Product Review: Boso Drumsticks — Marching

In a world of advertising wars and the staggering example of just how influential money can be, there is yet hope for change. The change I’m talking about isn’t necessarily one that has to do with knocking anyone for doing what they do, but it is one that will change the way companies look at drum sticks.

A relatively new company on the market, Boso is making a name for itself by capitalizing on the idea of sustainable resources for drum sticks which is catching attention in major magazines. This is important for a few reasons; the first being that it is not only a great business strategy, it’s a good example of renewable resources being used innovatively, and last because its bringing an important issue to the front of an industry that most probably don’t think of when they think of renewable resources or going ‘green’.

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Unfortunately, there is a downside. The company, while admirable in intention, was founded by a guitar player, which explains the lack of distinction between what the products are supposed to be and what they actually are. That is not to say that they aren’t good products, because they are or at least the pair of marching sticks I purchased are. What I mean is that while they are similar to what I think of when I think marching sticks, they are very different indeed than what would probably be considered an industry standard in the marching world.

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For comparison sake, I just used a good ole pair of Ralph Hardimon sticks and the Marching: natural reformed bamboo Boso makes. Just holding them, the difference is immediately noticeable by even people who don’t know anything about drums or sticks. Boso, while intending to make an awesome alternative to the industry standard materials, also created an alternative ideal, in that whether by intention or by complete accident they made the lightest pair of marching sticks that I’ve ever personally used. Why is that an alternative ideal? Normally, when drummers talk about marching sticks, they mean the big heavy war clubs that most Drum Corps use. These are most certainly not that, which by no means says anything about their quality. In fact, it makes room for the distinction that in my opinion, they would probably be useful as what drummers in the marching world call ‘indoor’ sticks, meaning for the indoor season usually during the winter and spring months in schools and organizations here in the united states. Some other countries have programs like these, and some even come here to compete in WGI.

The reason for the distinction is that the loss of weight also results in an overall loss of possible energy transfer from hand to drum to audience. This is good news for the indoor world, but not something for the traditional ‘go stand in a field for a few summers’ idea of marching sticks. By reducing weight, the hands don’t need to work as hard, but the drawback to that is that heavier sticks produce a fuller sound because the overall energy transfer is greater which means that for an outdoor setting like the traditional idea of what marching percussion is about, these wouldn’t be ideal.

All in all they are exactly what they are marketed as, and show excellent potential as a future industry standard for marching percussion in the indoor arena. Not only are they innovating how we think of resources, but also the way we think of stick applications.

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