Snare drums sticks are usually made of wood, often hickory, oak or hard maple and it could also be wrapped in white tape. Other used materials include aluminum (covered with a PVC sleeve to avoid damage to cymbals), fiberglass, nylon, acrylic, plastic, and carbon fiber. A drum stick is typically a lighter colored wood with wood grains running through them. The colors of the maple and hickory sticks are often khaki or ochre. The sticks that are made of oak are often reddish brown. Some drum sticks have a nylon tip on them to keep the tips from wearing out as fast and to produce a brighter sound on cymbals. These tips have a semi-transparent look. A typical drum stick is around 1.5 cm in diameter and 41 cm long, although drummersorchestral playing that requires fine control and soft dynamics. Sticks for street playing (e.g. drum corps and marching bands) are almost always thick and weighty, to promote extended production of sound at extreme dynamics. There are different sizes of drum sticks for each situation, designated by a letter and number, e.g. 2b and 5b are thicker, while 5a and 7a are smaller. The number in the designation corresponds to the length of the stick, with smaller numbers being longer sticks, and the letter corresponds to the diameter or gauge of the stick, with the further along the alphabet the thicker the stick, so "b" is thicker than "a". have a wide range of shapes and sizes to choose from. Many drummers are very particular about the exact shape, size, weight, balance, density, and grain of their sticks. All of these qualities attribute to the "feel" and sound of the stick. Snare drum sticks may be designed for use in particular performance contexts. Sticks that are smaller in diameter or balanced farther towards the tip may be intended for
There are also now a mixture between drumsticks and brushes called multi-rods. These consist of several thin sticks that are bound together to form one stick. Using this type of stick allows a player to play full strength and still not over play the rest of the band. This happens because as the stick collides with the head of a drum or a cymbal, the energy is spread out over all the rods causing them to fan out slightly, thus dissipating much of the directed force and allowing for a quieter tone. The most common of these is the Hot Rod from Promark, though nearly every major stick maker now has some form that they offer. The size of the sticks being held together also varies. For instance, with Promark, the smallest set is the "cool-rods" made of 19 sticks, then the "hot-rods" made of 19 sticks as well, but with a larger diameter, then "lightning-rods" made of 7 sticks with the same diameter as the hot-rods, and then "thunder-rods" again made with 7 sticks, but also having a larger diameter. The thickness of the stick, or diameter, directly changes the relative force transmitted from the stick to the drum.
As with the multi-rods, there are now also sticks that mix a drum stick with a multi-rod, though these have no definitive name. Promark's "stealth-rods" and "rocket-rods" are this type.