After reviewing (and thoroughly enjoying) the SilverFox Sweet Pea drumsticks a few weeks ago, I was very eager to check out more of what the company has to offer. Fortunately, the good folks at Grover were nice enough to set me up with two more models for review, and I’m happy to report that the Beantown builders continue to deliver.
The package I received from SilverFox included a pair of their 545 Maple sticks, as well as a set of the new all nylon Nitestalks bundles. Having spent very little time with nylon bundles, I was most excited to spend some time with the Nitestalks. And after just a few hours with these sleek, black strikers, I was hooked.
The Nitesalks are composed of 24 flexible nylon dowels bound by a smooth plastic handle and a sliding rubber sleeve up top. They weigh roughly the same as a standard 5A with a little extra front end bulk, and feature a slightly larger handle, making them very comfortable in hand. My only gripe about the Nitestalks is the slick feel of the plastic handles. If your hands sweat a good bit (as mine do), the handles can quickly become slippery – not impossible to hold, but certainly a little troublesome.
Compared to wooden rods, the Nitestalks offered a much fatter sound on snare and toms, but less definition on cymbals. This came as no surprise as the nylon is much softer than wood, and because the increased number of individual dowels in the bundle allows for more spread, especially when the adjustable sleeve is down near the handle.
I found that using a stick in my right hand and a bundle in the left was the most satisfying application of the Nitestalks. Not to say that using them together was unsuitable, but the clear cymbal definition countered by the wide, fat backbeat of the rods just felt great. That said, the muted cymbal tones produced by the nylon bundles sounded excellent behind a plucked guitar. On the whole, the Nitestalks, while only capable of filling a very specific role, are a joy to play, and would be welcome in any stick bag.
In addition to the Nitestalks, SilverFox also sent over a pair of the 545 Maple drum sticks. I’ll say right now that I absolutely love maple sticks, and would probably use them exclusively were they not more prone to breaking under heavy play (in my experience, at least). However, printed on the sleeve of every pair of SilverFox sticks is the company’s “Hit harder. Lasts longer.” motto, and for me, there couldn’t be a more appropriate summary of these sticks.
One of the reasons I like maple sticks so much is the darker, woodier tones they produce on thin ride cymbals. In low to medium volume settings, maple sticks make it easier for me to control the spread and shape of my cymbals, and pull a little bit of the attack out of my toms – just a slightly more controllable presence across the board. With the 545 Maples, that was more true than ever, and the patented Duracrylx™ coating increased the dynamic level just enough to make them useable in a louder setting.
With a .545” diameter and a 16.25” reach, the 545s are a just a hair smaller than many 5As, but the short taper and large tear drop tip make the sticks play a little larger than they actually are. On the drums, that translated to the clean, dark tones I like so much, but with a little extra oomph. I used the 545 Maples at a very loud rehearsal, and found it easier to cut out some of the unwanted cymbal noise that comes from using hickory sticks on thin, trashy cymbals.
If I was going to change one thing about these sticks, it would be the tip. For me, the barrel or ball tip (seen on the SilverFox Sweet Peas) offers more of the low cymbal articulation and fat tom tone I prefer from a stick. These are truly excellent sticks (that have yet to break or even chip after a lot of use) and I’d thoroughly recommend them for anyone that favors the tear drop tip, but if SilverFox has plans to release this stick with a ball tip (as well as a maple Sweet Pea), they’ve earned a customer for life.