6 Best Drum Brushes – Top Wire Brush Sticks

Author: Brett Clur | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

Brushes are one of the tools that every drummer knows they need in their stick bag, yet not many drummers actually like using them. They’re such a great tool for playing dynamically on the drums, whether you need them for soft moments or to just have some unique sounds.

They’re mostly used in jazz, yet all drummers can benefit from having a pair of brushes. So, we’re going to look at some of the best brushes for drums on the market.

6 Best Drum Brushes for the Money

Zildjian is one of the top cymbal companies in the world. Although cymbals are their main thing, they do sell some drum sticks and brushes. The quality of these brushes definitely matches the quality of Zildjian’s cymbals, giving you a worthwhile product that will benefit you in many ways.

These standard wire brushes from Zildjian are firm, yet smooth enough to play very articulate patterns and phrases on the drums. They’re pretty simple in terms of design. However, they deliver everything you need from a pair of brushes.

The handle feels great while the retracting mechanism is very smooth. They’ll fit comfortably in your stick bag and the wires won’t bend as they do on many other brushes.

One downside is that these brushes are fairly expensive compared to other ones. However, their cost is reflected in their build quality.

PROS

  • Very firm, yet smooth enough to play comfortably
  • Handle feels great
  • The wires hardly ever bend

CONS

  • Expensive

Vic Firth is arguably the most popular drum stick brand to exist today. They produce so many high-quality sticks that are loved by drummers all over the world.

So, you just know that they will give you some great brushes as well. The WB jazz brushes are one of their best pairs thanks to their extra-heavy wires.

The distinct white grip has become synonymous with the heavy wires. These wires allow you to play standard brush patterns at a much higher volume than thinner brushes would. This makes these brushes a great tool for more intense situations where you still need the sweeping sound on the snare drum.

The wires also extend wider than standard brushes, allowing you to play on a wider playing surface.  They’ll make a bigger sound on cymbals than standard brushes would, producing more of an impact.

Overall, they’re a great pair of brushes to have for loud playing environments. Rock drummers could benefit from these when playing ballads and other soft songs. One issue that they tend to have is the retractable mechanism starts to stick over time.

PROS

  • Produce louder sounds than standard wire brushes
  • Very durable
  • Wide spread from wires

CONS

  • Retracting mechanism tends to start sticking after a while

Moving on from thick and heavy brushes to some light and mobile ones. The Vic Firth Heritage brushes take influence from the lightweight brushes that were used by all the jazz drummers in the 20th century.

These brushes are the perfect tools to play double-time swing patterns and other quick drum beats. The wires are extremely light, allowing you to be more agile in your playing. They won’t fatigue you like heavier brushes would, which means you’ll be able to play hours on hours with these.

Along with the light wires comes a rubber handle that is extremely comfortable in your hands. The handle has a distinct purple color that will make it easily identifiable in a stick bag.

If you need a classic pair of brushes to play fast jazz, you can’t go wrong with the Vic Firth Heritage brushes.

PROS

  • Extremely light and easy to play with
  • Rubber handle is comfortable in the hands
  • Great for fast patterns

CONS

  • None

Moving on from the standard wire brushes, we have the Monster brushes from Vater. Vater is one of the other big stick companies that produce a lot of high-quality sticks for all types of drummers. The Monster brushes have poly strand rods that sound very musical on the drums.

The best feature of these brushes is that they have two straps around the stands that can be adjusted, allowing you to get a loose brush feeling or a very tight one. This makes them a seriously versatile pair of brushes.

Another fantastic feature is that they can mute a drum if you press them into it or they can bring out the resonance if you hit openly. You basically get a set of brushes on one setting and a set of rods on the other.

They’ll work wonders in all kinds of music, especially percussive-heavy ones. All in all, they’re a versatile tool for any drummer.

PROS

  • Extremely versatile
  • Can be adjusted to be loose or tight
  • They can mute a drum or bring out the resonance

CONS

  • None

The Promark Broomsticks have the same design concept as the Vater Monster brushes. However, they’re made from broomcorn, giving them a much more aggressive attack. Their attack sits somewhere in between your standard drum sticks and brushes.

They have the same O-rings that allow you to adjust how tightly the sticks are held together. The tighter they are, the harder the sticks feel. The looser they are, the looser the sticks feel.

These sticks feel extremely organic when playing on drums. They’re a great tool for lowering volume slightly, but not as low as you would with standard brushes.

They’re also great for playing on cajons. Many drummers don’t like playing cajons since they can’t use sticks anymore. These Broomsticks will change the game.

Since they’re made of wood, they’re going to break the same way normal drum sticks do. So, they may not last as long as wire brushes will.

However, they’re not the most expensive things around, meaning you won’t be set back too much if you buy a new pair every now and then.

PROS

  • Aggressive attack
  • Great for playing on cajons
  • Adjustable

CONS

  • Won’t last as long as wire brushes

The Jazz Telescopics are Promark’s take on the standard wire brush. They’re very bright on the drums, creating a tone that will cut through mixes fairly easily. They’re also very durable.

They sit somewhere in the middle of being light and heavy. This means they’re an all-purpose tool for any situations where you need to use brushes. They’re easy on the hands and they sound great on the drums.

Promark actually took inspiration from the original Gene Krupa brush when designing these. Gene Krupa is a jazz drumming legend and was one of the first world-famous drummers.

Overall, these brushes just work in every way. If you’re looking for a reliable pair to get the job done, the Promark Jazz Telescopic brushes are a great option to go with. The wires tend to bend if you’re not careful. So, just be wary of that.

PROS

  • Inspired by Gene Krupa
  • Versatile
  • Great tone on the drums

CONS

  • Wires tend to bend

Why Are Brushes Mostly Used in Jazz?

One big reason for this is that brushes for drums were introduced around the time when jazz was the most popular music genre the world. So, the development of brushes went along with the development of jazz music.

Nowadays, a jazz band will play softer songs that require the use of brushes. These songs could be ballads or have solos from softer instruments such as the acoustic bass.

The drummer will need to lower his volume to accommodate the other musicians in the band. The brushes are the best way to do that.

Most other styles of music don’t require soft drumming, meaning the use of brushes is less commonly seen.

How Important is it to Have a Set of Brushes?

Every drummer should have a stick bag where they have an assortment of sticks to choose from. You will be a lot more versatile as a drummer if you have more than just standard drum sticks. Things like mallets, brushes, and roots are all valuable tools to have as a drummer.

You’re going to need a set of brushes if you ever play a gig where your drums can’t be too loud. This could be in a coffee shop or a restaurant.

It’s also important to develop your drumming ability by learning how to play with brushes. There are specific sweeping motions that will take some time to learn. Once you get it down, you can play some really cool things on the drums.

Conclusion

As you’ve seen from the list, there are a wide variety of brushes to choose from. Your standard wire brushes are the most popular.

However, you can get a lot of good use out of some brushes that have wooden or plastic components. The type of material the brush is made of will determine the type of tone it brings out of the drums.

If you’re unsure of which brushes to get, just try all of them. You can never have too many drum sticks. In turn, you can never have too many pairs of brushes!

About Brett Clur

Brett has been drumming for almost two decades. He also helps his students get better at drumming. He can be found on Instagram (@brettclurdrums), where you can regularly catch glimpses of his drumming.

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