Brown and sticky

30th September 2009 – 5.32 pm

I am missing something. I clearly won't be taken seriously playing fake plastic drums if I continue playing with sticks that have 'Guitar Hero' emblazoned on them. Everyone will know that I'm only playing a game. I need to get a proper pair of drum sticks, then I will be able to sit behind my fake plastic drum kit, watching coloured domes scroll down a screen, and be considered a proper musician at last.

Back in the same shop in London where I bought the practice drum pad, I fear the assistant senses the air of fakosity forming a barrier between me and the real drums in the shop. Maybe what gives me away is how I reply 'I dunno' when he asks what weight and length of sticks I am after. I get the impression real drummers would know a minor detail like this. But when I agree to his suggestion to pick a popular choice of sticks everything changes. With a pair of proper drum sticks in my hands I ascend another rung on the ladder of rock. It can't be long now before I am playing in a stadium.

It is difficult to get an appreciation for the different weight and feel of the proper sticks without a direct comparison to the ones included in the Guitar Hero game, so rather than fiddling with the sticks as I ride the tube home I leave the new pair sticking jauntily out of my bag to show off how much more rock I am than anyone else on the train. Back home, the difference in weight to the stock Guitar Hero sticks is immediately noticeable. The proper sticks are much heavier, almost letting me empathise with Zoso's fear for his fake plastic drums whenever he let me have a go1. But fake plastic drums are designed to be hit, I won't hold back with a bit more weight.

The heavier sticks don't seem to hinder my playing except for sustaining a really quick beat, although perhaps I need to practice the faster songs to build up some stamina. In fact, the new sticks help me play rolls more easily and smoother, maybe because the weightier sticks help maintain some momentum. The main drawback to the new sticks is that dropping one now has rather more gravity, with a real possibility of breaking my foot if I'm not careful. As long as it's not my kick pedal foot I should be okay.

The new sticks definitely help my playing, just as my continuing practice does. I think my next step in taking Guitar Hero too seriously may be heeding a friend's advice and getting too-short tennis shorts and sweatbands.

1. Note the use of the past tense.
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  1. 5 Responses to “Brown and sticky”

  2. in case it helps, I usually go for 5A's for standard rock drumming as they're a good weight and 7A's if I'm doing jazz or something that needs lighter/faster sticks. zildjian or vic firth sticks always seem consistently balanced to me. I tend to prefer the wooden tipped ones but it obviously wouldn't make a difference when hitting a rubber pad :-)

    best of luck faking being a drummer :-)

    By Akura Kawanaka on Sep 30, 2009

  3. I have a couple thoughts on wardrobe as well. In addition to the short shorts and sweatbands, you'll also need to consider the increased consumption of hair spray, mousse and gel as you force your coif into something defying gravity and hindering landing approaches at terminal 5.

    Alternatively, there is likely a cheaper long term option to pull on an Afro-wig in your choice of colors and avoid the possible cost and damage associated with overt, consistent, heavy follicular manipulation. There is the added advantage that the more insipid you look on stage, the less likely people will recognize you in your mild-mannered, (ab)normal day-ware on the metro/tube/crowded jail cell.

    By Kename Fin on Oct 1, 2009

  4. I forgot I was also going to ask if you've heard the song "Dr. Worm"? For some reason, I think of it when I read about your drumming practice and vice versa when I hear the song.

    By Kename Fin on Oct 1, 2009

  5. I've heard of Dr Cat, by Mary Timony. They have similar names so must be pretty much identical.

    Maybe instead of an afro I could wear a fake tiger head. And then I could wear my tail too. Hmm, that's not really specific to drumming, though, and I'd probably pass out from the heat, even with too-short tennis shorts.

    As for the sticks, they are Vic Firth 5As, so it looks like I got a good pair. I may have to get the lighter jazzy sticks too, because, uh, no reason.


    By pjharvey on Oct 1, 2009

  6. How about an iTunes link.

    By Kename Fin on Oct 2, 2009

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