Ultimate Conductors Baton Shopping Guide: How to buy a conducting baton

Shopping online for anything is difficult, but when you are shopping for conducting batons the feeling can be even more overwhelming. How do you choose a baton? Should you look for baton length? Weight? Color? What about baton handle shapes?? There are so many options out there and very little indication of what you should be looking for in a conductors baton. 


How to Buy a Conducting Baton: A Baton Shopping Guide


The truth is exactly what you may think: the shopping experience is different for everyone. However, that doesn’t mean that finding conducting batons online is impossible. Here is a run down of what to consider when looking for your next conductors baton!

 Quick summary:

  • The total length of the conductors baton should be about the length of your forearm (but several conductors opt for longer or shorter batons)
  • The best fitting handle will typically be the length of your thumb
  • Conducting batons should feel weightless
  • The conductors baton balance point is traditionally where the handle meets the shaft, but this can vary by handle shape 
  • Conductors baton handle shapes and colors are endless! Check out what our Master Craftsman Adam has made here!

First things first, here is a quick overview of the anatomy of conducting batons. The handle is the part that you hold with your hand and can take many different shapes. Garlinger Batons makes three distinct handle shapes: Pear, Ergonomic, and Traditional (click over here to get more info on what those shapes look like in person). The long thin part of the conductors baton is called the shaft. Balance point refers to where on a conductors baton is the balance between the handle and the shaft, which is usually where the handle meets the shaft.

Length- How long should my conductors baton be?

To figure out a ballpark of how long your conductors baton should be, you will need to measure your forearm. Start in the middle of your palm and measure to the crook of your elbow. This will give you an approximate total conducting baton length.

Your forearm measurement is a good starting place, but there is no rule that says that a conductor must have a baton that is the length of their forearm. Adam is taller than average at 6’4” (if you haven’t heard, he is the Master Craftsman behind Garlinger Batons- read about our story here). He started making conducting batons in search of one that would fit his hand the best with the proper length according to his forearm. As Adam continued to make conducting batons, he discovered that total baton length is not set in stone. He frequently directs with batons that are shorter than his forearm measurement. Don’t despair if you fall in love with a shorter conductors baton; your love story can still play out!

Chamber length conducting batons are those that fall into the category of being shorter than your forearm. The purpose of this length of baton is to suit conductors who may have limited space to perform, such as those who direct a pit orchestra or a choir. However, chamber conducting batons can be useful for rehearsals or if you like to make sure that your front row flutes or violins leave with all of their eyes unharmed!

A Note on Conductors Baton Handle Lengths: Use the Rule of Thumb


How To Measure for a Conducting Baton


While you have your tape measure out, don’t forget to measure your thumb! The best way to test whether you like the length of a conductors baton handle is to hold it in your hand. However, when buying online, the way around this is to measure the length of your thumb. In general, conductors find that a baton feels comfortable in hand will be close in length to their thumb.

Conductors Baton Weight and Balance

We at Garlinger Batons believe that the purpose of a conductors baton is to help the conductor be the emotional representation of the piece of music. To do this well, a conductor needs to have a baton that feels like an extension of their arm. If a conductors baton feels too heavy, it will take a toll on your arm after directing for an entire performance (directing music is for emotion, not getting swole). 

To make sure that each conductors baton feels light in hand, it needs to be well balanced. When a conductors baton balances properly, it should feel like next to nothing. Usually, the balance point of conducting batons will be where the handle meets the shaft. However, the balance point can vary based on the handle shape. For example, Gustavo Dudamel (and Leonard Bernstein) has a baton that has a handle that is round like a ball. This calls for a different balance point because the hand will grip the baton higher up the shaft. (Adam’s favorite conductor is Gustavo Dudamel, so that is why we know so much)

If you are not sure about where you like your balance point to fall, that is ok! Grip your current conductors baton and hold it how it feels comfortable. Look down at where your fingers are. Do they pinch where the shaft meets the handle? Above, below, or behind? This is where you typically will find the conductors baton balance point that you prefer. Don’t agonize over this part! Experienced conductors baton makers will make sure that each baton has been balanced for a smooth feel.

Here is a run down of the different balance points and how someone might grip a conductors baton to maintain proper balance:

  • Forward- conductors baton balances 1” up the shaft to put all the weight at the tip of the baton. This for individuals that like the handle further into the palm which pushes the fingers further up the shaft to reach the balance point. These conductors batons can also be held at the change (where the handle and shaft meet) to add quite a bit of tip weight, if preferred, for a more viscous feel. 


  • Basic, with a touch of tip weight - conductors baton balances 1/4” up the shaft for individuals with larger hands who hold onto the shaft and want it balanced on their index finger, or conductors with smaller hands who like a bit of tip drag when holding at the change. This is known to be a livelier set up, meaning it will provide more movement at the tip while still remaining light and nimble in the hand. Many of our conductors batons are weighted this way.


  • Change Point - conductors baton balances where the shaft meets the handle, which is the most common configuration. This is the grip that a lot of conductors look for when they hold directly onto the change point or high on the handle.


  • Behind the change- conductors baton balances 1/4” into the handle. This is for conductors who hold onto the handle and want the baton balanced on their index finger. If you hold the conductors baton on the shaft it will put some weight in the palm of your hand, making the baton feel heavy. These conducting batons will not have a balance point picture on a stand, as they are actually balanced on the handle.

Conductors Baton Handle Shape and Color, AKA: This is where we shine!

The last item that you may be considering when it comes to shopping for conducting batons is the handle shape and color. If you have never shopped for a conductors baton outside of the music store, you may be in for a surprise at the variety of handle shapes and colors that are possible! There are many different shapes and it can be overwhelming to decide which might be best for your hand. Here is what we offer at Garlinger Batons:


Ergonomic Conducting Baton Pear Conducting Baton Traditional Conducting BatonChamber Length Baton
  1. Ergonomic- Shapely and curved, Ergonomic Conductors Batons are molded to your hand with multiple points for finger placement. Choose an ergonomic conductors baton if you are looking for a baton that will mold to your hand as though it has always been there. This shape will conform to you rather than asking that you conform to it. 
  2. Pear- The Pear Conductors Baton is skinny at the handle with a round ball at the end. This shape is best suited for conductors who prefer the bulk of the weight of the handle in their palm.
  3. Traditional- It's the shape that you know and love! Our Traditional Conductors Baton shape is smooth as it transitions from the shaft to the end of the handle. This shape can suit any grip, while also giving room to showcase the beautiful color of the handle.
  4. Chamber Length- Chamber Length Conductors Batons are shorter in length than others, usually under 12 inches long. These conducting batons are optimized for smaller ensembles, tighter spaces, or rehearsals.

Adam has found that even though he usually directs with a larger traditional conductors baton handle, the ergonomic batons he has made are becoming his favorite! Follow your gut on this one, and really think about your favorite way of gripping your conductors baton.

As far as conducting batons with color go, it can be tough to find quality conductors baton that is not made with a wooden or cork handle. Wood is pretty, cork is fine, but we think it's time to step outside of the status quo when it comes to how conducting batons should look. Your conductors baton should be a reflection of you as a director. It should give you confidence when you hold it, like an old friend who always has your back. You are not like anyone else, so you deserve to have a truly unique conductors baton! 

If you are feeling like you are ready to find conducting batons unlike any you have seen, click here to see what we have ready to ship! If you are still unsure, take our Baton Style Quiz to get the gears rolling on what shape you prefer. 

Musically yours,

Kelly Garlinger

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1 comment

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you very much for your attention. Here Carlos Oñate, Manager of the Promotion Office in Onlyconductors.com, the first digital platform specialized in conducting.

I would like to invite you to visit our platform, because we have a lot of possible customers of your batons.

Please, if you have interest in promote your batons in our site and networks, contact me and I’ll send you more info about our company.

Here our digital platform:


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Waiting for your news,

Best regards from Spain and Happy New Year!

Carlos Oñate

Carlos Oñate

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