Sticks, drums, pads

These are my handy stand-by tools:

Tama Rhythm WatchBoss Dr. Beat DB-90
There are many excellent metronomes out there (the ones that keep a steady beat are the best 😉
I have a Tama Rhythm Watch that I’ve used for several years.
It’s not dirt-cheap, but it’s about half of the price of a Boss Dr.Beat DB-90, and it has knobs; great for quickly tweaking beat volumes.
It also has a headphone output and adjustable volume and capability of odd time signatures.
I think that the Dr.Beat is programmable, but for basic practicing, the Rhythm Watch is very good.
Here are some links to it:
Tama Rhythm Watch at
Tama Rhythm Watch at

HQ Percussion 7 inch practice drum padHQ Percussion 12 inch practice drum pad
Another great tool is a good rubber practice pad, I prefer a larger size with a good weight (otherwise they can hop and jump around if you are hammering on them with larger sticks). My practice pad is about 10 or more year old, and the stickers have fallen off, but I think it is basically the same as this one:

HQ Percussion 12-inch practice pad
If a 12-inch pad is too large for your liking, you can get smaller 6 or 7 inch pads as well, like this one:
HQ Percussion 7 inch practice pad

Vic Firth SD1 General maple drum stick
Almost last, a good set of sticks are essential. I have used many brands of sticks, but for some reason I keep coming back to Vic Firth for drumming. One of my favorites is the SD1 general (a medium-large stick good for drumset or concert band).
Vic Firth SD1 General drum stick
Vic Firth SD1 General drum stick

Vic Firth Corpsmaster Ralph Hardimon Signature sticks
When I pull out my marching snare drum (with kevlar heads, usually Remo Falam II), I like the Vic Firth Ralph Hardimon stick. It seems to be a favorite among many drummers. It feels comfortable in terms of rebound and balance, and it’s got a nice white painted finish. They look great without having to tape them, unless you play a lot of rim shots. I recommend taping them if you are going to play on an actual marching snare drum, even if you only tape the tapered area (between your hands and the tip of the stick). This will probably throw the balance of the stick off a little bit, so you may have to get used to it, or just tape the whole stick.
Here are some links to find the Ralph Hardimon stick:
Vic Firth Corpsmaster Ralph Hardimon wood tip marching drum stick
Vic Firth Corpsmaster Ralph Hardimon wood tip marching drum stick

squishy earplugs
Finally, PROTECT YOUR EARS !! (they don’t grow back if you lose them). Wear ear plugs as much as possible when playing drumset, marching, or anyplace where you think your ears could possibly be at risk. Yes, you can play in a drumline with earplugs just fine. It takes a little getting used to, and you’ll be happy when you can hear your grandkids talk someday when you are old. I prefer the foam earplugs, you squish them, put them in your ears, and they gradually expand slightly to fill the space and fit comfortably. There are better and more expensive earplugs out there, but some of the harder or rubberized hi-tech ones can get uncomfortable in your ear since everyone’s ears are a different shape, and lots of these earplugs are round (cylindrical), or the approximate shape of an ear.
Here is a link to make it easy:
Squishy large pack of foam earplugs

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