Looking for a great pair of drum brushes for your acoustic drums? They are heavily used in Jazz and Blues music, but drummers of many various genres use them. They are also used as a lower volume alternative to sticks.
Drummers use different techniques when playing them, but the most iconic one is definitely a frisky, crispy sound of brushes being dragged around the snare. You can also play them in a similar way to normal sticks, though it gives a more muffled sound with lower attack.
We have put together what we believe are top 7 drum brushes on the market today.
The Best Drum Brushes – Our Round-Up
1. Vater VWTW
The Vater VWTW is a non-retractable, wooden handle, metal frisk brushes. You can get them also in the retractable version if you prefer that. The frisks on these brushes are thin and have a larger fan, so they produce more mellow sound, which can be great for quieter, subtle songs.
They come in a 5A size and have a rivet on the bottom side of the handle with which you can create sound when scraping the cymbals. VWTW comes at a really low price, but you will get good quality brushes with which you can let the magic happen easily.
2. Zildjian Professional Wire Brushes, Retractable
The Zildjian Wire Brushes are very popular. They are retractable, rubber handled, metal wire brushes. Being retractable, you can create different sounds with them, from the mellow sound of the full fan to the brisk sound of the retracted fan.
The retraction rod itself has a bit of tension, so you do not have it move constantly while playing. You do need to put some force into it but be aware not to rip them at full force. These brushes come at an affordable rate and can be used by pros and beginners alike.
3. Meinl Percussion Retractable Nylon Brushes
Moving onto the first of the nylon entries on this list: Meinl Nylon Brushes. These are retractable nylon brushes with plastic handle. They are lightweight but they do have a full brush, with lots of frisks. They are made predominantly for Cajon players, same as other Meinl products, but can be used easily on the acoustic drum kit.
The sound you get from these is a crisp and frisky sound, especially if they are played on the Cajon. You will get the loudness from them, but also you will get subtleness and nuance if you play them right. They are a sturdy pair of brushes for acoustic players looking for mellow tones.
4. Vic Firth Steve Gadd Wire Brush
Drumming legend Steve Gadd constructed these brushes together with Vic Firth to get exactly what he thought was necessary on the market. And of course, he was right. The whole point of these is that they are unique – the frisks on the brush are all slightly angled and the top. This allows the brushes not to get caught on the newly coated drum skins, but also the players to get different types of sounds depending on how they are holding the brush.
These are metal frisks, retractable brushes and are really made of top-quality materials. The handle is made of quality rubber, so you won’t drop them. They are made by drumming legend for professional drummers and you can’t really make a mistake with them.
5. Vic Firth Jazz Brush Plastic Handle
Another Vic Firth product, but this time without a drummer to sign them. These classic Jazz brushes come with retractable, metal frisks and a plastic handle. They are made specifically for jazz players and because they have a 5” brush diameter when fully retracted, the can produce any sound you need.
Of course, you can adjust them by the handle, but whichever way you choose to play them, you should know that they are quite loud for drum brushes. Also, they are made out of quality materials, so if you’re a professional, you shouldn’t really hesitate on getting them.
6. Promark Retractable Nylon Brush
Promarks nylon brushes are a great, affordable option to use if you want to achieve that plastic nylon sound or you just need something cheap but quality for practice. The great thing about these brushes is the color of the brushes – blue frisks are definitely going to make you a showstopper, especially since all of the others are plain metal color.
They come with a retractable brush and a plastic body, which is lightweight but isn’t the most durable one. Great practice brushes as they are a bit quieter, but that also makes them not so great of a playing option when doing a gig in a louder environment.
7. Promark TB3 Telescoping Wire Brushes
Another brushes from the Promark catalog, Promark TB3 are telescopic metal wire brushes. As far as the metal brushes go, these will give you the same quality and sound as all of the other. There are no surprises and the brushes are made from quality materials.
They have a rubber finish plastic body and a retraction rod with a big hook on the end, so you don’t need to worry about retraction problems. These are great brushes for anyone, from beginner to professional drummer.
Drum brushes came into being in the 20th century with jazz musicians. They were the first to start using them next to normal sticks, giving them more complex and nuanced sound. With the birth of rock music, they became a bit obsolete because they weren’t heard enough through loudness by other instruments. But they lived in the jazz community and today are making a comeback in all of the genres.
The build of the brushes themselves is simple – you attach a lot of metal or nylon frisks on a stick and voila! In the beginning, only the metal frisks were used, and they still make a majority of brushes today. Recently though, nylon brushes started to make a breakthrough as more and more drummers are using them. The handles of the brushes are usually rubbery, to keep them in the hands when sweaty.
In the build of the brushes, it’s also important to notice if the brushes are retractable or not. This is done by adding a simple rod in the bottom of the brush which enables you to retract the brush completely, thus shielding it away. Also, you can adjust the fan size of your brushes by adjusting how retracted you want them to be when playing.
This affects the sound you can get out of your brushes but comes with the inherent danger of that moving rod braking, thus making your brushes unusable. On the other side, the solid body brushes are in danger of breaking the delicate frisks if they are inadvertently broken.
We hope that this list has helped you pick the right drum brushes for you. Also, we hope that we shed some light on details about choosing the right brush.