Designed in conjunction with player/educator Paul Wertico, Pro-Mark Tubz offer an excellent alternative to traditional sticks and mallets. At 16 ½” long by 1 ¼” thick, these light-weight, yet very durable plastic strikers find an interesting place in the range of conventional drum set timbres.
To my ear, Tubz kind of split the difference between drumsticks and large mallets. Strike a drum with some force and you’ll hear the sharp, wet slap of plastic attack, followed by the fat, tonally rich sound often associated with mallets. On cymbals, Tubz create a quick, hollow knock followed by lots of wash (see video).
Because of the way they play on cymbals, Tubz sound a little awkward when used for conventional grooves. However, they really shine in a few different contexts. Tubz create a sound on drums that often recalls hand percussion, so they really feel great with heavy tom and crash patters, as well as super percussive Latin playing. Playing 8ths with my left foot, quarters on the bass drum and some rudiment-based patterns between low-tuned toms and an open snare was a lot of fun.
Beyond that, the big plastic Tubz are really well-suited for abstract or out situations as well. Striking solid surfaces, like shells, rims and hardware, allow the Tubz to project their own voice. Placing your hands on different places around the Tubz can choke or open the note of each, making it easy to create dynamic or atmospheric music with a very unique sound (unfortunately, I didn’t demonstrate any of this in the above video because my playing in those contexts is just terrible).
One final note about the Pro-Mark Tubz: their 1 ¼” diameter make them extremely comfortable to play. However, after using them for some time, I find that regular sticks feel pencil-thin in my hands, and it usually takes a few minutes to readjust. A minor grievance, and certainly no fault of Pro-Marks, but I felt like I should mention it.
On the whole, I really love having Tubz around. I always have a pair with me, and I spend a lot of time trying to use them in situations where it should be inappropriate because I like them so much.