NS/Stick owners?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by HeavyDuty, Jun 7, 2003.

  1. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    No one seems to have brought these up recently, so here goes.

    I was reading a copy of a British bass magazine last night, and they had several articles about Sticks. These things have always fascinated me, particularly after seeing Nick Beggs with JPJ.

    Ever since I first heard of the NS/Stick, I've been interested in learning more. I think I'd have an easier time with the tuning (in fourths), and the fact that it can be played touchstyle, fingerstyle or slap is a big advantage. Besides, it's a product of the minds of two musical instrument design geniuses - Emmett Chapman and Ned Steinberger! My perversion for headless basses is well known.

    Anybody here have one? Tell us about it, and what it's like to play!


  2. Clbe


    Dec 13, 2002
    Elgin, IL
    I play the 10 string Stick - it's not the NS but there are undeniable similarities.

    The concept of fully engaging your "pluck / pick" hand in the fretting of notes is probably the toughest aspect as those muscles and coordination are most likely underdeveloped. Outside of that, it's versatile beyond imagination.

    There is a distinctive sound that is naturally different from the raw bass sound the cool part is the presence of high end sizzle on every string adds lots of sonic juice to any effect.

    The low tension of the instrument DOES require you to adjust your attack on the fretting hand - yes you can wail on it but as with any instrument, light touch and graceful transitions are a must to excellence. All Sticks are much more sensitive than you would expect at first glance.

    As you can tell I'm just going off without much direction here... ummm...

    NS is tuned in 4ths so the scale mode patterns should be very familiar. Due to the straight 4ths approach - transposition is almost effortless from any position to another position or string and position.

    Tap instruments in general require FLAT fret boards. No radius - no relief. This takes a little getting use to but it's easy to maintain.

    I hope I hit upon the critical points a bass player needs to understand. It took me about 6 months to get comfortable with the instrument but that was due exclusively to me thinking like a bass player. The BEST approach is to regard the Stick as a piano on a fretboard. I distinctly remember the day I have that epiphany.

    I've recorded a track for the purpose of introducing the various sounds of the stick. Please check it out. Every "stringed" instrument is the stick in some fashion...Simple but effective.

    Leaving the Comfort

  3. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Very impressive! It was a bit of a pain with my dialup, but was worth the wait.

    Do you play out locally? I'm in Aurora, and would very much like to see your playing!

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Unreal! I haven't really heard the stick all that much. I am now really interested in it! I have been thinking about playing a 7 string bass for a while right now, for pretty much versatility that a stick has. Looks like I have some thinking to do! I am really interested in the Steinberger.....
  5. Hey Clbe, have you ever heard of Vega$ and his band Smokstik? He is from St. Louis. He uses the Warr Guitar stuff, it is quite awesome. He has recently stoped playing it but he will eventually start again. I really want to try a touch guitar, I think it would open my bands sound up like surgery. Does anyone know of a cheaper starter stick or does anyone have a used one for sale?
  6. Clbe


    Dec 13, 2002
    Elgin, IL
    You can generally find recently made (last 5 years or so) Sticks for sale on Ebay. It's also a good idea to subscribe to StickWire. It's where we all gab at each other.

    If you are looking for a Stick used MAKE sure you get the following...

    - adjustable truss rod
    - adjustable bridge

    Sticks made prior to the 90's I think do NOT have both of these and they are vital to making it sing.

    More recent cool things are the new frets (diamond shaped instead of round - much more precise fretting surface) and adjustable nut flaps. There are also pickup options such as active and passive choices.

    I have not heard Smokstik. Is he here on this forum? Yes a tap style instrument DOES wreck havoc on an established band's sound. The guitar player for the cover band I'm in and I had to really shed for about a month to make sure the sounds and arrangements were compatible. He was not used to a "bass player with melodic / chordal" capability.

    I wish I had more tracks to share. Life has been somewhat of a bitch in the past 9 months and I have not been able to dedicate any time to fleshing out about the 10 ideas I have floating around on my hard drive. *sigh*

    Do the Clbe's Stick MP3 Site for a direct download instead of a stream.
  7. Check out www.warrguitars.com and go to the artists page, Vega$'s pic is on there with his 12 string cow print monster. His web site doesn't work anymore but you can talk to him on his other site www.supergodrecordings.com
  8. coyoteboy

    coyoteboy easy there, Ned Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Sactomato, CA
    Heavy Duty:

    I used to own an 8-stringed tapping instrument who is now happily owned by another TB'er, and I took a few lessons with this instrument with Teed Rockwell in Berkeley. What I found is that when trying the two-hand tapp style, was that there wasn't quite enough room on 8 strings for two hands. That may sound strange, but let me explain. Essentially, I had the tendency to play at the upper and lower ranges of the instruemnt, one with each hand, but the middle range of the instrument was lost because of the close proximity of the hands to each other. The Stick I now have, with two string groups alleviated this tendency. I say this NOT to discourage your purchase of an NSStick, which is by all accounts a fine instrument, but just to relay my experience with an 8-string vs. an instrument with two string groups.

    Also, many seem to shy away from the Stick tuning. I would venture that it is not more difficult than a straight 4ths tuning. There is a method to the tuning madness, and it is straightforward and easy to grasp. Bass in 5ths might seem scary, but many who adopt the Stick from bass gui****om, myself included, find the tuning liberating.

    The main advantage of the NS Stick is due to its design as a multi-technique instrument, and if that's what your after, then there you go, but I think one shouldn't get hung up on the "8 strings in 4ths would be easier" kind of thinking.
  9. them things look funny.
    :oops: :oops:
  10. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    I got my mitts on an NS/Stick (the very one in the picture with Don, I think - he brought it to show at a Seattle Stick Seminar) for about 5 minutes once. Since the spacing was somewehere between that of my basses and that of my Stick, it was a bit odd at first. Too tight for slapping, I think. Umm. . .that's about all I remember sorry . . . :D
  11. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
  12. progzilla... why does that company make a one string tap style instrument? and what exactly would you do with a $1900 axe with one string?

    ADG 1-String Specifications

    Mono output jack.
    Any tunung you wish
    Bartolini Active electronics.
    3-Band EQ
    5-Piece Quarter-Sawn Multi-laminate neck
    Choice of figured top woods

    This is a special edition that was made for a prominent member of King Crimson.

    i really would have been confused if there was a stereo output on that sucker.

    besides that, everything looks sweet on there. i've been thinking about getting into touch playing... thanks for info on another option.
  13. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    I found out after talking with Jim that it was first made as a joke..Turns out they actually had a few more orders put in afterward..... So, they keep it on as a special order.. :meh:
  14. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Tony Levin played the 1-string live with ProjeKct 4. He could do quite a lot with it! Though he wasn't tapping - rather using the Funk Fingers on it! :D
  15. i would like the names and addresses of the people who ordered this one stringed instrument... apparently, they know something i don't.