Home Accessories Drummer’s Review Xtra: Reviewed: Vic Firth Rutes & Artist Sticks

Drummer’s Review Xtra: Reviewed: Vic Firth Rutes & Artist Sticks

Vic Firth Rutes

Over the years there has been a definite swing towards more acoustic live acts in venues. This meant that drummers had to adapt from full kits to mini kits, possibly changing to hand percussion and cajons etc.. One of the easiest ways to quieten the sound was always by changing from sticks to either brushes or multi-rods. Here we have Vic Firth‘s latest solutions to this with 4 different types of Rute.

There are some common features in all 4 models., with all having a diameter of 0.580”, a length of 16.25” and a 12.5” Walnut stained, hickory shaft with slight taper to give more weight and realistic stick feel. Each model comes with a moveable band on the dowel part of the Rute so that you can tighten the dowels to give you more attack if required. The very useful aspect to all of these models is the fact that, unlike any previous rod I have owned, you can get a decent sounding rim click and also lay in to bell or get loud crashes from using the wooden portion of the mallet. Another very cool detail here is that Vic Firth have placed the ‘X’ in the perfect spot for cross sticks.


23 Light Premium Birch Dowels –

The lightest and most organic sounding pair of mallets. Possibly better suited for percussion due to the louder ‘slap’ timbre.


11 Medium Premium Birch Dowels.

This model produced a slightly thicker sound and was very similar in feel, sound and tone to that of a traditional ‘Rod’.


7 Heavy Premium Birch Dowels. The heavy gauge definitely lent itself to a cleaner, more precise cymbal sound, a fuller tone on drums and the closest stick feel.


10 synthetic Poly Dowels. These produced the thickest and darkest sound when used on a snare and yet the breathiest when played on a cymbal.

All of models of the Rute-X range felt like sticks and have a nice weight to them. The fact that cross sticks and rim shots are possible is a definite plus point and opens up more sonic possibilities that may not have been available in the past to you. As you would expect these were a bit weak when riding on cymbals which put the balance of the kit out a bit. We tried these on cajons as well as on regular drums which again, worked well whilst retaining the ‘stick feel’.

Alongside these, Vic Firth have recently introduced two new artist series sticks…


Designed in collaboration with World renowned guru and master clinician, Mike Johnston, the NE.1 stick has a thickness of 0.580” and a length of 16” which sits in the middle of a 5B and 5A thickness wise. Constructed using Vic Firths quality hickory, the slightly modified half barrel shaped tip (slightly ‘squarer’ than VF’s other models barrel tip) and extended taper give the stick plenty of rebound which felt great, particularly on hi-hat and ride cymbals.  The super smooth natural finish and feel of the stick made it very easy to control for all volumes and styles of playing.


The Nate Smith appreciation society has been gaining momentum in the drum world over the last few years. Now getting a signature stick it has a 0.535” thickness and a 16” length which can be compared to a fractionally thinner but longer 7A in feel.  As a user of 5A thickness sticks, these instantly feel lighter and something that I wouldn’t use but after playing with them for 10-15mins they felt comfortable and very balanced. The rounded barrel tip gives great response, articulation and warmth on cymbals. I could easily see myself using these where a lighter touch is required for jazz or more acoustic settings.

For more info, visit: www.vicfirth.zildjian.com


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