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ProMark Active Grip Drumsticks

Drumsticks, it’s been ages since I looked at any new drumsticks. However, unlike the last sticks I checked out, these drumsticks are a little different; they’re black for a start but more importantly have Promark’s new Active Grip applied to them.

Active Grip is Promark’s answer to sweaty hands. It’s a special heat-activated coating that helps your grip by getting stickier as your hands get more wet.

I was given three models to try out, a pair of Forward 5As, some Mike Portnoy Signature 420Xs and a pair of Rich Redmond Signature 595s.

The Forward 5As are made from hickory, are .565” wide, 16” long with an acorn shaped wood tip. The ‘Forward’ aspect refers to how the sticks are forward balanced with a 2 ¼” taper which is intended to assist with speed and power. Click Here For More Info

The Mike Portnoy sticks are the same diameter as the 5As but half an inch longer which made them feel, to me anyway, lighter and skinnier even though they’re also made of hickory. Unlike the 5A though, they have an oval wood tip which is bigger than the aforementioned stick’s acorn design. Click Here For More Info

Rich Redmond’s sticks are a 16” long hickory model but with a beefier .595” thickness and again have an oval wood tip. Click Here For More Info

This was my first real experience playing with sticks that have any sort of grip coating on them, but I have to say I’m convinced already. I wasn’t completely sure going into using them, but quickly saw what the appeal was.

The Active Grip really works and it’s not a gimmick. It’s not applied too thickly or too thinly, and seems to be just at the right level of application where it makes a difference without changing the feeling of the stick.

I tried the 5As (since they were nearest to my regular stick) at both a laid back rehearsal and a gig at a hot pub. The grip did help to hold on to the stick in a playing situation and whilst it did get sticky, it was not ‘bad’ sticky to where I wanted to get out my normal sticks. It was actually more of a rubbery feel if I was going to describe it as anything.

My only issue with the grip – and it’s not so much a flaw with the grip itself, just a by product more than anything – is that it chips away, particularly when playing the hihat. Similarly, if you’re playing a cross stick for any length of time it’s going to wear down the grip which in turn is going to reduce the effectiveness in the area you need it most. Obvious way round this? Don’t play a cross stick with the butt end. Having said all this though, I guess this is all to be expected to some degree and it really only became noticeable after some hours of playing.

The sticks do appear to be a little more expensive than standard models, but then again, if you tape your sticks up that extra cost might offset itself against the cost of regular sticks and tape. Overall though, all of the sticks felt comfortable in the hand and give a good solid sound on cymbals.

Anyway, aside from the stick designs themselves, all of which I found to be comfortable in my small hands, this Active Grip does work and if you suffer with sweaty or wet hands when you play, you might want to check these out.

More at ProMark Website

David Bateman

October 2016

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