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How Do I Choose the Best Drum Brushes?

K. Reynolds
K. Reynolds

Choosing the best drum brushes is a matter of finding a drum brush that is ideal for the specific requirements and needs of the drummer. Every drummer is different and therefore, no one drum brush is best for everyone. Ideally, drum brushes should feel like a natural extension of the drummer’s hands and be well-suited to his playing style. Many people have the notion that all drum brushes are the same; however, nothing could be further from the truth.

Generally, drum brushes are used for soft drumming and do not produce a loud sound in comparison to drumsticks. Initially, these brushes were used by drummers playing in cocktail lounges where a soft mellow beat is usually desirable. Seasoned brush masters are capable of producing a wide array of sounds and corresponding volumes from a drum brush.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Drum brushes are made up of different materials and have varying weights, tips, tapers and lengths. Most brushes are made of wire, nylon, or plastic and come in a variety of widths, weights, and flexibility. Typically, wire brushes are used in ballads and specific circumstances, while plastic brushes are used for most playing scenarios. There are no set rules regarding how one should use a particular drum brush and experimentation will help a drummer determine the right one to use in a particular situation.

Another thing to consider when choosing a drum brush is the handle of the brush, commonly referred to as the "butt." The handle is instrumental in creating different sounds when used to strike the drum and plays an important role in the balance and playability of the drum brush. Most handles are made of metal, wood or plastic housing.

Typically, a drum brush handle comes in one of three styles including a loop-end, ball-end, or Clayton Cameron style. A loop-end styled handle is generally used in playing cymbals, while a ball-end styled handle generally offers more balance than a loop-end handles and can be used for a wider variety of drum rolls. A Clayton Cameron styled handle is often considered to be the more versatile of the three types as it features a rubber body, plastic tip, and metal cap.

Overall, drum brushes can be used in a variety of musical styles, such as world, jazz, hard rock and rhythm and blues. Owning a wide collection of drum brushes will provide a drummer with the best opportunity to handle a wide assortment of musical compositions. Although finding the best drum brush is often a very personal process, experimenting with a variety of plastic and metal drum brushes will allow each drummer to find the best tools for his unique playing style.

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