Reviews

Most new drumstick designs introduce a different tip shape, a different taper, or a different length. But the RB Percussion Rotationally Balanced drumstick incorporates change in the fundamental physics of how a drumstick operates.

RB's theory is that in order to maximize rebound action, a drumstick should be held so that the fingers control the stick right at the point where it wants to rotate naturally its balance point. Unfortunately, a traditional drumstick tends to have its rotation point somewhere just a bit toward the butt from its center. (Balance one of your sticks on the tip of your finger, and you'll see what I mean). If you were to hold a stick so that your fingers controlled it at this point, you'd be choked up quite a bit, with a lot of the stick extending past your palm and much less than usual pointed toward the drum. As a result, drummers don't hold their sticks at the rotation point; they hold them much closer to the butt end-well below the rotation point. This gains impact power, but sacrifices that quick rebound.

The RB solution is to insert a weighted plug into the butt end of their sticks, thus artificially moving the balance point back closer to the butt end. (Tape a couple of dimes to the butt end of your stick, and you'll see the effect). This puts the point at which the stick wants to rotate naturally just about where one would normally grip the stick.

Voilà ! Dramatically improved rebound, without sacrificing power.

Early experiments with putting weights into hickory sticks created sticks that were too heavy overall, so RB is now using hickory only for jazz models, while 5B and 28 models are made of maple. An attractive glittered cap is used to cover the weight at the end of the stick, but enough wood is left around the butt to play the sticks reversed (which, by the way, creates an impact equal to much larger traditional sticks).

These are the first sticks I've ever used that actually provided a mechanical assistance to my playing. I found them comfortable to play with, incredibly fast, and altogether a legitimate innovation in drumstick design. The sticks I used were wood-tipped; nylon-tipped sticks will be available shortly.

Rick Van Horn
Modern Drummer Magazine


More often than note, the point at which drummers grip their sticks is not the same as the stick's natural balance point, causing diminished rebound and loss of efficiency. RB sticks solve this problem by altering the stick itself using a counterweight inside the butt of the stick. For our review we received 5A and 5B wood tip sticks.

Aside from the counterweight, the sticks themselves were clearly top quality wood. They passed the roll test with ease and a quick weigh in revealed the sticks in both pairs to be less than a gram apart in weight. The wood had a nice tight grain and a smooth even finish that felt comfortable in the hands and not too slippery or gummy from too much lacquer. The sticks are similar in length and shape to many 5A and 5B sticks on the market, giving the stick a familiar feel.

The weights inside the stick are secured with an industrial grade epoxy, insuring the weight will stay inside the stick under even the heaviest of playing. The logo is tasteful and understated, giving the stick an elegant streamlined look.

So how do they play? In a word… WOW! The difference was obvious right away. I could really feel the stick doing nearly all the work with much more natural rebound and feel than my usual stick. Complicated rudimental passages and ride cymbal patterns took much less effort than normal with both traditional and matched grip. I used both pairs on a series of gigs over a 2 week time period and they felt just as good on the last gig as they did on the first. If you’re still searching for our perfect stick, do yourself a favor and give RB sticks a try.

Matt Middleton
Not So Modern Drummer Magazine