Sticks and sushi

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Limo, Sep 24, 2002.

  1. Limo


    Sep 22, 2002
    Reykjavik Iceland
    I was wondering how your oppinions are about Chapman Stick and Megatar Stick, is it a bass, is it a guitar, is it a piano or what???
    Write a few lines about what you think of this instrument:)
  2. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Interesting choice of words for the tittle. Im sure one of our more perverted members will have fun with that.

    They are extended range tap instruments.

  3. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    First, don't call the Megatar a Stick. For better or for worse, Stick is part of the registered, trade-marked name of the Chapman Stick. :)

    How about none of the above? I think "touch guitar" is a good starting place. And "extended range" is pretty appropriate too. The genre also includes the Warr Guitar, and to a lesser extent the Santucci Treblebass and a few others.

    I think they're great. It's a bit discouraging that after over 30 years, they still are considered "fringe" some how. Having said that, between bass, guitar, and Stick, I play the Stick the least often. But I still have it.
  4. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I play a 10 string Chapman Stick (purpleheart, standard pickup, Baritone Melody tuning, with Fret Rails and Flaps nut unit) and it's a wonderful instrument. Having a 5-1/4 octave range between your hands really lets you make some interesting music. My understanding of melody and harmony have increased by an incredible degree since I got my Stick last year. The Stick takes some of the best elements of bass, guitar, keyboard, and percussion and wraps them all together into one instrument that's only limited by your imagination.

    Right now I'm working on writing some material that takes advantage of the contrapuntal nature of the Stick. I'm also practicing jazz standards like "Nefertiti", pop gems like The Beatles' "Here, There, and Everywhere" and The Police' "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic", and making a concerted attempt at playing snippets of Claude Debussy's piano music.

    I've seen the Megatar and Warr Guitar up close but I've never actually played one. The Stick has several important features that the Warr and Megatar lack:

    1)Ergonomic support system-the weight of the instrument is supported by a hook that attaches to your belt and the angle at which it hangs is adjusted by a shoulder strap. It's great to be able to have the instrument held in proper playing position without any help from your hands. And since your belt is carrying the weight, it's easy to play for long periods without any fatigue.

    2)Re-configurability-more recent models feature adjustable truss rods, bridges, AND nuts. This allows you to change tunings, string gauge, and action all along the fretboard without having to get a new nut made. The stainless steel Fret Rods and Fret Rails don't wear out like ordinary frets.

    3)Simple minimalist design-the instrument has everything you need for precision tapping, and nothing you don't. You can choose 8, 10, or 12 string models in graphite or wood, with or without MIDI, with a choice of standard passive, EMG active, or passive Villex pickups. I find the design of the (IMHO) Warr to be baroquely grotesque and I hear they can be very heavy. I feel (again IMHO) that the Megatar looks like a boat paddle.

    Greg Howard, Bob Culbertson, and Tony Levin are three of the best-known Stick players. Trey Gunn and Brian Kenney-Fresno are two of the foremost Warr players. I'm not sure who plays a Megatar, though I have met the instrument's marketer, Traktor Topaz.

    Both he and Mark Warr were defendants in a lawsuit filed by Emmett Chapman several years ago involving statements they had allegedly made about the Stick on the Internet. I believe a TalkBass member was sent an unpleasant email by Chapman after he made an innocuous criticism of the Stick on the Net. I guess what I'm saying is the makers of each of these instruments is kind of touchy about the others, so tread lightly while making inquiries. And DON'T refer to the Warr or Megatar as a "Stick" if contacting Stick Enterprises! Emmett Chapman is very adamant about protecting his trademarks, copyrights, and patents.

    As far as I know, these instruments are only available new from their respective makers. Used Sticks can be found on eBay frequently and Stick Enterprises often has used Sticks that were traded in for new ones and have been factory refurbished. If you are interested in a used Stick I would HIGHLY recommend getting one with an adjustable bridge and trussrod-the ability to adjust action and intonation is very important if you change string gauges and/or tuning. will probably answer any questions you have and has many useful links. has links to tappers of all sorts. Good luck and feel free to email me privately if you have any more questions.
  5. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001

    all good except I'd comment about your first point: The Warr system is balanced so that it does not require your hands to hold it in place, either. It will also play at more horizontal angles if desired, just by moving the neck down (it'll stay there). True, the weight is back on your shoulders and not your belt. However, for those of us that don't wear belts (and do wear baggy pants) that's not so bad. :)

    The Warrs can be heavy, but it depends on what they are made out of. I'm sure a model with a swamp-ash body doesn't weigh too much, but the solid padauk design will be a bit hefty.

    I've never touched a Megatar, so my opinions would be limited to aesthetics, which I won't comment upon. . . ;)
  6. Matt Morgan

    Matt Morgan Fellow Conspirator Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Plano, TX
    I played bass guitar for over 17 years and decided that I wanted to try something different.
    I ordered (and waited for) a new Graphite Stick with all the bells and wistles.
    When I received it about a month ago, I quickly discovered that it was not for me. Mentally and musically, I always found myself thinking and working on bass parts.
    I am, and will forever be, a Bass Guitar player.
    The Stick itself is beautifully constructed and is a wonderful instrument. The tones is produces are clear and very clean. With the Villex pickups it has a huge variety of tone possibilities. It has more musical possibilities than I could ever wring out of it. With all that said, it still was not what I personally was looking for and I am currently trying to sell it. If there's anyone out there thinking about one, give me a shout.
  7. Limo


    Sep 22, 2002
    Reykjavik Iceland
    sorry about calling the Megatar a stick, It's called Mobius Megatar;)
  8. RS


    Aug 27, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Those megatars are ugggggggggggggggly.

    I like my stick. Its not really like a bass or a guitar, although it share similar notes. The attack and sustain of the notes are totally different.

    Still can't play it worth a damn though.