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

I make fiberglass tupan sticks (switches).  Perhaps you have seen and heard them at performances. Features:
  • Choice of length and flexibility.
  • Non-slip grips. 
  • All have the same size blunt tip, armored with a cyanoacrylate coating.
Currently eight models.  16, 15, 14, 13 inches.  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 signified by the white rings below the yellow grip.  The most flexible has two rings, the medium has one, and the stiffest has no ring. The photo shows 15, 14, and 13 lengths.  The black-yellow-red motif is the standard production. (The other two were made for personal use.)  

My current favorite for BG drumming on a 20" mylar head is 14-soft, but recently, playing the same drum, a Bulgarian professional preferred 15-stiff.  

In recent years, I have been offering lightweight hardwood beaters - 80 g, 32 cm - a size  best suited for Bulgarian playing. The earlier stock (depicted) was peach wood - the current production is blackwood acacia.  As a result of feedback last year, the current production has 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.


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

  • CONSTRUCTION: Sticks are ground by hand, using frequent micrometer checks.
  • BUYING MORE (how to judge the flex grade of an older heavily-used stick): If you have an older stick in hand as a sample, but can't judge the flex grade, because you suspect that the white rings are gone (less likely to happen with current construction), here's how to check: The tips of soft and medium 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 last 3/4").
  • MAINTENANCE:  If the glass fibers ever become exposed, please repair before continuing use!  For the shank, use lacquer (the original finish), shellac, but for the 3/4" tip, cyanoacrylate ('Crazy Glue') is much more durable.
  • MONSTER PLAYERS: The wide/blunt tip is favored by nearly all users, but a few high-speed technical drummers may notice and feel 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. 

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. 
Subpages (1): tupan sticks - more