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What's the best Baton for conducting students?


Thanks for the many helpful responses about batons for students. Here
are all the messages, in case you're interested.

Have a great semester,

Kirin Nielsen

I have my students buy the 10" Hamel, wooden handle, fiberglass shaft and
then they use sand paper to fit it to their own hands and taper the
shaft. It's something Don Neuen had us do when I took his course at
Eastman. It is only about $5.


My personal favorite batons are made by Charles Olson, the former
director of bands at Bethel College in St. Paul, MN. His company is
called Custom Batons, and he can be reached at olscha(a)

Since your students are probably going to want to keep their batons, I'd
suggest having them purchase them (I'm assuming that this is a college
course). It's a $25 to $50 investment (Mr. Olson's batons are on the
lower end of the cost margin) that will stay with a person for a long
time. I am of the opinion that it's best to start with a quality,
balanced baton, because a balanced baton seems lighter and becomes a
natural extension of the hand (versus a tool used to bludgeon a band,
orchestra, or choir into submission!)

His batons are made to balance, with a very, very durable fiberglass
handle...and he also makes batons to order (handle shape; type of wood
used for the handle, and the color of the handle). I've had my original
Olson baton for over 10 years now. I've banged it on instrument stands,
children (no, that's a joke), and although some of the white enamel has
worn off the fiberglass shaft, it still looks great. I even have a
"spare" in case mine ever breaks. I think he can also make custom
shafts out of wood.

I buy a baton for each of my student conductors (high school) as a gift
at the end of the year. I'd suggest sending Mr. Olson an e-mail; you
won't be unhappy with the product.

I know there are some other companies out there...they show up at MMEA
(Minnesota Music Educators Association) Minnesota's division of the
MENC) in the vendor area from time to time. I also know of some people
that swear by Mollard Batons (


Call Mollard Batons (they're on the web). I use them for my conducting
class and if you place the order as a class they give a significant


Here at the Music Mart we sell the Hamel batons that are a
fiberglass shaft and either a wooden or cork handle that retail for
You can view them on our web site ate We also have an
exotic wood baton that is $8.95. The exotic wood baton that we have is
an all wood shaft. The batons are either 12 or 14 inches and they have a
tapered shaft. We can send you an assortment of them on exam so you can
try them out. Please contact me at 1-800-545-6204 should you
wish to try them out.
Thank you
Stan Keith, Mgr
Music Mart, Inc. 3301 Carlisle Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110, U.S.A.
Please direct all email inquiries to skeith (a)
In USA call me at 1-800-545-6204, ext
(Local 505-889-9777, ext 21)


Heids (in Appleton WI) has a cheap ($7) plastic one - 14-16 inches that
is pretty well
balanced that we use

I consider myself somewhat of an expert on batons since I own over 110
and am incredibly picky about them. I recently wrote a review of baton
makers for our conducting students at EIU, so here is the ranking:

1. THE BEST- Newland Custom Batons-
--somewhat expensive (26.95); many handle choices; does group order
balance, quality materials, very lightweight. Offers wood and graphite
shafts. Each baton includes a durable storage case made of PVC.(Newland
would be my first pick becuase he will send you a bunch of batons in
different lengths and handles so your students can choose one that they
like. He puts a 90 day guarentee on his batons. If you don't like it
or even if you break it, he will replace it for free. No one else
offers such an incentive.)

2. Charles B. Olsen 763-421-8786
--WONDERFUL craftsman- totally custom-designed handles. Cost is
dependant on materials and handle design you choose.

3. Mollard-
--Lightweight; extremely fragile; very small handles- about $20 each-
each baton incldues a nice plasic protective tube.

4. Premier Batons-
--reasonable pricing ($15-$20); somewhat heavy (fiberglass shafts, not

5. Piansano press- 248-879-6346
--2 baton makers sell batons through Piansano- Tim Topolewshi and Harry
Begian. They both have fiberglass shafts, but the handle designs are
very innovative and comfortable.

Don't even consider the following:

5. Hermele Batons-
--A little expensive ($25-$35); rather heavy; not always balanced

6. Symphony Batons-
--fragile, cheaply made, most are warped before you even buy it

7. Mowen Batons-

For a beginning conducting class, you might opt to use a company called
Harron Batons. These batons are available to order through most music
store catalogs. They are cork handled and have a light fiberglass
shaft. They aren't more than about $10 each. However, Newland is still
my #1 pick. (If you use him, tell him that Derek Weston referred
you...I have about 10 of his.)

One more note---if you decide to use Mollard, have all of the students
poke one or two small holes in the tube for ventilation- If moisture
gets trapped inside, it will cause the baton to warp.

Let me know if you have any other questions...baton collecting is a
strange hobby of mine.
Derek Weston
Graduate Student in Orchestral and Choral Conducting, Eastern Illinois


I wouldn't get anything other than a Mollard baton. It is well made,
beautifully balanced, and I haven't found others that compare. Maybe
could arrange a bulk purchase with Mollard - they have a web site.

You can go to these companies' sites:

Mollard conducting Batons
Newland Conducting Batons

Both I've used for myself and classes. Both are
reasonable in price.


I have always used Mollard Batons (1-800-842-2866). They have
inexpensive models on up to some rather pricey ones, but all high
quality. I avoid fiberglass batons--a colleague had a student suffer an
eye injury when one broke. Ask Mollard to send you a free brouchure.


Contact Mollard. They have a group discount for students and, in my
they have the best batons.

on June 24, 2003 10:00pm
NEWLAND... again I say NEWLAND. King David's arent bad beater batons. Mollard has severely let me down. Their craftmanship has gone in the toilet, and balance is terrible. They crack, and the baton case they sell actually WARPS the batons.

Robert Stumpf
Platteville, Wisconsin
on February 24, 2008 10:00pm
I think the best conducting baton on the market are the Mowen Conducting Batons. Derek Wetson, a graduate student of Eastern Illinois University--- I will attribute your "junk" comment to inexperience. I would also ask you how you have come in contact with these batons and why you consider them junk should you wish to justify your previous statement. I also like some of the mainline companies such as mallard but the nice thing about the Mowen Conducting Batons is that they are custom ordered and you might also want to know that if you receive one that you don't like, another baton is custom made by hand at no charge.

-should you wish to contact me as conducting baton collecting has been a hobby of mine for years, please feel free to reply within this forum.
on September 25, 2008 10:00pm
I collect batons as well. The way i see it, it can be very hit and miss. My Mollard S series is my favourite baton. I purchased it very recently and find it extremely well balanced. Sure it's all wood, and that means potential warpage, so keep it in a breathable case. My only issue with it at all is that it's only 14". Most of my batons are 16", and i feel they better suit my physiology. But quite seriously, if you want perfection, you need either a Newland or one of Olson's. My only problem with Newland was that when i tried to order my first baton from them they ignored my order email for a week before getting back to me about billing. Go out there, get a good musical beating stick, and have some fun!
on January 14, 2009 10:00pm
I recommend those made by Chris Blount at He learned from Charles Olsen and took over Olsen's business. He will make a baton with any specifications you want. You can get it perfectly balanced, tip heavy, or handle heavy. He offers a variety of woods to choose from and a selection of basic handle shapes. But you don't even have to use the ones he offers. You get to completely choose what your baton is made of. He offers fiberglass, wood, and graphite shafts, as well as a thread wrapping at the base of the shaft for better grip. Batons can be ordered anywhere from 12" to 16" in 1/4" increments. And every baton comes with a full 90-day satisfaction guarantee.

In my opinion, all conducting students should start off with a great baton (not mediocre), and his is definitely the way to go!
on February 1, 2009 10:00pm
You should check out the selection at There are many options to choose from including custom batons of any type you like. They are able to do beautiful pearl, rosewood, and abalone inlays. There is even a custom baton page where you can build your own baton. There are three models from which to choose and they are balanced individually by hand. If you haven't checked out Old World Batons you should really take the time. They are all hand crafted and balanced in a single shop in Tyler, Texas. The Pinnacle series is the exotic woods, Infinity series are acrylic and polyester resin composite, and the Odyssey series are laminated hardwood. Each has a very distinct look and feel. They are available with natural hardwood, glossy white, fiberglass, and graphite shafts. Check them out!
on May 14, 2013 8:51pm

Sorry for the self-serving message.  I've collected batons for years and out of frustration for the perfect baton, I started making my own.  I'm a bit hard on batons, so the wood shafts simply don't work for me.  They break within days.  Balance is also an issue.  A better balanced baton feels lighter and does fatigue the user as quickly.  Finally, if I'm going to spend hours each day holding a baton, it should look interesting or at least attractive.


Now, I'm the owner and sole producer of a new line of batons,  They're balanced by hand, coated with six coats of high gloss acrylic and completely guaranteed.  The shafts are made of a nearly unbreakable fiberglass and the handles range from bright acrylic to several exotic woods.  My favorite is Alaskan birch burl.  Burl wood has compression lines that give off a 3d appearance.  Each piece is completely unique.  They're also made in Alaska.  


I'd would enjoy hearing anyone's comments regarding my batons, good or bad.

on August 27, 2013 12:27am
This is the manufacturer’s response to the comment on Symphony Baton. We sell our products both under Symphony and TAKT brand names.
The above thread was posted in 2002. Yes, then our products were prone to warping. Our batons shafts are made out of wood and being a natural product it is prone to warping due to changes in humidity levels. We have improved our packaging to not allow the shafts to warp like before. Now, our products are much improved, we invite you to check out our website for our newer collection of batons and baton cases. We are very soon introducing our new range of batons with fibre glass shaft that will not warp, have wooden handles, and each of them will be hand balanced.
We are only manufacturer to sell Baton handles with beautiful inlays of brass and mother or pearl.
Please feel free to contact me for any additional questions:
on May 19, 2014 9:01pm
I have always been a fan from Newland, from the very first time I picked up "Fred" from his PVC case.... Their custom orders can take a while depending on complexity, but every bit worth it....  The address is, I really would almost guarantee you will never be disappointed....  I have tried a few others which have been mediocre.  I was excited to try a new maker at Old World Batons... and the guy seemed really nice and confirmed my order and when I received them, I felt nothing but disappointment.  So, my 1.5 cents would be to run to Newland and hide from Old World Batons.
on July 30, 2014 9:40pm
I contributed to this post about 14 years ago and I am surprised that this thread comes up on search engines. In fact, if I could do it again, my ideas would be significantly different. I wish my post could be deleted. :)
Let me say that I have gained a great deal of experience since writing that original post and I can say that a baton is very much personal preference and no maker is necessarily 'better' than another. The good news is that there is a wonderful variety of individuals and companies making batons, and it can be fun trying different options to find something you like. Most companies offer an incentive to purchase a large class-sized order, so be sure to ask. 
My apologies to anyone that I might have offended with my post 14 years ago. 
-D. Weston