Whether it’s a drum lesson, a gig or you’re heading to a recording studio, there is one thing that you can’t be without, your stick bag! Wherever you go, it plays an integral part to a successful gig or a productive practice. I cherish mine and constantly make sure it’s topped up with all the essential things I might need wherever I go. So without further ado, here’s my stick bag essentials!
It sounds obvious, but it’s essential to make sure that you have a good supply of sticks in your bag. There is no worse feeling that getting to a gig and being caught short or dropping/snapping a stick and not having a spare pair. Trust me, I was the kid who used to Gaffa tape the middle of his sticks to keep them together (it wasn’t a good look) as I couldn’t afford more than one pair. My stick of choice at the moment is the Meinl Hybrid 5A. These sticks have a barrel tip which is new for me but it’s totally changed my approach to the kit and really made me appreciate the articulation of a Cymbal. Anyway, sticks! Very important; I tend to keep two/three pairs as well as some mallets, a pair of brushes and a pair of rods.
Two things that are absolute musts for me are a drum key and a spare Hi-Hat clutch. I guess I have my OCD to thank for my obscene fear of forgetting something. However, the amount of times I’ve turned up to a gig and the clutch has been lost or it’s a house kit that sounds as bad as the bins outside, you wouldn’t believe it. So yeah, a drum key is a pretty obvious one to me! Keep those drums sounding good and the sound engineer will be happy. As for a clutch, again it’s always good to keep one. Top Tip - by all means lend your clutch to another drummer on the gig if you feel comfortable BUT make sure you get that back. Clutches seem to disappear faster than the promoter can drink your rider. They are golden, don’t let it out of your sight!
Another thing I would highly recommend is some form of dampening. You want to get to a point where your stick bag is ready for all eventualities. Whether that’s the nicest kit you’ve ever played in your life or a venue’s house kit that is being held together by the sweat from previous drummers. Gross, I know… Moongel, Drum Honey, Slapkatz, it’s all great stuff! I personally use Meinl Drum Honey; primarily because each piece comes with a divider (so it’s easier to pull apart) but also cause it’s Orange. I wish I was joking but orange is my vibe. All jokes aside, I also found it cleans up the best without losing any stickiness or leaving any residue on my drums.
This isn’t really a drum accessory but I did feel it needed a mention. A pen! The amount of times I’ve needed a pen and couldn’t find one anywhere. Whether it’s making notes or to write a quick setlist before you go on, a pen’s always a very handy thing to carry.
So yeah - Drum Key, Hi-Hat Clutch, Drum Dampening, Pen
Protect your ears! I’ve lost count of how many times I have said that to people. Your ears are so important and you’ll be lost without ‘em. I use the Alpine Pro Series Ear Defenders and they are SO GOOD! They come as a small rubber ear piece (plus a spare so when you ultimately lose one you don’t have to buy a new pair) as well as three different levels of filtering. I often use the middle filter and it does the trick. The best part about these is they don’t just kill all the sound; the filters work in a way to reduce the harmful frequency in the room so you don’t do damage to your ears but can still hear everything. Okay, this is starting to sound like an AD so I’ll wrap it up but yeah, these are genuinely great. They also come with a tool to help you get them in your ear and a carry case which is pretty cool.
So now we get on to the cool stuff. I don’t carry much because, as you can imagine, by this point my stick back isn’t far of weighing more than my kit but you’ve got to have some jingles and bells! One thing I always carry but don’t always use is my Keo Percussion Cymbal Sizzler. First of all, if you haven’t checked the British Drum Company and their sister company Keo Percussion out then WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m slightly obsessed with their Drums. They sound like you’re playing a Birthday Cake. I hit them and angels sing… okay I’m done. The Keo Percussion stuff is great too though. I occasionally whack my sizzler on my ride or crash to add that riveted sound. It’s not for everyone but sometimes it’s got to sound jazzy!
If you’re reading this and you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with me @rockinrobinsdrumservices and I’ll be more than happy to help!