Musical Interlude
March 27, 2006 11:11 AM   Subscribe

The Chapman Stick was developed by, who else, Emmett Chapman in the early to mid 70's. One taps the strings rather than plucking and is closer to a piano than a guitar. Noted musians using the stick are Tony Levin (with Peter Gabriel, King Crimson) and Greg Howard (The Dave Mathews Band). Then there's the chick with a stick.
posted by sluglicker (31 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

If the first Greg Howard vid craps out, try this.
posted by sluglicker at 11:12 AM on March 27, 2006

Interesting instrument. I'm more of a diddley bow man, myself though - more than one string is overkill!

Also, there's something faintly pleasing about this post linking to following directly after one linking to
posted by jack_mo at 11:16 AM on March 27, 2006

"Jazz Fusion", Tuck and Patti, Chapman Stick.

A three deade retro trifecta!
posted by HTuttle at 11:22 AM on March 27, 2006

To sort-of-self-link, a friend of mine interviewed Emmet Chapman and talked Stick a bit.
posted by COBRA! at 11:22 AM on March 27, 2006

I used to see Greg Howard play at Miller's in Charlottesville. More truthfully, I'd happen to be sitting outside on nights he was playing to avoid the cover. But it was cool to listen to.
posted by bardic at 11:23 AM on March 27, 2006

i saw a guy playing one of these in Santa Monica.... great stuff.

Still hold's nothin' to Col. Claypool's Whamola (video inside).
posted by trinarian at 11:35 AM on March 27, 2006

The Chapman Stick is truly a Geek's ax among Geek's ax's. Almost zilch for Rock'n'Roll cred but I've always had a morbid fascination with it. I'm sure one will find it's way into my collection someday.
posted by sourwookie at 11:38 AM on March 27, 2006

Make it out to a Col. Claypool concert to hear your favorite DVD Root Menu songs
posted by Satapher at 11:44 AM on March 27, 2006

What about Suzy Chapstick?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:45 AM on March 27, 2006

Hmm, a stuckist and a stickist in subsequent posts.
posted by QuietDesperation at 11:49 AM on March 27, 2006

& a stackist.
posted by Satapher at 11:54 AM on March 27, 2006

at Stuckey's?
posted by COBRA! at 11:55 AM on March 27, 2006

He's too shy shy

add nick beggs to the stick players
posted by HoopsMcCann at 12:06 PM on March 27, 2006

Related in function if not quite in form is The Warr Guitar. Played by current King Crimson-ista, Trey Gunn.

Warr was being sued by Chapman at some point back in '90s. Anybody know how that came out?
posted by doctor_negative at 12:10 PM on March 27, 2006

For some reason I have a huge aversion to the Stick. There is something very new age about it that gives me the creeps. It makes me think of men with ponytails.
posted by zonkout at 12:14 PM on March 27, 2006

No offense to you ponytail men....
posted by zonkout at 12:14 PM on March 27, 2006

Yes, a technically neat instrument, but can you play anything but fusion-new agey glurge with it?
posted by stenseng at 12:20 PM on March 27, 2006

Carrie Melbourne, Tricky's bassist, used to play some pretty bad-ass beats on her Stick.
posted by waldo at 12:29 PM on March 27, 2006

My favorite local electric folk band, Broadside Electric uses a Chapman Stick on a number of their songs.
posted by fings at 12:49 PM on March 27, 2006

Always loved the touch stick and could care less about it not looking “rebellious” enough, which is what I take the lack of street cred to be about.
posted by dreamsign at 1:13 PM on March 27, 2006

*Here* is a link to a video clip of stickist Tom Greisgraber and drummer Jerry Marotta.

The quality is not great, but gives you a good idea of what the instrument can do.
posted by MikeHoegeman at 1:17 PM on March 27, 2006

They look cool, but given that their base model is $1900 I have a hard time thinking I'd ever get one. There's a couple used on EBAY, but the cheapest is $1000 currently.

I wish there was a place where all the unusual instuments were, that I could just go fool around with them.
posted by illovich at 1:54 PM on March 27, 2006

Not so related, but I can't stop thinking about it since this thread came up: what was that mid-80s toy, maybe a yard long, baby blue on one side, white on the other side, with brightly colored rectangles that represented digitized notes? I have a fond, 20 year old memory of a friend playing Rainbow's "Since You've Been Gone" on one.
posted by kimota at 6:16 PM on March 27, 2006

I have a couple albums buried in the basement somewhere by a band called Kittyhawk, (79-80ish I think)that featured TWO stick players.

Neat stuff...sort of Jeff Lorber Fusionish groove...not too wanky at all.

Doubt that it's avail on CD anywhere....but if you see it in a used record store...would be worth the 3 bucks.

former ponytail man
posted by timsteil at 7:08 PM on March 27, 2006

stenseng asks:Yes, a technically neat instrument, but can you play anything but fusion-new agey glurge with it?

Yes. You could take any band that plays any kind of popular music and-assuming part of their lineup is bass guitar, and not a player with a super distinctive sound like, I dunno, Les Claypool or Geddy Lee-swap out their bass player for Tony Levin on stick and the average person wouldn't be able to tell. Or the version with Tony Levin might sound better... I mean, he is Tony Levin. It can basically do anything a bass guitar can, and more(greater range, can be played faster, etc).
posted by MjrMjr at 7:56 PM on March 27, 2006

It can basically do anything a bass guitar can

Except sound like Steve Swallow, Jaco Pastorius, Marcus Miller, ...
posted by Wolof at 8:37 PM on March 27, 2006

I knew a guy that had a Chapman stick.

It was odd ... supposedly, bass players can pick it up quicker than guitar players, but when I tried it, I was lost.

This guy says, "Yeah, it's a really funny instrument. I give it to some people, and they just get it right away, other people never do."
posted by Relay at 8:54 PM on March 27, 2006

P. Fluid of 24-7 Spyz (who, if you don't know 'em, were like Living Color meets Bad Brains (and rocked) in those days) plays one on "Valdez". That's not *totally* new-agey but I admit it's new-agey for those guys.
posted by grumdrig at 3:26 AM on March 28, 2006

Tony Levin is the Anti-pony tail guy.
posted by Eekacat at 5:14 AM on March 28, 2006

Tony Levin is on tour
posted by timsteil at 6:14 AM on March 28, 2006

Great story here about Bob Ezrin's disdain and then acceptance of the stick during the recording of Gabriel's first album and Pink Floyd's "A Momentary Laspe of Reason", respectively.
posted by thrakintosh at 7:12 AM on March 28, 2006

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