Design

06 March 13 - Per Boysen (New York), to Stickist.com:
SUBJECT: Loving how easy the Stick is to maintain!
      I need to use my several decades old Stratocaster for a recording and decided to give the intonation a quick face lift before kicking of the recording. And then I realized how used I have become to the super easy maintenance. On my Sticks I take three minutes to adjust the neck every second week and they just play perfectly smooth but on this rock n roll crap axe I need to take off the strings as well as the pick-guard just to reach the adjustment point for the truss rod. And then put everything back and tune up the bitch. Horrible design... people must love that strat tone to go through all that.
      The Stick design is just totally efficient.

24 August 11 - David Segal (New York), to Stick Enterprises:
      I refretted the instrument with the 6100/.110 size fret wire after re-leveling the board (didn't need much). Level, crown, and polish was much easier than traditional guitars and basses due to the flat surface. After final setup and testing I had a lot of fun playing it. My customer is going to be very happy. The adjustable threaded bridge pieces and the corresponding ones at the nut area made adjustment very easy.
      This was my first time at working on a Stick. I have worked on many instruments from simple set-ups, to complete restorations. I enjoy repair work as much as I do building my line of custom bass guitars. With every different instrument that I have worked over the last 34 years on I learn something new. There is always "something I would do" and "something I would not do" design or construction wise. With your instrument everything was intelligently designed and I could not think of a better way to do it. You made my job relatively easy.

Best always,
David Segal
www.newyorkbassworks.com

15 February 11 - Bryan Fricker (Australia), to Stick Enterprises:
      Further to my last message I forgot to mention that, as I was looking through all the images on your site, it struck me just how much these instruments are things of beauty. You should be commended on the quality and finish on all of them (not to mention the radical departure from other stringed instruments).

      I get great pleasure even just looking at them.

10 July 08 - Sean Sterling (WA), to Stickist.com:
      I'm a career musician and I strive to get the best instrument possible for my work. A lot goes into the design and building of a virtuoso's instrument. Emmett's attention to that end gives each of us in the Stick Community an instrument of that caliber. I know of no other musical instrument that has this unique, singular level of excellence. You can get guitars, pianos and so on at different levels of quality. With the Stick you get the ultimate in your hands right from the start. As a beginner every move you'll make is much easier than on an instrument of average or poor quality.

08 March 08 - Francesco Puddu (Norway), to Stickist.com:
      I always taught the flipside of the Stick was beautiful: such clean lines! I was translating the conference of an italian designer in Oslo and, since he was a very nice guy, I showed him the Stick web page: he was very impressed with Emmett's design concepts. Way out of the box!

26 January 07 - Vijith Assar (VA), to StickWire:
       At the Michigan seminar last year, Emmett fielded some questions about instrument design from attendees and at one point ended up telling us that he felt that the best design for fully independent playing would be two separate necks. He chose to put both sets of strings on the same neck because he wanted the ability to play across both string sets at the same time with either hand. That gave me a lot to think about, and a lot more to practice. (I haven't even started...)

23 January 07 - Marshall Ross, to StickWire:
      Emmett's pioneering efforts + 30 years of refinement have made for a spectacular instrument. I bought mine over 12 years ago, and it's just as amazing and inspiring to me as the day I bought it.

20 July 05 - Rob Martino (VA), to StickWire:
       The system is designed to make the fretboard easier to navigate. If you start by placing an inlay at the octave position, then further markers are placed 5 frets apart in each direction because of the fourths/fifths tuning. It's set up so that the same note/scale/chord can be found by moving over one string and one inlay. It also makes coordination between the hands easier, as tunings are usually set up so that the same or similar notes are under each hand if they are one or two inlays apart. Thinking of it another way, you can shift everything up or down an inlay, and everything will be the same, just shifted over one string.

21 September 04 - Jeb McIntyre (MI), to Stickwire:
      I think part of the appeal of the Stick in general is that it's so damn simple and functional. A nicely finished 2x4 with frets, a bit of hardware and pretty basic electronics. Almost nothing to wear out. Nearly indestructible compared to other musical instruments. No frills, just a very solid and utilitarian device with brilliant engineering that makes great music possible. The Stick is arguably the only instrument in the world that doubles as a weapon without fear of destruction. What surprises me is that there is no martial art dedicated to this alternate use of the Stick. Ninja Stick! Hell, sharpen the pointy end, and you'd really have something to contend with!

Dec 03 - Greg Howard (VA), to StickWire:
      The inlays are a spectacular step forward (in my opinion). Having the same exact reference for each string in relation to the fret marker makes knowing where you are that much easier, especially when it comes to trans-locating parts from one string to the next. Glow-in-the-dark means that when the lighting engineer gets really creative, I will always be able to find my way around, and no longer have to worry about starting on the wrong note on a dim stage.

7 November 02 - Greg Howard (VA), to Stickwire:
      I think it's really valuable to talk about the ergonomics of the instrument. The bodiless design allows a certain intimacy and comfort level that other instruments don't have. The way the instrument angles back towards your shoulder makes it easy to see what's going on, and makes left-hand wrist angles less severe than if the neck is far away from your body.

28 June 02 - Jeff Edmunds (PA), to Stickwire:
      Emmett has spoken in the past of the path that led him to invent and refine The Stick. Seems to me like the path was motivated by an inquiring nature ("What happens if I do *this* on guitar?") combined with the slash-and-burn mentality of the innovator: get rid of anything that ain't necessary. Miles didn't need all those notes, Andy didn't need all those overdubs, and Emmett didn't need all that extra wood (among many other things).

21 June 02 - Greg Howard (VA), to Stickwire:
      First I thought my polycarbonate Stick was the perfect instrument, then you made the one-piece hardwoods, so I had to get my Rosewood, then I had to try heavier strings, then I had to get an instrument with Rails and The Block and soon it will have to be a graphite Grand with the PASV-4...Cut it out! Seriously, I have to applaud you, Emmett, for every step you make in the evolutionary course of tapping instruments - there is no question in my mind that you are introducing the future of this way of making music with every new development. You lead the way, whether those who come after will follow you or try to re-invent the wheel remains to be seen...

1 February 02 - Jerry Ballard (CA), to Stickwire:
      Over the years I've played with/considered all kinds of tapping instruments, and my gut feeling is that The Stick is a 'scalpel' compared to any other instrument. That may or may not be what you want, but it's the heart of the issue for me. Lean, precise, elegant and unique. The desire to play an instrument that looks more like a traditional guitar is to a large degree tied to ones self image and musical identity. It takes a little more balls to walk up on stage with something that is immediately recognizable as 'different', and being different takes some degree of cajones. That's not a value judgment. Some musicians don't want the attention to be on the instrument. That's cool. But for others of us, the instrument itself opens the conversation, saying "Hey.. you're about to see/hear something different."

29 January 02 - Jeff Edmunds (PA), to Stickwire:
      Note though that I said "the coolest looking *instrument* I've ever seen" (not the coolest looking tapping instrument or coolest looking guitar-bass thingum or coolest looking sitar-like thing). I was comparing apples and oranges on purpose. To me, The Stick is cooler looking than a piano or a piccolo or a tuba or a Warlock guitar. What can I say, I like simplicity and elegance.

29 January 02 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
      The talk of "look" is all well and good when comparing one guitar to another or one bass to another. But we're comparing instruments that have greater differences than that. The Stick is continually associated with the guitar and/or bass. I suppose this happens for obvious reasons but I personally think this association needs to be broken at some point.
      The Stick is designed for one purpose. Tapping. Yes, using guitar and/or bass techniques on Stick is awkward because that's not what The Stick is designed for (although nobody told Nick Beggs that). With its positioning and layout, you have the ability to use both hands to play full range pieces previously only available to the keyboard player.

29 January 02 - Jeff Edmunds (PA), to Stickwire:
      Even if I were to adopt Andre Agassi's dictum that image is everything I'd still choose a Stick every time. Definitely the coolest looking instrument I've ever seen. Then again, to each his own. Our drummer thinks Warlock guitars look good!

29 January 02 - Kevin Ramsey (Japan), to Stickwire:
      I think when selecting a musical instrument, you might want to consider how it plays, how it feels in your hands/on your body, how it sounds, etc. with _at least_ as much weight as how it looks. As for the "looks" of The Stick, I fell in love with it the first time I saw one.

29 January 02 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
      As I continue to play, the beauty of it all just keeps growing on me. The whole position and method of play is just incredibly comfortable and natural for me. For me to change anything about my current setup in order to allow me to do more "guitar-like" things would subtly take away from everything I love about this instrument. Does The Stick (or any tapping instrument for that matter) stand to sell more instruments by targeting the guitar and/or bass player market. Probably. But I'd like to think that when it all shakes out in the end, it won't be a "super guitar" or a "guitar on steroids". It'll simply be a Stick. I've never heard anyone complain that they couldn't play a trumpet with a bow ;-) P.S. And yeah, I also find the instrument to be beautiful.

27 December 01 Kevin Ramsey (Japan), to Stickwire:
      Just remember that if you do replace the belthook system with a guitar-like strap system, you will be sacrificing one of the primary advantages that the belthook offers. The belthook is set at an angle that slightly turns the fretboard into the players range of vision a few degrees. Because of this, you don't have to thrust your head out at an odd angle to get a look at the fretboard.

10 December 01 - Kevin Keith (CA), to Stickwire:
      Seriously, the genius of The Stick is that its fundamentally laid out to be a "touch" instrument. OK Its roots go back to guitar but Emmett realized early in the game that to make a dedicated tapping instrument there would have to be some radical differences from the ergonomic design of guitars.

22 November 01 - Christian Buechele (Germany), to Stick Enterprises:
      Say hello to him from me and tell him to keep his innovative mind. The "Timeline of Stick Advancements" on your webpage shows how truly innovative Emmett is. It's almost unbelievable that all these things had been developed by only one person.

30 October 01 - Kevin Ramsey (Japan), to Stickwire:
      I realize I'm preaching to the converted, but take a look at Emmett's timeline of inventions and improvements since 1974 for a clear look at his perfectly continuous series of accomplishments over the past 25 years. So much for my math, make that 27 years.

14 October 01 - Greg Howard (VA), to Stickwire:
      More and more I find Emmett's instrument and support system design to be ideal for tapping. The instrument is at just the right angle for easy, unfettered access by both hands to the whole fretboard.

6 October 01 - David Wozmak (NH), to Stickwire:
      As I get older, though, I find myself less and less interested in filigree and embellishment, in my musical style, and in my aesthetic sense. I imagine what I would have thought of the Chapman Stick when I was 20?jeez, only two knobs. A plank with strings. Interesting in a bizarre kind of way. When I look at the Chapman Stick now, at age 39, I see something completely different. Form utterly in service to function. Style that yields as much strength from understatement as any style based in voluptuousness. The Stick is an essential, axiomatic statement.

30 June 01 - Greg Howard (VA), to Sticknews:
      The Stick is more than an extended guitar or bass. It is the evolving embodiment of a whole new way of making music. With each new development, Emmett serves his original method discoveries as he moves away from the traditional guitar, which wasn't designed or developed as a tapping instrument. His latest frets, Rails ?, are perfect for tapping, forming an incredibly fast and precise playing surface.
      The bodiless design is, to my mind, one of the best things about The Stick. What you call the "strange strap/bracket arrangement" allows the instrument to be worn at the perfect angle for easy manual and visual access to fretboard. It is, in my opinion, vastly superior to the angle that results when the weight of a body pulls the neck away from the player. This is not so much of a problem when the neck is more horizontal, like a traditional guitar, but it becomes one when you raise the angle closer to vertical. I could have been a keyboard player for my entire life. But one day I picked up a Stick. The results are an ongoing story, but it's a choice I never regretted. Not once.

31 May 01 - Art Durkee (MN), to Stickwire:
      I think it's time to view The Stick as it's own instrument, and develop idiomatic systems for THAT instrument - rather than spending all this time worrying about or comparing it to piano, guitar, and/or bass, etc. I know there's a natural tendency to compare something relatively new to something more familiar. But thinking outside the box can sometimes mean that we have to build the new box by itself, not add on to the ones we already have. Personally, I have come to view The Stick very much as it's own universe, and not in comparison to the other instruments I play or have played - and The Stick is so well-designed that it can stand on it's own quite well, I feel.

13 April 01 - Greg Howard (VA), to Stickwire:
      I suspect Bob's confidence comes from knowing his instrument and repertoire intimately, and the fact that he's been playing and teaching the instrument and Emmett's method for around 25 years. His ability to integrate a huge variety of techniques into the process is truly inspiring. To me though, playing The Stick is a constant struggle between automatic responses and learned muscle memory, and the conscious creative process. It has to do with freedom of motion and expression. Improvisation can take its cues from a variety of sources, and the complex geometry of The Stick invites me to experiment with shapes my eyes suggest, and not my fingers. Sometimes I can visualize them with my eyes closed, sometimes not. It's sort of like playing a sport. To play this way it's good to keep your eye on the ball. The last time I read in performance was at the "In C" concert. The reading was simple enough, especially because I could see where I was starting each section if I needed to, and I could easily octave-transpose or unison-shift parts around the instrument. I was great fun to read the piece, and even more fun to play one motif with one hand and another with the other hand, especially if they were of different lengths. It was there that I really appreciated one of the things I've always liked about The Stick: that you can easily see the fretboard, unlike the body-laden instruments out there. It's just a small part of why I think Emmett's Stick design is the best for his method, and why I gave up trying to teach players on other types of instruments (including the NS/Stick).

19 February 01 - Tim Slater (UK), to Stick Enterprises:
      I have been playing guitar for 20 years and approached The Stick with some trepidation. My fears were unfounded; The Stick is the most user-friendly musical instrument I have ever played and it is totally addictive! A friend of mine who is a DJ and doesn't play any musical instruments except his decks was pulling great bass lines from The Stick after only a few minutes and every time we jam he comes up with more great stuff.

16 February 01 - Art Durkee (MN), to Stickwire:
      I love it: we play an instrument that we talk about in terms of "WEARING" it rather than holding it. :) This is a very cool mindset difference from many other instruments - when you "wear" something, it becomes more integrated into your system (more a part of you) than when you just "hold" it. This gibes with my own experience in playing Stick, too.

18 December 00 - Jerry Ballard (CA), to Stickwire:
      As for the dual nut, I've yet to adjust it myself, since the instrument is now as well adjusted as it can get for a while (unlike its owner), but it's a terrific improvement, both aesthetically and technologically. Great design enhancement, Emmett.

4 December 00 - Grant Green (CA), to Stickwire:
      The Stick is a great looking instrument, but that is about the only factor I don't consider important. The first attraction was the characteristic sound of the bass side: the clincher was the amount of potential/possibility inherent in the fingerboard layout - I find it fascinating to consider how one can divide up bass, chords and melody between both sides and both hands, in a way different from the standard keyboard layout.

1 December 00 - Christopher Lavender (FL), to Stickwire:
      It is extremely solid and both easily and nearly universally adjustable. You're also no longer limited to half turn string heights so you can get EXACTLY the action you want at the nut without de-tuning or removing a single string! I think that the Dual Nut is definitely above and beyond any other nut system on any other comparable instrument.

29 September 00 - Mans Johnsson (Sweden), to Stickwire:
      In my opinion, Emmett deserves every credit for his vast contributions to the world of two handed tapping! No one else has done so much in so many different ways, I am still amazed at all the creative ideas and designs built into The Stick. This is one of the things I love about owning and playing one. But of course, the main reason I own and play a Stick is that it is a fantastic instrument, I wouldn't want a different one. I simply love the sound, the feel and the response of The Stick.

29 September 00 - Pete Gonzales (AZ), to Stickwire:
      The Stick has tonal and playability properties directly related to the type of frets used, in our case it's Fret Rods. Tapping on my Strat yields a rather thin sound whereas tapping on my Stick yields a much more full tone. Furthermore, my Stick is an early oak model (how many oak guitars have you played! Proof that wood choice isn't really a factor in the realm of low-tension instruments!). I would have to imagine that any instrument using a traditional nickel silver fret would produce basically the same tone when tapping, not to mention fret wear concerns ... Oh I guess I just did! And if you've never tried Fret Rods, you can't imagine how smooth they really do feel!

28 September 00 - David Wozmak (NH), to Stickwire:
      The Stick is at first glance exotic, but only at first glance. The styling and technology of the instrument are concise and not in the least ostentatious. The Stick appeals to designers because of this?it is attractive not because it is elaborate or "rich", but because it represents an elegant and precise solution to the problem.

14 September 00 - Greg Howard (VA), to Stickwire:
      Those who would climb on Emmett's shoulders had better be ready to keep moving. His latest innovations (Fret Rails, and Flaps, his split dual nut system) are big steps forward. Rather than reinventing the guitar, Emmett has leapt beyond it, continually refining and enhancing his dedicated tapping instrument, but always with the playing method in mind. I can't wait to see what comes next?

29 August 00 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
      The adjustable bridge will come in handy if you experiment with different string gauges/tunings, etc. Since I got my Stick, I've changed my tuning once and changed my string gauges once and have had to do some intonation and string height adjustments. Given the choice, I would go with the adjustable components.

4 June 00 - Greg Howard (VA), to alt.music.progressive:
      I was also a keyboardist, and found the added expressiveness of having my fingers on the sound-generating element truly rewarding. Never looked back. It's an uncompromising approach at a whole new way of making music.

17 February 97 - Russell Keating (IL), to Stickwire:
      The current design has the screw head cut like a 'Y'. Thick strings rest in the top of the 'Y' and thinner strings rest in the lower part of the 'Y'. With this design all of the screws are the same and they can accommodate any size string without any filing. Very simple, very cool.

14 January 97 - Carl Chilley (England), to Stickwire:
      The Stick for me embodies the purity of design that I seek to achieve in my own work as a computer systems architect, driven by the feeling that 'form follows function.' Hence, for me The Stick has an innate beauty that I have a personal attachment to. The sound is pretty unique, too!

4 August 96 - Greg Brouelette (CA), to Stickwire:
      In addition to the adjustable truss rod, I would think that one of the great advantages of the newer Sticks is the adjustable bridge. I was surprised that nobody mentioned this. With the new bridge you can try different string gauges and truly customize your tone. Paolo's new purple heart Stick has heavy gauge strings on it and the tone is just beautiful. Also, the new Fret Rods are awesome. That's the other reason I want to buy a new Stick, to get the Fret Rods. The difference in feel between a fretted Touchboard and one with Fret Rods is huge.

21 March 96 - Francesco Puddu (Italy), to Stick Enterprises:
      Apart from the breathtaking musical opportunities that The Stick opens up to the musician, I have always felt that a major part of the appeal of your instrument came from the fact that The Stick looks and feels like an instrument from the future or from some distant planet. Definitely it represents a radical departure from the traditional acoustic and electric luthery school, even after twenty-five years. Not only is my Stick the greatest musical instrument I have had a chance to play; it is also a beautiful wooden sculpture.

27 May 95 - Ian Varieli (CA), to Stickwire:
      The Stick is about as simple a design as you can get and that is part of the beauty.

27 April 95 - Paul Mimlitsch (NJ), to Stick Enterprises:
      This is one beautiful piece of artwork. The craftsmanship and vision that go into these instruments is amazing and yields an instrument of beauty and easy playability.

6 March 95 - Paul Frields (VA), to Stick Enterprises:
      I was impressed by the amount of conscious thought and ergonomic engineering that went into its design and construction. The idea of an instrument that is played in a natural body position similar to, but more comfortable and dexterity-maximizing than a guitar, owing more to the posture one assumes with some woodwinds, is striking in its simplicity and ingenuity. The design of the electronics housing is also beautiful in design and execution, allowing for easy repair, adjustment, removal, and provides a striking contrast to the overall grid-like appearance of the Touchboard. Let me arrive at the crux of my argument by saying that your invention, The Stick, is a harmonious marriage of flawless and aesthetically pleasing design with exacting and careful artisanship in production. The result, to me, is an instrument that retains a very individual sonic character while lending itself well to ensemble work. In short, The Stick succeeds by mimicking and augmenting the design of the human body itself.

94 - George Gruhn and Walter Carter "Electric Guitars and Basses - A Photographic History" published by Miller Freeman Books:
      The Stick is the most radical and practical innovation to appear in the stringed instrument world in centuries.