Christmas Gift Guide for Drummers

Looking for a gift for that drummer in your life? Or for yourself? There are many, many things you can get them from gear to sticks to stick bags. Here is a guide to some of the gear the drummer in your drummer might need or want. There are many ideas to fit many budgets.

Different types of sticks and beaters.

If you don't know EXACTLY what drum stick your drummer plays with, I would stay away from buying sticks as it is a very personal decision. However, getting new sound options can help get them creative!

1) Blasticks by Regal Tip give a softer sound option. I use them for playing country train shuffles and when I need to play with softer dynamics at home or on a gig. After busting 3 sets of retractable wire brushes on country gigs, I was recommended these. They did exactly what I needed them to do, and stood up to the challenge. I prefer the wooden handles to the plastic handled Blasticks. Priced at $28.99CAD at Long and McQuade.

2) Rute sticks are another lighter sound option with some more definition as they are made of several small wood dowels bound together by a movable band to increase or decrease density. These Vic Firth Rute sticks have seen a lot of different settings, from drum set to playing on the side of concert bass drums. Priced at $32.99CAD at Long and McQuade.

3) Wire Brushes are a fantastic and versatile tool for drummers. Often associated with jazz, a good set of brushes can be used for some ballads, playing interesting colours on the cymbals. Along with a set of brushes, looking up some brush work tutorials is a great expansion to current repertoire. Priced at $31.99CAD at Long and McQuade

Regal Tip Blasticks, Vic Firth Rute sticks, wire brushes

Auxiliary Add-on Instruments

4) Everybody loves MORE COWBELL! And there are a range of sizes and mounting styles. Look for a cowbell with a mounting screw on the top, and larger ones may need a mounting bracket to go onto the rim of the bass drum, or other type of mounting brackets. Sometimes the brackets are just as pricey as the cowbell, but well worth it. It needs to be safely mounted to be played. If the cowbell is too ringy on it's own, a dampener like a moongel or a buzz kill might be helpful to take out the excessive ring. These run at about $65 CAD on Amazon. This model is the longer "Isabel".

Cowbell and bass drum mount

As you can see, I have a moongel inside my Pearl El Negro cowbell. Did I ever mention I spent a week at a drum camp with him a few years back? That's another blog for another day...

5)Meinl has a small tambourine ring you can put on your hi hat for a little extra flavour called a CRING. They run about $20CAD.

6) SPEAKING of buzz kill and moongels, these are a sticky dampening devices that can be used to take pingy unwanted overtone ring out of snare drum heads, ring out of toms that sing a little too much, to dampen cymbals, and even cowbells. These are relatively cheap, and are washable with water. They last a long time, if you don't lose them. Buzz Kills are by Vater and are clear ($12-$14), MoonGels are blue and by RTOM ($8-$10) . The advantage of the Vater Buzz Kills is they do not leave a coloured residue on your drum or cymbal surfaces, but older moon gels tend to leave a sticky residue behind.

7) Extra Cymbal Sleeves and Cymbal Felts are always a good idea for every drum set player. Be sure to get a brand or type that will fit with your current stand. Yamaha stands tend to have longer necks on their sleeves, and some Gibraltar brand sleeves won't fit. So be sure to match the cymbal stand brand and buy what will work for that.

8) BOOKS! Some classic books for drummers are:

- George Stone's Stick Control book which has a ton of single stroke, double stroke, and flam stroke exercises to build pattern speed.

- Mike Johnston's Linear Drumming book is a fantastic, no nonsense, all material book available on LULU. It's fantastic for building dexterity and multi-limb control.

- Drum Transcription Books or subscriptions on drum sheet music sites. Every drummer has a desire to learn new music, and this is a great way to read.

- Drum Magazine Subscription

- Tom Tom Magazine Subscription (the only dedicated to exclusively female drummers)

9) DRUM LESSONS! There is no replacement for one on one instruction. Even in the time of Coronavirus, zoom and virtual lessons will get personalized guidance, exercises and motivation.

I hope this list has given you a starting point in buying something for that drummer in your life. Happy Holidays! Go hit something and make joyful noise.

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