Sean Hooper is a trained percussionist, so he knows what a timpani stick should be like. It was his dissatisfaction with the sticks available to him as a student at the Royal College of Music that led to making his own sticks. Commercially-made sticks were not well-designed, nor well-constructed, so he conducted some research, and eventually began to supply sticks to fellow students and professional musicians. Kurt-Hans Goedicke, former timpanist of the London Symphony Orchestra, was an early customer!
Since those early beginnings, Sean has developed a passion for making good sticks widely available, which has included lecturing on timpani stick manufacture and maintenance at the Royal Norther College of Music, the Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Kent Music School and the Royal Academy of Music. Seán’s philosophy is that whether a student makes their own sticks or not, a knowledge of the manufacturing process will help them to choose better sticks for their requirements.
Seán has taught percussion for many years, throughout Cornwall, and also inspired many with the Latin-American rhythms of the Truro School of Samba.
Seán makes every pair of sticks to order, using hand-matched, straightened and polished bamboo cane, to retain the feel of the cane. Each head is also hand-made, with over 50 different styles available, to give a huge tonal range.
He offers a refelting and refurbishing service (with a free first refelting for professional models), and will happily make alterations if necessary.
For models P1 to P16, in the professional range, a free renovation and refelting is offered, for the first refelt. Practically a new pair of sticks for free!
Seán can renovate timpani sticks made by other manufacturers, adding a new felt covering to the head, for around £15 per pair.
Covering all the types of stick a student timpanist should need, without compromising on quality.
All sticks are made with top quality bamboo cane, the choice of professionals. The canes are carefully matched for weight and diameter before being straightened and polished. These processes are meticulous, with the professional range undergoing over thirty processes. The student and speciality ranges are finished with top quality hard wax oil, with extra finishes being applied to the speciality range. The finish on the professional range is secret, but it is worth the extra trouble.
Seán has always chosen to make the sticks from raw bamboo cane rather than buying in ready-made handles, which is the way some makers work. The extremes of heat and pressure used in making cane handles in a factory take away a huge amount of the “feel” of the cane which is what makes sticks if this sort so special. Also, ready-made handles tend to be of one set diameter, typically 10 mm. With Timpani sticks being of so many different weights and sizes (there are more than fifty different models in Seán’s range) it is obvious that a one-size-fits-all policy can’t work.
The centres used are of various sizes and shapes; the hugely varied range of sounds available with Seán’s sticks is partly due to this, partly due to a range of different thicknesses and tightness of the felt coverings. A simplistic approach which typically would have “small head, one, two or three layers of felt, medium head, one, two or three layers of felt” etc. can mean that what seems to be a large range of sticks can lead to a range of sticks which are harder/softer or lighter heavier versions of the same basic stick.
Many sticks in Seán’s range come with alternative centres – wood or cork. Wood centres are heavier, and work well on timpani with plastic heads, pedal timpani and metal shelled timpani. Cork centres work best for hand-tuned instruments, calfskin timpani and fibreglass timpani. For more advice about which sticks will suit the instruments, and music, which you are playing, don’t hesitate to contact Seán for advice.
Perfect for the professional timpanist, offering an unparalleled range of tone colours, and completed with custom-made timpani felt, to ensure a stick that will do your performance justice.
Individually hand-crafted by Seán Hooper, these bamboo cane timpani sticks are used by professional and amateur timpanists across the world. With a range of heads to suit all styles of music, you won’t be disappointed with the quality, or the individual customer service.
Superior quality, for professional musicians.
All the bamboo canes are carefully weighed, measured and knot-matched to ensure perfect balance in a pair. Each cane undergoes over 30 individual processes, with meticulous attention to detail – and that’s before the head is added. Seán is a true craftsman, and the quality of the sticks validates his belief that the time spent is worth it.
With Seán’s trademark superb bamboo handles, this range offers a selection of other heads, for specialist applications.