5a vs 5b Drumsticks: Guide for Best Size Sticks

5a vs 5b Drumsticks: Guide for Best Size Sticks

Most drummers prefer either 5a or 5b drumsticks. If you are a beginner drummer, then choosing between 5A vs 5B drumsticks is a good place to start. It’s a safe bet one of them will work well for your style. 


  • Drumstick Selection: Choose 5A (lighter) and 5B (heavier) sticks based on your style.
  • Size Matters: 5A for control, 5B for power due to thickness.
  • Playing Style: 5A suits finesse, 5B for forceful playing.
  • Music Match: 5A for jazz, pop; 5B for rock, metal.
  • Material and Tips: Consider wood type and tip shape for sound.
  • Maintenance Essentials: Store sticks properly and replace them when damaged for longevity.

Both options are versatile and widely used, but there are differences in their characteristics that can significantly impact your playing style and sound. Understanding these differences will help you make a more informed decision.

5a vs 5b Drumsticks meme
Making fun of the choice between these two different types of sticks. The b model is a thicker stick and it’s a great option for more heavy handed playing. The right drumsticks can make a big difference in the sound and feel of the durms.

5A drumsticks are thinner and lighter, with a thickness of around 0.565″ and a length of 16″. These sticks are popular among drummers of various skill levels due to their comfortable feel and suitability for various musical styles. 

5B drumsticks are slightly thicker and heavier, giving you a more powerful, louder sound. 5A and 5B drumsticks have nylon tips, producing a brighter, more focused sound than traditional wood tips.

I’ve done countless recording sessions with professional drummers, and I can tell you they all choose their drumsticks very carefully. Having the correct drumsticks that match your needs and playing style can make or break the session.

As you consider the differences between 5A and 5B drumsticks, you must consider your personal playing preferences, the type of music you typically play, and how the thickness and weight of the sticks affect your control and overall performance.

5a vs 5b Drumsticks: Sizes

Most Common Drumstick Sizes

When choosing between 5a and 5b drumsticks, it’s essential to understand the size differences. Both drumsticks have a length of 16 inches. However, the key difference lies in their diameter.

Number one

5a Drumsticks

These have a diameter of 0.565 inches and are considered medium-sized sticks. They are lighter, making them suitable for various music styles and offering more control.

Number two

5b Drumsticks

These are slightly thicker, with a diameter of 0.595 inches. The larger size and increased weight provide more power, making them ideal for louder playing and achieving greater tones.

The most common drumstick sizes you will come across are 2, 3, 5, and 7. Each number represents a different thickness, with 7 being the thinnest and 2 being the thickest.

The choice between 5a and 5b drumsticks will depend on your playing style and volume preference.

Selecting the Right Stick

Personal Preference

Every drummer has their own comfort zone regarding the feel and weight of the drumsticks. 

It’s important to try out different sizes to discover the most comfortable in your hands. Experiment with various materials and finishes to find the best grip for you.

End of the day, the best option for you will be whichever drumsticks give you the best overall feel for the style of music you generally play.

Playing Style

Your playing style is another determining factor in choosing the right drumstick size. Do you prefer playing delicately with intricate techniques or with more power and force? 5A drumsticks are lighter and well-suited for those who require finer control. 

Generally, 5 B drumsticks, being thicker and slightly heavier, cater to drummers who need more power and durability in their playing.

Playing StyleDrumstick
Delicate, intricate techniques5A
More power, forceful techniques5B

Style of Music

5a vs 5b Drumsticks: Heavy rock concert. There are many different types of drumsticks, but the b sticks in specific are the best drumsticks for heavy rock like this concert.

Finally, consider the style of music you most often play when selecting the right stick. Different genres may demand varying levels of dynamics and intensity. For instance, 5A drumsticks are popular among drummers who play jazz, pop, and lighter rock music, as they offer a more delicate approach. On the other hand, 5B drumsticks are often preferred by drummers playing heavier rock, metal, or genres that require increased power and volume.

  • 5A drumsticks: Jazz, Pop, Lighter Rock
  • 5B drumsticks: Heavy Rock, Metal, Power-intensive genres

Your choice between 5a vs 5b drumsticks is also important from the drum mix point of view; as we already discussed, they affect the drum sound and tone, and stylistically it’s important to choose what works well for the genre. Even the kick drum EQ decisions will be affected by your choice of stick types.

Material and Tip Types

Type of Wood

When it comes to drumsticks, the type of wood plays a significant role in their performance. The most common wood used for drumsticks is Hickory because of its excellent balance of durability, weight, and shock absorption. Hickory sticks provide a comfortable feel and a consistent response, making them suitable for 5A and 5B drumsticks.

Wooden and Nylon Tips

Choosing between wooden tips and nylon-tipped sticks is another important decision for drummers. Here are the key differences between the two:

Number one

Wooden tips

Wooden tips usually offer a warmer, fuller sound. They are a popular choice for their natural feel and responsiveness. Wooden tips come in various shapes, such as oval, round, and barrel, each providing a slightly different sound on the cymbals and drums.

Number two

Nylon-Tipped Sticks

Nylon-tipped sticks produce a brighter, more articulate sound. They are known for their durability, as nylon tips are less likely to chip or wear down than wooden tips. Some drummers prefer nylon tips for their clean and consistent sound, especially when playing on electronic drum kits or cymbals.

Ultimately, your choice between wooden and nylon tips depends on your preferences and the type of sound and feel you want to achieve. Experimenting with different materials and tip types can help you find the perfect combination that suits your playing style.

Brands and Models

Vic Firth

Vic Firth is a well-known and reputable drumstick brand offering a variety of sizes and styles, including both 5A and 5B drumsticks. Their 5A drumsticks are 16 inches long and have a diameter of 0.565 inches, while their 5B drumsticks are also 16 inches but slightly thicker.

For instance, Vic Firth’s American Classic line provides a great balance of quality and affordability. You can choose from different tip shapes like teardrop, barrel, and ball tip to suit your playing style and preferences.

Regal Tip

Regal Tip is another trusted drumstick brand, offering various sizes and materials to cater to every drummer’s needs. Their 5A and 5B drumsticks are high-quality hickory and feature non-slip grip technology, ensuring comfort and control during intense sessions.

Some popular models from Regal Tip include the Classic Hickory 5A, with a length of 16 inches and a diameter of 0.565 inches, and the Classic Hickory 5B, which has a slightly thicker diameter and excellent durability for louder playing styles.

Signature Sticks

Signature drumsticks are those created in collaboration with famous drummers, designed to embody their unique playing techniques and preferences. One example is the Travis Barker Signature Stick, developed with the famous Blink-182 drummer. These sticks boast a length of 16.375 inches, featuring a unique “punk point” tip, and are made from hickory wood.

Signature sticks provide a great opportunity to find inspiration in the preferences of your favorite drummers, offering a diverse range of sizes, tips, and materials.

Additional Features and Variations


When comparing 5a and 5b drumsticks, tapers significantly affect the overall performance. Tapers are the part of the stick that gradually narrows towards the tip. They affect the balance, response, and feel of the drumsticks in your hands.

There are primarily two types of tapers: medium taper and shorter taper. Medium tapers provide a balanced feel and an even response, ideal for those who like more precise control. On the other hand, shorter tapers offer a faster and more aggressive response, suitable for louder and more powerful playing styles.

Stick Weights

Stick weight directly impacts your playing experience and the sound produced by your drums. Between 5a and 5b drumsticks, you’ll notice the difference in weight.

Number one

Lighter Stick

5a drumsticks are generally lighter and thinner, which makes them ideal for softer playing styles and genres such as jazz or acoustic music. Their lighter weight allows for more intricate and delicate playing, giving you better control over dynamics.

Number two

Heavier Stick

5b drumsticks, on the other hand, are slightly heavier and thicker than 5a drumsticks. Their increased weight allows louder and more powerful playing, perfect for rock or metal genres. 5b drumsticks might be the better option for players with more volume and projection.

Stick Lengths

Although both 5a and 5b drumsticks commonly have a length of 16 inches, there can still be some variations that will affect your playing experience:

  • Longer stick: Some drummers prefer longer sticks to enhance their reach, which might be especially helpful when playing on larger drum kits or performing complex cymbal patterns. A longer stick can provide additional leverage, allowing you to generate more power without exerting too much effort.

Influences on Performance

Influence of Stick Weight

When choosing between 5A and 5B drumsticks, it’s essential to consider the weight of the sticks. 5A drumsticks are lighter and thinner, making them suitable for lighter styles of music and providing a quicker response. Lighter sticks like 5A drumsticks allow you to play with more finesse and less fatigue during extended playing sessions. On the other hand, 5B drumsticks are heavier and thicker, making them ideal for heavier styles of music. Their increased weight gives you more power and can produce louder sounds with less force.

Impact of Stick Size on Drum Kit

The size of your drumsticks also affects your drum kit interaction and overall performance. 5A and 5B drumsticks both have a length of 16 inches, but the diameter of 5B drumsticks is slightly larger at 0.595 inches compared to the 0.565 inches of 5A sticks.

A larger diameter like that of 5B drumsticks provides a better grip and allows you to hit the drums harder without excessive force. Thicker sticks might require more effort to control, but they can add increased power and energy to your playing. Meanwhile, the thinner 5A drumsticks offer a more responsive feel and are better suited for intricate or subtle playing techniques.

Effect of Tip Shape on Sound

The shape of the tip on your drumsticks significantly impacts the sound produced when striking the drum kit. 5A and 5B drumsticks come in tip shapes, including round, oval, and teardrop. Round tips create a focused and brighter sound, while oval tips produce a warmer and darker tone. Teardrop tips offer a more balanced sound with a mix of bright and dark tones.

While choosing between 5A and 5B drumsticks, consider the tip shape that best complements your preferred music style and desired sound. Remember, your drumming performance can be influenced by the combination of stick weight, size, and tip shape, so select the most appropriate option for your needs.

Selecting for Beginners

Trying Different Types

As a beginner drummer, trying different drumstick types to find the ones that suit your playing style and preferences is essential. Experiment with various materials, sizes, and shapes to get a feel for each type. Don’t be afraid to ask experienced drummers for their advice and recommendations.

There are numerous types of drumsticks, but as a beginner, you don’t need to be overwhelmed by the many options available. The most common drumstick sizes are 5A and 5B, ideal for beginners due to their standard length and diameter.

Best Options for New Drummers

5A Drumsticks: These sticks have a length of 16 inches and a diameter of 0.565 inches, which makes them a popular choice for new drummers. The thinner shaft of a 5A drumstick is easier to control, allowing you to develop your technique and gain confidence in your playing. 5A drumsticks are versatile and suitable for a range of music styles.

5B Drumsticks: A bit thicker than 5A sticks, 5B drumsticks have a length of 16 inches and a diameter of 0.595 inches. These sticks offer more power and volume, making them a good choice for beginner drummers exploring louder styles. The increased thickness can, however, require more control and strength to play effectively.

It’s important to remember that personal preferences and playing styles will ultimately determine the best drumstick type for you. Don’t be afraid to explore different options; trust your instincts when choosing the right drumstick size.

Care and Maintenance

Taking good care of your drumsticks is crucial to prolong their life and keep them in their best condition. This section will cover the essential aspects of drumstick care and maintenance, focusing on drumstick storage and replacing worn sticks.

Drumstick Storage

It’s important to store your drumsticks properly when they’re not in use. A stick bag is an excellent investment, as it protects your sticks from damage and makes it easier for you to transport them. Keep your sticks in a dry, temperature-stable environment, as extreme temperatures and humidity can cause wooden sticks to warp or crack.

Replacing Worn Sticks

Eventually, your drumsticks will start to show signs of wear, and it’s essential to replace them when necessary. Swapping out worn sticks for new drumsticks or new sticks ensures that you maintain the desired sound quality and protect your drums and cymbals from potential damage. Here are some indicators that it’s time to replace your sticks:

  • Visible cracks or splinters in the wood
  • Tips chipping or breaking off
  • Dents in the stick from constant rim shots or cymbal hits
  • Unbalanced feel or noticeably different weight between the two sticks

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main difference between 5A and 5B drumsticks?

5A drumsticks are generally lighter and thinner, with a diameter of around 0.565 inches (1.44 cm), while 5B drumsticks are thicker and heavier, providing more power and volume.

The length of both drumsticks is typically 16 inches (40.64 cm), but dimensions may vary slightly depending on the brand or model.

Which type of drumstick is better for beginners: 5A or 5B?

For beginners, 5A drumsticks are usually recommended because they are thinner and lighter, making them easier to control. The added power and volume of 5B drumsticks are less beneficial for inexperienced drummers.

How do the size and weight of 5A and 5B drumsticks affect playing styles?

The size and weight of drumsticks can greatly impact a drummer’s ability to control their instrument and produce various tones. Lighter sticks like 5A offer more finesse and control, while heavier sticks like 5B provide greater power and volume.

Ultimately, the drummer’s comfort and playing style determine which size suits them best.

What genres of music are best suited for 5A versus 5B drumsticks?

5A drumsticks cater to various musical styles, such as rock, pop, jazz, and funk. Due to their lighter weight and versatility, they can be used across various genres.

On the other hand, 5B drumsticks possess more power and volume, making them ideal for heavier styles like hard rock and metal.

How do the durability of 5A and 5B drumsticks compare?

The durability of drumsticks usually depends on the materials used and the drummer’s technique. Generally, 5B drumsticks are more durable due to their thicker diameter, which can withstand heavier playing styles.

However, your drumming technique and stick material will significantly impact the longevity of your drumsticks.

What factors should one consider when choosing between 5A and 5B drumsticks?

When choosing between 5A and 5B drumsticks, consider factors such as your playing style, music genre, experience level, and personal comfort. Testing different drumsticks to determine which size and weight work best for you is often recommended.


Choosing between 5A and 5B drumsticks is a decision that should be based on your personal preferences, playing style, and the genre of music you typically play. 

While 5A drumsticks are lighter and thinner, making them ideal for intricate techniques and softer music styles.

5B drumsticks are thicker and heavier, providing more power and volume for louder, more forceful playing. 

Choosing between these two popular drumstick sizes significantly impacts your drumming performance, sound, and overall experience. Therefore, it’s essential to take the time to understand the differences and try out both sizes to find the perfect fit for your needs.

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