Los Cabos has been steadily climbing into the collective drummer consciousness since first entering the market a decade ago. The Canadian company’s products are offered worldwide, and a recent deal with Big Bang Distribution makes them easier to find in U.S. drum shops. We were sent a sample of several models made from standard white hickory and maple, as well as a Los Cabos exclusive, red hickory, which is a denser timber native to eastern North America.
White Hickory 77A, Jazz, and 5A Yellow Jacket
White hickory is the most commonly used wood for drumsticks, and Los Cabos offers all of the standard sizes in this wood (5A, 5B, 2B, 7A, etc.), as well more unique sizes, like the elongated 77A and Jazz models, and the painted-grip 5A Yellow Jacket.
The 77A is .556″x16.29″ and has a long olive tip. This stick is designed to provide the light, quick feel of a 7A but with a little extra reach. The olive tip allows for a range of cymbal tones, from warm and broad to bright and clear, based on the angle at which you strike. These sticks have great rebound and facilitated lighter playing styles very well. The extra length gave them a more substantial feel without throwing off the balance, and it allowed me to choke up a bit for ultra-quiet playing without limiting reach. For quiet acoustic gigs, these are a great choice.
The Jazz model has a similar width to a 5A (.575″) but is a bit longer (16.25″). It has a barrel tip to help increase punch and articulation. Despite its style-specific name, this is a great all-purpose stick. It’s perfectly balanced to provide power and response, and the barrel tip produces clean, consistent cymbal tones. Aside from hard-hitting rock gigs, I could fill my bag with just these sticks and call it a day, regardless of whether I’m tracking basic beats in the studio or playing tons of notes on modern jazz, funk, or fusion gigs.
The 5A Yellow Jacket is a .575″x16″ stick with an acorn tip and a lightly painted grip for a bit of tackiness. The paint doesn’t inhibit rebound or resonance, but it does grab ahold of the skin just enough to prevent the stick from slipping. Regular Los Cabos models are lightly lacquered, so they have a soft, smooth feel. But if you have a hard time holding on to your sticks when your hands start to sweat, check out the 5A Yellow Jacket. It’s a nice, unobtrusive option for additional grip control.
The red hickory wood used in these sticks is harvested from the harder center portion of the tree. This increased density makes the sticks a bit more durable than their white hickory counterparts without adding weight or affecting their balance and feel. Again, all of the basic sizes and tip shapes (acorn, ball, barrel, olive, and oval) are offered, as well as more specialized models, like the jazz-style 77A and the oversized .626″x16.63″ Rock. If you find yourself tearing through sticks quicker than you’d like, grab a pair of Red Hickory in your favorite size. They felt identical to their white hickory counterparts, but they didn’t wear out as quickly, and they look super-cool. The .585″x16″ 55AB is my top choice for hard-hitting situations.
Maple is lighter than hickory, so it’s an ideal choice for drumsticks when playing in lighter, subtler styles. In addition to typical 5A, 5B, 7A, 2B, 3A, and 8A sizes, Los Cabos also makes more specialized sticks with maple. The Swing model is similar to the 77A but features an oval tip instead of olive. It has lightning-fast response, and it allowed me to play up-tempo swing at low volumes with ease. The Jive is nearly identical to the Swing, but it has a small ball tip that produced bright, crystalline cymbal tones.
If you’re a player who prefers the fat sound, added reach, and wider grip of big 2B-style sticks but want a lighter feel, check out the .626″x16.63″ Rock maple. This is a surprisingly quick and nimble stick that produced full, loud tones with minimal effort. I grabbed these sticks whenever I needed to lay down big, meaty mid-tempo beats.
In addition to the handful of drumsticks that we tested here, Los Cabos makes an extensive range of brushes, rods, mallets, and other percussion tools. Check out loscabosdrumsticks.com for more info.