Finding the right drumstick will lead to better, more comfortable playing. The wrong stick can break on you frequently, tire you out or just not give you the ease of playing you need to be successful. Two drumsticks, 5A and 7A sticks, share a lot of similarities, but also a few differences. These attributes are important to keep in mind when deciding if one might be best for you.
The diameter of the sticks is one of the main differences between 5A and 7A drumsticks. Generally, the higher the number, the thinner the stick is. Thus, a 7A drumstick is thinner in diameter than a 5A. This measurement can vary by who the manufacturer is, but for Vic Firth, one of the leading drumstick manufacturers, a 5A stick has a diameter of .565 inches, while a 7A stick has a diameter of .540 inches. Vater's Power 5A stick has a diameter of .580 inches, while their Traditional 7A has a diameter of .540 inches.
The lengths of the 5A and 7A sticks can be different. While the difference is not drastic, it can change the feel of the stick. For both Zildjian and Vic Firth, a 5A drumstick is 16 inches in length, while the 7A is 15 ½ inches in length. This half-inch can force the player to adjust to the difference to hit the drums correctly.
The durability of a stick can depend on a lot of factors, such as the wood type and the drummer's playing style. Generally, the thicker a stick is, the more durable it will be -- similar to a thin stick breaking more easily than does a log. Because a 7A stick is typically thinner than a 5A stick, the 7A will likely be less durable and easier to break. This doesn't automatically mean it's a worse stick, but is simply something to keep in mind when considering which stick works best for you.
These factors -- diameter, length and durability -- work to create the overall feel of the drumstick in addition to wood type and how the manufacturer makes the stick. While the difference might not be big, 5A and 7A sticks will likely feel different in your hand and while you play each one. The diameter will make the 7A stick feel smaller; the extended length on a 5A will make it feel longer. It all depends on what you want from your drumstick. The feel of the stick is perhaps the most important aspect when deciding which stick you want.
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