“To me, drum soloing is like doing a marathon and solving equations at the same time.”

Neil Peart, Rush

I am going to do something that I never thought I would do.  A product review on drumsticks.  Yes—drumsticks.  I know, drumsticks offer no moving parts, no sliders, no adjustments, and, no instructions to read.  So what is there to talk about? Well, I will say this.  For a drummer, comfort is especially important particularly if you subscribe to what Neil Peart said.  Marathoning while performing math does not appear to be seamless or coterminous and certainly not easy.  So, if you are going to do such a thing you better be comfortable.  For a drummer, that all starts with your choice of drumstick.  The exceptional quality and design of the product involved in this case mandated some discussion and hence, this write-up.  My thoughts go something like this.

I can still remember the first time I heard Geddy Lee announce that infamous 1976 proclamation c/o Toronto’s Massey Hall. . . . “the professor on the drum kit.”   That’s the first time I was unknowingly exposed to the 747s.  Well, now (thanks to Promark sticks–and what a fantastic company they are) I have had the pleasure of experiencing what I heard so many years ago by actually playing the 747s.  Here’s what I mean.

Neil Peart--The Professor
Neil Peart–The Professor

In honor of his 30 years as a Promark player, as well as Rush’s 40th anniversary or R40 tour, Promark came out with the Neil Peart 747 R40 Tour Stick.  The stick distinctively features commemorative artwork in a metallic gold ink.

The 747 was designed by,  none other than himself, Neil Peart of Rush. It features a classic 5A diameter but is ¼” longer and features a thicker, more forward heavy taper.

In terms of the aesthetics the sticks are a nice looking piece of equipment.

Promark 747s/R40 Ed.
Promark 747s/R40 Ed.

In terms of feel, the sticks are not heavy but they are solid.  They very nicely transfer the impact upon striking the drum up the shaft of the stick to your hand.  These sticks simply felt good in my hands and in terms of reach they should satisfy most logistical concerns for virtually any drummer.  In fact, these sticks give you a feeling that something good is about to happen before you even play one stroke.

But here’s my keenest observation of the 747s/R40: They pack a mysterious punch.

Neil Peart
Neil Peart

By that I mean the sticks project regardless of which end you play with (butt or tip) and regardless of your style (i.e., heavy hitter versus a lighter player).   I even found that if you play traditional grip versus match grip that the volume differential is not as drastic as it sometimes is with other sticks.  The reason why?  When the Professor designed these sticks they were balanced just right. These sticks, I found, do the work for your if you let them.

It is an economical way to avoid marching sticks or heavier model sticks while not sacrificing volume and comfort.

Indeed, these sticks prove why he is “the Professor” because I could not find an application that they just didn’t feel right for.  In other words, the Prof done right with this design.  These sticks do well for rock, jazz, acoustic settings, and even if you have to reach back and produce pure volume and again, whether you are Burning For Buddy or exercising Freewill, they can do the job.

Peart performing Cotton Tail (NYC 1991)
Peart performing Cotton Tail (NYC 1991)
N.P. twirling
N.P. twirling

I also noticed another interesting thing about the 747s; they do not splinter like many sticks even if you are playing a lot of rimshots on your snare drum. That’s a nice feature for two reasons; first, it suggests a durable and well made product and second, no drummer (even the Professor) likes to twirl his sticks amongst splinters.   Priced moderately the 747s, made by Promark, are a win-win and you won’t be disappointed.  I will even add that they are a nice collectible for a Rush fan even if the person is not a drummer. (Heck, even air drummers will love them!).

Nice work Professor.  I will give you an A+ on this assignment.

Ken “K Bo” Biedzynski, Editor




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