Artist Signature Sticks
Top drummer designs with wide-ranging appeal.
Highly regarded for manufacturing some of the finest keyboard and timpani mallets for concert and marching players, Innovative Percussion also offers a range of drumset sticks for jazz, big band, studio, rock, Latin, and other contemporary styles.
The sticks in IP’s catalog also include nearly a dozen models designed for some of the finest drummers in the world: Beck’s Joey Waronker, Latin-pop icon Sheila E, modern jazz torchbearer Marcus Gilmore, renowned educators Ed Soph and Bob Breithaupt, prog/fusion great Chad Wackerman, Nashville session aces Nir Z and Chris McHugh, and hard rocker Jimmy DeGrasso. Each of the various models has a particular design, feel, and sound, but all of the pairs were consistently straight, pitch matched, and balanced. Below is our assessment, from the thinnest to the thickest.
JW-2 (Joey Waronker)
This thin, tiny hickory stick is a throwback to old jazz models from the ’50s, when drummers had to do whatever they could to control volume so as not to obliterate the acoustic bass and piano. It measures .500″x15.625″ and has a long .75″ teardrop tip. The taper is quick, to give the stick a bit of forward throw that helps keep it from feeling like a toothpick. This model got sparkling cymbal sounds with little buildup and an articulate response from drums, especially those that were tuned high. This is a stick tailor made for acoustic jazz, theater, light session work, and other music that thrives in the lower dynamics.
SE-1 (Sheila E)
This hickory stick is designed for drumset and timbale applications. It’s the second thinnest of the bunch (.530″), but it’s longer than average (16.25″), to allow for additional reach to play percussion instruments, like timbales and cowbells, placed to the sides of the kit. It has a small modified acorn tip and a medium taper, which provided clean, fast articulation and fast rebound.
JW-1 (Joey Waronker)
Waronker’s second signature model is more all-purpose, measuring .540″x16.125″ and featuring a traditional oval tip, skinny neck, and quick taper. It felt like a standard 7A with additional reach and power. Articulation was clean but elicited a wider tone than the JW-2, making the stick useful for light to moderately loud situations.
ES-1 and ES-2 (Ed Soph)
Famed jazz educator Ed Soph has two signature sticks, one in hickory and one in maple. Both measure .545″x16.125″ and have large acorn tips with a medium taper. The maple version was very nimble and light, while the hickory packed more power. Cymbal sounds and buzz rolls were clean and full, and it was easy—with either model—to go from whisper-quiet to a full roar without having to clamp down or use too much muscle.
MG-1 (Marcus Gilmore)
Sporting an unconventional reverse teardrop tip, a long taper, and a skinny neck, Marcus Gilmore’s stick measures .550″x16.125″. It had a quick response, while also producing great cymbal sounds that were articulate and full ranging. It felt great and could be used for delicate, fast playing as well as for louder, washier textures. Think of it like a faster and more dynamic 5A.
BB-1 and BB-2 (Bob Breithaupt)
Like Soph, Capital University professor Bob Breithaupt has identical sticks in hickory and maple. His pair of pairs measure .570″x16.125″ and have a rounded teardrop tip with a medium taper. These are thicker than a standard 5A but not as thick as a 5B. The medium taper gives them extra rebound and helps make them feel lighter and faster. The maple would be great for lower-volume applications, like small-group jazz, while the hickory would be ideal for kicking a big band or steering a larger funk/pop ensemble.
JD-1 (Jimmy DeGrasso)
Hard-rock journeyman Jimmy DeGrasso’s stick is the same width as a 5B (.595″), with an extra .5″ of reach (16.5″). It has a large acorn tip and wide neck, which helped bring out big drum and cymbal sounds, along with a moderate taper, giving it more rebound and a faster response. It’s an all-around winner for rock drummers who require a long, large stick for volume and power but who want something that doesn’t feel too cumbersome.
NZ-1 (Nir Z)
The most unusual-looking model in IP’s signature series is the one designed for session great Nir Z. This stick is a little thicker and longer than a 5B (.605″x16.1875″) and has a sharp jewel-type tip with a smooth, integrated collar and a long taper. The tip produced ultra-clear drum and cymbal sounds, the neck gave the stick a fast response, and the thick shoulder packed a lot of power. The tip was also great for achieving varying degrees of articulation, depending on the angle at which it met the drum or cymbal. Nir is one of the most precise and dynamic drummers on the planet, and his stick is a perfect match for that type of playing.
CW-1 (Chad Wackerman)
Thicker than a 5B but thinner than a 2B, Chad Wackerman’s signature stick is made from heartwood hickory, which gives it a reddish color. It measures .605″x16″ and has a small, elongated barrel tip and a quick taper, giving it exceptional clarity and power. We were able to articulate fast double strokes between the ride and hi-hat, and we laid into cymbals and rimshots with the shoulder to get as much power as was needed for any dynamic level. Even though it’s the second largest stick of the series, it had the same agility as some of the smaller models.
Chris McHugh (CM-1)
Just .005″ thinner and .125″ shorter than a 2B, Nashville powerhouse Chris McHugh’s signature stick measures .625″x16.125″ and has a large bullet-shaped tip, a quick taper, and a thick neck. All of its design elements add up to producing a big, authoritative tone that sounds as if every wood fiber and bronze molecule in the kit is vibrating harmoniously with every stroke. Chris is known for laying down massive, no-nonsense beats and fills, and his cymbals are always lush and expansive. Ninety percent of that lies in his masterful touch, but the other 10 percent is in his choice of tools. Want a big sound? Get some big sticks.