What’s in your stick bag?
Today marks the official release of Promark’s new FireGrain drumsticks. It’s not often major changes occur to drumsticks. Aside from modifications to the size or the tip, drumsticks remain relatively the same. Last year, Promark released their Active Grip drum sticks which took your preferred drumstick and coated it in a black grip finish that activated during use to allow the user better grip.
I had the opportunity to test the new FireGrain sticks before their release. I put them through the test. Both in the practice room and on the stage.
Quick back story, up until the last two years I’ve used Promark Japan Oak 5A’s. It wasn’t until recent years were I made the switch to Promark select balance Rebound series. The thing I loved so much about the Japan Oak sticks was their durability. As a heavy hitter, they took a beating and always came back for more! As a working musician, durability is definitely something I look for. Now back to FireGrain.
The first thing I noticed about the FireGrain sticks was the aesthetics. They look different then any other pair of drumsticks I’ve seen before. They literally look like they’ve been put through the fiery pits of Hell! No but really, they look cool! The initial question that came to mind was, “Are they going to feel different?” I was surprised. The surface of the stick felt smooth.
The next thing I noticed was that there was no weight or balance difference compared to my regular pair of 5A’s. Described as a more durable stick I was worried that the stick would be heavier which would completely changing the way the stick feels and responds in my hand. This was not the case. They reminded me of what I fell in love with decades ago in the Japan Oaks. Durability!
They passed my initial test in the practice room. The real test however came at show time! With the adrenaline flowing, I was able to get a better picture of what FireGrain really brings to the drum kit. I instantly noticed the difference in how the stick feels and plays rim shots. I felt like I could hit harder without the stick feeling weird after a few songs. I made it through my entire set without having to reach for the stick bag. The sticks felt great.
So what makes FireGrain sticks so different, you may ask? Well, the answer is in the process. What Promark did was take their standard hickory drumsticks in various lengths and sizes and put them through their “revolutionary heat-tapering process.” What does this mean? It means they torch the sticks removing the moisture and water leaving a denser more durable stick. The drumsticks are left harder but don’t sacrifice a difference in weight or balance which in my opinion is key.
What Promark was able to do was combine the durability I loved from Japan Oak’s and combined that with the balance of their Hickory Rebound series. The best of both worlds! I highly recommend you guys give them a try. Pick up whatever size stick you use in their FireGrain version and let me what you guys and gals think! Heck I may even give a few pairs out. Head over to my Instagram Page for details @IdrumChicago1.