The Best Drumstick Brands According to the World’s Most Talented Drummers

A great drummer needs a great pair of sticks.  Not sure what kind to use?  Try using the same as your favorite artist.  This way, your drumsticks will provide your preferred sound and feel.

In that case, which drumsticks do famous drummers use? 

It depends on the drummer. Famous metal drummers opt for drumsticks emphasizing durability.  Pop and R&B drummers, for example, often prefer lightweight drumsticks. 

Of course, there are many other reasons artists use the sticks they do besides genre. Below we’ve included some of the most famous drummers and the drumsticks that have carried them to stardom.

What Drumsticks did Neil Peart Use?

Considered by many the greatest drummer ever, Neil Peart’s drumstick choice carries a lot of weight. His go-to brand since upgrading from chopsticks (really) has been ProMark. Neil used several sets from Pro-Mark’s Rock 747 series for the first two decades of Rush’s touring era.

These oak wood sticks served him well until he officially endorsed ProMark. In 1991, he switched to the autograph series ProMark made especially for him. No doubt, this endorsement has helped the company remain one of the top drumstick brands.

If you’re looking to pick up a pair as Neil Peart used, Promark’s PW747W Signature Series Drumsticks were explicitly made for folks like you.

PW747 Signature Series Drumsticks Specs

  • Size: 5A
  • Material: Shira Koshi Oak
  • Length: 16.25″
  • Diameter: 0.551″
  • Tip Type: Oval
Amazon product photo

What Drumsticks did John Bonham Use?

The late John Bonham of Led Zeppelin abused several pairs of Promuco drumsticks every night. If you Google this brand, the first thing you’ll notice are the words “John Bonham Signature.” This signature is because these hickory sticks made their name by withstanding Bonham’s aggressive attacks that pushed hard rock into metal territory.

Today, Promuco drumsticks (a.k.a Bonzo’s “trees”) are still an excellent choice for hard rock drummers. The heaviness of these sticks makes them perfect for playing loud and aggressively. Just be warned that if you play as John did, you’ll need to buy several pairs.

The Promuco – John Bonham Signature 19015JB drumsticks are available on Amazon and major music gear retailers. The build is proper to what Bonham used in the 1970s.

Promuco Drumsticks – John Bonham Signature 19015JB Specs

  • Size: 5B
  • Material: Hickory wood
  • Length: 16.14″
  • Diameter: 0.59″
  • Tip Type: Acorn
Amazon product photo

What Drumsticks did Ringo Use?

The Beatles’ drummer Ringo Starr belongs to the first wave of British rock drummers as captain of the ship. Arguably before rock drumsticks were a thing, Ringo used Dallas Arbiter drumsticks in the 1960s. A couple of decades later, after The Beatles became a universally recognized name, he switched to ProMarks.

There’s nothing too special about Ringo’s sticks. While he was indisputably a defining influence on rock drumming, he used his sticks correctly. He didn’t smash his sticks like other famous drummers would go on to do. Thus, a solid pair of wooden sticks was all he needed to set the beat and get the job done.

Zildjian Artist Series Drumsticks match up well with the types of sticks Ringo liked to use. Thus, they offer excellent performance for both soft and hard rock.

Zildijan Ringo Starr Artist Series Drumsticks Specs

  • Size: 5A
  • Material: Hickory Wood
  • Length: 16.0″
  • Diameter: 0.545″
  • Tip Type: Oval

What Kind of Drumsticks does Lars Ulrich Use?

Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich famously uses metal drumsticks for metal music. Thanks to his example, countless metal drummers have followed suit and ditched the wooden sticks.

In the early 1980s, when he and James Hetfield were leading the thrash movement, he used several unassuming pairs of Calato Regal Tip drumsticks. These wooden sticks served him well through the turn of the 20th century, as Metallica frequently changed their style around. But they broke often.

Since then, Lars has gotten a signature series of metal sticks that last over six times as long as wooden ones. These Ahead LU Signature Series Drumsticks have an aluminum core and nylon tips for ultimate durability. Few drumsticks can withstand the fury of thrash metal drummers, but these are an exception.

Ahead LU Signature Series Drumsticks Specs

  • Size: 2B
  • Material: Aluminum with nylon tip
  • Length: 16.25″
  • Diameter: 0.595″
  • Tip Type: Oval
Amazon product photo

What Kind of Drumsticks does Dave Grohl use?

Former Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl is known to hit the drums hard. MTV’s audio technicians described his technique as thunderous, animalistic, and “too loud.” Naturally, his sticks must be stronger than the average pair.

Dave Grohl has used both ProMark Hotrods and Aquarian Power-Sleeve drumsticks while in Nirvana.

The former are technically brushes, as they consist of several thin wooden rods in a bundle. While they aren’t standard for hard rock, they played a part in forming Dave Grohl’s unconventional style. He also used a pair of Aquarian Power-Sleeve drumsticks (which he reportedly held upside-down). These nylon-wrapped sticks provided the extra longevity Grohl needed as he mercilessly beat his oversized drums.

Once again, Zildjian commits to emulating famous drummers’ sticks with their Dave Grohl Artist Series Drumsticks.  They will allow you to do as Grohl does and beat the crap out of your drums.

Dave Grohl Artist Series Drumsticks Specs

  • Size: 5A
  • Material: Hickory wood
  • Length: 16.75″
  • Diameter: 0.6″
  • Tip Type: Acorn
Amazon product photo

What Type of Drumsticks does Travis Barker Use?

Travis Barker is definitely in his class of drummers on this list. He’s alternated between standard and electronic drum kits to satisfy his assortment of pop-punk, rock, and hip-hop drumming styles. As such, it’s hard to pin down one perfect pair of sticks for Travis.

From The Aquabats to Box Car Racer to his most famous role as Blink-182‘s drummer, Travis Barker has moved from stick to stick. Thus, Travis prefers to use custom-made drumsticks.

He put his creative vision to work with the Zildjian Travis Barker Artist Series Drumsticks to suit his needs. Not only are these sticks as visually eccentric as Barker himself, but they’re also the well-balanced sticks Travis himself relies on.

Zildjian Travis Barker Artist Series Drumsticks Specs

  • Size: Custom
  • Material: Hickory wood
  • Length: 16.38″
  • Diameter: 0.595″
  • Tip Type: Round
Amazon product photo

Phil Collins’ Favorite Drumsticks

It’s hard not to listen to “In The Air Tonight” and not be moved by Phil Collin’s hair-raising drum work. The deep, resonating beat has to come from somewhere, specifically, a quality pair of sticks.

Phil Collins used short pairs of hickory sticks to bring his wrists in close to the drums. He’s generally used ProMarks sticks, thanks to their reliability and round sound feel that make Genesis‘s drumlines so compelling.

Sadly, Phil Collins has recently stated that he can no longer hold any drumstick for health reasons, but Promark TXPCW Signature Series Drumsticks weren’t made just for Phil. They’re for drummers following in his footsteps. If you’re in the market for shorter sticks that let you get intimate with your drums as Phil did, these are solid.

Promark TXPCW Signature Series Drumsticks Specs

  • Size: 5A/5B
  • Material: Hickory wood
  • Length: 14.75″
  • Diameter: 0.579″
  • Tip Type: Round
Amazon product photo

How are Drumsticks Classified?

If you’re confused by terms like “tip type” and sizes measured with arbitrary letters and numbers, fear not. Drumstick classification follows some straightforward rules.

Drumstick Weight

The number is the weight when you see size represented by “5A” or “2B”. Contrary to what seems logical, lower numbers are heavier. Thus, a 2B drumstick like the kind Lars Ulrich uses is heavier than your average drumstick.

  • 2: The heaviest drumstick, used chiefly by hard rock and metal drummers.
  • 5: A medium weight drumstick ideal for most genres. A great starting point for beginners.
  • 7: Ultra-light drumsticks used mainly for jazz and soft pop.

There are other drumstick weights (like 8) made for specific styles. However, more than 90% of sticks will be one of these three weights.

Drumstick Diameter

While you can refer to the inch measurement for drumstick diameter, letters are adequate for grouping purposes. There are three letters indicating thickness: A, B, and S.

  • A: The thinnest drumstick, ideal for fast playing in jazz and rock.
  • B: Thicker than A, great for heavier styles at a slower pace.
  • S: The thickest drumstick. Size S’s are mainly used in marching bands.

Drumstick Tip Type

This type of classification is the most intuitive part of sorting drumsticks. Tips are named based on shape, meaning you’ll have words like “acorn” and “oval” used to describe them. You’ll usually hear of five tip shapes.

  • Round – crisp, bright sound
  • Teardrop – warm, dark tone
  • Barrel – loud and forceful
  • Oval – warm, round tone
  • Acorn – full, rich sound

Different surface areas cause these differences in sound and style — just from a tiny tip.


Most drumsticks are made of wood. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Even wooden drumsticks can be made of different types of wood, after all. The most well-known drumstick materials include:

  • Hickory
  • Oak
  • Nylon
  • Aluminum
  • Carbon fiber

While wood is the go-to due to low costs and reliable tone, alternatives are getting better. While they may be more expensive up front, you’ll save money by breaking fewer sticks.


There are many types of drumsticks out there. Famous drummers put it all on the line with the drumsticks they choose, despite what seems like a simple choice. From Ringo Starr to Lars Ulrich, drumsticks have proven themselves as extensions of famous drummers’ arms. The size, weight, and material all have a say in what message the stick allows the drummer to get across. Additionally, how much wear drumstick materials can cause on your unique drum heads should be a factor when considering making your purchase. Choose wisely.

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