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prog_fiend

The Stick Thread

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Welcome to the crazy world of the Chapman Stick!

The only advice I feel qualified to give would be to "stick" with it. (Ouch!) I don't know how you're feeling about it but I certainly thought that having about 33 steady years of bass experience before I started with the Stick would give me a head start but I actually found that my skills were not so transferable after all. I found the reverse 5ths tuning on the bass side very difficult for playing bass lines and found even interaction between the hands not easy, let alone independence!

Fortunately, I'm stubborn and persistent so I'm finally getting somewhere but in reality it's taken me a lot longer than I thought it would and I'm still no virtuoso.

Play as often as you can and pay attention to your setup - If you're playing out make sure you have the truss rod tool with you - the neck can move from one environment to another and if the action is out of whack, it can really throw you especially at the start.

If you want to play "normal" bass lines on it, some players change the bass side to a 4ths tuning - easy to play fluid basslines like you are used to but against that you lose the compact open chord voicings that 5ths gives you.

You're right to think that it's easy to take over a whole band's sound with the stick - played all at once it can be an enormous, dense sound leaving little space for anyone else but if your bandmates like it, they'll likely start to make adjustments to accommodate you. For example, the guitarists I play with will often switch to mandolin or Dobro if I'm going to be playing stick - there's lots of room to experiment and no real rules or traditions with the Stick - it's very much whatever you choose to make it.

Also be prepared to make lots of new friends if you play it out. It may be different if you mingle in the prog-rock circles but for most types of music, yours will be the first Stick an audience has ever seen and the questions come thick and fast! 🙂 

One last thought just now - Sticks sound much better in Stereo than mono, even if your just going through a mono setup like a bass amp - something to do with the impedance loading on the pickups I believe so if you don't have multiple inputs on your amp setup, invest in a little mixer - I use a Boss LS-2- and it will sound much brighter and livelier.

Overall, my Stick journey has been at times frustrating but hugely enjoyable. It hasn't diminished my love for the bass but it has enhanced my musical knowledge no end and frankly I can't imagine being without one now.

Best of luck and if there's anything you want to know, just ask!

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Many thanks for the helpful reply EMG456.

I'm already using headphones but in mono. Still ok for now though.

I have a mixer and lots of ideas how to use it... All I have to do is find the power supply for it 

🙄

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Found the mixer PSU... And off we go in 2 channels!

Funny how you forget to apply all the good things you've learned along the way..

I'd assumed that the slightly thin sound was my technique.

It wasn't (particularly!)  Both sides needed a smidge of EQ, and bingo! 🙄😂

Edited by Lfalex v1.1

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16 minutes ago, Daz39 said:

Gosh I would love a Stick!

It took me long enough to get one!

And there's so much to learn.. and selectively remember/forget from guitar or bass playing.

The Melody strings are familiar in terms of fingering patterns but alien in that you're likely to be playing it with your right hand.

The Bass strings are what you're used to in terms of your left hand, even though they're  upside down..  it's the tuning in 5ths that's odd!

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7 hours ago, Lfalex v1.1 said:

The Bass strings are what you're used to in terms of your left hand, even though they're  upside down..  it's the tuning in 5ths that's odd!

Even odder is that in an emergency, you can just play all the patterns you usually play on the bass but string to string jumps take you to the right note but in the “wrong” octave.

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