Timpanists use a variety of sticks, or mallets, which have different head sizes, coverings, weights and handle lengths. Each particular mallet produces a different sound. Mallets can be divided into roughly five categories:
Mallets with a wood or cork head which is covered by felt of varying thickness. These heads result in hard, medium hard and soft mallets. In addition, special wood mallets and flannel sticks are used. Wood mallets, which were widespread in the Baroque era, are nowadays regarded as a separate category.
Timpani mallets, from soft to hard.
Ash, tonkin, ebony, cherrywood, beech
30–35 cm (felt head)
30–32 cm (flannel head)
Wood (hard), cork (soft), flannel, hard felt
2.5–4.5 cm (felt head)
2.5–5 cm (flannel head)
Soft felt of various hardness, leather