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Arts and Culture

Vic Firth, Drumstick Manufacturer with Maine Ties, Dies

NEWPORT, Maine — Vic Firth, the founder a company that makes drumsticks and mallets here, has died.

Firth was born in Massachussetts but grew up in Maine and played tympani for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Interviewed in 2006, the company's vice president of manufacturing, Mike Gault, says Firth made a discovery that would change the way drumsticks were made.

"One day he was weighing some [drumsticks] in his basement, and he happened to drop a couple on the floor," he told MPBN's Murray Carpenter. "And he heard different pitches from the wooden sticks falling on the cement. And he got the idea then that maybe the performance would be enhanced if the sticks sounded the same as well as felt the same."

Firth started the company that bore his name in 1963, and it is regarded as the leading drumstick manufacturer in the world.