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Topic: Stick arrived yesterday

  1. #1

    Stick arrived yesterday

    FINALLY! After a year's wait, my Chapman Stick is in my hot little hands. Well actually, I have big hands, but that's neither here nor there. For reference, here's the Jamie-anticipates-his-stick thread: http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...ad.php?t=33818

    So here are my initial thoughts after 6 hours of practice with it...

    It's beautiful! I almost cried when I opened the case. The grain in the Padauk wood I chose has a dark stripe running just down the center, highlighting the inlays. Very nice!

    Yummy! It took some time before I could consistantly get a good sound from my tapping, but it has a very rich deep tone running from the low bass strings all the way up to the sparkly 25th fret of the highest string... five octaves in all.

    This is a rather difficult instrument, but I think I'll be getting the hang of it soon. It's really not as much like playing a guitar as some people might imagine, though some skills do translate. Some very non-intuitive fingering (to a guitarist) will have to be rewired in my brain. The bass side tuned in fifths will mean I must teach my left hand to start doing gymnastics to reach everything. The fact that the strings on that side are inverted vs. a bass make it even weirder to learn. Strangely enough, my right hand is having no trouble picking up the whole fretting concept. That must be where my piano skills are helping.

    All in all, I am immensely happy with my new friend. Once I get a little proficiency going, I'm going to start using it in my compositions. Who knows... I might just be the first to marry GPO to the Stick!
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  2. #2
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    West Seneca, NY

    Thumbs up Re: Stick arrived yesterday

    Big hands carry a big stick! Wow, the picture of this piece is awesome! You will post a demo, won’t you? Congratulations and enjoy!

  3. #3

    Re: Stick arrived yesterday

    About the tuning: I tuned my Stick bass side in fourths, which fit my playing style better. It's up to you to decide what works best!

    I'd actually wrote a bit of a missive about this to the original Stick email list. In my estimation, the inverted fifths tuning in the bass was created by Emmett Chapman specifically for Emmett Chapman's playing style. He's a jazzer and does chordal work on the bass side, which necessitates open-voicings such as not to create a muddy sound. (incidentally, his "Parallel Galaxy" album is a treat)

    At the time, Stick bridges were fixed, precisely tuned to Chapman's prescribed string gauges. So I suggested that an adjustable bridge be designed into the Stick, as I restrung mine with different gauged bass strings to accomodate my tuning and couldn't change the scale length for exact intonation.

    Well, that really peeved Emmett, and I got a somewhat irate phone call from him out of the blue one day. He thought that I was suggesting that this was a design flaw! But I merely contended that it was a possible point of improvement to allow for any number of unique players and their equally unique styles. He couldn't see why anyone would want to change it.

    Luckily for you, Jamie, hell eventually froze over and Stick Enterprises created an adjustable bridge to accommodate any tuning. Similarly ironic is the fact that they now sell a Stick Bass model, which was something else that I suggest that Emmett took as heresy!

    Enjoy. Make it your own.

    - m
    Free MFX and other plugins: http://www.TenCrazy.com/
    Markleford's music: http://www.markleford.com/music/

  4. #4

    Re: Stick arrived yesterday

    Congratulations on acquiring a Stick! I've been a Gabriel/Crimson/Levin fan for years. The Stick has a great sound.

    Another touch-string option is the Warr Guitar. Trey Gunn plays one in King Crimson, and he is one of two WG players in his solo band. I've seen him live three times in Portland's small clubs, and it's always a joy.

    Here are some videos of the Trey Gunn band live...

    More Warr Guitar videos here...

    While Warr and Chapman compete in the marketplace, touch-string playing is touch-string playing. You can find articles about other tuning systems and techniques of the Warr Guitar players that will often apply to the Stick.

    BTW, you should see Trey's effects setup. It's huge! You will definitely want a volume pedal, a wah-wah, some other good effects and a nice amp to get the most from your Stick.

    Have fun!


  5. #5

    Re: Stick arrived yesterday


    I'm a huge Crimson fan, and had the pleasure of seeing them at the Warner Theater in DC back during the "Thrak" tour. I loved seeing Tony Levin do his thing (not to mention Adrian Belew playing a neon orange guitar with an electric screwdriver!!). Trey Gunn played mostly Warr Guitar, but also Stick, and a custom tap instrument as well. Good times!

    I considered a Warr when I was looking to buy, but the Stick was more affordable (still expensive...). I also very much liked the Stick community, and it just felt like a good fit to me.

    I've already got a volume pedal and a wah-wah, among other fun things. I'll be looking to buy a nice amp once I have enough chops to not embarass myself going into the music store to sample some.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

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