Ergonomics

02 January 14 - Per Boysen (Sweden), to Stickist.com:
      Very interesting! I'm finding some Yoga practices useful for optimising my Stick journey; especially twisting the spine and twisting my arms in front of the chest to carefully stretch the shoulders and upper arm muscles. I've played many instruments and to me the Stick is the one that taxes the body the least. It's very ergonomic and seems to give energy back to the player when played without stress in a balanced position.

11 May 05 - Har (PA), to StickWire:
       One thing I found interesting was that when I started with the Stick, the playing techniques involved seemed to immediately provide relief from some of the pain and soreness I had been getting recently when playing bass (guitar never seems to be a problem, though). In my case, the natural way my hands and arms lined up with the Stick was a major improvement over the bent/locked right wrist angle I usually have from playing finger-style bass, since my wrists remain a lot straighter when playing Stick.

18 March 04 - Brian Schubbe (IL), to Stick Enterprises:
       The posture for playing Stick is a much better posture for singing than with the guitar (or bass). A guitar almost forces you to hunch over a bit, while The Stick almost demands a more upright posture, allowing better breathing and better all around singing. ... assuming you can play the damned thing and sing at the same time. (I can to some degree... on a good day.)

1 December 03 - Paul Potts (MI), to Stickwire:
       I am always amazed that I can play the Stick for a long period of time without fatigue, when playing even one song on my acoustic guitar -- especially one full of death-grip barre chords -- can make my hands cramp up in short order.

2 November 03 - Art Durkee (MN), to Stickwire:
       Stick is perceived by many other musicians, in my experience, as being a difficult, challenging--even daunting--instrument to master. We all know it's challenging, even hard at times, but we also all know that it's not TOO hard. As I've said many times, Stick has become home plate for me now, and feels as natural as breathing when I play--it feels "right" somehow. It matches up to my kinesthetic/aural matrix, and "fits" my neurology. So, while to me it might feel effortless now (granted, the first 3 or 4 years I played Stick I mostly sucked!), there is still a perception by non-Stickistas that it is a very difficult instrument. All of us who have demonstrated, given concerts, or taught Stick, know that we spend at least the first few minutes encouraging a Stick-struck newbie that, no, it really isn't THAT hard to play ... in fact, in some ways, it's EASIER. What I'm getting at is, of course, the mental/emotional fear aspect that keeps people from approaching something they *perceive* as more complex. BUt those who have grown up a little more, as musicians and/or as individuals, are less likely to be intimidated by the prospect of a little challenging complexity....

28 December 02 - Kevin Ramsey (Japan), to Stickwire:
      Last night, I also began focusing on playing with as absolutely light of a touch as I possibly could. Wow, that really has begun to open my eyes. Immediately everything that people have been saying about the huge dynamic range of The Stick started to make sense. All this time I thought I had been playing lightly, but I found that I haven't been, and I really have to concentrate to keep my dynamics in control. The music I've been playing suddenly has a new level of expressiveness, and therefore more energy and life.

7 November 02 - Paul Potts (MI), to Stickwire:
      I would talk about hand and arm position and show him that when you get accustomed to the instrument, you use your whole arm to place your hand in a natural position to cover the strings. Also how it seems to feel so much easier to play The Stick for a long time than guitar. That's something I'm still impressed with as a guitarist whose hands tend to cramp up during some of our longer songs that are all barre chords...Show him the low action and dynamic range from light tapping to hard. That's pretty cool.

27 August 02 - Anders Goran (Sweden), to Stickwire:
      I find that I play about 10,000 times better in the dark, when I don't have the opportunity to look at the instrument. I don't know why. I find chords, scales, notes, everything, MUCH better when NOT looking. Weird but extremely cool. The interdependence is much improved as well. I feel the instrument and the finger placement instead of looking.

10 December 01 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
      An elliptical neck works for me on a guitar. On Stick, I'm frequently amazed by the comfort of the neck and how, for my Stick playing, it simply works better. My hands and thumbs seem to rest just in the "right" place and I couldn't imagine it any other way.

24 October 01 - Chris Astier (NM), to Stick Enterprises:
      With some time to look back and see the progress I've made I can say that I will be playing The Stick for as long as I live. The sheer comfort of The Stick is great! It feels right when I put it on. Playability: Whew! The Fret Rails are not only a true departure from normal frets, but worlds removed from playing my fretless bass.

4 September 01 - Jim Reilly (Canada) interview of Jason Brock for Talking Sticks:
      JR: So now you've got yourself with a wrist that doesn't work and you're going through rehab for a year. You get your wrist fused together... JB: I had it 85 per cent fused. I went into the surgery thinking it was going to be 100 and that's what made me say forget everything else, I'm getting The Stick? JR: At least you could get the left hand going? JB: Yes, tendonitis or no tendonitis. Some days my left arm was just as bad as my right arm but I couldn't 'see' the pain. In my right arm I knew what the problem was. But, since I started playing The Stick I don't have tendonitis in my left arm anymore. Usually people get tendonitis from playing an instrument, I actually lost it. JR: After the surgery, if I remember correctly, your physiotherapist prescribed The Stick as exercise? JB: Yes. Basically people in my condition-when the pins are in there and holding the bone in place-tend not to move their fingers. Where I was really inspired to, even with the pins in my arm. They took the pins out about five-and-a-half months later and that's when I really went to town with it. JR: How did playing The Stick change things? You started out playing bass for fun, now what? JB: Basically it changed my life. It changed my musical direction, my career direction. JR: It's funny, it seems that by limiting the use of your hand, you've expanded your musical abilities. JB: Exactly. The thing is, even when I did start playing The Stick with the pain in my right hand and in my wrist, it took off quicker than my left hand. I still feel it's a better hand than my left. My wrist feels better after an hour practicing than it did before. I can move my wrist 15 degrees and moving it any of those 15 degrees hurts. Other than playing Stick, everything I do with that wrist hurts: moving my fingers, gripping, touch. Right after the surgery, having The Stick there to progress on something in my life again helped a great deal with depression. For over a year, there was nothing, nothing was healing, then all of a sudden I had this instrument and each day I was a bit better at it. It was such a great feeling. The doctor, the nurse and my physiotherapist helped me so much. They supported my music. Enough so that they'd either come over to my house or get me to bring my Stick in, it was really cool. I guess it showed them that I wasn't one of those people who would end up on a pension for the rest of their life. So many people just want to give up and they saw that that really kept me going. To me, it's given me a new life. A life that I wouldn't trade for anything. My physiotherapist came over to watch me play The Stick, see how I held it and he was really surprised. As was my vocational psychologist, he also came over and checked it out. I even showed it to my nerve doctor and he agreed that playing The Stick wasn't going to harm me, it was just going to help. JR: Would you have done all this without the accident, I guess that's the real question here? Without the accident what would you be doing now? JB: I don't even want to know. I'm so thankful to Emmett for having this vision. JR: And following through on it. I think that's what really sets Emmett apart. Lots of people have visions or moments of insight but few follow through on it. Emmett did that. And so did you, you followed through on it.

23 August 01 - Allan Hoeltje (CA), to Stickwire:
      Hearing the Stick called an ambidextrous instrument, being a lefty myself, just makes it that much more enticing and wonderful. A guitar has never really felt natural to me. The Stick and Piano feel just right.

29 September 00 - Greg Howard (VA), to Stickwire:
      Since The Stick doesn't have a body, and is usually worn differently on the player than a guitar or bass would be, I think the body orientation, shape, size and weight make it feel quite different. Before I ever played The Stick I would occasionally mess around with guitars and basses. Perhaps it is because I was unfamiliar with them, but I always felt their design was obstructive, making them "other" (unlike my saxophone's design, which I felt was "connective"). I never felt that way about The Stick. From the first moment I tried one on it just felt easy to relate to. When I tried other post-Stick instruments and even guitars that people were tapping on, they always felt "other" to me. I would attribute this to the body and the lack of a belt hook, which puts the instrument at a more comfortable angle for me. The intimacy that I feel when playing the instrument is part of what appeals to me.

7 August 00 - Douglas Johnson (IL), to Stick Enterprises:
      In reference to playing The Stick in a seated position?my body forms a sort of "musical bow" with The Stick. It definitely resonates through me more this way than with just my fingers on it. It feels electric, even when I'm playing unplugged.

25 July 00 - Steve Adelson (NY), to Stickwire:
      Whilst demonstrating at the guitar show 8 hrs/day, I came to this realization (again). The onlookers kept commenting how easy I made it look. For those who still might be intimidated by all those strings, and the tuning, and the technique, guess what? It really ain't hard to play. The Stick is so logical and musician friendly, it's hard to imagine playing anything else. The ultimate musical instrument!

12 October 99 - Greg Howard (VA), to Stickwire:
      Make sure that the instrument is high enough on your body that the belt hook does its "job" and tilts the instrument back towards your body, allowing your left hand to point slightly upwards towards the nut. The more vertical your instrument, the less you have to bend your left wrist. A nice guide seems to be that the nut should be about one or two inches above your shoulder line. The ability to angle the fretboard plane in towards you is one of my favorite things about the Stick; this is something that's very hard to do on an instrument with a body.
      Freedom of movement is a great goal to work towards. Forget about "positions." Open up your hands and place your thumbs closer to the edge of the instrument, and use them as pivots, resting the inside edge of the thumb on the instrument, not the flat pad of the thumb. These are very different from guitar placement, so you may not like them, or want to use them, but they work for me.

21 May 99 - Johannes Korn (Germany), to Stickwire:
      I used to have a problem with my playing position, too. I found that my left arm was getting tired very fast, because I held it too high (and as a violinist I have at least a few muscles to lift my left arm :) And then Emmett suggested that I adjust the belt hook (simple logic, I could have thought of it myself). And ever since my Stick hangs a little lower and playing is much more relaxed (and FUN, I warn you, it's addictive). So if you have an adjustable belthook, you might try adjusting it.

19 February 97 - Steve Adelson (NY), to Stickwire:
      Tom, the Stick's nearly vertical position was designed to allow the hands more freedom at a perpendicular angle to the fretboard. There is no wrist strain whatsoever. It's also extremely lightwieght with low action and produces sound with minimal effort.

22 January 97 - Steve Adelson (NY), to Stickwire:
      For those 'shopping,' please don't ignore one simple fact. The Stick has evolved and progressed to be the most playable and musical of the lot. It is designed to be held at an angle that is more suitable to the two-handed tap style. The flat back of the fingerboard gives greater mobility and reach and is more user-friendly. The Stick is stabilized by use of a unique belt hook that truly gives the player a unifying feeling and comfort with the instrument. I've played all tapping instruments that I'm aware of, and being a player have been offered instruments for next to nothing. I continue to prefer The Stick because it's simply the best instrument out there. For those still worried about cash, it's the least expensive quality instrument on the market. The Stick is the tradition; The Stick is 'the music.' Reason enough!

26 November 96 - Sean Malone (FL), to Stick Enterprises:
      I received my Stick today to my complete and total satisfaction. The action is fantastic. I feel the instrument is now at its optimum playability.

19 July 96 - Dave Haan (OH), to Stickwire:
      I also find that playing Stick is much easier on my hands than guitar or bass. I can play bass for about forty minutes, and guitar for about ninety minutes before running into some sort of pain. On Stick, four hours go by and I'm ready for more.

20 June 95 - Greg Howard (VA), to Stickwire:
      One advantage of The Stick is comfort. It can easily be played sitting or standing, and because of the way it's balanced on a belt-hook, it requires very little thought to anything but the actions of your fingers.