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The Chapman Stick

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassmanbucko, Jul 15, 2004.

  1. Alright, I've been playing the bass now for a little less than 5 years and I've been using the two-handed tapping technique for over a year now, and I've got it down well enough to play tapped chords and some improv tapped melodic solos, so I think it's time I bought myself a Chapman Stick. Are there any members here that also play the Chapman Stick? I've look at the main Chapman Stick website, and there are quite a few versions of the Stick, but the version that really tickled my fancy is the NS/Stick, built by Emmett Chapman and Ned Steinberger, but all the models interest me a good deal. I'm just curious as to how well they play.
  2. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    I've played a Stick, but bought an ADG guitar in the end... The Stick sounded great but it was uncomfortable to play (for me). I like the ADG because in addition to sounding wonderful, I can use a regular strap.

    mp40smg likes this.
  3. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I've always kinda wanted a Stick, thanks to Tony Levin, but I kinda suck at tapping so I wonder just how useful it would be to me. ;) I've actually never tried out a Stick though, so I don't have any idea of how it really feels as opposed to tapping on a bass guitar.
  4. i'm with keb on this one, ever since i first heard and saw trey gunn, i've been wanted to try out a warr guitar (same thing as a stick, but look better than a stick imo. they are so cool!

  5. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    My ADG is built by the same guys who make Warr guitars.. So (from what I hear) it's very similar in tone/playability to a Warr.. It's a great instrument and was a fraction of what an actual Warr costs.....
  6. just curious, what would an 8 string chapman stick, or adg be tuned to?? and what kind of strings are needed?
  7. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I've owned both a Chapman Stick and a Warr. Let me tell you, it's a COMPLETELY different experience than playing bass. It seems easy to play, and the transition shouldn't be too tough, but it takes much more mental adjustment than you think. But there's no real way to know if it's right for you until you spend a few months playing with one.

    I believe the Chapman Stick is a pretty sub-par instrument compared to the Warr. It is hard to position comfortably, it's got a "tacky" sound, and is very hard to setup properly due to the funky hardware on it. I guess the build quality is ok, but nothing to write home about. Overall I think the design is rather weak.

    The Warr on the other hand, is an exceptional instrument. Good tone, balances any way you want, easy to set up - really well thought out. They ain't cheap, but they are certainly worth the cash. Comparing the two is kind of like comparing a first generation Telecaster with a current run PRS.

    I'd recommend trying to find somebody local who'd be willing to let you play with theirs for a little while before you spend the cash. If you have to buy one though, the resell value is pretty high, so you won't lose too much. Guitar Centers usually have a few floating around through their system, which they are usually happy to get rid of cheap. Have a manager do a chainwide search for you and see what they come up with.
  8. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Great, now I have GAS for a Warr guitar. The "Phalanx" stringing looks to me more familiar and comfortable than any of the wacky Chapman tunings.

    Nice mangling of "Discipline," Mr. Strange. Who's on vocals?
  9. good there's two of us now...hey! we can start a club now!

    anyways, here...if you want to know if chapman stick is for you ;)

    just a little fun!

  10. That's fantastic! :D

    I found myself making little tunes in no time, shame the response on it isn't quicker. I guess I'll have to go out and buy a Stick now if I want to experiment some more!

    Russ :bassist:
  11. I'm in total agreement with Benjamin, I've owned both, and the one I have left is the Warr. 8 string tuned the correct way. :) Mines tuned like a 6 string bass with 2 extra strings. Tone to die for and total comfort to play. Tapping on a Warr or stick or even an ADG is like playing on a stick of butter with frets. LOL But it does take a bit to get your head around it. I actually forced myself to play it in an R&B gig, it was odd, but after that I'm much more comfortable with it in any situation.
    Good luck,
  12. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    I've had a Stick for a few years. Stopped playing it a while ago, though. I've never found the Stick terribly comfortable, I need to look at the fretboard too much. The couple brief times I've picked up a Warr it didn't feel much better, though both times were with someone else's strap etc, and admittedly I spent about 15 seconds with it on each time.

    I also played an NS/Stick for a couple minutes. It was a little weird, not being a Stick and not being a bass. I don't like the sound of the skinny EMG pickups that much - of all the tapping instrument configs (Stick pickups, Stick Villex pickups, Warr guitar Bartolini soapbars) I like them least.

    I've been jonesing for a Warr Artist 8 for a while, but between that and bass and guitar I don't think I'd play it enough to justify it.
  13. As far as I know, the NS/Stick (and probably the Bass Stick)is tuned in 4ths like a regular 6 string bass with the addition of the high F and Bb strings, and judging from the pics on the site, I'd say that they are strung with BEAD bass strings and (rough guess, so don't take is as truth) either EADG guitar strings or ADGB guitar strings tuned to GCFBb. I've also read of them being tuned like guitars with the top 6 strings tuned as ADGCEA.
  14. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Thanks! That's General Patton.

    I find that the "standard" tuning on tapping instruments is completely wrong. You've got this huge fretboard; what's the point of having to reach all the way across it? Typically your left hand plays the bass parts, and the right hand plays the treble parts. What I'm going to do with my next Warr is to but all the bass strings next to my left hand, and the treble strings closer to my right. This way, I will only have to reach across 4 strings max to reach my lowest notes.

    The Warrs are easy to setup for any tuning you want; not so with the Stick. I even broke part of the Chapman bridge when I was doing a simple setup on it - cheap metal parts :mad: My Warr was tuned in 5ths for the most part (I play bass in 5ths too). FCGDAEBD. Yes, it was able to handle a low F beautifully. I couldn't get a string to get all the way to high F#, so I had to settle for the D, which turned out to be ok. My next will be somewhat similar: (high to low) CGDAE (then down an octave, low to high) FCGDA. This will give me my normal bass tuning under my left hand, and an upside down guitar tuning under my right. It makes sense in my brain.
  15. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    I own a stick. Haven't played it in years, but when I got it I played it primarily as a bass with some ryhthm guitar diddling as well. I found it to be as challenging as you want it to be.

    To play it as a bass, no real adjustment at all. The decending low strings fifths are the same fingerings as ascending fourths but inverted. apart from that small adjustment, and getting used to tapping rather than plucking, no big deal. It was actuall fun because once i got more comfortable using 2 hands I was coming up with some cool grooves that covered a lot more range than I could on any 9 string bass.

    You can pick up sticks on ebay now and again for pretty cheap. i actually got mine for $500 back in '96 at a consignment shop. Worth the money if you are patient and want to learn a new musical language.
  16. Mr Strange...

    i have my Stick tuned with the bass strings on the normal "treble" side and the 5ths ascending on the other...just like you described.

    it works great and as i'm sure you know it absolutly KILLS with the Machine...i love the look on peoples faces when i hit a huge chord on the Stick and run it through the Machine!!!
  17. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    I have one of the old traditional, original design ten-string Sticks. I stink on it. It is different enough from anything else I play that I have never gotten to where I would be willing to play it in public.

    I keep considering selling it and then changing my mind because I hear guys like Greg Howard, who really can play one like it's meant to be played. Then I get re-inspired and start really practicing on it for a time. But I still suck.

    One of these days I really will sell it.
    oldfretless and SakuBass like this.
  18. Markdezy


    Jan 24, 2004
  19. SakuBass

    SakuBass Lvl 50 Pixelpusher Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2013
    Turenki, Finland
    I just placed an order of a 1988 10-string polycarbonate stick in original condition. I have always wanted one since the end of '80s, but only now one presented itself and I decided to take the leap. Can't wait for it to arrive!

    SpazzTheBassist and SteveCS like this.
  20. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I just recently got into Stick-ish things with the arrival of my Krappy touchstyle (Stick-tuned) 10 string:
    The removable "wings" are for playing sitting, and work quite well.
    gebass6, SpazzTheBassist and SakuBass like this.