There are so many different types of drumsticks to choose from, and one of the most important distinguishing features between them is the tip material. Drumsticks typically have either a nylon or wood tip and this affects the sound, feel, durability and price of the sticks.
Nylon vs Wood Tip Drumsticks
Nylon tip drumsticks sound brighter and sharper compared to wood tip drumsticks which sound warmer and softer. Wood tip drumsticks feel bouncier and rebound more quickly compared to nylon tips. However, the main advantage of nylon tip drumsticks is that they are more durable compared to wood tips.
|Wood Tip Drumsticks
|Nylon Tip Drumsticks
|Sound warmer and softer
|Sound brighter and sharper
|Less consistent feeling
|More consistent feeling
|Prone to chipping and splintering
|Cost between $5-$15
|Cost between $10-$20
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Do They Sound Different?
Nylon tip drumsticks produce a brighter sound compared to wood tip drumsticks which sound a bit darker and warmer. In other words, nylon tips produce a sharper sound whereas wood tip drumsticks on sound a bit softer and more mellow.
As to which sounds the best, it’s all personal preference and I encourage you to try both and see which tone you prefer.
Some players prefer the warmer tones of wood sticks which in many drummer’s opinions sound better on the toms and snare. Conversely, nylon tip sticks are often said to sound better on the cymbals.
Keep in mind that this only matter when using acoustic drums, not electronic drums. If you have an electronic drum kit then you should base your decision on the feel instead.
Check out this YouTube video where you can do a blind test to see which you prefer the sound of!
Do They Feel Different?
Wood tip drumsticks have more “bounce” compared to nylon drumsticks which do not rebound as quickly.
Hence, for orchestral style music or styles where you’re doing a lot of rolls, wood tip drumsticks are typically the preferred choice.
Nylon tip drumsticks however feel more consistent compared to wood tip drumsticks. Since nylon is a man-made material, it has a consistent structure whereas wood is of course a natural material and the density and grain will vary across the different parts of the tip.
However, some drummers argue that wood tip sticks actually feel more consistent because the body of the stick is also made with wood so the instrument will sound more similar if you hit it with either the tip or the body.
One of the main advantages of nylon tip drumsticks over wood tip sticks is that they are more durable. Wooden tips are softer so are more susceptible to damage particularly if you are striking cymbals very hard.
Nylon tips can still break though. This may happen if the drum/ cymbal is struck particularly hard in which case the tip can fall off. However, this is easy to fix as they can simply be glued back on. Wooden tips are not easy to fix and it’s best to just replace them if they break.
One issue that some players have experienced with wood tips is that they can splinter and chip leaving sharp edges which in rare cases can actually put dimples in the drum head and in some cases even pierce them. This is far less likely to happen with nylon tips.
Wood tip drumsticks are typically slightly cheaper than nylon tip drumsticks. Wood tip drumsticks usually cost between $5 an $15 whereas nylon tip drumsticks typically cost between $10 and $20. However, nylon tip sticks are more durable so it probably works out a bit cheaper in the long run to use them over wood tip sticks.
What about E-Series Tips?
Regal Tip E-Series drumsticks offer a balance of features compared to traditional wood or nylon tips.
E-Tip drumsticks are made from nylon but contain grooves. This means that they feel a bit bouncier compared to nylon tips and have a darker, warmer tone similarly to wood tips. However unlike wood tips, E-Tips are more durable.
You’ll find that E-Series tips are not as bouncy or warm sounding as wooden tips, but they do have better durability so are a great option if you prefer the sound and feel of wood tips, but aren’t a fan of how easily they chip and splinter.
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