Anybody here have a Chapman Stick, Warr Guitar, or a crazy tapping instrument

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by DoomandHeavy, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. Anyone here have a crazy tapping instrument? Are they any fun to play? And how much did it take from your retirement fund? I've always wanted to play one of these crazy instruments, and i was wondering if anyone else had the chance to purchase or try one out.
  2. Kelly Coyle

    Kelly Coyle

    Nov 16, 2004
    Mankato, MN
    There's a few. I have a Warr 8 which I bought used from eBay. I'm still wrapping my head around it, but I was able to gig with it in a kind of sloppy way (just using the right hand for a note or two). I got a great deal -- they are expensive to buy and hard to sell I think, so owners take a pretty good hit. (Chapman instruments seem to hold their value, however.) Over the years (I'm old), I've played a Chapman, Box, Solene, and this Warr. I like the Warr best of all, and it's the only one I've actually been able to actually make any progress on.

    My suggestion, if you want to get in, is to get a cheapy six string bass (Brice, e.g.), tune it E-F, drill an extra strap pin in it (so it sits upright more), and have a go at it. I had one I set up like that, and it worked great. I was able to convince myself I could actually learn the thing.

    P.S. I forgot about Krappy. Never played one, but they look like a bargain.
  3. Yeah I too have a Warr 8 String that I love. I had a Stick for many years too. Touchstyle is a different way to play, and it is more like playing keys in many ways. I really got into mine when I had a serious finger injury on my left pinky, I couldn't play bass for a few gigs since the finger was taped straight. In any case I was able to play 2 handed leaving the pinky up and played a whole night. It was different but fun on the brain too.

    Now there are other options, I have heard that Krappy touchstyles are nice and very reasonable. Also Mobius Megatar seem really nice for the money, they also have tons of configurations too.

    Bottom line the only way to know if it will work for you is to try it. Before I got my first stick I used to tap on my basses and a touchstyle instrument is generally easier to play on than a bass.

    If you have a spare bass just lower the action and make sure the neck is straight, raise the pickups a bit.

    Good luck,
  4. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    East Bay, CA
    While in high school I had the chance to borrow a 10 string polycarbonate Stick from a local musician. I found it intriguing but didn't get too far on it.

    In 2001 I bought a new purpleheart 10 string Stick. Made some good progress on it until I got an upright bass in 2004. The Stick mostly sat in its case until I sold it here on TB a few months ago.

    To my ear the stock 5ths/4ths tuning of the Stick makes certain chordal & melodic patterns very easy, but contributes to a cliched sameness in many Stick players' music. IMO Greg Howard is one of the few people whose music truly transcends the typical tonal traps of the tuning. Of course these instruments can be tuned pretty much any way you want.

    Never played a Warr but they have a meaty growl in the hands of Trey Gunn and Brian Kenney Fresno that sounds great.

    The 2 hand tapping technique transcends any one specific instrument. Michael Manring, Victor Wooten, and Oteil Burbridge do a lot with it on bass, as Eddie Van Halen, Michael Hedges, and Stanley Jordan have on guitar.

    BTW there's a Stick player around Detroit named Glenn Poorman who's very active in the Stick seminar scene--he's having one at Interlochen in August.
  5. This is relevant to my interests. If I could find an entry-level tapping instrument I could probably learn to play it. Course, I could also hax something together.
  6. Jazzstick


    Mar 1, 2007
    I am a stickist first bassist second.
    To my knowledge there are no quailty "starter" tappers.
    Where are you located? you should find a tapper and check it ou before putting down money.
  7. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Does it have to be a 'crazy' tapping instrument? My Stick is definitely sort of grumpy and antisocial. But I don't think it's really 'crazy'.

    Out of all the instruments I've owned, my Stick is the only one I've never gotten comfortable enough to gig on. They require a seriously different type of thought process.
  8. I live in Fredericksburg, VA. I don't know anyone who has a stick here, but i could probably ask.
  9. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    East Bay, CA
    Greg Howard lives in Charlottesville--not sure how close/far that is. He also works for Stick Enterprises as a clinician and may know of other players/instruments in your area.
  10. rpmartino


    Jan 12, 2007
    What??? I live in Fredericksburg! I play out often, usually the open mic at the Loft on Wednesday nights. Shoot me a PM...
  11. Hoover

    Hoover Inactive

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City

    Whomp, there it is.

    My chief complaint about the Stick (I owned/played a 10-string polycarbonate model for about 2 years in the late 1980s) was that the layout of the instrument coerces the player into making certain types of musical decisions.

    And the reason I could make this audacious claim was because no Stick player that I heard (or have heard since) was playing music that made use of the musical devices that I found difficult or next-to-impossible to execute, whereas all of them were making use of the ones that I found very easy to execute!
  12. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Inactive

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    I would love a stick! Never seen any for sale for a while though...
  13. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    I used to own a Warr Artist 8 which was great, but it was too difficult to play standard bass technique on it so I sold it.
  14. rpmartino


    Jan 12, 2007
    The beauty of the instrument is the ability to suit the tuning to whatever you want to do. As powerful as it can be, I admit I didn't get very far with the bass in 5ths tuning, and it took years before I got a clearer idea of what I wanted to do, such as more intricate acoustic guitar type left hand accompaniment and the ability to work in more melodic bass ideas and adapt keyboard/guitar music.

    When I changed the tuning to mirrored 4ths the instrument just took off for me. From a casual perspective maybe my music sounds like other solo Stick players but I like to do a lot of things that are more specific to inverted bass 4ths (pull-offs/melodic and bassline fills in between chords, closer voicings, etc.) so bass/guitar players who are thinking about taking up the Stick and have a good handle on how to use 4ths might be interested in checking this kind of alternate tuning out (Stick Enterprises now lists it as a tuning option on their site).
  15. curbowman


    Aug 25, 2007
    Have someone played a Mobius Megatar? I have seen YouTube clips of people playing them and they are certainly more affordable than Chapman's or Warr's. For what they say on their website their aim is not the exotic market but the wider mid-priced range, so more players can develop an interest and start learning touch technique with a solid, good-quality instrument that won't set they back too much.
  16. harpejji


    May 23, 2008
    President, Marcodi Musical Products, LLC

    I think the harpejji certainly qualifies as a "crazy tapping instrument" (, and that's what I play. Our online vids explain how it can be used in the bass guitar role. If you're looking for a tapper that is as close as possible to a bass guitar, then in all fairness, this might not be your best choice. However, if you are looking for a tapper that will get you thinking of music in a new way...
  17. evilgus

    evilgus Supporting Member

    Feb 27, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    I use a Stick in my prog/funk/rock band and find it fantastic for heavier stuff, primarily because of the power and thickness you can get from two-handed bass work with the fifths tuning. (Maybe in some ways, I use mine like an 8-string bass?) It's also a great percussive and expressive instrument, ideal for locking in with a drummer/percussionist or doubling up guitar parts. I really don't know what I'd do without it!

  18. FretlessAddict


    Jul 3, 2011
    I had, and sold, a Mobius Megatar. Not impressed at all. Tinny sound, and never stayed in tune.

    If you want a tapping instrument, I'd look at Stick or Warr.
  19. gioby1


    Jun 15, 2007
    Milan - Italy
    I'm agree.. I have a 12 string Chapman stick and I'm looking for a 8 string Warr guitar..
  20. I tried the NS Stick for awhile. Tuned in fourths and can be used as a bass guitar also although the string spacing is a bit tight. it has a fantastic sound whether played as a bass or tapping, but I could not seem to gain independence between my two hands. Just not my thing but guys like Don Schiff make it look easy! Try before you buy although sticks do hold their value very well and seem pretty easy to sell.

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