Now I have a Stick. Ho ho ho.

Discussion in 'Extended Range Guitars' started by yingmin, May 27, 2015.

  1. yingmin

    yingmin Parker über alles

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    I was at the Tacoma Guitar Show last weekend, and I saw some pretty interesting things walking around, but what really caught my eye was a Chapman Stick at one of the booths, tagged at only $750. I sure as hell didn't have that kind of cash to spend, so I offered up a couple items for trade. Over the next week, we emailed back and forth, and he said he'd be interested to see my '23 Gibson tenor banjo. My ad for the banjo on Mandolin Cafe also attracted someone who offered and Eastman mandocello, which was extremely tempting, and worth more than my banjo, but you can tell from the thread title which choice I made.

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    I'd never actually seen a Stick in person before, nor had I properly played one, although I dinked around with it a little at his booth. It's an incredibly Spartan design, but it's also impressively well thought-out. Both the bridge saddles and individual nuts are simply screws with a groove in the top for the string, so they're height-adjustable, or even movable, if you want to string it differently. The "open" strings are muted by the velcro pad behind the first fret - treble moreso than bass - but the first fret is totally playable. The support system is very clever as well: the belt hook supports the bulk of the instrument's weight, and the little leather thong simply helps keep it upright (ladies). The belt hook blocks the truss rod adjustment nut, which is completely exposed, but they include a wrench with a curved handle for easy adjustments. The volume knobs and output jack are positioned in such a way that they're extremely unlikely to interfere with your playing or cause an issue. There's just so much intentionality behind this instrument.

    As far as playing, I've had a Santucci Treblebass, which is essentially a poor man's Warr Guitar, for several years. It was initially tuned like a standard bass and a standard guitar. A few years ago, I had a new nut made such that the guitar strings were now reversed, with the thinnest strings of each side meeting in the middle. That allowed me to play basic triads on the guitar side very comfortable and easily. Well, the Stick is exactly the opposite, and the thickest strings are right next to each other. The lower 5 strings are tuned in 5ths up from C, and the treble side in 4ths up from F#. So far, I'm not in love with the fifths tuning on the bass, because it makes it really hard to play smaller intervals, forcing you to play chord inversions over an octave wide; an open-position triad would be untenable on the lower frets, and unnecessarily difficult elsewhere. Nevertheless, I'm trying to adapt to it and judge it on its own merits. I may end up completely reversing the strings like I had on my Treblebass.

    Videos when I feel competent enough. Like I said, I have a fair amount of experience playing two-handed, but it's been a while, and on a completely different instrument.
     
  2. jeremyb

    jeremyb SS.org Regular

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    Nice one man!!
     
  3. noise in my mind

    noise in my mind SS.org Regular

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    awesome! now please upload a video of you playing it.
     
  4. Albionic

    Albionic First of the magi

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  5. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    Weeeew die hard!
     
  6. metallidude3

    metallidude3 SS.org Regular

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  7. Dominoes282

    Dominoes282 Mixing Engineer

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    Hey look! It's probably the only 10 string in the world that isn't hated! Jk nice score man. :shred:
     
  8. mr coffee

    mr coffee SS.org Regular

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    I had a bassist who played a Stick for a time, they're pretty interesting instruments. I never even tried to wrap my head around them.

    Happy NSD!

    -m
     
  9. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Imaginary rep for thread title. :yesway:
     
  10. johnwaic

    johnwaic Member

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    Nice! Always want to learn to play one, but I know I will never be able to handle all the strings, chords and melody all at the same time.
     
  11. Dusty Chalk

    Dusty Chalk SS.org Regular

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    Aw, yih! (raises hand for a 'high five')

    (hang time)

    (waits)

    (drums fingers)
     
  12. Alex Kenivel

    Alex Kenivel Stunt Guitar

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    Yippee ki yay, MF!
     
  13. androponic

    androponic SS.org Regular

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    Nice aquisition !! I have always been intrigued by the chapman stick. Looks like it would be cool to play..
    "Tap, Tap, Taperoo...." -Happy Gilmore.
     
  14. yingmin

    yingmin Parker über alles

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    Taking the Stick with me to Montana for a friend's wedding, and I brought two books with me: selected piano scores from the Legend of Zelda series, and the Billy Joel songbook. I've also been making significant progress on the main tune I've been working on. Hopefully I'll be able to show you all something after I get back.
     
  15. InCasinoOut

    InCasinoOut syncopAZN

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    SquanderedYouth! Nice buy. Looking forward to hearing/seeing you play it. Whats the scale length on it? Looks really long, but I'm also guessing its hard to tell when there isn't a real body for reference.
     
  16. JSanta

    JSanta SS.org Regular

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    WOW, yours is quite the vintage piece! I've had two but could never make my hands do what they were supposed to. I bet if you emailed Emmett over at Stick.com he would love to see where one of the first couple hundred he built has ended up.
     
  17. JaxoBuzzo

    JaxoBuzzo ....ing river pirate

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    A stick or Mandocello really is a hard choice. Which ever way you went would have been a good decision. Happy stickin'!
     
  18. yingmin

    yingmin Parker über alles

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    I was told it's 34", which is plausible, but I haven't looked any farther into it. So far, my right hand hasn't played much lower than the 12th fret, so the scale length works well enough. The fifths tuning on the bass strings makes it a little tricky when my left hand needs to play closer intervals, like in the main riff of Movin' Out, but it also makes it easier to play wider intervals. For example, a standard triad is R-5-3, so the root and fifth are the same fret, and the third (actually a sixth above the fifth) is one or two frets higher.

    tabit4lyfe
    I'd wanted a Stick ever since I learned that they existed, but honestly, what probably played the biggest role in taking the Stick over the mandocello was that the Stick was a local trade, versus shipping it somewhere on a certain degree of faith.
     
  19. Unburdened

    Unburdened SS.org Regular

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    Incredible piece of minimalistic work. Up there with the original Gittler in my opinion. Congratulations on the purchase!
     

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