Synthetic options for utmost durability without sacrificing feel and sound.
The wooden drumstick has been a constant through centuries of drumming. But as with any organic material, wood is not always consistent, nor is it particularly durable. Holland-based Kuppmen Music, a revival of the Carbostick company, which ceased production in 2013, offers a line of drumsticks and rods made from carbon fiber that claim to offer greater durability with minimal change in feel or sound.
The main goal of Kuppmen is to provide more durable tools, but its website also boasts that its sticks are “just as flexible as wooden sticks” and are “made straight and stay straight.” While these carbon fiber sticks will show dents and scratches over time, they won’t splinter or chip like wood. Kuppmen sent us pairs in 5A, 7A, and 5B sizes with teardrop-shaped beads. They were straight and weight-matched, and the tips never chipped during our two-month evaluation period.
Feel and Sound
The Kuppmen carbon fiber sticks have a dense feel that’s similar to that of oak. I use hickory sticks most of the time, and the Kuppmens vibrated more noticeably than them while I played. The vibrating could cause premature hand fatigue over the course of a long gig, so you’ll want to spend some time with them in the practice room so you can adjust to the different response.
Kuppmen’s website features a nice video in which the company addresses whether or not these sticks sound like wooden ones. Their answer is mostly yes, but to my ear the stick tips sound harder than nylon, rim clicks cut more and have a brighter attack, and rim shots are louder. All of that might be a benefit for louder playing situations. List price is $39.99 per pair.
Kuppmen’s Drumrods, which come in 5A and 5B sizes, aim to be more durable than wooden dowel sticks. As with the carbon fiber drumsticks, the Drumrods sound a bit brighter, and they feel heavier in your hands. Compared with wooden dowels, I found that the extra weight helped with control. Unlike wooden rods, the dowels of the Drumrods won’t break while you play or when you put them back in your stick bag. This extra durability alone could make them worth the investment. List price is $45.99 per pair.