Sticks are the main implements you will use, and there are many varieties and models available. The companies with the best quality control are clearly Vic Firth and Regal Tip, but Promark, Zildjian, and Vater also make reputable sticks. For beginners, it is important to use a medium-sized stick such as the Vic Firth American Classic or the Regal Tip 5A. Do not use extremely skinny and short sticks, or conversely, very fat, heavy sticks, as they are designed for either very soft or very loud playing. As a beginner, you need a stick that will be versatile.
Finally buy only hickory or oak sticks. Stay away from maple sticks, as they are soft and will dent easily. The standard tip or bead on the end of a stick is wooden. However, nylon tips are popular with many of today's drummers. Unfortunately, some rudimental drummers still reject nylon-tipped sticks, but, thankfully, this obstinate notion is dying away. The only real difference between wooden and nylon tips is that the latter has a brighter, more distinct tone on cymbals.
For this reason, nylon tips work well in loud musical settings. Also, nylon tips are more durable. Before purchasing a pair of sticks, hold each stick loosely, tap them together, and listen to the sound. A good pair of sticks should be pitch-matched. When each stick has the same pitch, your playing will sound more consistent and even.
Regardless of the brand, model, or tip, make certain you purchase straight, evenly weighted sticks. Also, don't let anyone sell you metal or plastic sticks. Stick shafts are always wooden! Metal and plastic sticks are novelty items and will only interfere with your ability to develop proper technique.
Further, discounted sticks (you may see them lying around in boxes) are almost always defective and should be avoided. Finally, you will see different colored sticks such as black, white, and red. These are artist signature sticks and should be avoided, because, again, they are designed for specific uses.
As you develop, you will want to experiment with different stick types, but for now, keep your selection simple and conservative. Beginners needn't worry about purchasing brushes right away but be prepared to buy them should a performance opportunity arise. Brushes are metallic or nylon bristles that attach to a metal, wooden, or rubber shaft. The bristles fan out from the shaft and are raked across the drumhead or cymbal to create a subtle "white noise" effect. The sound of your voice is not unlike the sound of a brush being combed across a snare drumhead.
Like sticks, brushes come in various shapes and sizes and are manufactured by several different companies. It's difficult to say which type or brand is best for you although the Regal Tip 55OW and 583R are both very good. If you do buy brushes, make sure to buy the retractable kind.
Retractable means that the brushes can be drawn back into the shaft. Often, brush companies refer to these as telescoping brushes. Non retractable brushes have a shorter lifespan, because the exposed bristles often become tangled and bent like used paintbrushes.
Eric is using Pro Mark drum sticks on Electronic Drums, and favors Roland V Drums. Eric is also an active Drum Forum member at Drum Solo Artist where he is answering drum related questions, and helping drummers with tips and advices.