Techra is an Italian company that applies more than fifty years of experience crafting components for the aerospace, avionics, and automotive industries to the manufacturing of carbon-fiber drumsticks and other drum accessories. Techra’s catalog includes models designed especially for hard hitters (Colossus and Hammer of the Gods), grip enhancement (Carbon Pro Supergrip), electronic kits (E-Rhythm), and lighter response, which include the XCarb 5A and 5B models that we have for review.
Techra’s stated mission is to “offer musicians new expression opportunities using innovative materials and concepts.” It’s also proud of its efforts to help preserve the environment by reducing the consumption of wood and by offering products that are 100 percent recyclable. While designing the sticks, the company took into account the needs of drummers for something that’s light and responsive but stiff enough to produce full tones on drums and cymbals. Using carbon fiber instead of wood also makes Techra’s sticks up to four times more durable.
The XCarb series is Techra’s lightest line of carbon-fiber sticks. The 5A model measures .567″x16″ and weighs 48.6 grams, which is comparable to a similarly sized wood stick. The 5B is .594″x16″ and weighs 50.3 grams. Both sticks feature small acorn beads, hollowed cores, and short tapers from the shoulders to the tips. The butt ends come with rubber end caps to help minimize vibration and give the sticks a wood-like feel. The carbon fiber has a slightly textured feel that’s similar to that of a natural or lightly lacquered wood stick. Techra uses a different color cap for each size, which makes it very easy to identify matched pairs when placed with the grip facing up in a stick bag or holder.
I spent a fair amount of time swapping between the Techra XCarb sticks and traditional wood versions at the kit and practice pad and noticed very little difference in terms of weight and vibration. Both pairs of Techra sticks were perfectly pitch-matched, which wasn’t the case with the wood versions I used for comparison. The resonating frequency of the XCarbs was pitched lower than that of the wood sticks, but it had the same amount of sustain. The XCarb sticks rebounded quicker and produced lighter tones than the wood sticks did, which gave the ride cymbal a bit more clarity and helped improve articulation at lower dynamics. In terms of durability, I noticed no wear to the XCarb tips after several hours of heavy use, and the shoulders exhibited minor notching from the hi-hat, rimshots, and crashes.
In the past, synthetic drumsticks have been largely targeted towards heavy hitters who shred through multiple pairs of sticks per gig and are willing to sacrifice some tone, response, and feel for the benefits of durability. These Techra XCarb 5A and 5Bs, however, are poised to become the preferred drumsticks of drummers of all types and playing styles, for they provide all the nuance, tone, and natural feel associated with high-quality wood sticks while also providing an exponentially longer lifespan. The street price is about $43 per pair, and additional sizes include 7A and 2B.