So, after another lengthy sabbatical, our Stick of the Week feature has returned! This week, we’ve got two exciting new models to check out from Canadian stick maker, Los Cabos. The growing young company has some pretty cool stuff in their catalog (I’d like to check out that red hickory!), but today we’re taking a look at their new Grip Dip models.
Price: Contact MMB Music for a retailer near you.
Los Cabos Grip Dip Hickory 5B
Price: Contact MMB Music for a retailer near you.
Fundamentally, the Los Cabos Grip Dips are really well made sticks – simple as that. The Grip Dips models are nothing more than the company’s standard 5A and 5B hickory models with a grip handle treatment, so let’s take a quick look at the sticks themselves, then try to get a grip on the dip (awful, sorry).
After only a second in hand, the quality of the Los Cabos sticks is immediately apparent. The hickory has a dense, heavy feel unlike most other sticks I’ve played. The finish (above the dip) is smooth and dry with no uneven or rough patches.
As far as shape is concerned, both the 5A and 5B models have a fairly standard body, a rounded butt and a medium taper. Each stick is capped off with an acorn tip that has just a slightly more rounded striking surface that I’ve seen on similar models. I thought this was really nice, as it kind of split the difference between a traditional acorn and a ball tip; and it pulled a little extra fatness out of my toms. Nice touch.
Each pair offered simply superb balance – really. Just an incredibly even response that made navigating dynamic changes a breeze. I often find myself shifting my hand up and down the handle when changing volumes, but not so with the Los Cabos sticks (particularly the 5As). They just felt very natural from the moment I picked them up. If I was reviewing the standard LC 5A and 5B sticks here, I’d say that they were just about as well-made as sticks those size could be. Great feel.
However, the main focus of his review is the Grip Dip, so let’s get to it. The dip covers about 40% (maybe a little more) of the stick, and offers a very interesting feel in hand – but we’ll get to that in a minute. First, let’s talk about how these sticks are being marketed.
In the Grip Dips press material released earlier this year, Los Cabos took a somewhat surprising angle on the new line’s principal appeal. Rather than leading with an explanation of why their grippy handle is more effective than similar products on the market, the Canadian company put the focus on environmental impact.
The Grip-Dip material contains no VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) or
carcinogens, reducing harmful workplace fumes and erasing the potential of
possible environmental damage.
Well, consider my interest piqued. To reiterate, that’s the second paragraph of the product press release, and it follows a fairly straightforward introduction. I love it.
Regarding the actual feel of the Grip Dip, again, I’m going to turn to Los Cabos’ press release, as their president really hits the nail on the head.
“This new finish looks like paint and actually feels like paint,” said company
president Larry Guay, “but when combined with the warmth of a drummer’s grip,
it forms a fantastic gripping surface with a very similar feel to rubber.”
Now, I’m not normally a fan of tacky finishes, but the Los Cabos formula is really unique. It’s light, and mostly unobtrusive, but it really made a remarkable difference in how much slipping I felt. Actually, now that I think about it (and blow through a few figures on the practice pad), the sticks hardly slipped at all – and I’m a sweater, so that really means something.
The water-based rubber dip doesn’t have the foamy, rough feel of some other coated models. Instead, it kind of makes you feel like you’re wearing a perfectly fitted, super thin latex glove. Actually, maybe that’s not the most appealing description, but I mean it to be a compliment. Bottom line, it feels secure without feeling gunky.
Now for just a bit of bad news: after a really long rehearsal, I did notice that some of the dip started to un-grip. The dip ends about halfway up the stick, and unfortunately, that places it right in my rimshot zone. So, one heavy-duty session left me with a little shredded rubber up at the top of the application (see photo). Not a huge deal, but I’m a little concerned about more of the dip rubbing off in the future. That said, I’m really not sure how to fix this problem.
As I mentioned above, these sticks had – at least for me – a spectacular feel and balance that was comfortable from the jump. The Grip Dip proved very effective when it came to keeping the stick in place, but it started to tear off (just a bit) under repeated rimshots. On the whole, I really enjoyed both models Los Cabos sent over, and the knowledge that so much care and thought went into the production of these sticks makes them even more enjoyable. Finally, orange was an awesome choice. Thoroughly recommended.