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REVIEW: Promark ActiveGrip drumsticks

Laura  Barnes
REVIEW: Promark ActiveGrip drumsticks

Loosing grip of drumsticks is something that many brands have tried to address and almost every drummer has experienced.

Regardless of how long you’ve been playing, there often comes a time – usually halfway through a gig in a sweaty venue – when you can feel your sticks slipping out of your hands.

Some address this with drum tape, some wear gloves, and others hurriedly wipe their sticks and hands on their jeans in between songs - (me).

Promark is aiming to eliminate the feeling of loosing control with its new ActiveGrip drumsticks.
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We got hands-on with the new ‘Forward’ and ‘Rebound’ Balance models ot see how good they really are.

The Forward Balance sticks have a taper of 2 ¼”, giving them a slight front-weighted feel to optimise power and speed. The Forwards are designed for rock, metal and country styles of playing.

The Rebound Balance sticks have a slightly bigger 3” taper and are aimed at jazz and funk players looking for finesse and agility optimisation and a more rear-weighted feel.

We tested out both sticks in 7A sizes with acorn wood tips, which are 16” in length and made of hickory.

The sticks come with a black coating called ActiveGrip, which is heat-activated. The technology behind the coating makes the stick tackier as the player’s hands heat up and sweat.

I knew this before I picked up the sticks, and I expected to be able to feel a rough texture. But I was wrong, the sticks feel almost identical to my usual set.

As you play, you can feel the coating change and it really does help you hang on to your sticks.

When I was first starting out drumming, I ended up buying a pair of bright red sticks from a drum store. After the second or third time of playing with them, my hands were stained red. So as I played with the ActiveGrips and I could feel the tackiness of the stick increasing, I dreaded to think of what my hands would look like after.

To my surprise, they were not stained with the coating and there was no residue or stickiness left on my hands.

The coating doesn’t appear to add any extra weight to the 7As and the feel of the stick seems to return back to a smooth finish pretty quickly.

While the ActiveGrip coating is made of pretty sturdy stuff, there’s not a lot that can be done about wear and tear on cymbals and hi hats.

It might take a while and obviously depends on how you play, but the coating will start to disappear from the neck of the sticks after a lot of use. From a grip point of view, this shouldn’t make a slightest bit of difference, but your lovely, full-black sticks will look a bit worse for wear.

The coating made its debut last summer on the Glenn Kotche Active Wave 570 – a collaboration between Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche and the American drumstick maker. 

The ActiveGrip technology is now available on nine stick models, including the six most popular Select Balance models plus artist sticks from Mike Portnoy and Rich Redmond.

If you're prone to slippery sticks and arent keen on wearing gloves, ActiveGrip might be just the thing you need.

The Promark ActiveGrip drumstick range is available now from D’Addario UK - 0191 300 3000.

Tags: drumsticks , d'addario , promark , Reviews , ActiveGrip

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