27 Feb 12 - Bruno Ricard, (France), to Greg Howard on stickist.com
Subject: BASIC FREE HANDS TECHNIQUE DVD
Hi Greg, I took some time to watch and listen your DVD I received some days ago, and it's fantastic. I've know to spend more time with my instrument in front of my computer/TV.
Although I've been part of your teachings a few years ago and remember these moments quite well, I especially like the way the main ideas are written of the side of the screen. For me who have a perfectible english language and from time to time some difficulties to understand what english/american people are saying, it's an incredible tool to understand all the ideas contained in a sentence. Great idea!
09 Feb 12 - Stickrad, (Australia), to Greg Howard
Subject: BASIC FREE HANDS TECHNIQUE DVD
Hi Greg. I received your dvd in the mail yesterday. What an outstanding piece of work. Skype lessons with you helped my fingers get used to different and easier, more fluent ways of playing and now I can see you've opened up that whole concept to another level entirely.
Man, thank you for your dedication and hard work, though you never make it look that way.
19 Jan 12 - Bernie Landry, (Quebec), to Greg Howard
Subject: BASIC FREE HANDS TECHNIQUE DVD
Greg, I wanted to thank you for the great production job on the DVD.
I've already started incorporating some of the techniques you teach on the the new DVD. Two things really have helped already (although not that accurate yet)...
1) The idea of playing more with the arms and the up and down idea.
2) and as strange as this might seem the idea of practicing only what is challenging. (the chording with the left hand especially has been difficult but it gets better day by day... that little finger is really suborn!)
Great DVD and a vital tool if you want to build independence and stamina.
17 Jan 12 - Dave Brosky, (Pennsylvania), to stickist.com
Subject: BASIC FREE HANDS TECHNIQUE DVD
First and foremost, the format is excellent! The combination of multiple angles, power point headers, and fret graphics deep with Emmett's Free Hands notation and easy to see string markers is a winner. I have never seen a more thorough or well thought out display of knowledge. This total approach allows for all of these concepts to coalesce in real time all at once.
I really like the "power point" side panel - at first blush, I said, where do I look? but then the efficacy became self evident - you can pause, rewind and read and get more detailed information on the left passage. This DVD to the learned eye and ear is really power packed with gems and a wealth and plethora of knowledge. I was taking my time and rewinding so I would not miss anything, or to make sure I understood the point before moving on. That’s the beauty of this DVD. In the seminars, the students would just ask Greg live, or Greg would see the expressions on their faces, and humbly and intuitively go back over what he just taught. This DVD allows for the same review.
Broader concepts are discussed in a very effective manner, again further supporting the premise- "it is not about going finger to finger, but from part to part" - higher level functioning and deeper thought into not just playing the notes but taking it to a higher level of musicianship which everyone should strive.
Practical tips abound - ie. "release the note", "don't anchor the thumb", and the consistency with each new playing challenge.
I found exceptional for myself the clearest discussion of movement along the string line, and the "traverse" movement suggestions. Much jazz has 4th intervals that this really clears up to make it smooth and easy to play.
The DVD in detail in addition covers Hand Independence, Bassline Movement, Melody Movement, Independence Training and Rhythmic Independence. Who could ask for more! Plus, here the instructor and author is also accessible through responsive e-mail and skype.
23 Dec 08 - Michael Siteman (CA), to Stick Enterprises
Emmett, I just wanted to thank you once again for hooking me up with my 12-string Grand Stick and my newest NS Stick. As I mentioned to you when we last spoke, I've been playing guitar for 50 years. I've studied many different styles, and earlier in my life, played professionally for many years. However, not since I started playing the Stick three and a half years ago, did I really start to understand the harmonic music theory from a three dimensional perspective. In large part, I credit my fantastic teacher and friend, Don Schiff, without whose help, I would surely still be struggling to grasp the instrument. And The Stick gets credit for the other half of my learning.
Through Don's dynamic direction and skillful teaching, my eyes were opened to the opportunities tha lie within The Stick. Playing with both hands and hearing how the two sides of the instrument can work in unison, opposition and contrapuntally, has stimulated my grasp of musical possibilities that I couldn't have imagined prior to learning how to play this instrument.
At this point, I'm still a novice. Watching you, Don, Bob Culbertson, along with other Stickists that I've heard at the Stick Nights and other venues, is humbling, but also inspiring. I've got a long way to go, but I play each day and each time I play I reap the rewards that only this instrument can offer.
Thanks for your inventiveness and integrity.
16 February 06 - Art Durkee (WI), to StickWire:
All my years of framedrumming, dumbek, mallet instruments (mostly vibes, some marimba), and piano, have all fed into my Stick playing. I make no claims to being a great player technically, there's always room for improvement there; but nothing, and I mean nothing, has helped me to improve as a Stickist and as a bassist more than learning to play drums and percussion. If you want to get your hand coordination together and simultaneously improve your sense of rhythm and playing in time, nothing will serve you better than drumming technique practice.
22 September 05 - Mike Baran (OH), to StickWire:
What drives my desire to master this instrument that has captured my soul and has changed my whole concept of playing - 10 strings and a vision. I believe that practice leads to creativity and creativity leads to composition, structure and space. The Stick as perfect as it is in shape, form and sound still needs a discipline I believe to harvest the sound that makes it your own, i.e., practice.
27 August 05 - Har S (PA), to StickWire:
Agreed, and that definitely goes along with something Emmett told me when I spoke to him once not long after I started playing Stick. At the time I had some concern with the fingers on my right hand causing an audible banjo-like "pluck" when I came up off the strings, and I had asked him whether or not this might have to do with the need for me to develop harder callouses on the fingertips of my right hand, with the idea that the "harder" fingertips would help prevent the string from "sticking" to the pads of my fingers and possibly causing that pluck. Emmett chuckled and told me that in all the years he's been playing, he has *NO* callouses on his fingertips, and that if I'm playing hard enough to build them up while playing the Stick, then I'm definitely doing something wrong! He recommended playing with my amp at higher gain lavels so that the very lightest of touches is all that needed to sound the notes, without having to really bear down and play hard. This definitely made a major difference in my playing technique, and indeed by doing so I can enjoy the Stick's wide dynamic range and find it so much easier to really get more out of subtle finger vibrato, etc.
19 July 05 - Rob Martino (VA), to StickWire:
What's really been exciting to me about the Stick, since I finally decided to make it my primary instrument last year, is how accommodating it is for adapting any sort of inspiring musical idea I might come across, regardless of genre or instrument. For example, when I hear some tune and think "that's a great chord progression" or "I like how that melody works with the guitar accompaniment and bass line", I can go to my instrument and start to develop an arrangement that attempts to capture the intent of (or at least the things I like about) the original song, without trying to copy exactly what the singer and instruments are doing. And as I develop the arrangment, I discover new things that I can do on the Stick, maybe a new voicing or accompaniment technique. It has been greatly satisfying how I can assimilate musical ideas I like and the Stick allows me to express and develop them, which in turn leads to more original ideas and the sense of a developing "style" or "voice".
11 July 05 - Dave Barrett (Toronto), to StickWire:
First and most important, any Stick is better than no Stick!!!!! Ironwood, polycarb, graphite, hardwood, birch, 10 string, 12 string, stickup, block, flaps, rods, rails, fixed bridge or whatever are relatively minor considerations for your first Stick. There are no duds. Get one and get playing.
8 July 05 - Jaap Kramer (Holland), to StickWire:
After a period of just playing Stick, I sat down at the piano. I was amazed that my piano playing actually had improved. Same goes for left-right hand coordination on bass. I think my bass playing has become more tight. And, because of the 5th bass tuning, my left hand has become much more "free" to move up and down the neck of my bass, even more because the Stick forces me to think in much wider intervals. All in all, the Stick is a great practise tool :-)
8 July 05 - Irene Orleansky (Israel), to Stickwire:
I think the Stick is not just about tapping and having 10 or 12 strings. It's a completely different instrument with its unique sound (in my opinion the most beautiful sound!), and a fantastically logical structure that makes your fingers go the right way without putting much effort or thinking into it.
9 June 05 - Jeffrey Fass (NY), to Stickwire:
I reached a critical milestone with my Stick yesterday. I threw out the cardboard shipping box. I'm serious. It's been a 1.5 months, and all that time I was uncertain and intimidated. Now it's really mine!
23 September 04 - Greg Howard (VA), to Stickwire:
A friend of mine in Italy, who is a relatively new player, said to me, "I'll never be able to make your music", to which the only answer I could give was, "That's not important, what's important is that you make YOUR music." One reason I liked the idea of taking up The Stick in the first place was that it was a true tabula rasa. Now there is still the miracle of being able to do something new, even after decades of recorded music and centuries of written composition. Be your own yardStick.
22 July 04 - Mike Baran (OH), to Stickwire:
I remember the long wait for my Stick to arrive from S.E and the anticipation to play this new instrument. It was magical and frightening at the same time. The bass strings were upside down and I had to play melody with my right hand. I felt lost even with 20 years of guitar playing under my belt, talk about instant humility. I faithfully started on the Stick Book, which is a godsend for beginning players (thank you Greg and all involved). To me, independence was a tunnel with no end in sight that just kept getting longer with every practice. I knew there was a better way - quit, which I did. After about a year of looking at the monolith case collecting dust and the treasure it held inside, I had to give it another try but with a different attitude than before - just play it, and let everything else fall into place, simple yet effective, but demanding your total belief in "Just Play It". This has served me well through the years and has made the whole Stick experiance a pure pleasure. I am not discounting learning independence as I work on it everyday. I am just stating, don't let it rule your your progress on the Stick when you are first beginning as I did. This for all the newbies and the lost souls with dusty cases, Just Stop Worrying and Love the Stick.
17 May 04 - Jim Kam (TX), to Stickwire:
For the first few years that I had my Stick, I thought of it primarily as a Bass/Guitar replacement instrument. I think that mental picture severely limited my progress in those early years. It was not until Greg Howard advised me to think of Stick as one integrated instrument (say, like a piano) that I started to make progress. I'm not saying that you can't do bass lines while doing "guitar" lines simultaneously. You can, of course, and can do much more. However in learning the instrument, if you think in those terms, it could impede your progress, at least in the early to intermediate stages of your development. Learn from my mistake, and spare yourself the frustration.
4 May 04 - Chuck Reynolds (VA), to Stickwire:
I had a breakthrough after the first couple hours of practice. Suddenly each hand started doing its own thing. I posted a clip. Really, nothing great, but it's something. No effects, just recorded straight into the PC. One take, two hands. If I had known I could do this little bit so quickly, I never would have been dreading the commitment to this style of playing. I was really worried about 10 string vs. SB8. If anyone out there is where I was, being frightened as to "can I really do all of this independant hand stuff", YES is the answer. This is much easier to pick up than I ever dreamed. Obviously, I'm not Mr. Culbertson, but I feel so much better now about the road ahead. Here we go!
25 March 04 - Brett Bottomley (CT), to Stickwire:
I have been playing Stick for a year now. I have found it the most challenging and rewarding instrument I have ever played. I am a gigging upright bass player. It will take me years of study to even begin to approach the Stick with the same voice that I have on the upright or electric bass. With that said, I am practicing about 2-3 hours each day on the Stick and only play the bass on gigs or recording. I haven't practiced with this much passion in years. I believe in following your bliss with music and I don't worry about neglecting my other instruments. I love these instruments also, and Stick will never replace an upright bass in my heart or ears. I'm sure most of you feel the same way. All instruments are wonderful and all are only tools for the one true instrument, yourself.
23 March 04 - Matt Rogers (TX), to Stickwire:
The very first thing I did when I got my Stick was "Air on a G String" by Bach and "Pathetique Sonata" by Beethoven. I thought that approaching The Stick from a pianistic point of view would help me with hand independence and technical skills. It definitely did. I still play those two pieces all the time; they felt right at home on Stick.
22 February 04 - Steven Lamphear (AL), to Stickwire:
So far, it's BY FAR the most fun and most practical instrument I've ever played. I also play guitar, bass, piano, voice, and drums to a lesser extent, and The Stick seems to be the perfect combination of all of these instruments (except, of course, voice). Everything just makes sense. It only took me a couple of days to get past the learning curve of physical awkwardness (including some wrist pain when I first got it). Since then, it's just been applying all of my musical knowledge from former instruments, and working my way through Free Hands :) I think being on this list also helped me figure out what to do and what not to do as a beginner. Thanks everybody for all of your help and support!!!
29 December 03 - Paul Frields (VA), to Stickwire:
I believe that in one of my lessons with him, Greg Howard described the mental handling of two-handed playing methods as a zone of focus that shifts from one hand to the other on demand. If one hand gets to a difficult spot, more of the musician's focus goes to that hand while the other one receives less. Once the task is finished, his or her focus goes back to "ranging" between hands. The other geeks in the audience (and I know there are many!) will probably recognize this type of scheme from computer architecture.
17 December 03 - Matt Rogers (TX), to Stickwire:
While playing the Stick the other day, I just realized something. I'm faster on The Stick than I ever was ( and probably ever will be) on the guitar. I used to run scales to the click of a metronome for hours on end when I was an adolescent Yngwie wanna-be, but I never quite achieved my goal of the perfect plectrum. I figured it must require some muscle or reflex that I just wasn't born with. I gave up on it and made the best of what I had to work with. Along comes the Stick. I get delightfully lost in its infinite possibilities and the real musician within starts to shine through. Music just flows from heart to hands with no pre-conceived strategy. Technical ability and fluidity seem to be a "side effect" that is achieved with precious little effort. These are the things that I used to obsess over and use as a harsh means of self-evaluation when I was a guitarist. Now they are but a small part of a much larger world on The Stick. Just blows me away-
17 December 03 - Steve Adelson (NY), to Stickwire:
Dave and all, there's something about the Stick that makes note identification much easier than guitar. The Stick's dot inlays are placed every FIVE frets unlike the guitar's two frets. Since the strings are tuned in what's equivalent to five frets apart, the note transfer from string to string and in different regions becomes quite easy to distinguish. Map out the fretboard and it becomes obvious. If you know any five fret note range, than you know the whole fingerboard. Just takes a little logic. Frieda Mind
13 December 03 - Terry Gilton (ID), to Stickwire:
So there I was, you see, practicing my Stick. Walking around my house with my PX4 on my belt, with my headphones on (the PX4 is AWESOME with The Stick, thanks Virna!), and I happened to walk by a large window. It was dark outside, so this window was functionally a mirror. I stopped to watch, not to admire my good looks, but rather because I noticed 8 little sticks of bone, muscle and skin flailing around like they were in some sort of fight for their lives on a hot tin roof. "My goodness," I thought, "that looks really hard. When ANY of the instructors in San Jose played, they didn't look like that!" I stayed in front of the mirror for about 30 minutes trying to make my playing look like my fingers weren't moving up and down at all and making myself LOOK relaxed. I also tried to watch what my arms were doing, and trying my dangdest to do what Greg taught me to do. So here is the point: standing in front of the mirror taught me a vast amount about how bad my technique was, and gave me some very clear feedback on why I am a beginner... I recommend it. However, my wife now thinks I have gotten really vain.
1 December 03 - Julian Flaks (UK), to Stickwire:
For pure technique, my legato style is far better than it was, I've also become aware of the motor power of three fingered approach in left hand for satriani-esque speed playing, and lastly I find that right handed tap work is much less alien feeling, so I often use two different notes at the top end of the fretboard to alternate with when I do tap lead work. I know everyone goes.. the Stick isn't a guitar... but I have to say that for any guitar player, especially anyone used to low stringing and lots of chordal work, the Stick is very instantly accessible.. a bit like the way the precision bass had guitarists in mind. That doesn't prepare you for the musical possibilities and the widening of view, and also the many techniques that need learning, but it was a long while before I even picked up the instruction books I have, because as a guitarist the Stick let me do a lot of things I had always dreamed of being able to if only I had enough space and fingers.
18 June 03 - Ernie Jamison (NC), to Stickwire:
I have noticed that I get a buzz out of playing it that I don't get with any other instruments. I need some chill down time away from it before I go to bed. So's I can fall asleep. I am in the same place as you are...BC's first video and also Free Hands. I believe Steve Adelson when he states that The Stick is easy to learn. Now if I can get the left and right hand independence, learn the fretboard better, learn chord voicings. In time....in time....
1 June 03 - Paul Frields (VA), to Stickwire:
The openness and inviting nature of this instrument never fails to amaze me. I don't know of another instrument that offers so much satisfaction to a beginner in so short a time. Thanks to Emmett and his family for the support and confidence they impart to the musical community to take control of their tools, and help make music.
14 May 03 - Henrik Thygesen Poulsen (Denmark), to Stick Enterprises:
Indeed! Enjoying #2005 every day. That instrument is a "composition explosion!" I have picked up much more musical theory (and knowledge on how to apply it) and written more pieces with The Stick in the first 9 months than during the 17 years with my bass and guitar.
23 January 03 - Qua Veda (OR), to Stickwire:
I found The Stick is such a rich instrument that it fueled a desire to learn much more about music than I ever imagined! I would never be content just playing the chords. The musical ideas I aspire to one day play, are much more adventurous and fun than I would have thought about on other instruments. I've been making slow but sure progress in many directions (gradually building skills on The Stick, listening to different kinds of music, learning about music theory, going to watch more live performances, working on my own songs, connecting with the musical community, etc). When people experience Stick performances I think they can't help but be amazed and impressed by the sound and versatility of the instrument.
7 September 02 - Henrik Thygesen Poulsen (Denmark), to Stickwire:
There is nothing that can compare to the feeling of obtaining a new skill, and The Stick is simply the most intuitive instrument I have ever played. I have had the instrument for 3 weeks and I am awestruck by the speed of which I pickup techniques and theory. It's not that the theory is different but it's like it's more obvious on The Stick.
7 September 02 - Darrell Havard (MS), to Stickwire:
This month would be my first anniversary as a Stick player. I feel like I've made more progress in a year on my Stick than all my years as a pianist, guitarist, or bass player. I'm not a musical genius by any means, The Stick just has that perfect combination of logic and inspiration built into it. I tune my Stick Bass in strict fourths, makes me wish I had tuned my guitar that way a long time ago. The intervals are uniform and obvious, that third string to second string major third on guitar used to hang me up all the time. Within a month of owning The Stick, I was sight-reading music pretty intuitively; I could now read music by the intervals between the notes without worrying about positions.
18 August 02 - Brian Schubbe (IL), to Stickwire:
Today, for the first time, I was able to solo rather freely over a rather simple three chord left hand motor! Oooooh, that was cool! And more importantly, I could FEEL what was happening (don't know a better way to put that). Yes, there were enough clams to host a rather large clambake, but after only playing The Stick for about 5 weeks, I'm willing to cut myself and little slack.
6 August 02 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
I can never emphasize enough that playing Stick should be a very comfortable thing to do. There shouldn't be any awkward bends anywhere on your body and you should be able to do it for hours.
5 August 02 - Paul Frields (VA), to Stickwire:
As one neophyte to another, here's what Greg Howard showed me that was helpful. I can now play for hours without any discomfort except that caused by making mistakes. :-) Make sure that you aren't tapping too hard -- using just your fingers can lead to tired hands and carpal problems. Your thumb should be resting on the beveled edge, not the back of the neck, and the inner side of your thumb should be resting on The Stick, rather than the flat of the pad (i.e. not like a bass/guitar). When you move to strike notes from a single position, rotate your hand, not unlike turning a doorknob, but not quite so dramatically. By doing this you're using more of your body to make the dynamics and music, not just your fingers. Also, and this helped me a lot, Greg suggested that amps should be turned up to practice. If you want to play quieter, do it with your hands -- this helps teach the skill of tapping lightly and accurately. One more thing: I notice a lot of Stick players tend to "navel-gaze," that is, look at their instruments. You might want to fight this temptation as much as possible if you plan on connecting with an audience. The best players I've seen spend more time looking at their audience.
20 July 02 - Alan Mintz (CA), to Stickwire:
(I think I'm "outing" myself with this post). As I guitar/bass player for over 30 years I found my first key to making The Stick tuning work for me was to stop thinking of the instrument as a guitar or bass that I simply play using a "different" technique. For me, it was letting the instrument's voicing, intervals, technique, etc. suggest new possibilities of lines, progressions and rhythms. Rather than just finding the ways of duplicating the guitar and/or bass experience (e.g. standard walking bass lines) on The Stick, for me, it's about exploring a whole new approach...it's about being able to play things on The Stick that I could only imagine as a guitar or bass player. (Like many of us, the epiphany first struck when I saw King Crimson perform "Elephant Talk" and realized how much music Tony Levin was able to create at once).
7 April 02 - Kevin Ramsey (Japan), to Stickwire:
At this point, I still need to look at the fretboard when first learning something, but once I get something new pretty much under my fingers, I make a very conscience effort to look off into space when I practice. I've also found it can be helpful to watch myself in a mirror when I practice. Also, because of the angle of the belt hook on The Stick, you can look straight forward and still get a lot of visual input from your periphery vision. I think the key to avoiding neck pain (and looking very uncool) is to get a solid left-hand bass technique. I find that it's not nearly as much of a strain when I need to take a look at where my right hand is going. Once while practicing over my lunch hour in one of the back rooms at the office, somebody passing through who didn't realize I was back there switched off the lights. It turned out to be a very rewarding final 20 minutes of my practice session.
1 March 02 - Dave Gore (UK), to Stickwire:
I just wanted to share my little success last night. I read a post from someone, (Chris Astier I think?) a few weeks after getting my Stick. The poster was talking about his first successful steps towards hand independence. I remember thinking "yeah, like that's gonna happen to me!" Well last night it did! Okay, it's still not great, but using a combination of Greg's methods and some good old fashioned sweat I got a little improv jam going on both hands.
12 November 01 - Art Durkee (MN), to Stickwire:
A similar breakthrough moment came some years ago, for me, when I showed up to a gig for the first time with ONLY Stick, leaving the bass at home. My drummer said, "But I want to play dub tonight, and you can't play dub on THAT!" I said, "We'll see," and proceeded to play phat dub basslines all night long--on Stick. (Now, I love my two bass guitars--and I haven't picked them up for years now....) And now, some years later, in part thanks to a year of looping playing with my JamMan, I found myself this past weekend at the gig playing more like a "Stick player," i.e. two-handed pianistic approach. Progress and learning are non-linear.
10 November 01 - Clifton Hyde (IL), to Stickwire:
I've only had my Stick for 2 weeks but I've noticed something very interesting about my relationship with The Stick: my playing is completely different on this instrument then when I strap a guitar on. My guitar playing is very angular, dissonant, and avoids arpeggios. When I play The Stick I find that I am playing more pianistic lines and much more textural...I even go to more tonal chord tones (still not the most diatonic of choices). I even recorded some of my Stick things and then played them on guitar and found them to be boring and sound less interesting. At first I was trying to push my guitar vocabulary on to The Stick and the results sounded terrible and stilted...finally I began to stop trusting me and begin to trust music. I like the simple, minimalist approach I'm taking on The Stick. I don't know if The Stick is bringing this side of music out or if it is due to my slowly building technique...either way I find myself playing very differently and I like it. Has anyone else found new avenues opening up when switching from "whatever" to Stick? Does The Stick make some things sound good that sound boring and stilted on their other instruments?
16 October 01 - Greg Howard (VA), to Stickwire:
s really no difference between articulating repeated notes at one fret and playing descending lines. If you can do one smoothly, you should be able to do the other smoothly. My suggestion would be to practice repeated notes with the different finger combinations 1 and 2, 2 and 3, and even 1 and 3. Then 3-2-1-2-3-2-1? etc. at the same fret. (I don't know what to tell you four-finger guys, as the idea of rapid repeated notes between the second and 4th fingers seems, well?unweildy). This should lead you to even articulations no matter which way you go.
28 August 01 - Roy Verges (TX), to Stickwire:
as the learning curve goes, I'd say that The Stick is harder at the beginning than guitar, but later on, it's much easier to play the equivalent music than it would be to play on guitar, i.e. classical or jazz styles. I started from drums, percussion and keyboards, but The Stick is the ultimate for me, combining all of these into one expressive instrument.
22 May 01 - Art Durkee (MN), to Stickwire:
l hand independence is enhanced by multitasking practice, IMO. In fact, hand independence is what most pianists develop over time, naturally. It's not a "trick" to be able to play independent lines within the score, it's a skill that can be learned. People take this for granted with pianists-yet I note that many of us don't assume this with Stick, which IMO is an intriguing mental limitation to be imposing on ourselves.
18 February 00 - Art Durkee (MN), to Stickwire:
Interlocking rhythmic patterns can be built up by using the overlap (in standard tuning) between the treble and bass sides. I find it fun to play such patterns two-handed, filling in a pattern across several strings. Because of the Stick's vast possibilities for playing a pattern in several different places, there are always a few variations that can result just from moving around on the fretboard.
15 February 00 - Gary Beckwith (NY), to Stickwire:
I haven't had my Stick very long (2 weeks?), but I'm starting to play some piano voicings I used to like to do, in particular the II V I's a la Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner, etc... I'm really amazed at the potential of this instrument - it didn't take that long to figure this out. Haven't been able to put it down since I got it! I'm having a lot of fun and really learning a lot from this discussion list.
31 March 97 - Peter Fernandez (MA), to Stickwire:
But that fateful morning, as must have happened for y'all far beyond my humble capacity, I GOT IT. It was a true moment of clarity for me, like months of struggling at a scientific experiment, and having your theories and hypotheses finally pay off in a manifestation of your thoughts in the physical world "my God, it DOES work!" The left hand was striding vertically up the frets, the right hand supporting with triads and solo lines. I hit clashing, then resolving harmonies. I felt like I had been half-asleep, and had finally woken up. I have since made leaps and bounds, having rearranged some of my new songs for The Stick (much better for introducing them to the band). I wanted to share this with y'all, since I trust you all have experienced a similar moment of epiphany playing The Stick.
15 March 97 - Jason Rubenstein (CA), to Stickwire:
Anyway, The Stick is incredibly conductive to melodic playing, and any piano players out there should note that any melody you can think of whilst playing piano plays beautifully 'saxophonically' (or 'violinically,' your choice of simile) on The Stick and falls under the fingers very easily, all without much adapting of the piano finger technique.
30 January 97 - Steve Adelson (NY), to Stickwire:
Also made some exciting improv discoveries in the last two days. That's what keeps us going. It's all there! Just gotta explore. Truly, the more I play the more I see The Stick as THE instrument. Everything is on that fingerboard and there ain't nothing that can't be done. Maybe there's even more than the inventor imagined. Not a commercial, this is an artistic statement. Explore, Discover, Create.
19 August 96 - Mans Johnsson (Sweden), to Stick Enterprises:
What has surprised me the most is that the playing isn't as odd as I feared. I guess I have some of the voicing basics from my keyboard playing, and the actual two-handed technique has very quickly started to feel very natural. Also I enjoy practicing on The Stick a lot more than any other instrument I play! It is such a wonderful combination of complex voicing, chords, string feel, dynamics and above all a beautiful tone. Thank you very much for this invention, both the technique and the instrument!