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Musical Sticks [Feb. 16th, 2010|11:08 pm]
One of my favorite obscure musical instruments is the Chapman Stick. Imagine cutting the neck off of an electric guitar. You tap near the frets to get the strings moving and pickups amplify that sound.

Since you aren't strumming, that really only occupies one hand. So put a second set of bass strings on the stick and use both hands to tap. It now plays like something between a piano and a guitar... sounds a bit like it, too.

The Stick was given a national introduction on an episode of What's My Line? by it's eponymous inventor, Emmett Stick. Sorry! I meant Emmett Chapman. It never really caught on though it has had a steady niche appeal over the years.

Nothing better to prove it's a real instrument than to play a piece of classical music... Okay, music from a classic movie. Or something. But it sounds cool, dang it!


From: jovino
2010-02-17 09:09 am (UTC)
5 Bass strings tuned in 4ths low string in the center, 5 treble strings tuned in 5ths, low string also in the center.

It's an odd instrument with a fairly unique sound.

Lets not for get Tony Levin and is work with the Chapman stick with both King Crimson and Peter Gabriel (just to name a few!
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2010-02-18 06:52 pm (UTC)
It's not just you. :)
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[User Picture]From: the_gneech
2010-02-17 01:41 pm (UTC)
Neat! I dig it. :)

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[User Picture]From: thump
2010-02-17 03:52 pm (UTC)
Amazing I have never heard of this before, I like it!
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[User Picture]From: bearknight
2010-02-17 07:05 pm (UTC)
Yet another reason why I love you. ;o)

Since I was in high school...*coughwaybackinthe80'sbecauseI'mold*...I've been a huge fan of King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, and anything Tony Levin played on. The stick is an amazing instrument, and has such a unique sound. I had the pleasure of playing one back in the 90's, and it's a blast. Hammer-on madness! XD

If anyone wants to hear a great example of the stick in action, check out this classic King Crimson.

Oh, and buy King Crimson's "Discipline" album. It's phenomenal.
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[User Picture]From: furtech
2010-02-17 08:41 pm (UTC)
Love the 'Stick! I used to follow a local band, "The Freeway Philharmonic", whose lead player, Robert Stanton, used a Chapman Stick. Great band, eclectic sound!

Some of their music:
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From: ultragor
2010-02-18 01:19 am (UTC)
I remember in 2005 in Sacramento I caught video of someone playing a chapman stick at the jazz festival; it had a very "homey" kind-of sound to it.
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[User Picture]From: regalpewter
2010-02-18 01:25 am (UTC)
The Blue Man Group uses, or should I say abuses, the Chapman Stick in their music. They choose to play it by 'bowing' it with a guitar string which lets loose completely unexpected sounds.
They are quite hard on the intruments, to they point that the creator refuses to repair them any longer and they now have to be bought through other agents.
Video of it being play this way at a drum clinic in the UK is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hS0ysHTEThs
Here is a video showing it being used more conventionally on "Utne Wire Man" at an open House with the band in Germany.

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[User Picture]From: traveller_blues
2010-02-22 11:03 pm (UTC)

Hee. Did you know about this because I pointed it out to Kit?

I found this video when I went random walk surfing on YouTube. There's a great video explaining how they work and them some demos that make my toes curl in the good way.

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