Hello! I always feel like I need to apologize after long periods without a review or update, so I’m very sorry it’s been so long since I put something up on the site. In the past month, I went on a two-week tour with this band, and then I proposed to my longtime girlfriend. Busy month.
Before we get into today’s review though, I want to remind you guys to like our Facebook page. I share a lot of great info about contests I and other companies/sites are running, so clicking that thumbs up could pay off.
But now, I’m back and I’m ready to start knocking out reviews. And, more importantly, I’m ready to start giving stuff away. Big giveaways are on the way, so keep your eye on the site. In fact, because I’m impatient and want to give stuff away now, I’m going to give away all of the products I’m reviewing today. Check out the end of this review to see how you could win your choice of stick packages from the good folks at Arsenal Musical and Wincent Drumsticks.
So, let’s get reviewin’.
A few months ago, I was contact by Canadian instrument distributor, Arsenal Musical, about reviewing a selection of models from Swedish drumstick manufacturer, Wincent. Ugly American that I am, I’d never heard of the company. After spending a few weeks with the stuff Wincent sent over, however, it’s clear to me that Swedish stick-ers would be well received stateside.
One of the principal selling points of the Wincent line is durability. The company uses a sanding process to shape their sticks, and then coats each with a unique wax finish that feels great in hand and increases durability. Both processes were born (per Wincent’s literature) from a desire to limit the splitting and splintering created by “cracks on the surface of the wood.”
Well, Wincent must be doing something right because their artist roster includes a bevy of heavy hitters, including Motorhead’s Mikkey Dee, the Hives’ Chris Dangerous, and Arch Enemy’s Daniel Erlandsson. Pretty brutal lineup, but the company goes way beyond bashers with a very diverse group; among them Brian Blade and Marco Giovino (two of my absolutely favorites). Very impressive.
On last thing I’d like to mention about all of Wincent’s sticks; each has the model designation printed on the butt end. That may not seem like a huge benefit, but I found it really convenient when I was looking at a bag full of new sticks. Rather than craning to look at the handles, I was able to quickly identify each pair by looking at the butt. Nice addition.
So, how did Wincent’s sticks stack up? Let’s go model by model.
Hickory Standard Series Sticks
5B. L=406mm D=15mm. Tried and true classic that offers a lot of insight into Wincent’s manufacturing goals. With a short, straight taper and a hefty acorn tip, the stick produces a healthy whollup from toms and snares, and a big, washy attack on cymbals. Nice balance, but just a hair too heavy on the front end for me. A nice stick overall, however.
5BXXL. L=426mm D=15mm. Big Boy’s 5B. Same shape, tip and taper as the standard 5B, but with loads of extra longth. Yup. Longth.
7A. L=395mm D=13.6mm. A little shorter and a little lighter than the 5B, the 7A is a great, versatile stick that would work well for players navigating a wide dynamic range. The tip and shoulder were just a bit to beefy for super light/quiet playing in my opinion, but this model would work really well in a funk, fusion or light-rock setting.
Jazzstick. No measurements listed. Just a bit heavier-of-handle and a little longer than the 7A, but with a smaller taper and larger acorn tip, the Jazzstick plays much lighter than Wincent’s other hickory models. With a nice, woody click on thin cymbals, and clean, warm tones on toms, the Jazzstick saw plenty of playing time.
Maple and Specialty Sticks
Maple 5A. L=406mm D=14.3mm. A light model that feels great in hand. The lighter maple allows for a larger stick that can easily handle low volume settings. The oval tip pulls plenty of rich tone from toms and a nice, even, smoky attack from cymbals. A great, versatile stick.
Mikkey Dee Signature. L=411mm D=15.8mm. TOTAL BEAST. Sporting the Motorhead logo on the handle and the demon’s face logo on the butt end, this stick screams brutality. Plenty of length and girth with a fat taper and a huge acorn tip. Not for the faint of heart or wrist. Big sticks that produce loads of punchy attack. Dee-lightful (sorry).
NoTip 5A. No measurements listed. Roughly the same length and width as a standard 5A, but no taper and no tip. I’ll readily admit that I don’t really understand the appeal of these sticks, but I know dudes out there use them. That said, I did use them on an old 17” marching drum I have. Gave me kind of a mini-Taiko thing. Lots of fun, but they seem a little dangerous on cymbals.
Rods, Brushes and Mallets
19RB. L=405mm D=16mm. Plain and simple, this is a great set of bamboo rods. The 19RB’s feature 19 bamboo dowels (with the outermost 12 dowels beveled to create a tapered tip), a comfortable rubber-wrap handle and an adjustable rubber gasket up top. With a gentle, clicking attack and an easy playability, the 19RBs were a total joy to play. Very dynamic.
7PX. No measurements listed. A much heavier alternative to the 19RBs, the 7PX rods include 7 heavy duty dowels with a rubber wrap handle that covers about 75% of the stick. The adjustable rubber gasket offers plenty of adjustability, allowing you to dial in your desired level of spread. Clean, fat sound with plenty of range. Nice.
22PR. L=390mm D=17mm. Twenty-two durable nylon bristles with an adjustable rubber gasket up top offer a bright, clean slap that illuminates the high tones in sticks and cymbals. Wide open, the play just a little heavier than brushes, but played tight up top, they gave me that classic “rods” sound. Lots of fun and a great tool for any drummer playing multiple genres.
ProBrush Heavy. L=355mm D=15mm. Far and away my favorite model from the Wincent line, the ProBrush had fantastic playability with an easy feel. Available in three different wire weights (identifiable by their color-coded handle tips – nice), the ProBrush was silky smooth with a great spread and super comfortable handles. Great, great brush. Take a look at the video below to see them in action.
SwooshStick – Soft Feel. Per Wincent’s description, the SwooshSticks are “simply a stick for cymbal swells and tom-tom playing.” I couldn’t agree more. Some of the softest mallets I’ve ever used, the SwooshSticks produced absolutely no attack when rolling on cymbals. Not as versatile as regular trap set mallets, but a great tool for studio players.
Arsenal Musical Sticks
Arsenal Musical, Wincent’s Canadian distributor, also sent over four pairs of their rebranded budget sticks. These are lower-priced versions of some of Wincent’s most popular models. They have the same great playability and durable finish, but are offered at a discounted rate due to minor imperfections in the wood. Excellent value as practice or performance sticks.
One interesting note about the Arsenal Musical sticks: players who order 150 pairs can have the sticks printed with their logo of choice. Not bad.
Wrap Up and How to Win
I’m really happy the good people at Arsenal Musical contacted me about reviewing Wincent’s sticks and accessories. This is a great brand that obviously cares immensely about the quality of their product. Focusing on durability and feel, Wincent’s sticks could easily suite the needs of any genre or player. Great stuff. Visit Arsenal Musical’s website to order in North America.
And now the good stuff. If you’d like to win a selection of the sticks reviewed here today, all you need to do is email email@example.com and let me know why you want to win (your email address will NOT be added to any mailing lists). Then, on 7/12/12, I’ll select three winners to receive four models from the Wincent and Arsenal lines. Each winner will get to select two pairs of Wincent sticks; one pair of rods, mallets or brushes; and one pair of Arsenal Musical sticks. The first place winner will choose first, with the second and third place winners selecting after.
Please note, this contest in only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada.