That Thing I Play

What is It?

People ask me all the time, “Stickman, what is that thing you play?”  It is called a Chapman Stick, which is a 10 stringed instrument invented by Emmett Chapman.  Unlike the electric bass, which is played by plucking strings, or the guitar, which is played with a pick, the Stick is played by tapping the strings onto the fretboard. 


Sort of Like a Bass and Guitar, but Not

Some other differences are that the instrument has both bass and treble sides.  The bass side is tuned in ascending 5ths, somewhat like an upside down cello, starting with the C below a bass’ low E string.  The other 5 strings on the melody side are tuned in fourths, starting with an F# at the same pitch as the second fret of a guitar’s low E string.  This tuning allows for bass and chords to be played in the left hand while the right hand plays chords and melody on the treble side.  Also, the Stick has a stereo output so the treble and bass sides can be sent through different effects and through different amps - this is why the instrument uses a stereo “Y” cable.


Feel free to ask more about it when you come to our next gig!

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