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A Guide to Stick to: 5 Tips for Buying Drum Sticks

Posted on October 04, 2015

 

From the very beginning of your drumming experience, the right stick choice can make all the difference. Choosing the right stick can be a daunting task, but taking these important factors and characteristics will help you on the quest for your perfect pair:

 

Thickness
Perhaps one of the most important factors to take into the account is the thickness of the drum stick as this dictates its weight and potential durability. The weight of your stick is very important both regarding the style of music for which the sticks will be used for and also your own technique/playing style as using a stick that is too heavy, for example, can lead to discomfort when playing.
A general rule of thumb is that the thicker (heavier) the stick, the harder it will impact the given surface, thus generating a louder, heavier sound. A thicker stick also tends to be more durable therefore it may be more suitable for harder hitters. Lighter sticks can be used for lighter playing styles. Sticks are often categorized using a code of a number followed by a letter which will help you quickly decide which stick is correct, and although some manufacturers may alter this code a basic thing to remember is that the number correspond to the general weight (i.e 5, 7 etc) and the letter corresponds to its desired application. Most common sticks types are 5A (A = Orchestra), 5B (B = Band) and 5S (S = Street). 
Length
Much like the thickness, the length of the stick can have an affect on how its feels whilst playing. Choosing the right length of stick lies more within your personal preference as opposed to the music that you play. Longer sticks will feel slightly heavier, however when coupled with a preferred taper (discussed later) it can give the feeling of a lighter stick with a heavier impact. Common lengths are 15" and 16".
Taper/Shoulder
Again, the taper will have an effect on the overall feel of the stick, both regarding weight and how it moves through the air. The taper will generally be more severe on the heavier sticks and more gradual on the lighter ones. 
Tip
Unlike the other aspects of the stick, the tip does not affect the way that it plays however it does affect the sound that is generate on impact which is crucial if you are looking for a specific sound. Sticks are generally categorized into two types of tip, wood and nylon. Nylon tips will sound brighter, especially on the cymbals. Tips can also come in different shapes, which can effect to tone. The most common types are Olive (Warm, low tones, higher durability), Round (Bright, focused) and also Barrel (Mid tones).
Material
As can be imagined the most common type of material used for sticks is wood, however the choice of wood can have an effect on the weight and durability of your stick. The most common woods used are Rosewood, Hickory, Maple and Japanese Oak. Rosewood is more dense than the softer Maple, and Hickory is harder still. And finally Japanese Oak is extremely hard, and generally heavier. Other materials used are Carbon fiber, graphite and aluminium to name a few. Some sticks also come with rubber 'butt' for better grip.
Although it may seem like a lot to take in, just remember its all about how they feel in your hands! We have a vast range of sticks to try and choose, including sticks from the two world leading brands, Vic Firth and Pro Mark. We also have a range of VF and PM 'Signature' or 'Artist' sticks which often stray from the conventional styles to suit the given artist, and they may just suit you!
So feel free to come down to the store and see what suits you today!

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Headed In The Right Direction

Posted on March 09, 2015

Whether you are buying your first drum kit, or looking to add a bit of variety to your sound, choosing the right drum head can be somewhat of challenge. With so many options, brands, and sizes, it may seem a bit overwhelming. Much like guitar strings and drum sticks, it is important to know what type of sound you are after, and what type of player you are. And if you're not sure- we're here to help! 

One of the most common subjects we get asked about in the shop is the difference between clear and coated drum heads. 

Coated drum heads, which are most commonly found on snares, are warmer in tone, easier to tune, produce more bounce off the stick, and allow you to have more control over the sound. Coated drum heads are used mostly on the top, or the 'batter' side of the drum. Most commonly found on snares, coated drum heads allow for more precision and lend themselves to a more detailed technique for practicing and stick control. Unlike clear drum heads, most drummers prefer to have a coated snare so they are able to use brushes for genres such as jazz or soul. Many drummers who play rock, pop, metal, funk, and solo percussion prefer snares with coated heads. 

Clear drum heads are slightly higher in pitch, have a brighter and less controlled sound, are louder and offer more sustain. Clear drum heads are less commonly used on snares, but are often recommended for toms, bass drums and floor toms. If you are looking for a clear tone with lots of volume, clear heads may be for you. Drummers who play rock, pop, and funk often use clear heads to get a bigger, louder, and a more bass-driven sound. 

Once you make the decision between clear and coated, it is time to chose what specific type of drum head you will be needing. For example, the brands we stock like Remo often have special names for the different types of heads they produce: Here are some of the most common names and specifications of our most popular drum heads and skins:

Ambassador: Bright tone with a warm attack, long sustain, and a good durability. Ambassador heads are industry standard for both live and recording situations. 

Emperor: Clear Emperor heads are among the brightest sounding heads, whilst Coated Emperor heads are warm in tone, have a medium sustain, and maximum durability. 

Controlled Sound: Warm and focused sound, medium sustain and extended durability. The laminated center 'dot' adds durability and tonal focus. 

Power Stroke: Warm and dampened tone, mid-range balance and great response. These are best known for their resonant sound on bass drums. 

Pinstripe: Dark and dampened tone, low-pitched sound, and have a quick delay which make them optimal tom heads for rock and pop. These are made with a measured ring on the edge of the head which dampens high frequency overtones. 

 If you are still unsure which drum head is right for you, come pay us a visit in the shop to find your perfect fit!

 

 

 

 

 

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A Sticky Situation: Buyers guide to drum sticks

Posted on February 24, 2015

Whether you are a seasoned-pro, or a beginner, choosing the right drum sticks may have a greater impact on the way you play/sound than you think. 

There are literally hundreds of different kinds of drumsticks- all varying in length, width, materials, coating, grips, tips, colours, and weights. All of these options and features of a drumstick may sound like an awful lot for two pieces of wood you, primarily, hit drums with (unless you are one to boast some sweet stick tricks that people may or may not want to see). 

In this blog, we will get you out of the ~~sticky situation~~ of choosing your perfect pair. 

The most common and widely used drumstick is the 5A style stick. Although this stick has many variations, it is the most popular drumstick and is used in any and all genres of music. This stick is very popular among drummers who play rock, pop, blues, heavy metal, and any style in between. 

 

The most popular brand of these sticks, Vic Firth 5A, are light and durable, making them great all-around sticks. 

Slightly thicker and more durable, the 5B is a great stick for someone who wants the versatility of the 5A, but with a thicker barrel for easier grip, power distribution, and control.   

 

If it's a lighter stick you're after, the 7A might be the stick for you. Often used for jazz, this thinner stick allows for a subtler control of the hit and stroke of the sticks. 

Although most drum sticks are made of solid wood, many classic drum sticks come with Nylon Tips. Nylon tipped drumsticks produce a very bright sound and they are very durable. Many drummers use these for practicing. 

Some drumsticks also come with special rubber and coatings to aid and adhere to different types of grips and styles. We also offer Zildijan and Vic Firth signature sticks, so you can play the same sticks your drum heroes play. 

Remember: It's important to use a variety of sticks for different styles, and for yourself to get a good idea of what feels comfortable. 

So, whether you aspire to be the next Neil Peart, Buddy Rich, Keith Moon, world class air drummer, or lead a marching band, we here at Rose Morris will have the right stick for you!

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NAMM '15 - Staff Picks.

Posted on February 17, 2015
So another NAMM show has come and gone and we at Rose Morris are pretty excited with whats coming our way. Here's a quick run down of the new products we're itching to getting our hands on. 

Electric Guitar
 
The return of the Roland Blues Cube has been a long time coming and with a new design, with great valve tones, we can see these being a big hit. Boss have added to their extensive range of effects with the ES-8, one of the most versatile and user friendly pedal switching systems on the market. your days of tap dancing are numbered.

The Electro Harmonix Super Pulsar Stereo Tremolo has caused quite a stir at Anaheim. Classic analog tremolo sounds with more control than you can shake a stick at, expect these to disappear fast when they hit the shop floor. 
 
Keyboards

With the JDXi, Roland are returning to their roots. It gives you digital flexibility with hands on intuitive control, but with the warm analog bass and lead tones of classic JUNO synths. It comes with a four track pattern sequencer and an impressive array of effects, all in a very affordable package.

Acoustic Guitar
 
The Guild M20 heralds the return of a folk classic. Designed by Ren Ferguson in Guild's new California factory, You can have the dark, mellow tones of Nick Drake in the palm of your hand. There's also brand new models from James Neligan with their new EZRA range. Featuring solid cedar tops in a fetching sunburst finish, These guitars are bound to be a hit with beginner and pro alike. 

Drums

Stagg are expanding their popular SENSA range with the new Orbis Crash and China. With a fast and trashy sound, with plenty of cool overtones, these are a must try for any aspiring metal maestro.    

Accessories

Often overlooked at music conventions, but always essential, We're particularly intrigued by the Korg
Sledgehammer Pro Clip tuner. With a high visibility '3D' display, and ultra precise tuning accuracy. This could be the perfect on stage gizmo for professional player and beginner alike. 

What's most exciting is there's even more to come, so make sure you visit our store to see all the great new products on offer.

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How to Play Drums Quietly

Posted on July 30, 2014

It’s age old problem for us drummers, we want to practise but there’s always someone wanting you to “keep it down!” People have tried to find solutions for this problem, with dampeners/silencers/mutes to go onto your kit, hot rods instead of sticks and even kits with no shells to lower the volume.  These do lower your volume but still are often too loud for those ungrateful neighbours or member of your household.  Also, they take away our enjoyment of the drumming experience as we miss out on that great kit sound we are used to.

Electronic drum kits give us a great solution to this age old problem as they make very little acoustic sound  so no-one is complaining but pop on a decent set of headphones and you can sound like you’re playing John Bonham’s kit at Wembley stadium!

Obviously, there are two main parts to the playing experience of playing drums – how does it sound and how does it feel.  So Electronic kits sound great but they don’t feel great I hear you say!  It’s true some electronic kits have pads that don’t react like a drum skins but there are some that get very close indeed.

Take the Roland V-Drum range for example.  They developed a mesh-head technology that for our money is the closest thing to a traditional drum skin.  They are even produced by legendary drum skin producer Remo and you can tune them with a drum key.  That doesn’t alter the sound of the drum because the sound is generated from the drum module or “brain” (where again with the Roland V-Drum Range you can alter tuning, muffling, strainer adjustment and even the amount of snare buzz) but it’s to replicate the feel of the skins that you’re used to and mean you can get the skin response that you like.

The guys at Roland have recently taken making Electronic Kits quieter even further.  In 2014 they released three products that significantly reduce the volume of your kit if you play your kit upstairs.  There’s the beaterless kick drum pedal and trigger called the KT10 which has the feel of a high end kick drum pedal and the noise eaters NE-1 and NE-10 that sit underneath your kit and reduce the noise through the floor by 75%!


Of course, there are many other benefits of electronic Drum kits for practise, like in built backing tracks to jam along with, hundreds of different drums, cymbals and kits to play with, much easier to record with and can still be integrated into your acoustic kit to make a hybrid kit.  Yet if you want to keep the noise down you can’t get better than an electronic drum kit in our opinion.

This blog has been supplied by Roland UK

 

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Rose Morris Drums

Posted on July 21, 2014

Rose Morris has always offered a wide range of percussion instruments and often manufactured our own. From John Grey, Autocrat and Broadway, to the RM and Shaftesbury kits, we have always provided the perfect set to suite the needs of the individual percussionist.

Our highly skilled staff still make handmade drums in our shop and preserve a hundred year tradition of superb British craftsmanship.

We still have the largest range of heads, cymbals and sticks on Denmark Street, so if you are in a pinch before a gig come see our surplus of necessities and get to sound check without a worry.

 

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Rose Morris Snares

Posted on July 21, 2014

Here, we see some handcrafted, beautiful snares from 1966. Rose Morris has always offered the finest snares available and continues to due so with our current Shaftesbury brand.

502 14" x 4"
A responsive wooden shell model with six tension fittings and strip steel counter hoops. Reliable snare release with 12 strand wire snare.

324 14" x 5"
Specification as model 325 but with laminated wood shell.

325 14" x 5"
The finest snare drum available in this price range. Metal shell, rolled steel counter hoops, six tension fittings. Positive snare release, 12 strand wire snare.

415 14" x 5"
Similar specification to model 419 but with laminated wood shell; hard lacquer varnished inside for maximum resonance.

 

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Rose Morris Bass and Toms

Posted on July 21, 2014

These Rose Morris drums were top of the range from 1966-1971. Back then you could bang away with style and choose your own unique finish with Crystal, Ruby, Sapphire or Opal Flame. Blue or Red Storm Pearl. Marine or Grey Pearl. Champagne or Red Glitter. Black or White Mirror Plastic.

Wearing our vintage logo like a badge of honor, these fine kits are still collected by veterans and are quite valuable.

 

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Rose Morris 'Big Band' Kit

Posted on July 21, 2014

This was top of the range in it's day with ball-socket toms, bass-drum spur and a kick mounted cymbal arm. Though minimal by today's standards, this kit was well suited for a myriad of styles before the need for massive kits hit in the more indulgent 70's.

 

5020 20" x 14" Bass Drum
415 14" x 5" Wooden shell Snare Drum
413 13" x 9" Tom-Tom
416 16" x 16" Tom-Tom

 

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