Hailing from the Czech Republic, Balbex have been manufacturing drum sticks for around a quarter of a century and have gradually been branching out to other countries over the years. Here we have a selection of twelve models from their extensive catalogue of sticks as a taster of their wares.
The sticks we have share some of the same characteristics. Each is made from Premium Hickory and are finished with a special double grip. Balbex say that the first layer hardens the wood and the second layer adds an anti-skid surface for less chance of dropping a stick.
Balbex say that all materials are specially dried to maximum humidity of 7% and the drying process really helps to wood compaction to harden the materials and significantly expand the sticks lifetime.
The sticks are then sorted into weight categories to within 2 grams and packed into pairs according to the resonance and colour of the wood.
In detail and starting with the thinner sticks:
G7A – Probably what most people would associate with a 7A stick. Perfect for lighter players or young drummers whose hands are a little smaller with a good weight and balance and wooden acorn tip.
Ultra Jazz – Thin neck and relatively small, squashed acorn tip. Great rebound, feels like a longer 7A.
7A – Long, gradual taper with ball tip for a more defined cymbal sound – where most companies utilise an oval or acorn tip, this makes for a nice change.
5A – Oval tips with medium taper, very well balanced pair.
5AN – Obviously, brighter sounding but fractionally more front heavy than the wood tipped version, which may suit some players.
5AL – An extended, fatter 5A with acorn tips and slightly shorter taper.
Jazz – Oval tips and is basically an extended version of the regular 5A stick. A great starting point for anyone looking for a ‘standard’ stick to start off with although the name could be deceiving.
5BN – Acorn shaped Nylon tip gave a bright, attack with thin neck and good, controlled rebound.
5B Ringo 1 – Oval tip with more gradual taper leading to not as much ‘bounce’ due to thicker neck.
Pro 1 – Less rebound and forward heavy due to the shorter taper and also possessing quite a thick neck leading up to the ball shaped tip.
VH – Comparable to a fatter and longer 5B stick, would be more at home in heavier styles of music due to the medium taper with a thick neck and rounded tip which works a dream on ride cymbals for a precise ping.
Extreme – Very large barrel tip, thick neck and short taper. Not as heavy as they looked. After spending 5mins at the start of a practice session warming up with these and they felt very comfortable. The obvious thing would be to say that this model would be suited to heavier players but marching players would equally be suited to these sticks.
In Summary, we were really pleased with all of the models we got sent. Some may find that the anti-slip grip restricts the natural micro turns that a stick usually makes in ones hands, and may cause blisters or callouses in the same way that other companies with rubber dipped handles does, but this is a personal preference.
£10.99 per pair or £9.99 if 5 pairs or more are bought online.
G7A L- 15.55” /39.5cm D-0.531”/1.35cm
7A L- 16.02” /40.7cm D-0.531”/1.35cm
ULTRA JAZZ L- 16.02” /40.7cm D-0.543”/1.38cm
5A/5AN L- 16.02” /40.7cm D-0.551”/1.4cm
JAZZ L- 16.53” /42cm D-0.551”/1.4cm
G5AL L- 16.54” /42cm D-0.567”/1.44cm
5BN L- 16.14” /41cm D-0.590”/1.5cm
5B RINGO L- 16.14” /41cm D-0.590”/1.5cm
PRO1 L- 16.14” /41cm D-0.590”/1.5cm
VH L- 16.54” /42cm D-0.610”/1.55cm
EXTREME L- 16.54” /42cm D-0.688”/1.75cm