There are so many different types of drumsticks to choose from, and it can be a bit daunting for new drummers to pick a pair. While one pair of sticks may feel amazing in your hands, another pair may feel too heavy and bulky.
If you want to understand how drumsticks work, you need to learn how to read and interpret the naming conventions that stick brands use.
It’s also good to know what the popular sticks are, and 5A and 7A sticks are the most popular types that you get. In this guide, we’re going to focus on the differences between those two.
7A vs 5A Drumsticks
The biggest differences between these two stick types are weight and thickness. 5A sticks are heavier, and they have slightly larger diameters. They feel a bit bulkier in your hands, and the heavier weight leads to louder strokes on the drums with less effort.
7A drumsticks are slightly thinner, but the big difference is that they’re a lot lighter. The lighter feel means that you can play softer strokes on the drums, but it also makes it slightly easier to achieve high speeds with patterns.
5A drumsticks are the most versatile sticks available. They work well for almost every musical application, whereas 7A drumsticks are better suited for light playing styles.
Other Factors to Consider
While the above differences are cut and dry between the two drumstick types, you’ll find other slight differences depending on what models you get. 5A and 7A are the main defining model names, but every stick brand offers various types of sticks within these model frames.
Here’s what to look out for:
Most drumsticks are made from hickory. However, you’ll find a few options that are made from oak, maple, or carbon fiber. 5A and 7A sticks will have the same diameters that you’re used to, but the type of wood will affect how heavy they are.
Maple sticks are the lightest, and a pair of maple 5As may be slightly lighter than a pair of hickory 7As. That makes things a bit confusing, as 7As are known to be lighter than 5As.
Oak sticks are heavier than hickory sticks, so they have more power. Carbon fiber sticks are the heaviest, and they’re not actually made from wood. This makes them a lot more durable, but most drummers don’t like them.
The two biggest tip options are wood tips and nylon tips. You’ll find these on both 5A and 7A drumsticks, and nylon tips give more definition when you’re playing on the cymbals.
When it comes to wood tips, you get several different shapes. The shape of a wood tip will affect how the stick feels when it strikes a drum or cymbal. It doesn’t have any impact on how the stick sounds.
You’ll mostly find the same tip options for both 5A and 7A sticks, so drummers end up picking a pair with their favorite tip type.
The main stick brands are Vic Firth, Vater, and Promark. All of them offer basic versions of 5A and 7A sticks, but those versions feel slightly different from the same versions from the competing brands.
For example, Promark’s standard 5A sticks feel slightly lighter than the 5A sticks from Vic Firth, and the Vater 5A sticks have a slightly flatter tail end.
You have to test all these sticks out to see the difference, but the main qualities of 7A sticks being lighter and thinner than 5A sticks are still very present.
How to Choose Drumsticks
One of the easiest ways to determine which sticks to use is to pick a pair that matches the style of music that you play. If you play rock music, 5A drumsticks will be a much better choice, as they’re heavier and more durable than 7A sticks.
If you play jazz music, 7A sticks will be the better choice, as they are lighter and allow you to play with more finesse.
It’s not wrong if you use 7A sticks for rock and 5A sticks for jazz. Many drummers do it. It’s just that the sizes and weights of each stick type cater slightly better to the matching styles.
If you need a pair of sticks that will help you play as lightly as possible, it will be easier to use 7As. So, they work brilliantly for playing in restaurants and coffee shop venues.
7A drumsticks tend to feel a lot more comfortable for children. If you have a child that is getting into drumming, the lighter feel of 7A sticks will make the early stages of playing the drums a lot easier for them.
The heavier nature of 5A sticks makes them feel bulkier, and that can often feel a bit uncomfortable at first.
However, 5A sticks are more versatile, so many young kids end up switching to them at older ages.
You should get 5A drumsticks if you’re looking for power. If you’re a hard player, you’ll need to use more force to get loud notes with 7A sticks. They’ll end up breaking very quickly when you do this.
You don’t need to put as much effort in to get loud notes when using 5A sticks, and they’ll end up being a lot more durable.
5B sticks are an even better option, but 5A sticks are the best choice when sticking to the comparison of 5A vs 7As.
Final Thoughts on 7A vs 5A Drumsticks
You should also look for modified versions of these stick types. For example, Vic Firth offers the Extreme 5As, which are standard 5A sticks that are slightly longer than normal. They offer more reach around the kit.
Every stick brand offers modifications like this, so you just need to do a bit of digging to find the best options.
When it comes to picking between standard 5A and 7A drumsticks, just choose the pair that will feel best in your hands. If you like lighter sticks, 7A drumsticks will be your best option. Get a pair of 5A sticks for a slightly heavier pick.