Chapman Sticks

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by John Davis, Dec 9, 2001.

  1. John Davis

    John Davis Guest

    Mar 27, 2001
    Houston, Texas
    Anyone played on a stick?

    I've been looking at one for a while, and I'm wondering if anyone has opinions about them.
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Too much $$$ IMO. For the price, you're better of buying a piano.
  3. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    I bought a used Stick about 12 years ago and played it for a while. It is a very cool instrument, but I wasn't very good at it. I usually ended up playing bass parts, and I could do that on the fretless with much better tone. I was starting to get the idea of playing independently with both hands, but I didn't stick to it (no pun intended). I've heard people play amazing stuff on them, but I ended up trading it for something. I wish I would have devoted the time and effort to learn it well. It's a very cool instrument.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I saw a used Chapman stick in London for about £900, which is considerably less than a piano and about half the price I paid for my current bass!
  5. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Well, yes, but if you're going to buy an instrument suited to two-handed technique and contrapuntal lines, I still think the piano (or a keyboard of some sort) is the better value. Been around longer, louder acoustically, more sustain, larger (nontransposed) repertoire etc.

    The Stick has portability in its favor, but none of the other things I mentioned.
  6. frankencow150

    frankencow150 Guest

    Oct 17, 2001
    too many string,too much money,and too long to replace strings.

    Wheres xxbassjunkiexx?hes been talking to me about this thing for awhile,he wants to buy one.
  7. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Central Texas
    One of these would be a gas!


    The NS/Stick, a collaboration between Ned Steinberger and Emmett Chapman. Play it like a bass, play it like a stick. Very versatile!
  8. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I saw my first Stick Player a few weeks back. Very cool instrument, and one that I've thought of getting into as I get more into tapping.

    No money though.
  9. Seeing King Crimson live made me want to play touchstyle too! the second hand stick market in europe is rather small though, so i haven't seen one i can afford. there are also different options if u want to play touchtyle: like the austin douglas guitar; the mobius megatar; and the trax touchbass. the stick looks a lot cooler though!
  10. ThePaste

    ThePaste Guest

    Dec 23, 2000
    West Virginia USA
    I'm getting one after Christmas, a 10 string Rosewood. I'll tell you about it after I play it some.
  11. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I owned one for a while. Even though it's very cool and opens up all kinds of possibilities, I didn't have the patience to get up to speed on it. Not a whole lot of what you've learned on the electric bass applies if you get the standard-tuned Stick. The strings are tuned similarly, but arranged differently. It's very definitely an entirely different intstrument.

    They do, however, make a Stick Bass now, which is 8-stringed and tuned in fourths like a regular bass guitar. Easier for the average bassist to become proficient, but you lose a lot of the possibilities that make the Stick so cool.

    Bottom line for me was that I didn't have an outlet for it. I was playing Top 40 Rock and couldn't effectively work it into our existing material and didn't have the time to develop anything new around it. Based on what I've heard from other Stick players, this seems to be a common problem.

    Also: you need twice the amp gear to get best use of it.
  12. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    I've got a Grand. I played it solidly for about a year, but since I got a custom bass and have taken up guitar (ow!), it hasn't gotten much play time. Comments:

    - Please don't compare the Stick to a piano. The two instruments are completely different. If you want me to list the differences I'd be happy to. :)

    - They're not cheap, but they're not a heck of a lot either. Used models are almost constantly available, and go for a few hundred less. That's the other thing, resale value is very good and has changed very little over the past 10 years.

    - The number of strings can indeed be daunting. The tuning is very intuitive, with the bass in inverted fifths and the melody in straight fourths, it's just one big grid. However, finding a specific note can be troubling! :)

    - When I play I tend to stick (hahah) to either the bass side or the melody side, using both hands together. This is one reason I haven't played as much lately, I've been thinking an 8-string mono instrument would be better suited to my needs, but I have had other things going on so I haven't gotten that straightened out.
  13. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    P.S. Yes there are also a number of other similar instruments out there. The Warr Guitar ( is a more expensive but very nice alternative. It is also unique in a few ways - the two instruments are not really directly comparable.

    I've met a few people with Austin Douglas Guitars, they are cheaper licensed version of the Warr. They seemed like OK instruments.

    I have no experience with the Megatar or Traxbass. What is a Traxbass? Sounds like something Traktor Topaz (who "created" the Megatar) would dream up.

    [edit] Deleted a rant about Traktor Topaz.
  14. I've seen advertisements for the Trax touchbass in Bass Player magazine the last few months. They claim to make a touchstyle instrument, with "great sound and great value". They also have a website,, but there is still no content on it.
  15. Joshua Pickenpaugh

    Joshua Pickenpaugh Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2001
    I bought my purpleheart Grand Stick (12 string) about 4 years ago, and honestly hardly play it. I got it with the MIDI gear on the treble side, but soon sold the MIDI stuff (not really into playing at string instrument and sounding like a saxophone, helicopter, wind storm, etc!). Though, I'll never sell the Stick since it's nice to play around with every so often and come up with some very different sounding bass lines to use on my 'normal' bass!

    FYI, Yuta and Emmett are great folks to do business, if any of ya'll care to do business with them. :)
  16. John Davis

    John Davis Guest

    Mar 27, 2001
    Houston, Texas
    *big bump*

    I was doing some browsing around about different touch-style instruments and hit 2 reviews for the ADG 10-string passive instrument. I think they are either the same person, work for the company, or both.
    <A HREF="">Here.</A>