Agner is a respected manufacturer from Switzerland that’s been making high-quality marching and drumset sticks, brushes, and mallets since 1985. Its catalog includes standard-size models, uniquely styled designs, and signature sticks for a number of notable European drumset artists and the world-renowned marching ensemble Top Secret Drum Corps.
Some of Agner’s sticks are made from traditional hickory and lightweight maple, while others are made from a hard birch-like timber called hornbeam. We were sent a selection of models across the entire line to review, so let’s check them out.
The Number Series
The majority of drummers use either a 5A, 5B, or 2B drumstick, and Agner’s versions are designed to work for a variety of styles and applications. The 5A is available in maple or hickory and measures .567″x16.25″. Both feature a bullet-shaped tip and a short taper. The hickory 5A has a heavier, front-loaded feel, while the maple is lighter and has more rebound. Agner also offers a hickory 5A Short, which is a little less than 16″ long and has quick rebound and a stout, short taper. The 5A Nylon has the same dimensions as the 5A Short, but it has a longer taper and an oval plastic tip.
For its 5B models, Agner varied the tip shape between the hickory and maple while maintaining identical dimensions (.606″x16.22″). The hickory model has an oval tip, and the lighter maple has an acorn tip. Both have a great balance of power and rebound, but the maple version provides a touch more agility. The 2B is 16.25″ long and .634″ in diameter, and it has a larger acorn-style tip. This model was great for pad work, snare drum playing, and hard-hitting drumset applications. The large tip made for smooth, dense buzz rolls and big, fat drum tones. Cymbal articulation was a bit too wide and washy for light playing, but the extra mass did help elicit massive crashes and strong bell tones at higher dynamics.
More atypical models within the Numbers series include the .630”x15.83″ SD2 maple with a small round tip for delicate, clean articulation on drums and cymbals, the longer (16.54″) S15 hickory with a large round tip, and the S8 MG, which has a standard acorn tip and a slightly contoured butt end that provides an alternative striker for fatter tones.
The Name Series
Agner’s Name series includes models that are appropriately titled to indicate their intended applications. The smallest of our review batch was the Junior, which is designed for smaller drummers and measures .543″x14.882″. It’s made of hickory and has a smaller barrel tip and a standard medium taper. Despite its short stature, the Junior stick felt well balanced and responsive. The .579″x15.354″ Funky hickory stick has a rounded teardrop tip and was quick and responsive and produced a balanced, full sound. The Light model is made from maple and measures .551″x15.945″. It has a small round tip for great cymbal articulation and a short taper, which makes it feel longer and heftier.
There are four models within the fusion category. The N.Y. Fusion has a green finish and measures .547″x16.063″. It has a medium-sized barrel tip and a short taper. The red-finished L.A. Fusion is .551″x16.063″ and has a small barrel tip. If your gigs include Chick Corea, Mike Stern, or some facsimile thereof, these sticks are for you.
The Jazz Fusion maple is .583″x16.181″ and has an integrated round bead. This stick was super-quick and light and produced very clean, clear cymbal tones. I’d use this model often when playing any gig that requires controlled dynamics. The Fusion hickory is .579″x16.063″ and has a medium round bead and a long taper. It was articulate and quick, making it ideal for busier playing styles.
For fans of larger sticks, there’s the .543″x16.299″ Hard-Rock hickory with a large round bead and long taper and the .610″x16.339″ Driver maple with a medium oval tip and medium taper. The Hard-Rock is thinner but has a front-heavy feel, while the Driver is beefier but lighter and has a more balanced response.
Signatures and Oddities
Some of the artist sticks we checked out included the diminutive (.571″x15.12″) A. Berger model with a small acorn tip and long taper. This stick is made from hornbeam, which is a dense wood within the birch species that felt somewhere between hickory and maple. Giorgio Di Tullio’s stick is similar to a 5A but is made of lightweight maple and has a white finish. Other signature sticks have painted finishes, including the extended 5A–style green hickory model for Flo Dauner, which measures .571″x16.378″ and has an oval tip and long taper.
Some of the more eclectic sticks in Agner’s catalog include glow-in-the-dark (Glow-Sticks) and partially painted (Gripp-Stick) versions in standard 5A, 5B, and 7A sizes. There’s also a combo 5A hickory stick that has a small hard-felt beater screwed onto the butt end. This stick felt surprisingly balanced and would be a great tool for musical theater, multi-percussion, and more experimental setups.
All of the non-painted Agner sticks we tested had a smooth, slightly polished feel, and they were perfectly balanced and pitch-matched. They also held up well under several sessions of heavy use. If you’re looking to try something new, or are on a quest to find your “perfect” stick, give some of these Swiss guys a try. There’s something for everyone in Agner’s extensive lineup.