tupanstix.com - Larry Levine tupan stick (switches) maker

Tupan Sticks & Beaters - Contact me to order, or if you have questions not answered here.


tupan sticks & beater
more pix & info about these sticks
Sticks

I make fiberglass tupan sticks (switches).  Perhaps you have seen and heard them at performances. They feature:
  • Choice of length and flexibility.
  • Non-slip grips. 
  • All have the same size blunt tip, armored with a cyanoacrylate coating.
Currently eight models, offered in 16, 15, 14, 13 inch lengths.  The 16 and 15 come in three grades of flex ("whippiness"), soft, medium, stiff, based on the amount of fiberglass removed from the shank. The 14 and 13 come only in soft.   

Flex grade is marked in one of two ways. The old system uses white rings below the yellow grip.  The most flexible has two rings, the medium has one, and the stiffest has no ring. Starting in October 2020, a label on the shank is being used instead. The last digit of the model number reverses the old system, which makes "3" the stiffest.
The photo shows the 15, 14, and 13 lengths - in the new system: 151, 141, 131.  The black-yellow-red motif is the current standard production. The other two were made for personal use.

I currently prefer 14-soft (141) on my 20" mylar BG drum. But a Bulgarian professional who borrowed my drum for performance chose 15-stiff (153) instead.  
                                                                                                                                         
Beaters

I also offer lightweight hardwood beaters - 32 cm, 80 g - a size suited for Bulgarian playing. The earlier stock (above) was peach wood - the current production (below) is blackwood acacia.  As a result of feedback, the beaters have a slightly wider, heavier tip, for a better "punch".  The next production run will also include 35 cm beaters, for those who prefer a slightly longer reach.

Pricing

Starting in 2020, sticks are $9, and beaters $16.  Shipping & handling within the US is a flat $7 for small-to-moderate sized orders.  

Tech
  • CONSTRUCTION: Sticks are ground by hand, using frequent micrometer checks.
  • BUYING MORE (how to judge the flex grade of a stick that has lost its rings): If you have an older stick, and suspect that the white rings are gone (less likely to happen with current construction), here's how to check: The tips of soft (1) and medium (2) are noticeably thicker than the exposed shank, however, the soft is just as flexible under the yellow grip as in the shank.  Only the stiff has a shank the same diameter as the tip (apart from the cyanoacrylate armoring on the tip).
  • MAINTENANCE:  If the glass fibers ever become exposed, please repair immediately!  For the shank, use lacquer (the original finish) or shellac. On the 3/4" tip use cyanoacrylate ('Crazy Glue').
  • MONSTER PLAYERS: The wide/blunt tip is favored by nearly all users, but a few high-speed technical drummers may notice and be put-off by the minuscule additional inertia.  If you are one of those special people, I can supply them with reduced tips (but not tapering).  Likewise, I am open to other customizations - let's discuss.
  • WOODWORK: Beaters have an attractive lacquer finish that reveals the natural wood grain, but the finish is NOT furniture grade. Examined closely, you may notice scratches left over from the shaping - but they are still MUCH smoother than the Bulgarian beater that came with my personal drum. 
Who

In North America, these tupan sticks (and now beaters) are being used in bands playing Balkan brass, Bulgarian, Greek, and Turkish music. They are also popular among occasional players and students. 
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