronic drum head.
Players with larger hands will also appreciate the modified design, especially if they find 5As in general to be a bit too small for them. Want a great pair of electronic drum sticks? Here they are.
Vater VHFN Nylon Tip Hickory Drumsticks
Like the two designs above, these Vater sticks use a hickory construction on the shaft with a nylon tip. Their construction design is somewhere between the typical dimensions of a 5A and a 5B, with a small round tip that gives you a crisp, controlled attack.
They’re especially great for intricate cymbal work, and the speed and accuracy of the strike makes them suitable for rock, punk, and metal players who use a lot of rhythmic complexity in their lines. In an electronic context, it’s this same speed of the attack that most people find so appealing, giving you better accuracy and more control over your sound. These should be on anyone’s list of the best drumsticks for electronic drums.
Vic Firth 5A Nova
Vic Firth makes percussion equipment for players of every level and budget, and their 5A Nova sticks are an excellent option if you need a new set of good electronic drum sticks but don’t have a lot of cash lying around.
Their Nova sticks are made with the same quality hickory as the other sticks in their line, but are sold at a discount because the wood used in their construction has minor cosmetic blemishes. These minor nicks and scratches are no more severe than the damage you’ll do to the sticks after a few sessions, and you’ll get the same great articulation and power that Vic Firth sticks are known for at half the cost. The design of the sticks is a classic 5A with an oval nylon tip perfect for an electronic kit.
Stick Technique with Electronic Drums
Even electronic drum kits that advertise a “real feel” do not feel exactly like playing an acoustic kit. Some are easier to re-position than others, but nothing will mask the fact that you’re hitting rubber surfaces instead of metal and hide. While a lot of players prefer to keep the same style of sticks for both acoustic and electronic playing, for others buying designated sticks for the electronic kit can help you grow accustomed to the difference in feel.
The amount of bounce will be the most noticeable difference when you’re switching between an electronic and an acoustic kit. You’ll get far more stick bounce from the rubber surface of electronic drums than you do off traditional equipment. For a lot of people, this makes electronic drums easier to play, but it can also take some getting used to. If you typically play with relatively bouncy sticks, you may want to switch to something a bit stiffer when you’re playing electronic drums to compensate.
You also aren’t going to use as much force to hit the drums on an electronic kit. You don’t need to, for one thing; you have the ability to control volume with more than the strength of your strike. Electronic drums are also lighter than acoustic, though, and often quite literally won’t stand up to the same amount of force. This, combined with the softer hitting surface, means your sticks won’t take quite as much abuse. They’ll last longer than with traditional playing and you can use thinner sticks without having them break. Buying a more slender and more flexible stick might help your hands to relax their grip and remind you to use a lighter touch.
The only limiting factor when you’re choosing the best drumsticks for electronic drums is that you want to have a nylon instead of a wood tip. A wood tip won’t instantly destroy your pads if you use one once or twice, but you’ll be a lot less likely to damage the sensors with softer nylon tips. Beyond that, whether you use a similar stick to what you use on traditional drums or whether you tailor your electronic drum stick to your shifts in technique is a matter of personal preference. Good luck!