The Bopworks guide to frequently (& Infrequently) asked questions...
ONE OF THE MORE COMMON QUESTIONS WE RECEIVE RUNS ALONG THE LINES OF: "WHY ARE YOUR STICKS SO SHORT/THIN"?
A fair question, that. Our sole purpose at Bopworks is to make sticks for the jazz drummer, or any drummer for that matter, needing a light stick. To us, this means producing high quality hickory sticks that duplicate the original 50’s and 60’s sticks.
In fact, our Birdland model is an exact duplicate of a 60’s “signature” model. The 40's Swing Classic is another exact duplication. The initials "GK" somehow spring to mind on that one...
We’re simply making stick models that haven’t been made for decades. We think drummers need a choice of original Jazz sizes, not what marketing departments SAY are Jazz sizes.
WERE ALL THE OLD DRUMSTICKS THAT SMALL?
Actually, yes, most of them were that small… although, the street/marching sticks were very similar to what’s out there today, both in thickness and length, going up to 17”or so. The orchestra or dance models, however, were generally less than 16” in length with a proportionate diameter. Models like the Krupa, Rich, and Belson models clocked in at 16” or close to it.
Remember, sticks could be made in any size or length regardless of the decade, so it’s not like these guys had to use light sticks. For your edification, you can view some sample stick sizes over the years along with a bunch of vintage ads on our Facebook page photo section. https://www.facebook.com/BopworksDrumsticks/photos/
Another interesting thing to consider is that Buddy, Gene, Chick Webb, Sonny Payne, Don Lamond, Jo Jones, Big Sid, Mel Lewis, Jake Hanna, Rufus Jones and a host of others were powering Big Bands with calfskin heads, “small” sticks and no mics.
WHY ISN'T ANYONE ELSE DOING THIS?
Well, many companies are starting to add to their "Jazz" lines of sticks. When we started in 2006, many manufacturers viewed the Jazz marketplace as too small to bother with in terms of producing the types of sticks we make. A glance through any drum publication can tell you where the target market is, and it ain't Jazz.
To be sure, there are a bunch of high quality Jazz sticks that are suited for contemporary demands, and many drummers are quite happy with the selection of hickory and maple models available.
Our contention is that many drummers playing Jazz and the like, although a demographically small group compared to the Rock market, are extremely passionate about their stick and cymbal sounds. So there…
ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE MAPLE STICKS?
Not likely. We feel hickory has the best feel and is the most traditional wood for our sticks. Almost all vintage sticks were hickory.
WHAT'S THE DEAL ON THE SIGNATURE MODELS?
Providing authentic recreations helps honor the drummer whose name is on the stick.
We reproduce each signature model stick exactly, down to the tip shape. The only thing different is the finish, which is done with contemporary methods instead of varnish or lacquer.
Young drummers need to know who these guys were, and what they did to advance Jazz and drumming - at least in our humble opinion. And Bopworks is proud that the Artist's estate gets a portion of each stick sale.
FAMOUS DRUMMER'S STICK MODELS SOMETIMES CHANGED AS TIME WENT ON - HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT VERSION TO USE?
Aha! Good question. The choice of model in most cases is determined by the decade(s) of the drummer’s height of popularity. Of course, this wouldn’t work on say, a Buddy Rich stick because:
A) His popularity never really waned.
B) His preference in sticks and drum companies changed throughout the years.
C) We don’t make a Buddy Rich model. We really should though. But that's a different story...