Tommy Stanton

Computer programmer and banjo picker

My very own Chapman Stick

I ordered a 10-string Stick® (serial #5986) in October 2010 from Stick Enterprises and I received my instrument in February 2011.

Tommy with the Stick body and inlay
Tommy with his finished Stick
Tommy with the Stick body and inlay
November 2010
Tommy with his finished Stick
(and newly-grown beard ;)
February 2011

Seeing the Stick...the first encounter

I was first exposed to the instrument when I saw Nima & Merge performing in front of some of the shops in Downtown Disney in June 2004. I thought to myself: "Hmm, what is that 'stick' thing being played?". I talked to Nima and his bandmates (who were very friendly fellows) during their break and it was revealed to me that it indeed was a Stick being played. ;)

Soon after, I looked up the instrument on the Internet and found the beloved videos of Greg Howard demonstrating the instrument ("Video #1" and "Video #2" ;); I was sold. I couldn't believe how much music came out of the instrument.

When 2005 came, I was lucky enough to attend the NAMM Show in Anaheim. This just happened to be the only time recently that Stick Enterprises was there, with a large booth. I finally had the opportunity to try one. I also got to see Greg Howard (among other professionals) in person.

I could tell that playing this instrument was very different than what I was used to--I think it's rare that someone who hasn't done tapping before would naturally feel confident on the instrument when playing it for the first time. Regardless, I left NAMM still feeling intrigued. The only problem was that I was 18-years-old...with no cash. :)

Acquiring the long last

So, it's about 6 years later and now I have the means to acquire such an instrument. When you order an instrument from Stick Enterprises, you get to choose the wood that the instrument will be made out of, the fret inlays, etc: it's all custom.

I was interested in bamboo, and my favorite color is red. After lots of research, I settled on a dark bamboo 10-string Stick with red linear inlays and smokey gray tuners. I also got the bridge "pre-routed," in case I want to get a MIDI pickup later. I am very happy with my choice. :)

It was a pleasure to do business with Stick Enterprises; the craftsmanship of my instrument is just superb. I can really feel the precision of the Fret Rails™ on the hard bamboo. The red "Trademark Linear Fretboard Markers" and smokey gray tuners contrast nicely with the body. The tone from the standard Stickup™ emits a constant excellence from the extreme down-fret on the lowest bass string to the extreme up-fret on the highest melody string.

My experience with the Stick thus far

In the few months that I've had the instrument, I have already had a lot of fun playing on it and figuring out how to translate some various tunes from different musical worlds (ie. bluegrass' "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" or surf rock's "Apache").

I believe that my musical aspirations can be independently-achieved with the Stick. As a strings guy, this is the closest that I'm going to come to having the melodic power of the organ.

More blog posts regarding this instrument should be on the way. :)

YouTube videos of the Stick

"What does this instrument sound like?" Well, I'm so glad that you asked. :)

Greg Howard - Autumn Leaves (jazz standard)
(video should be queued to 9:58)

Jaap Kramer - Jesus unser Trost und Leben (JS Bach)
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