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A Stick Bag filled with Sticks & Mallets

Why get mallets and a stick bag??? Several reasons...mallet picture

    1. You will always have the mallets you need and not be hunting to see where the kids left them
    2. You will have mallets that are in good condition
    3. When we get to a gig away from the middle school, you will have what you need
    4. It looks cool and professional!

For starters, you should have:

1) A stick bag or box: may be commercially made or creatively home made, but you need something in which to keep your sticks Click here for one way to make a stick bag.

2) One pair of medium weight snare drum sticks (not really thin jazz or rock sticks, nor really thick marching sticks). Examples are:

  • Vic Firth 5B (thinner shaft)
  • Vic Firth Slammers SD11 (my fav because I have larger hands and these have a larger shaft, but they have a smaller, teardrop bead)
  • Vic Firth SD1 (larger shaft)
  • other equivalent sticks (both Dan & I prefer the Vic Firth sticks, but there are others out there that are worth looking at.

    Wild MB Bass Drummer

    If you have very small hands, you might prefer the Vic Firth 7A American Classic -- this is also a good choice for jazz drum set work, but is not a good choice for general band work unless you have small hands.
    On the other hand (pun intended!), if you have a fair amount of arthritis in your hands, you will want a stick with a larger circumference; the Vic Firth Slammers SD11) might work, or the Vic Firth STF. Both of these are larger grip sticks, but have a small, tapered bead.


For more info on selecting snare drum sticks, go to: or of course, ASK DAN!!!!

3) One pair of xylophone mallets: either medium yarn or medium rubber. Yarn mallets, although slightly more expensive, are more versatile and are especially good for suspended cymbal rolls.

4) One pair of medium weight timpani mallets (ex: Vic Firth T1 generals).

4) One drum key.

5) One pencil in your bag (supplied free of charge by SVNHB from the sign-in table).

6) You should own a practice pad, too (not for your stick bag, though! <grin>)

If you play mostly Snare Drum, you should also have:

    • A pair of standard retractable wire brushes (wire, not the special effect plastic or wood) Regal Tip brushes are a good choice.
    • A pair of thinner, jazz style sticks
    • Perhaps a pair of snare sticks with a wound yarn mallet head on the other end!
    • Other toys...

If you play mostly mallet percussion, you should also have:

    • Yarn mallets so that you have a hard, a medium and a soft head pair
    • Hard plastic mallets for bells (ex: Vic Firth M140)
    • Hard rubber mallets for xylophone (ex: Vic Firth M132)
    • Perhaps some vibe mallets, as well
    • Please also be sure you have a pair of snare sticks (see above)

If you want to go further in your purchases, you could add:

    • A selection of triangle beaters (3 different sizes are good)
    • A good quality tambourine (with a head - don't purchase a plastic headless, or a tambourine without a head - those are not Concert Band quality) Grover tambourines are excellent with a great sound; they are not cheap, but worth it in sound!
    • If you play a lot of rock stuff on your own, get a good quality headless tambourine

Now, you've put a chunk of money into these sticks and mallets, MARK THEM so that you know which are yours! Your name with a permanent marker is good, or some kind of colored tape (anything belonging to SVNHB is marked with yellow), or some combination of strips of tapes around the butt end. Don't put marker or tape where your hands rest (tape is uncomfortable under your hands and marker wears off). Some people find marks near the tips to be distracting, so put your mark on the butt end.

Likewise - Name and phone number on your stick bag, please!

Where to shop

Locally, where you can try things out is a good plan, you know, to check the feel of the sticks or how the instrument plays.

    • MUSIC GO-ROUND in Natick, eastbound route 9, just east of route 27. They have great used equipment at reasonable prices
    • Guitar Center - there is one off of Speen Street in Natick, between route 30 & 9, near the mall, but there are Guitar Centers in many other places. Click the link to find stores in the MetroBoston area.

If you are shopping on line and you know what you want:


photo of stickbags

The red stick bag is homemade, the black is purchased.
Notice the wire brushes on the right-hand stand and the
double-ended sticks on the left-hand stand.


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Sudbury Valley New Horizons Music, Inc. at Wayland Middle School -- 201 Main Street, Wayland, MA