Stick Bass®

25 June 14 - Børre Skodvin (Norway), to Stick Enterprises:
     Yesterday The Stick was delivered, all in one piece, and I can't begin tell you how happy I was! Learning to play one of these is something I've dreamed about ever since the first time I saw one, almost 40 years ago. Tonight I took the first few stumbling steps together with my band and even though I realize I have a lot of practicing ahead of me I can hardly put the instrument away!
     Cambria, please give my regards to Emmett and everybody else at your end and let them know how pleased I am. And big thanks to you for all your help! You've been very forthcoming and it's been a pleasure to deal with you.

25 January 13 - Piotr Wronarowicz (Poland), to Emmett:
     I would like to seize an opportunity and thank you for making my Stick. The instrument for me is like a dream come true. When i was unpacking it, I felt like a child. It is amazing how comfortable it is when carried, held and most of all when played. The feel, the lightness of touch are astonishing and the sound is uniquely beautiful among all electric string instruments I've ever heard.
     This 8-string Stick is excellent for me as a bass player because the string spacing allows popular bass guitar techniques. Slapped bass on stick makes for a killer sound. Also, I pluck my Stick like a regular bass together with tapping. Other musicians often ask me why I make such profanities on a strictly tapping instrument but that's their problem. Then with electronic effects, there are no limits.

07 November 08 - William A. Ferguson (California), to
     I own an SB8 (#5509) configured in a Standard 4ths tuning. The reason I went that route is primarily because I wanted to be able to take it out of the box, strap it on and play it without having to learn how to play it outside of a tuning that I've become accustomed to for over 20 years. (Hey - why do something different when the same old works just fine?)
     I can tell you a lot about the SB8. The extensibility of this instrument, from my perspective, is simply amazing. I don't think I've even scratched 5% of it's capabilities. It allows you to create bass lines and grooves that are the envy (and hatred) of legions of bass players (it intimidates guitarists too). One of the things I noticed when I got it was that I was no longer "out of options" when it came to putting lines and grooves together.
     And probably the most important, it sounds better than any bass I've ever owned. I'm strictly a bass player and I suspect that if I had a 10 or 12 string Stick I would primarily stick to the bass side of it.
     If bass is strictly your poison, this is the instrument for you.

09 September 07 - Michael Duclon, to Stick Enterprises
Emmett, I recieved my new SB8 today. It is a superb instrument. I wanted to thank you and tell you how impressed I am with it. It will be a perfect companion to my 10 string MR tuned Stick you made for me just under 3 years ago.

Again, many thanks and say hi to Yuta for me.

03 June 07 - John A. Sillasen (USA), to Stickwire
     I have Chapman Stick Bass #1171 that Emmett made a several years back for me out of Padauk with The Block and its EMG modified humbuckers and a stereo/mono switch. This is my second Stick, the first being a solid rosewood 12-string Grand Stick with the Roland GK2A synth pickup. Love that to death but I am absolutely enthralled with my Stick Bass.
      My question and challenge to you bassists out there is why aren't you playing Stick Bass too? I love this instrument. When Elisa approached me about putting together a show, I put a stake in the ground and said, "No more bass guitar!" If I was going to do this, I wanted to play my Stick Bass. Wow, am I glad that I have an all bass tuning (my preference). I can double lines, add octaves and still comp some chords and even add melody lines. Newer SB8s even have bass fret markers but mine has the traditional Stick markers. No matter, once I sat down to learn Elisa's music it soon became a question of, "Hmmm, what can I add here with two hands?" It's a no brainer - a big, 10-string, really easy to tap bass guitar with a lot less weight and gobs of blending tones.

17 November 06 - Ron LeSaar (Chicago, IL), to
My SB-8 has arrived! My first impressions: beautifully crafted, precise, and artistically designed and built. I wasn't expecting a partially flat surface on the back of the neck (assumed rounded, like all my basses), but I'm quite used to it already. The angled (beveled?) edge of the neck actually provides a natural spot for the right-hand thumb to rest and guide the right hand. As many have said before me, the first inclination is to TAP!!! (pound) on the strings, but I soon learned that only a light *tap* was sufficient and indeed helped to bring out the higher harmonics of the string.

22 November 05 - Rob Martino (VA), to StickWire:
For an instrument optimized for the tapping technique, you can't go wrong with the conventional Stick setup. The SB8 felt almost effortless as far as tapping basslines and I liked the uniform (and wide) string spacing, as well as the playing angle.

27 August 05 - Will Cruttenden (UK), to StickWire:
The SB8 is coming on in leaps and bounds, even since my last post. I haven't been practising tapping enough in the past on my basses, so the learning curve was higher than it should have been. I'm trying to let go of "standard" bass ideas now and work with two handed tapping ideas. It's certainly not dull.

24 August 05 - Will Cruttenden (UK), to Stick Enterprises:
I'm writing to let you know my SB8 (#5115) has arrived safely in the sleepy village of Stanford in the Vale. I wanted to say thank you to all of you at Chapman HQ for making this process an enjoyable and highly rewarding one. The instrument is a beautiful thing to look at and a lovely thing to listen to. It had only been out of its case for a few hours before I had an attempt at playing it in a jazz/blues gig - the reaction was amazing. The guitarist literally gasped and wanted to know all the details of tunings, manufacture and playing styles. There isn't much literature on the SB8 but I'm having great fun learning to control dynamics with my left hand and finding ways of extending already familiar bass lines. I believe this is the beginning of a great musical journey for me and my Stick.

18 November 04 - David Huff (TX), to Stick Enterprises:
I recently sold my SB8 back to you and bought another with the extended range as well as the Flaps, Rails and the PASV-4. The instrument is truly a beast! The PASV-4 with its various timbral settings lets my work on the higher strings really RING!

12 June 03 - Matt Rock (OH), to Stick Enterprises:
I just wanted to let you know that I received my SB8, and I LOVE it, everything is in proper working order, and it looks awesome!!! Thank you for working with me.

21 April 03 - David Crawford (Germany), to Stick Enterprises:
Just wanted to you to know how much I am enjoying the SB8. I finally got my computer D.A.W up and running and was able to record a bit of Stick. WOW! I can't believe how easy it is to get a great tone from this instrument. The EMGs were a good choice. I love switching into mono for the SUPER bass and back to have two sides again. I appreciate the effort you put into this instrument and the more than reasonable price.

24 February 03 - David Crawford (Germany), to Stickwire:
First of all, I GOT MY SB8 and it is FANTASTIC!!! I'm playing through a little J-Station in mono and I can't believe how good it sounds...

5 February 03 - Karsten Roeth (Germany), to Sticklog:
Today I became the owner of a Stick Bass SB8 with ACTV-2 pickups. Wow, this thing is "der hammer" (the Hammer). I've just sat down with it for an hour and have worked on a few songs. I've always regarded the standard Stick as an instrument that stands alone, and as such, must be studied from scratch. On Sick Bass, you just plug it in and fire away. The tuning is all in fourths, thus the guitar type scales can be greatly expanded, the chords as well.

17 January 03 - Darrell Harvard (MS), to Stick Enterprises:
So I called to see if you guys had any used Sticks in stock. YOU DID! It was an SB8, which wasn't quite the same, but it would work. WOW! I ordered it on complete blind faith, having never actually heard or seen one outside of King Crimson CDs and a live video, much less played one. It was everything I hoped it would be and then some. A day later, I did a home gig with Afro, here in Hattiesburg, MS, on The Stick, before we left for a national and international tour.

20 September 02 - Kevin Ramsey (Japan), to Stickwire:
I played SB8 for about a year before switching to a Grand. I went with the SB8 because it would allow me to stay familiar with the inlay pattern and the way a Stick is worn. I was also intrigued by the newly available Fret Rails (which are wonderful to play on, btw). My purpleheart SB8 was a beautifully constructed instrument, and I was extremely happy with it.

4 May 02 - Mark Amos (OH), to Sticknews:
I hold down the low end with an SB8, a Peavey CyberBass and a Yamaha Silent Upright and do some keyboard work and backing vocals. Wherever we play the SB8 draws attention - there are usually several people lined up at the breaks that want to know what it is, how I got started playing it and commenting on the sound or technique. The "only" effect I use on The Stick is a Bass POD, and it's usually doing compression and a little chorus. Most of the time I use the SB8 like a bass, but on a couple of songs, I do some arpeggios and stabs with the right hand, and these are what seem to draw the comments. In addition to backing Phyllis Dwyer - our front/singer/songwriter - the rest of us are also responsible for adding aesthetic and musical coolness to the experience. Besides being a great axe, the SB8 contributes considerably to the ambience and certainly makes for interesting conversations at the breaks.

25 March 02 - Jeremy Nesse (CA), to Stick Enterprises:
The SB8 is by far the most beautiful instrument I have played or even owned. The graphite feels so solid and allows me to glide along the neck like there was no tomorrow. Amazing!!!

19 March 02 - Steve Sullivan (DC), originally posted on Harmony Central:
It produces every tone from warm jazz guitar to funky clav. About 3/4 of the way between the two is the throaty, barky Stick-sound of Tony Levin's recordings for Gabriel and Crimson. So you can definitely get "that sound" with this pickup configuration. Player "wears" the instrument using a shoulder strap and belt hook. The belt hook is also height- (and therefore angle-) adjustable. The instrument doesn't "weigh" on the player because of the distribution of weight across the two points of attachment. This is the most adjustable instrument I've ever seen, but apart from a little truss rod tweakage in the DC summer and winter it's never needed a thing. Allen wrenches and a truss rod wrench are included, along with a locking form-fitting flight case, shoulder strap and stereo cord. In tune and perfectly set up out of the box. Relief and action have a not-so-wide range of tolerance on a tapping instrument, but this one arrived perfectly playable and, as noted, it's fully adjustable. No stray glue, no chips, no nicks, no chatter marks, no proud fret rods.

18 December 01 - Richard Jeffery (England), to Stickwire:
This has been the first instrument I have bought that I have actually felt instantly comfortable with. I have the "Free Hands" book, and although it is geared up for a split string configuration, all of the fingering techniques and tapping approaches are just as relevant to The Stick Bass. At the moment I'm really just trying to sort out how to control dynamics consistently, and to get my left hand working as well as the right.

14 November 01 - Steven Sullivan (DC), to Stickwire:
I found the SB8 playable out of the box. YMMV, but I think one can adjust very quickly.

18 October 01 - Robert Schrum (MI), to Stick Enterprises:
I wanted to let you know personally what a wonderful and beautiful instrument you crafted for me. (Purpleheart SB8 #1801) It truly is a work of art and sounds fantastic! The 8-string format is much more playable for me than my old 10 string due to the increased string spacing. I am playing it through a Sadowsky bass preamp and a Hartke Kickback. It never fails to inspire. Thank you so much!

26 August 01 - David Huff (TX), to Stickwire:
As a bass player I felt that the SB8 would make the most sense to transfer two-handed tapping experiments from bass. After two years on the SB8 (and one Greg Howard seminar) I decided to delve into the fifths tuning of the standard 10-string. I have found that although the basic execution of the tapping technique is the same for both instruments, the turning scheme alone makes them two completely different worlds of possibilities. My SB8 serves me well with the band I play it in. I can lay a bass line down that has the unmistakable Stick tone that we all love so well (sorry I have no sound bytes) or I can simplify the bass and add some color in the upper registers to support the music. If you are a guitar or bass player just ask yourself, "Do I want an instrument that will be somewhat familiar so I can hit the ground running (SB8)?" or, "Do I want to learn a completely new instrument that is stringed and electrical (10-string)?" Either way you can't lose! They're both amazing instruments!

26 August 01 - Steven Sullivan (DC), to Stickwire:
What can I say about the SB8? It's a tonally versatile instrument that's ready to play out of the box. Generally it takes heavy gauge strings and the string spacing is wider than on a 10 or a Grand. I think the tone is comparable to other Sticks with the same pickup module (EMG-FT or Villex). You can obviously tap on the instrument, and with a light touch you can play a traditional electric bass style (I've found that plucking on the fretboard near where you're fingering allows you to keep your right hand close to a Stick hand position and allows easier transitions between styles).

9 July 01 - Kevin Ramsey (Japan), to Stickwire:
I play my SB8 in an 18-piece big band, and my role is "bassist". We play mostly modern jazz (lots of Bob Mintzer charts), with only a sprinkling of more standard jazz (G. Evans, C. Mingus, some guy named Basie). So, sonic-wise, the SB8 seems to fit in quite well.

24 February 01 - Kevin Ramsey (Japan), to Stickwire:
By the way, I had a great practice session with my SB8 this weekend. It was one of those relatively rare moments for me where I had The Stick strapped on and was so into what I was practicing that I completely lost track of time. I remember telling myself a few times that I should stop and rest, but for better or worse I kept plugging along. When I came up for air, over 4 hours had passed, which is quite unusual for me. For some strange reason, I'd been keeping (relatively) distant from my SB8 in the 2 months (wow, exactly 2 months today!) since it arrived. I think we finally bonded this weekend.

24 December 00 - David Huff (TX), to Stick Enterprises:
You most definitely may post my commentary of the SB8 on your web site. If felt the need to let you know just how important that instrument is to me. It is the most perfect vessel for my artistic expression that I could have hoped to find. I'm just a student of music at the University of North Texas and my words may not mean much but you may use them in whatever ways you see fit, promotional or otherwise. Thanks for everything, Emmett.

13 December 00 - David Huff (TX), to Stick Enterprises:
It's been a year since I first pulled my SB8 out of its case and I feel that I have barely scratched the surface of the sonic possibilities that this wonderful instrument has to offer. As a bass player who has utilized two-handed tapping techniques for some time, I find the SB8 to be a breath of fresh air in that its ease of play sharply contrasts the gymnastic qualities of tapping on the electric bass. Thus I have been limited only by my imagination and technical prowess in exploring new sounds with the SB8. Whether I am laying down a solid groove with a full group or mixing a rhythmic lead line and driving bass simultaneously with only a drummer, the SB8 gives me a diversity of sound that you just can't get on any other bass. I can't wait to hear where I'm at next year!

12 November 00 - Oliver Poschmann (Germany), to Stick Enterprises:
I am amazed by the beauty of the (8-string Stick Bass) and the great feel and response, playing the instrument. It certainly offers new musical challenges. Thank you for giving me a new opportunity to expand musically by making such a terrific instrument.

15 July 00 - The Ron Fairchild Page (AR):
In 2000, we saw a new instrument introduced into the stage show called The Chapman Stick. This instrument is played by tapping the strings, thus requiring only one hand to play. Ron picked up the SB8 Stick Bass and now for certain songs when needed he can play both keyboards and the bass at the same time via The Stick, allowing Mighty Oaks Band bass guitar player, Paul Martin, to play the steel guitar. This has added a whole new dimension to the Oaks live shows and really demonstrates the musical talent the band possesses. Ron spends much of his time now practicing on the Chapman Stick.

20 June 00 - Andrea Moneta's Website,, (Italy):
The first time I saw and heard a Chapman Stick, I thought, "I want that instrument, that's the future in music!" And when I witnessed the Bela Fleck show with Roy "Futureman" Wooten playing drums on his modified Synthaxe, I realized that I could mix my two main instrumental attitudes - drums & bass. So I decided to choose a new Chapman Stick Bass and I'm completely satisfied with it. Being a bass player and a drummer I could easily put my hands on my new beautiful Tarara wood SB8 just from the very first day. The string spacing, string tuning and string gauges are close to my custom 5 string bass (even same brand of pickup - EMG!) so I can switch to the new world and going back to my bass baby. I have only to carry one more tiny case with me! The SB8 is the "trade d'union" between the two worlds and I can assure you that it isn't a small brother of the 10 or 12 string, you can pound intricate bass lines and upper register counter-melodies, plus chords and a lot more. Basically you have a completely new world ahead to discover ... but you have a map of it.

29 May 00 - Paul Mimlitsch (NJ), to Stickwire:
Well it's been a few weeks now since I received my new SB8 and I thought I'd share some thoughts/impressions: Construction: Rosewood (laminated-7 pc.). Beautifully done. Excellent fretwork - great action. (The "wider than on my previous Sticks" string spacing is also a great boon to my clumsy fingers :) ). The active EMG's sound great, both when running clean, and especially when driving the tube preamp section of my Digitech RP20 processor - yielding a smooth distortion with lots of sustain. The Big Picture: Unprocessed, in mono mode, signal levels are even across the board. In stereo mode, when doing the running bass line/wailing (well sort of :) ) lead thing there's no compromise in the bottom end of the bass side but at the same time it really cuts through with that uniquely Stick "wireyness". Even full blown, high gain distortions work well across the board with no "muddiness" in the low end. In short I'm thrilled with my SB8.

13 May 00 - Marat L. Voronov (Latvia), to Stick Enterprises:
My Stick Bass has given an extra edge to my sound, my image, and a rather arrogant hope to bring something really new and original into bass playing, because, I'm sure, this rather young instrument still hides a lot of undiscovered possibilities and challenges.

25 March 00 - Dave Dixon (VA), to Stickwire:
I like my SB8 because of it's playability, and I like the range of tones. To give you a hint of the tone I like, when I play guitar I play Telecasters and other guitars that have a lot of bite, but I play the neck pickup and roll off some treble to give the bite of a jazzy, throaty backing. This kind of tone I can approximate pretty well with my Stick, equipped with the EMG-loaded Block.

5 February 00 - "FayeDumph", to Stick Enterprises:
Just had to let you know that I have seen Ron Fairchild of the Oak Ridge Boys band playing your Stick (SB8) and think it is very revolutionary and on the cutting edge.

20 December 99 - Dave Dixon (VA), to Stickwire:
And I forgot to mention, just in case anybody is wondering, when I got home on Friday I plugged my SB8 in and played for hours! Immediately I noticed how terrific the sound is ....wwwwhhooooaaaa baby. That sound, right there in my own home! When my girlfriend finally showed up, she was wowed first by it's look, and then by it's sound - exactly as I was, and she's a musician as well. After a little while of tapping around, I already feel that this instrument is more comfortable and easy to play than I could have ever dreamed, and I have no intention of going back to guitar any time soon I can tell you. The bass strings of the Stick have a snarl all their own so the beautiful top end doesn't fool you into thinking this is a "pretty music only" instrument.. hahaa, although it's so much easier now for me to make some subtle soulful sounds I think... All in all, I'm floored, thanks to the Chapmans!!!!