28 September '18 - Dustin Hinds (CO), to Emmett:
I played two gigs with the N/S and hadn't had it two weeks yet. If you hadn't been kind enough to allow my wife and I to visit the shop and play Gary's N/S Stick, I'm not sure I would have been brave enough to take the plunge. It was so reasonably priced that I'll be able to recover most all of my money by selling (my bass guitar).
You guys have customer service down as well. Cambria was helpful and informative through the whole process, and it is incredibly kind for you to send me the string at no cost. Thank you for your service, your product, and ultimately your invention. I said to you when I left your shop I intended to be a steward of this instrument and I believe that has already begun. Two people at the open jam I played last night already knew what it was! Everyone wants to jam with "the guy on The Stick".
13 August '17 - Topi Aarnio (Finland), to stickist.com forum:
I received my NS/Stick 3 weeks ago and played my first gig with it yesterday. What a wonderful instrument! Even though I played it mostly as a 5-string bass, I did get to make some forays onto the higher strings, even a bit of very simple two-handed tapping. What an experience! The NS was such a joy to play and I even ventured to new ground spontaneously during the gig.
Thanks to Emmett and crew and lots of thanks to all you on this forum. Reading about your experiences and tips has really helped me out in starting my new musical path.
15 April '17 - Bill Noble (OH), to Emmett:
Just wanted to let you know, I purchased a used NS/Stick and I'm loving it, #121012. Strings are medium/heavy gauge. The body is wenge and the neck dark bamboo. This instrument allows me to play right out of the case and think "Stick" even though I don't play your bodiless model. Every bassist should own one.
24 April '14 - Zach Constant (Colorado), to Stick Enterprises:
I received my NS/Stick yesterday and wanted to be sure to personally thank you, Emmett and Gary for the fantastic work that was done. This is by far the finest instrument I have ever played and I could not be happier with the way it sounds, looks and feels. I am very excited by the musical potential that this design encourages.
7 March '13 - Michael Erdmier (Illinois), to Stick Enterprises:
My NS/Stick was delivered yesterday and I just wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU for all your help with this! She was packaged very well, arrived without incident and was even perfectly setup and in tune, even with the cold weather here!
Never having had the opportunity to even see any Stick model in person before this purchase, I was excited and a little nervous to play her for the first time. I don't believe I've ever played an instrument as high in quality as this NS/Stick. The adjustability, the build quality, the feel of the instrument in your hands...It's just amazing!
Such a wide array of tones is available with very little change in playing style, this really does make me sound like a better bass player than I am. It will be a while before full two-handed tapping in both registers becomes natural, but even just played as a bass or with two-handed bass tapping, this is an amazing instrument!
Anyway, I need to go play some more. Thank you, thank you for everything. You guys are amazing!
27 December '12 - Jeff Wolinski (Virginia), to Stick Enterprises:
I got my NS/Stick last week and cannot believe it took me this long to write and thank you for inventing (with Ned) and building such an amazing instrument! Wow! It's a bit intimidating at first, and the neck is quite wide (I don't have the biggest hands or longest fingers!) but the tones are just amazing all across the fretboard! It arrived perfectly set up and absolutely perfectly in tune - couldn't believe the tuning after a trip in a cardboard box from California with the cold weather here. I took it out to a big musicians get together over the weekend and everyone was fascinated by it.
30 November '11 - Oliver Baumann (Germany), to Stick Enterprises:
I received the white NS/Stick today and I must say it is gorgeous and really different from my "old" one. The bamboo neck with its beveled edges and Rails are fantastic. I thought I had low action on my old NS/Stick but on this one it is really super low! Now I'll have to lower my other one.
28 November '11 - Tom Ulrich (Switzerland), to Stick Enterprises:
My new NS/Stick arrived in Switzerland two weeks ago. I'm very happy with this instrument, it has a great sound and looks beautiful! I can use it like a normal bass and guitar and like a Stick. I think the price for such a beautiful Instrument with this great sound is very low! I'm not using my 6 string bass any more.
It's ideal for playing separate bass lines and melodies, Stick style. To play more complicated chords I still use my old ten string Stick from 1985, which has also a great sound.
Your collaboration with Ned Steinberger produced the result I've been waiting for, my ideal instrument to play all the techniques I learned on bass, Stick and guitar.
19 October '11 - John (JRJ) Johnson (California), to Stick Enterprises:
Hi Cambria, yes the NS/Stick arrived as if by magic today. Suddenly a box was there. No barking dogs, no truck sounds, not even a puff of smoke... A beautiful instrument for sure and it plays like a dream. Very clean and precise but responsive and groovy. So much new fretboard to explore.
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.
24 Mar '11 - Ryan Tassone (Rhode Island), to Stickist.com:
Bass in fifths, melody in fourths with a guitar major third interval. I'm calling it "Ryan's 5/4/3 Tuning".
Everything about this instrument is gorgeous and precise. The fret rails are like the ends of a tightrope. They just grab the strings and give me amazing leeway with intonation. Ned Steinberger really outdid himself with his enhancements to Emmett's design. The damper is ingenious, and the curved lapbar is perfect for seated playing....it almost doesn't need a strap.
The pickups sound very clear and articulate. Plenty of midrange, which is what I prefer. On the melody side, the pickup covers are actually sanded down a bit to allow the strings to almost touch them, and the result is a very even-sounding distribution of volume. Even in mono mode there are separate volume controls for each side, which can be tweaked extensively.
Originally I was thinking of running it through my VG-99, which has two parallel signal paths, ideal for a stereo instrument. Now I think this beast deserves its own rig, and a serious case of G.A.S. has befallen me!
So, thank you Emmett, Cambria and everybody else at Stick Enterprises for this lovely piece of art and craft.
31 Jan '11 - Phil Newbold (Kentucky), to Stick Enterprises:
Hey Cambria, I got the NS/Stick yesterday. I cannot believe how good it felt, the sound and the versatility of the NS/Stick. It took about a half hour to start getting used to the feel, but once I did, I must have played for 3 hours straight. The idea of being able to keep going to a higher and higher range was great. I loved the sound which could go from smooth and mello to sharp and crisp with the adjustment of the tone controls. I know I am talking to the choir, but it sure is a lot of fun to have such a versatile instrument. I am still working on using both hands independently, but the NS/Stick will give me the time to do just that. I can play what I already know for now, while I take the time to learn new things on it. Tell everyone I said thanks, I love it. Phil
17 Jun '10 - Otavio Pascarelli (Florida), to Stick Enterprises:
Dear Cambria, I got my NS/Stick yesterday - thank you! The instrument is simply outstanding. It feels better than what I expected. The sound is robust and solid, and at the same time, the high strings give it a very unique guitar-like sound. I played it with no effects, and then with distortion on high strings, and to my surprise it sounded like a guitar! I was really surprised and impressed. I will approach this instrument as literally a combination of bass and guitar - the tapping will come later. I changed the tuning a little bit in order to learn "For the Love of God" as played by Steve Vai. We'll see how far I can get...
1 Aug '09 - Joshua Cohen (Toronto, Canada), to Stick Enterprises:
I consider myself a bass player because I love the tone and feel of the instrument, but I've always felt limited by what is possible on bass and I would find myself playing piano for hours on end. I could play chords, melody and bass lines on the piano all by myself which I could not do on the bass. With the NS/Stick I no longer have to go to the piano when I want to hear a fuller sound, and it's possible with the proper technique and coordination to do it all on Stick. I finally feel that I can do everything I need to do all on one instrument. If I'm in a situation where all I should be doing is grooving tower of power 16th note bass lines, I can still do this on the NS/Stick and it sounds great. I have all the advantages of a tapping instrument without sacrificing the use of slapping, plucking or strumming.
I'm not saying that it will replace my Ken Smith bass, but the NS/Stick is definitely stealing at least 50% of the playing time that used to be devoted to my Ken Smith and maybe even more as I progress and become more comfortable with this instrument. Thank you to everyone at Stick Enterprises.
9 April 09 - Mathieu Gosselin (Quebec), to Stick Enterprises:
This NS/Stick plays like a dream, and the only bad thing about this instrument is that my regular basses will be set aside! (I can even play acoustic guitar with the MIDI pickup through the VG-99!!!!!!!!!) More news coming soon from the happiest NS/Stick and Stick player on the planet!
20 November 08 - Kent Rytting (Utah), to Stickwire:
First of all, let me say I love this instrument. My bandmates and I love the way this fits into the mix of our songs, the bass frequencies are incredible.
04 November 08 - 88pursuader (NH), to Stickist.com:
I have a long portfolio of original music written and recorded by me in my home studio. (digital home recording equipment is awesome!) I started re-recording original tunes I multi-tracked a few year back to add Stick, NS Stick and in some cases Roland V-Drums to replace the acoustic drum tracks I did. (Sometimes getting a well recorded acoustic drum sound can be a challenge) I'm really surprised how good the bass parts originally done with electric bass guitar sound being replace with NS Stick and Stick. I haven't replace ALL the bass parts because some i'm very happy with however the ones that have been replaced sound wonderful. Funny thing is ... they really don't sound like STICK ... they just sound good. Even the bass played on my Grand Stick sound like Bass ... not STICK bass.
19 July 08 - Neil Bettencourt (USA), to Stick Enterprises:
I am totally in love with the fretless. I have been playing since 10:30 this morning, and have not been able to stop. The tone is unbelievable. Thanks so much.
PS. the VG-99 is amazing. I'm tracking perfectly, and there are some fantastic tones in it. What a way to be spending a sunday!!
24 June 08 - Darrell Havard (USA), to Stickist.com:
I can't get over how fun the NS is to just sit down and play! You can tap it, slap it, strum it, pick it.....
12 June 08 - Nathen Aswell (Vancouver, Canada), to Stick Enterprises:
On Wed and Thurs nights, I had the good fortune of playing my new NS live. WOW. I absolutely love the feel of the graphite neck, the evenness of its response in all registers, and the instrument's BIG sound. (A definite highlight was seeing the warm smiles on the faces of my band mates when I played the first note on the B string...!) I'm completely inspired by this amazing instrument, and am very excited about the music that will flow from me and into it. BIG thanks to you, Emmett, for creating it and lovingly setting it up for me, and BIG thanks to you, my dear Don, for helping me choose THE perfect NS for me. I'm a very happy man. :-)
With much love and gratitude for the both of you, Nathen
P.S. My wife Sheila thinks that the finish of my NS is sexy! ;-)
14 March 08 - Ray Levigne (New Hampshire), to Stickwire:
Friends ... I got my new NS Stick!!! It's beautiful ... perfect!!! I didn't want to say anything until it arrived. And it's HERE ... walnut wood, eboney stain ... a thing of beauty. And, I intend to use it on my gig tonight!! I'll post more about it later. Right now i have to practice!
02 Jan 08 - Bill Halverstein (USA), to Stickist.com:
The NS just works as I don't have to dig in as hard on the strings and the runs seem to flow better because of the great action.
19 Dec 07 - Kelly Magee (USA), to Stick Enterprises:
I can't believe that any bass player would even consider a regular bass over the NS/Stick. Why get in a wrestling match with your instrument??? With the NS/Stick, I play with effortless power, instead of powerless effort.
08 Dec 07 - Bill Halverstein (USA), to Stickist.com:
I love the NS/Stick. I would rather have a straighter non-tapered neck (from nut to bridge) but that comes with the territory. The adjustable damper makes the biggest difference IMO. I'll be getting a 10-string or Grand Stick at some point, but the NS is really everything I need at this point. The tone and electronics are the highlights of the instrument other than being able to set everything up without removing a string or a cover.
06 Dec 07 - Scott (South Carolina, USA), to stickist.com:
I bought a used NS/Stick with the intention of selling it when the ten-string Stick was ready. NOT HAPPENING! I have fallen in love with my NS. I have been recording with it since I got it for about ten months now, and absolutely love it. IMHO, the thing rocks. I have been getting some great bass sounds out of it as well as some great melody and lead sounds. On the bass side I have been as happy with tapping as with picking. I have done a little open string strumming as well. In the past few months I've gotten more serious about two handed tapping and I am enjoying the results a lot.
When I was struggling with the NS vs Stick question I asked Don Schiff about it and in short his reply was, "Get both." A pretty tall order at the time, but I understand what he meant now. I agree with everyone else, DON'T SELL YOUR STICK! Find a way to get an NS if you think it will fill the bill for you. You can't play it exactly like a bass. It does require a lighter touch. On the other hand, you have the flexibility to set it up for your playing style. If you're a more aggressive player, you can raise the action. If you listen to some of Don Schiff's stuff, it sounds to me like he doesn't hold back much.
29 Jul 07 - Don Schiff (California, USA), to Stickwire:
While doing the previous session, the studio was using the deluxe 'Adam' audio speaker monitors with a subwoofer (huge sound reproduction). In the tune I ended my lick on a low 'B' as the producer 'rolled' with delight in his chair sayin', "That's the best bass tone I've ever heard!"
Ya gotta love that! Ya gotta love the Sticks, Ya gotta love the speakers.... and... I gotta love that my studio now has some Adam speakers.
15 May 07 - Armin Dupmeier (Germany), to Stick Enterprises:
My NS/Stick has finally arrived and I'm completely satisfied with it. The moment I held my new instrument in my hands I knew that I had once again taken the right choice. (But I must admit that I'm already used to the extreme high quality of your instruments because it's already my third stick.) After having plugged it into my acousticube amp and played the first notes I was really overwhelmed by its natural sound. That's exactly what a stringed instrument should sound like.
In the evening of my first "NS/Stick-day" there was a rehearsal of one of my groups. Especially the cello and the violin player looked pretty curious at "this piece of wood with strings on it". But the moment we played the first song they stopped wondering and they all said: "That's it, that's the sound we had been waiting for. Perfect!"
So once again thank you for your wonderful service and the commitment to music of all of you at Stick Enterprises. I can experience it every time I play a Chapman Stick. Thanks to all of you, especially to Yuta and Emmett.
27 December 06 - Steve Mosher (OR), to Stick Enterprises:
I have been playing my spectacular new NS/Stick for a couple of weeks now! For 25 years I have played fretless basses only, considering frets to be incredibly intimidating. However, the NS/Stick's set-up, electronics, sustain, balance and overall awesome sound conspired. I am now being willingly swept towards new musical horizons. It is essentially an amazing and incredibly playable set of strings.
21 December 06 - duclon, to Stickist.com:
This thing is truly awesome. After three hours of a test drive I'm really impressed. And with a little tweaking of the settings on my pods I'm getting the low end punch I get with my standard Stick.
2 November 06 - Richard Carpenter (NC), to Stick Enterprises:
After receiving the NS/Stick last week I had my first chance to play it with the band last night. In over a year of playing with them, the band leader has never commented on my bass tone before. Last night after we played he said, "I really like the sound of THAT bass." From a man of few words that was praise indeed. Prior to the NS/Stick I'd been playing a Lakland 55-02 and before that a Curbow. I'm running through a SansAmp (which feeds the house sound), then into a Hartke 2500 amp running a Hartke 15" VX cabinet with a horn. Thank you Emmett and Ned for creating a great sounding instrument.
18 May 06 - Neil Bettencourt (CA), to Stick Enterprises:
I am a drummer who has been playing for 35 years, and started playing stringed instruments a couple of years ago. The NS is so perfect for me. I was able to do crazy tapping patterns on it right from the get-go. I can't tell you how much I appreciate this instrument - fantastic!
26 October 06 - Marijo Bilic (Croatia), to Stickist.com
I've received new NS on October 11th and even had gigs with it! The feeling is great, and I wanted to do in a short time as many things as I can with it, but of course it's impossible. It's the first Stick instrument in Croatia and I'm proud to be the first one here playing it. Bass side is deep and well defined. You can clearly hear every bass tone you play! Melody side is maybe the best without any effect. It's like it's already prepared for the ear and listening. Great work Emmett!
7 December 05 - Jeff Pavelec (MO), to NedSteinberger.com:
I'd like to request an autograph from Mr. Steinberger. I own an NS Stick and cannot live without it. This is one of the most revolutionary instruments ever! Without it, I doubt I'd have ever found my musical voice. Ned's guitar, bass and electric upright designs get all the accolades. I'd like him to know that his lesser-known "baby" is garnering new fans everywhere I play and astonishes every musician who sees it. Many, many thanks.
7 December 05 - Barry Silverman (WA), to Stickwire:
I have been playing bass over 25 years and have had every bass and every amp imaginable. The NS/Stick, tapped, delivers some of the fattest, tightest, punchiest, most intense deep growly bass I have ever had the pleasure to create. Simply put, it's huge. I'm not sure I would call it the ultimate bass instrument, but it comes damn close!
05 March 05 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stickwire:
So why the post, aside from letting everyone know I get out of the house every so often? Well I 'once again' used the NS/Stick for this bass gig. AND... once again after the sound check/rehearsal the sound man comes over and asks, "How do you get such a great bass sound?" The answer my friends! I'm bypassing the amps and giving him a direct feed from the NS to a direct box ('Country Man' is the brand name, a casino showroom industry standard) straight to the house. It was HUGE and deluxe.
25 February 05 - Barry Silverman (PA), to Stickwire:
I suggest you check out Gary Jibilian's CD "Galaxy Rodeo". Gary is a Detroit rocker who plays hell out of the NS/Stick. He began two hand tapping on bass and when he played the NS for the first time he fell in love with it and hasn't looked back since. Similar to my own story. In fact it was one of Gary's NS/Sticks that I played for the first time. He is one of only a handful of full time touring pro Stick players. Usually plays as a duet with a drummer. Here's a link to his website: www.garyjibilian.com
07 December 04 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stickwire:
The tour in West Virginia went great. The NS performed flawlessly as "mainly" an electric bass for the Frankie Avalon show. Once again walkin' bass lines, early rock 'n roll grooves and 'production' music.
23 November 04 - Don Schiff (CA), to StickNews:
Well, the NS had it's "Las Vegas Showroom" debut and it went fabulous. I just put it in the show unannounced and the bass tones where too good to be ignored. Lot's of compliments from the house to the stage crew. The show was the Frankie Avalon show which spans the music from the 50's rock era but also includes big band styles like the infamous arrangement of "Mac The Knife" with walking style bass lines. The NS handled it all perfectly. 90 percent plucking parts and because I could, I tapped and comped some chords at times. My goal was just to incorporate it in as if it were just another bass. That goal was far exceeded and soon it became part of the show announcement that I was playing something different and as part of my solo I got to show it and myself off. It was a blast and dropped jaws as to what ground it could cover. I really put it to the test as I needed to see it cover what I would usually do on bass. Well, there we have it... "Live from the fabulous Las Vegas Strip" the NS claims new territory.
25 October 04 - Jeremy Nesse (CA), to Stickwire:
After years of having an identity crisis, I have finally found my voice. Having the best of all worlds (tapping, regular bass & guitar techniques) have ultimately made me a better player. With less than 24 hrs of trolling around, I was up on stage blazing away! May have been the fact that I was at Molly Malone's, Los Angeles. Home of Stick Night 2003! Many thanks to Emmett for the great work & support!
20 September 04 - Barry Silverman (PA), to Stickwire:
In my own experience, it works perfectly. I haven't had to adjust it at all. In fact, I find that I am constantly wanting to change the settings of my various basses so that they more closely approximate the setup of the NS/Stick. Some people play the bass very vigorously and really pluck the strings hard. Marcus Miller is one who comes to mind that plays very aggressively. I imagine he has his action set fairly high. Victor Wooten on the other hand has his action set extremely low and apparently plays with a very light touch. He would have to, I think, to get such great articulation at such speed. So, what I'm getting at is the NS/ has had a profound influence on how I approach the bass (when I approach it at all anymore, that is). And it has influenced how I set up the bass as well, generally setting it up with much lower action, less neck bow, and the pickups much closer to the strings. As to favorite settings, I assume you meant settings of the tone controls? Nah - it all pretty much sounds great! Check out the music of both Gary Jibilian and Don Schiff. Also check out Don's website (www.donschiff.com) and NSStickist.com for some great information and lessons.
4 September 04 - Rob Martino (IL), to Stickwire:
You can get a pretty smooth distortion with the NS, and you are right that sonically it's like having a couple single coil Strat/Tele pickups. I thought the EMGs on the NS were quite versatile though and you can lay the distortion on thick if you want to without getting the "beating" or mild harshness that other pickups might exibit.
3 September 04 - Jeb McIntyre (MI), to Stickwire:
Glenn, you are absolutely correct that the NS/Stick won't do everything a bass will, nor will it replace an electric guitar (Strat, Paul, etc.) in every situation and every playing style. What it will do is allow a very solid bass line while concurrently providing a very satisfying rhythm guitar part. Where it really shines though, is when you have a bass player and a rhythm guitar player and you want to add something that fills up the sound. Then, you can play a second bass run while the baritone sound fills a hole that no other instrument can. I also play fingerstyle, so I'm often providing arpeggios that neither the rhythm or lead guitar players using picks can.
2 September 04 - Jeb McIntyre (MI), to Stickwire:
I know of no more versatile band instrument than the NS/Stick. I frankly don't know why anyone would play bass or rhythm guitar with anything else. It's simply extraordinary.
2 September 04 - Jeff Pavelec (MO), to Stickwire:
Stranger Than Fiction is a modern melodic rock band that I joined 2 months ago. The songwriting is excellent and gives me the opportunity to utilize the full capability of the NS: finger picking, strumming, tapping, slap and pop and (in 25 yrs of playing bass I've never done this) playing with a pick. Holy crap does that thing sound evil-mean with a pick. Although this is a distinct departure from the prog/jazz odd-time Crimson & Cocteau Twins influenced material that I've been writing for the last 15 years, it is the most fun I've ever had in a band situation!
26 March 04 - Jeb McIntyre (MI), to Stickwire:
I have been playing my NS/Stick for about 6 months now, and absolutely love it. I play it in my rock and roll basement band. I play it on the couch. I play it along with favorite records (jazz, classical, whatever). I play it currently more than any other instrument. This isn't the first time I've been this infatuated, and I don't know if it will be the last.
4 February 04 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stick Enterprises:
Gary Jibilian came by SE's booth (at the Nashville NAMM show last summer) and re-tuned the NS that we had there with one of the guitar tunings. As an ex-guitarist, I tried it again and it seemed to come alive for me. After that, I also noticed a handful of people come by the booth who were fingerstyle guitarists who really seemed to take a shine to the NS with the guitar tuning. I'm not sure what you had in mind exactly during the design phase of this instrument but, speaking for myself, I had looked at it as an ideal instrument for bassists who liked to tap to expand their range. The summer NAMM was the first time I approached the instrument as a guitarist instead of a bassist and, to me, it really brought it to life.
4 February 04 - Jeb McIntyre (MI), to Stickwire:
I have been playing my NS/Stick for a couple of months and can strongly urge anyone with Stick inclinations but guitar skills to try one. Only took days to be up and playing with the NS/Stick, and in my opinion it is a truly superior instrument. If you play in a band, you really begin to appreciate its' versatility, because it allows many new approaches to familiar music, whether chording, tapping, or a combination. I play a lot of fingerstyle guitar, and find that the NS/Stick is kind of a "super baritone" guitar with the added advantage of a lot more bass capability. I often use a Bird of Paradise capo to make it more like a standard guitar. It's also really comfortable to play for extended periods of time.
3 November 03 - Liner notes from Lana Lane's "Winter Sessions"
featuring Don Schiff on NS/Stick and available at www.thetank.com
Winter Sessions also features stellar woodwind performances from Delaware-based artist David Schiff, the brother of long time Lana Lane and Rocket Scientists Stick player Don Schiff. And speaking of the Stick, Don Schiff's full-range NS/Stick performances on Winter Sessions are truly breathtaking, combining the feel of classic Fender Precision bass with the deep tones of tenor guitar, all the while still feeling new and innovative due to Don's stunning technique on this very rare and unique instrument.
Lana's love of jazz standards comes through on Winter Sessions as well, with two breathtaking recordings of the classics, "I'll Be Seeing You" and "I'll Wind", brought into the 21st Century courtesy of the fabulous Schiff brothers and drummer extraordinaire Gregg Bissonette.
Don Schiff continues his extensive string of Lana Lane appearances here, and perhaps this is Don's most significant work with us yet. Not to minimize Don's past appearances, but this time Don has really spread his wings by bringing out many different facets of the gem that is the NS/Stick. While he has acted primarily as a rock-solid bassist on past projects, on Winter Sessions, Don truly played this very unique NS/Stick instrument to its full potential. Not restricted to just bass lines this time, Don also played many guitar and piano-like arpeggios, chord comps and melodic leads which come through particularly clearly on the two jazz standards, "I'll Be Seeing You" and "Ill Wind".
3 November 03 - Jeb McIntyre (MI), to Stick Enterprises:
The NS-Stick....gives so much more versatility. I would think it would be the "weapon of choice" of young rockers. I really don't understand why anyone would buy a 5 or 6 string bass (any make I've ever played) instead of an NS-Stick. Considering the versatility, quality of construction and components, and physical ergonomics, the NS-Stick is simply a vastly superior instrument. But surprisingly, it is as a baritone guitar that the NS-Stick really shines. The pickups are superior to my Gibson L5 for jazz, and from the 5th fret on the fret spacing is quite comfortable even for someone with small hands (like me).
27 October 03 - Kelly Magee (CA), to Stick Enterprises:
I am having a blast with this NS/Stick!!! I was never able to develop any "slapping" techniques until I got this instrument. I also leave the damper on even when picking or plucking notes. As a tapping instrument it is very fluid. I haven't tried to lower the action at all. I was concerned that the instrument would bow a little bit during the hot summer months but it has remained basically dead-straight. It is a beautiful instrument Emmett. Thanks again.
26 October 03 - Jeb McIntyre (MO), to Stick Enterprises:
Emmett, I wanted to thank you personally for my new NS-Stick. It's simply wonderful. Superlative workmanship, extraordinary design, and wonderful playability and musicality. I simply can't say enough positive about it. I am on the board of the Michigan Fingerstyle Guitar Society (non-profit organization who's goal is to promote this music through sponsoring concerts from nationally recognized artists www.fingerstyle.org), and I showed my new NS-Stick to several other members, all of whom were intrigued, to say the least. I think you'll be hearing from several of them in the near future.
27 October 03 - Jeff Pavelec (MO), to Stickwire:
Rave reviews for our first show and my first ever w/ the NS Stick at The Bunker in Kansas City, MO. It was very gratifying to have people respond so favorably to my material - it had never been played to an audience before. The soundman loved the NS (and my Ashdown) and the audience murmured "what-the-hell-is-that" during the soundcheck. The show garnered us a spot at a more prominent club, opening for a regional and a national act... all without having a demo. Thanks to all at SE for giving me the ability to put shivers up my own spine w/ the NS.
30 June 03 - Don Schiff (CA), Live Review: Lana Lane & Eric Norlander at The Classic Rock Society, Saturday 21 June 2003:
The band returned and segued into Marineri with vocals from Kelly Keeling, the colossal track that concludes the second Rocket Scientists album Brutal Architecture. It includes some absolutely dreamy keyboards, but I moved to the other side of the stage during this track, and was transfixed by the sounds that Don Schiff was getting from his amazing NS Stick instrument. Yet another track from Music Machine - a really impressive song featuring a driving bear - One of the Machines preceded a second solo spot, this time featuring Don Schiff on the NS Stick. Don not only had me but most of the audience in awe as he demonstrated the versatility of this fascinating instrument, and although he showed many different playing techniques, he told me after the concert that he still didn't present the full range of possibilities. Nevertheless, it was a true virtuoso exposition.
22 June 03 - Gary Jibilian (MI), to Stickwire:
My experience with the NS/Stick since 2000 has been great, considering I've been a bass player for 14 years prior to that, it was fairly easy to make the jump from 5 string bass to the NS/Stick. The way I look at it is that it's a 5 string bass with three melody strings. The first thing I did was get to know where the octaves were, and the rest just came naturally, with many hours of highly enjoyable practicing!
16 June 03 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stick Enterprises:
Well, the tour is going great. We're just rehearsing at the moment BUT yikes what a band. New singers (Lana and a new male vocalist Kelly - who was the lead singer for the Michael Shanker Group - MSG. He is phenomenal). Anyway - HEAVY METAL NS/Stick is amazing. Super loud and super proud! Both sides of the NS cut great even through the Wall of Keyboards and Marshall Sticks of guitars. I am SO pleased with it. In the set I'm using every technique - fingers tappin', plucking and using a pick a lot of the times to? you know that "Heavy Metal" music loud crisp and biting. This show is going to come out as a DVD (rumor has it) so that will be a nice touch.
13 June 03 - Andy Long (UK), from Third Bass:
This new instrument from Stick Enterprises gives the player the opportunity to combine all their usual bass-playing techniques with the two-handed tapping method that Emmett Chapman invented for use with the Chapman Stick. In other words you can tap it, slap it, pop it, pluck it, strum it, pick it and just about anything else you can think of. It has eight strings, tuned in straight fourths from a low 'B' to a high 'Bb'. It has a 34" scale length, just like a standard scale -length bass and it's headless design and small body mean that it's not quite the 50 lb beast it could potentially have been. One particularly clever idea is the addition of a spring-loaded defeatable damper at the first fret. With the damper tucked away you are able to play open strings as normal. Slide the damper into position and you can tap away without any annoying string-ring. I've also found that having the damper in place is useful when using slap techniques. The Steinberger designed headless bridge allows for simple and infinite adjustment of playing action without the need to remove strings. The action is ultra-low, as a friend of mine has been heard to say 'lower than a snake's belly'!
28 March 03 - Karsten Roeth (Germany), to Das Chapman Stick Forum:
Today my NS Stick arrived!! Very cool piece. Above all, the sound is overwhelming. The bass strings growl and the melody strings ring brilliantly - a real splendor. All around a successful concept. Of course, I ordered Gary Jibilian's CD with the instrument, so as not to forget "where the hammer hangs". I couldn't be without any of my four Sticks. Each has is own strengths and totally unique sound.
9 March 03 - Bonn Johnson (VA), to Stick Enterprises:
Well about two weeks have gone by and my life is a mess because I just can't put the NS down!!!! Seriously, this instrument is a marvel and all one wants to do is lock the doors and play the NS. Un-amped even, the notes ring out sweet timbres letting one know the personality it has due to the fine construction you folks have whipped up on this joy. Now when we plug in? whoa!!!!!! These pickups are capable of everything the imagination can dream up and then some. I feel I've waited all my life for this instrument. Just standing around with the NS on is sheer comfort. The best natural sound and feel. The best pickups - bar none. The best ergonomics. The best hardware. The best buy?infinity. I also must mention that I've always wanted an instrument that required less physical force so that the mind and imagination could flow more; well here it is. The NS makes you approach it tenderly and with suppleness allowing you to just glide.
25 February 03 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stick Enterprises:
I noticed something about the NS this time out. When I play the NS with my fingers, it gets perceived as a "bass" based instrument. When I play the exact same songs but with a "pick" it gets perceived as a "guitar" based instrument.
11 February 03 - Manuel Heyer (Germany), to Stick Enterprises:
A week ago I received my NS Stick and since then I use every free minute playing and experiencing this exceptional instrument. Geeeeeeee - what a sound! The fingers run seamlessly over the fretboard. Amazingly light and well balanced, wonderfully crafted - everything was really far beyond my expectations. Big fun!
2 February 03 - Kelly Magee (CA), to Stick Enterprises:
I have to title this message "Whoa" because this is about all I can say about my new NS Stick. Use of the word "whoa"(if it is a word?ha) is my way of giving something the highest praise that can be given.
27 January 03 - Rob Martino (IL), to Stickwire:
I found that the EMG pickups handle distortion quite well on the NS, and have more full-range presence than typical guitar pickups in my opinion (you can back off the treble to get a more traditional bass and guitar type sound if you want). You can do the metal palm muted stuff, you just need to shorten the strap (or play sitting) to get the proper hand positioning near the bridge.
8 January 03 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stick Enterprises:
EXCELLENT Emmett... I am doing the "DANCE OF JOY" over this incredible NS sound I've got going out of my rig. Every technique is "Full of life" with great sound. Even (get this!!!) while playing with a 'screaming' ('screaming' in a good way) electric guitar next to me. Nothin' gets buried and I'm "loud and proud" finding my part and place in each arrangement. I can't wait for this band to tour (February I'm told). My NS solo CD should be available (with a big NS instrumental solo added) in a couple of weeks.
31 October, 02 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stickwire:
Today was a blast in the studio. It's funny because my last post I was saying people that don't play The Stick just don't get all that you are doing. Manny, (with such a kind review...thanks) also said it well too. Unless you look hard, you don't see/hear all the rhythm and music that The Sticks are producing. Today was no exception. We were recording audio for the video of the show. When the engineer soloed some tracks he stopped and said to the guitarist "Ohhhh I was wondering how you got such a huge guitar sound, it's the top of the NS playing parts with you." Then he added the NS bass side and it hit him. "Both parts at the same time" (we weren't overdubbing anything) and they weren't tap parts, both plucked and strummed.... something new, as he has seen me tap many times). He gave me the "cool" nod. This engineer has known me for a long time, in fact it was his studio that I first recorded the NS in years ago. He was amazed at how the instrument and techniques have evolved.
30 August 02 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stick Enterprises:
The NS is stirring big, everyone thinks they have seen it before as some sort of 8 string bass? but then they can't believe what it can do upon closer watching and listening. "This instrument just carves itself a new natural nitch in music history. I fill the bass and guitar parts effortlessly with both the plucked and tapped sound."
2 May 02 - Franco Farina (France), to Stick Enterprises:
Piotr is thrilled with the NS Stick. He's already in the recording studio with it and loves the way it records. The engineer asked him how many years he has played it? And Piotr had to say? "Three hours!" Thanks again for a beautiful work of art.
13 March 02 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stickwire:
Wirey Stick sound is great when you want it and you can also have hands down one of (if not thee) finest bass sounds you'll ever recorded with. Engineers go nuts over the tones. One of the biggest reasons (that engineers love) is that the sound is large and fat even when played back on small speakers AND just as amazing.... the tone holds together even when mixed low in the track. You can still hear the 'solid' core bass sound. It doesn't get buried or lost. The one adjustment I make coming from electric bass or guitar is to pluck and pick the strings farther back toward the bridge. The reason being that the string action is very low to optimize tap techniques for tone and playability. When I pluck/pick farther toward the bridge I can 'dig into' the strings more without "clacking" them against the neck or pickups. I was hired to play bass for a variety of styles from Metal, Country, Rock, Jazz etc. With few exceptions I did 90% of all the bass work on the NS/Stick. The other basses I used were the Fender Precision and Rickenbacker 4001. They have a classic distinctive sound, which was needed for a few of the sessions. Unless otherwise requested I do all my sessions with the NS/Stick.
13 March 02 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stickwire:
I think you will be very pleased with the NS/Stick in its ability to be plucked and picked and tapped. Or tapped while plucking/picking and/or any combination therein. Pretty much any combo of techniques I've thrown at it, the results are incredible and flawless. I've been workin' on this "How to play" the NS book for 'a while now'...the biggest delay has been the constant and I mean constant discovery of 'new technique applications' for live and in the studio. A lot of work for me starts out with...A call for "Just play great bass" (meaning the plucked sound). I start there and two seconds later they're hooked with everything else you've got to offer. Two handed tapping, guitar style plucking or picking etc. The NS/Stick covers an amazing amount of ground.
1 March 02 - Don Schiff (CA), from Global Bass.com:
When I held it in a more bass like position (not so vertical) I discovered you could not only tap it like a Stick but you gained the advantage of plucking or even picking it like a bass or guitar. As I worked with it more I found you can seamlessly go from one technique (plucking to tapping or picking and any combo therein) to another, even in the same song without having to make volume or tone adjustments. I was so amazed...and I still find new techniques all the time. Since I've had it, 90 percent of my session calls have been with it. Last week I discovered I could tap a bass line with my left hand first and second finger and at the same time reach across the neck (looks like a giant bar chord) and form a chord with the remaining fingers of that hand.
2 February 02 - Gary Jibilian (MI), from Global Bass.com:
The knee rest on the NS/Stick is a nice feature also, making seated play more comfortable. Another difference is the headless design, with the one piece tuning machines/bridge located on the body of the instrument. I'm a pretty aggressive player, but I've noticed that my NS/Stick stays in tune for my entire set, and sometimes for the entire gig.
29 January 02 - Vance Gloster (CA), to Stickwire:
I love my NS! I use the "guitar" tuning where the top 6 strings are tuned like a guitar only down a fifth. But the bottom 5 strings are tuned like a 5 string bass (with a low B string). All my old guitar chops work well on the NS, but instead of sounding trite, they sound very interesting down a 5th with a little bit of effects. I do tapping on it too (more and more as time goes on). The instrument is well balanced to play (with an interesting strap extender), and you don't notice how long the scale is. Frequently long scale instruments like it are a little uncomfortable to play. Something that works really well on the NS is the adjustable damper. You can engage it for tapping, or disengage it for open string playing. I often cock it so the bass side is damped but the melody side is not so I avoid any rumbling for tapping bass parts, but I can still do open string stuff (like harmonics) on the top strings.
29 January 02 - Dave Gore (U.K.), to Stickwire:
I'd think that you could easily take the NS as a bass, then add in more melody side tapping and chord vamping as you feel comfortable. OR you could tune it like a guitar, play a guitarist role, but add in much more lower end. OR you could play chordal patterns on it, but with more 'feel' than a synth. That's the coolest thing about the NS, I honestly think any guitar player or bassist could pick it up and love it within minutes.
15 November 01 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stickwire:
I do tap a lot on the NS and would give this advice. If you are covering a lot of standard bass ground and want to stretch that ground way beyond its limits, the NS can do that and more. The Stick is different for me, in that is doesn't start on the same ground. It can cover bass parts but it doesn't come from there. It's a new breed. Neither are limited but rather where they begin (for me) is expressively different. Being a session bass player I need to be able to start with what is a "standard" bass part and then incorporate something new and different into it. Being an artist I need to break new ground with style, sounds and techniques. The NS gives me the most-basic-starting point and then knocks the ball right out of the park... The Stick takes me into a whole new League.
27 November 01 - Rob Hornbuckle (Australia), to Stickwire:
My NS/Stick arrived in April this year, after 3 days and about 6 hours adapting I used it at a local guitar festival for a rock/blues style gig. Since that day my old 5-string (bass) has stayed in its gig bag unused. I've done more than 70 gigs and recorded two albums with the NS/Stick and couldn't recommend anything better for a working bass player, because it allows you to use the skills you have developed over the many years you have been playing, whilst giving you the option of playing a broader range of tones. The only downside to the NS/Stick comes from flat-earth, knuckle dragging, retro guitarists who say things like "Noel Redding only had four strings, man." So my recommendation for a bass player wanting more sonic choice is the NS/Stick. Just my $0.02.
6 September 01 - Rob Martino (IL), review of NS/Stick on http://www.harmony-central.com:
Features: This NS/Stick (designed by Emmett Chapman and Ned Steinberger) is from the first production run in early 2000. 24 frets, 8 strings, two sets of active EMG "Front Tele" stacked double coil pickups (neck and bridge, pickup pair for each group of four strings?stereo output). Small alder body with deep reddish finish, wenge neck. Steinberger style headless tuner/bridge design (tuner on bridge). 34" scale length. The four lowest bass strings are spaced a little wider so that right hand plucking techniques can be used. There is a disengagable dampener which can be activated for tapping, and pushed off the strings for open string playing. There is also a cleverly attached metal rod on the body which the top end of the strap goes onto, which properly balances the instrument for either a traditional horizontal strumming/plucking position, a vertical tapping position, or anything in between. Includes case, strap, adjustment tools.
Sound: I love the sound of this instrument. The dual pickup system (four pickups total) gives more tonal variation than the pickups on conventional Sticks. EMG pickups are rich and punchy, with tone controls for each pair of pickups for more brightness/darkness. With my Sans Amp Bass Driver DI, it sounds fantastic. I'm mainly interested in progressive rock, which this instrument works out nicely for?it's a unique kind of sound, it can be growly and punchy but it probably won't replace a Fender or Rickenbacker if you want that exact kind of tone.
Action, Fit & Finish: The action, like any properly set up Stick is extraordinarily low, allowing for easy tapping of strings on frets. With a light touch, this instrument is also designed to allow for more conventional strumming, plucking and fingerpicking techniques. Playing bass strings by tapping is 10 times easier than the conventional fret and pluck technique, and in my opinion sounds better too (more percussive attack). Plus your right hand is freed up to play chords or melodies on the higher strings (or you could have complex two-handed basslines). The instrument looks great with the deep reddish natural looking finish, and is very unique with the wide neck and minimal body.
9 July 01 - Jim Speer (PA), to Stick Enterprises:
I've been the owner of my NS/Stick for about 4 months now. After 30 or so performances now, I would like to share just a few of my impressions of this instrument. I say "just a few" because I can't possibly say enough about it. My biggest surprise is that even judged on bass guitar merits alone it's still one of the best basses I've ever played. I completely love it. It has the growl of a Chris Squire Rickenbacker and the ergonomic balance of a Steinberger L-series. In mono-mode you can play scales and runs all the way up the 8 strings without a seam. You can play those meaty tenor guitar lines (the elusive "Rawhide" range!) Drawbacks: It took only a tiny bit of getting used to in terms of the lighter string tension requiring a lighter touch in the fingertips. Yep, it's a Stick, too. Going from plucking to tapping is effortless and seamless, especially on the upper 4 strings. Whoever invented the retractable damper should receive the Nobel Prize for something, because it works miracles - withdrawn it allows open string notes to be plucked, while engaged it silences the strings after tapped notes are ended. I have MIDI pickup under the top 6 strings. I'm having trouble thinking of something to say about this, because it has no flaws. It tracks perfectly when the damper is on. In short, it does everything.
13 July 01 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stickwire:
Not too long ago I was yackin' about this session I did for Narada Records. Well, I get a call from the producer who was all lit up and excited about how the record came out. They mixed it at Sony Records on Pro-Tools (I tell ya, almost everything is that format now) anyway he was excited to tell me that the engineers over at Sony wanted to know who and what kind of bass was played. They could not believe the tight low end. When the producer told them it was the new NS/Stick (which they never heard of?but knew of The Stick) they just couldn't believe how wonderful it sounded. So big kudos again to SE and Ned Steinberger.
28 June 01 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stick Enterprises:
Anyway, higher wasn't the ticket to the song. Low was, and the beauty was in the "clarity" of tone even after the de-tune. The producer was stating that perhaps he would leave the synth bass part there and forget adding NS or bass to the song because in his experience, when you get that low it's hard to distinguish tone and pitch. I suggested he give it a try and boy were they glad they did. They got more than they bargained for. The low, clear, clean pitch and tone plus the feel of the NS being plucked and?oh yes, we got the tapping in there this time! There are times when synth bass is deluxe and this wasn't it.
20 June 01 - Brett Lane (Australia), to Stick Enterprises:
Just keeping in touch and letting you know how my adventures on the NS have been going. In a nutshell, excellent. It has to be the most versatile writing instrument for me. As an ex-bass player I can play and write all the bass styles I have loved for years as well as write rhythm and lead lines, write vox lines and harmonies without having to touch another instrument.
3 June 01 - Gary Jibilian (MI), to Elephant Talk:
On June 1st, my duo, Jibilian/Glass, Detroit's new progressive voice, had the honor and privilege of opening for Bill Bruford's Earthworks. I play the NS/Stick, the new eight string-tapping instrument made by Emmett Chapman, creator of The Stick. Todd Glass plays drums. We just released our debut CD, "Galaxy Rodeo", which greatly appeals to fans of King Crimson, Gordian Knot, etc. We played a very good set, mainly due to the fact that we were playing to our #1 audience, and the crowd loved what they heard, telling us throughout the night how happy they were that there's finally a Crimson-esq Prog band. It was a pleasure to meet Mr. Bruford, who is a very nice, down to earth person, and simply amazing to hear/watch him and his great band play. That same night, the club owner booked us to open for CAB on June 23rd! First Bill Bruford, now Dennis Chambers. Which legendary drum god will we open for next?
2 April 01 - Tom Griesgraber (CA), to Stickwire:
I'm happy to pass along that I've got some new (as of yet unreleased) Don Schiff recordings. 5 songs in all, and all featuring the NS/Stick. I'll be premiering them tomorrow on The Stick Show. (10:30 - Noon Pacific at www.worldmusicradio.com). Definitely the best NS-ing I've heard. Don's got all the bases amply covered. Tapped lined, fingerpicked guitar parts and bass lines, and a great assortment of effects including the VG-8 via a Roland pickup on the top 6 strings.
22 February 01 - Scott Wedel (WA), to Stick Enterprises:
Musically, I can't say enough good things about the NS/Stick. This is the instrument I've been wanting for a long time. I love the ability to switch from mono to stereo with a flip of a switch. I haven't had any trouble moving the stuff I was working on with The Stick to the NS/Stick, and playing it as a bass is a dream!
15 February 01 - Rob Martino (IL), to Stickwire:
I kind of feel like I have the Swiss Army Knife of musical instruments. With the NS I can be a guitar player, a bass player, a Stick player and a keyboard player all at the same time. Why learn anything else? :-) The highest six strings are MIDIed and I get reasonable response even on the lowest strings with my GI-10 running a Wavestation SR (which I like for it's complex, organic synth textures). Too much fun. I almost feel guilty being able to do so many different things on one instrument.
13 February 01 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
Last night's event didn't draw quite as many listeners as the opening event but drew more players. I sat out and just watched while Gary Jibilian did a three song set solo on his NS/Stick. I had already had the pleasure of seeing Gary perform a few weeks ago and again, he was a solid as Sears. He's got such a huge sound on the thing it's amazing and everybody in the room was fixed on the performance. Very cool!
7 February 01 - Rob Martino (IL), to Stickwire:
The spacing of the treble strings is comparable to the spacing on a guitar. I'd definitely recommend the NS for a guitarist who wants further territory to explore while being able to do most things he/she already knows how to do.
1 February 01 - Gary Jibilian (MI), to Stick Enterprises:
We're recording our debut CD right now, and it's sounding killer! I can't believe how huge the NS/Stick sounds. Look for the final CD around late Spring.
13 January 01 - Gary Jibilian (MI), to Stickwire:
I just received mine on august 31, 2000 and I think the reason it felt so comfortable to play was that I have been practicing tapping on the bass for nearly the past twelve years. My technique was already pretty much there. Then, to tap on an instrument that was designed for this style, made it that much more easy to play. Now, it feels so awkward and difficult to tap on the bass! Think of a melody or bass line in your head before you start playing anything. Then figure out that line on the NS/Stick. That's pretty much the way I write my tunes, but that's my way.
9 January 01 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
I finally got to go downtown last night and her Gary Jibilian jam on his NS/Stick. He did a short set down at the Music Menu in Greektown. He played accompanied by a drummer and the set was made up of all original instrumentals. Gary's only been an NS player for a little over four months but has experimented with tapping techniques on the bass for many years. You would have never guessed four months if you'd heard last night's performance. The material, if I had to categorize, would be closer to progressive rock than anything else and the parts Gary played were complex and interesting. I browsed around his site this morning at http://www.garyjibilian.com and noticed that he started life as a drummer. Listening to his very rhythmic approach to the NS, this doesn't surprise me a bit.
6 January 01 - Gary Jibilian (MI), to Stickwire:
The NS/Stick has made me take my musical career to a new level. All of a sudden, I'm copyrighting originals and educating myself on the business side of music.
9 December 00 - John Jens (VA), on http://shell.webzone.net/~jjens/stick.html:
The body is light and looks amazing. The pickups sound great, quite strong, and produce that distinguishable "Stick tapped growl" on the lower strings we all know and love. The movable damper is a genius of a design, though fretting on the first fret feels a bit strange with the damper disengaged. Ned's offset-nut and the whole lack of headstock is different in a coolio way. Overall, I am mighty impressed with Emmett's workmanship and both Emmett's and Ned's design. I'm also impressed with the fact that I'm so impressed initially with this instrument and my out-of-box ability to play it.
7 December 00 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stick Enterprises:
The feel of the NS/Stick coming from a bass player perspective is like a very low action bass. The tone when plucked is so great. On sessions where I'm hired as a bass player, I just take the NS/Stick and use it. The tone is massive and magnificent and works for me like a "super bass" able to play incredible lines way down low. Since the action is low, I pluck near the bridge to keep the string tension stiff, so that I don't create lot of "clacking". I recommend that you don't raise the action to have it feel more like your bass, but rather give it time and get used to it. The rewards are great and it doesn't take long to get the hang of it.
30 November 00 - George Fish (CA), to Stickwire:
By the way, this is my first post to this list. I recently traded in my Stick #420 for my new NS/Stick guitarbass, and I love it. I dunno if I'll ever go back to my old basses now.
28 November 00 - Nick Beggs (UK), to Stick Enterprises:
As you'd expect the quality of the instrument is very high. These are not mass produced pieces of matchwood with short shelf lives. The choice of wood means it's solid and resonant throughout its length. The string oscillation in the lower registers makes it worth its money alone and I can imagine the kind of applications it will find in thrash metal circles. It sounds angry. The machined metal tailpiece and nut are robust with little chance of failure even after a good pounding with a lump hammer. Ned Steinberger's novel side saddle set screws at both bridge and nut allow easy adjustment of the action which can be done with the Allen key provided. Sliding saddle blocks at the bridge provide quick adjustment of individual string intonation. (An Allen key tightens the blocks down without detuning strings.) The truss rod is exposed flush with the rear neck surface for convenient adjustment.
What we have here is a bass and guitar amalgam, a hybrid of the two instruments with the added possibility of double handed tapping. As with all Stick models, it's fully adjustable without removing any of the components or detuning the strings. The action can be set higher at the bridge and nut to provide for a heavier touch. This is a quality instrument from two masters of the genre. I am privileged to know from experience that you will not only be happy with the model but you will also enjoy support from Emmett and Stick Enterprises should you purchase any of his products.
21 October 00 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stickwire:
On the video "Stick Night '99" (available through Stick Enterprises) I performed a song specially for that reason, to show how you can change techniques mid song and not have it sound like the bottom end dropped out or an instrument was changed. It is very smooth. Just the technique changes. Since the action is so low, for optimum tap technique, I tend to pluck or pick the strings closer to the bridge so that the string tension is tighter so I can "dig" in and not have the strings 'clack'. I will also say that the sonic range of the NS is incredible. I have gotten great Rickenbacker sounds as well as big fat precision bass sounds as well. Mostly I just go for the NS large, full, beautiful bass tone.
19 October 00 - Steve Burnett (NC), to Stick Enterprises:
Wayne Leechford played the Friday night before with his new musical project "Polydactyl" and his NS/Stick sounded awesome. Amazing tone. I want one.
5 September 00 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stickwire:
The Prog Fest opened great. I played in the band "Rocket Scientists" at the "World Famous Troubador". On the NS/Stick I mainly picked and plucked. The sound system is very loud and so I got to hear how the NS filled out the room. Huge, clear, clean, massive. A wall!
4 September 00 - Gary Jibilian (MI), to Stick Enterprises:
I picked up my NS/Stick from Oz last Thursday and I haven't stopped playing it since! I love how it plays, feels and sounds, as well as the beautiful finish. I would like to thank you both for all the help and understanding my urge to get this great instrument. I feel that there is a special reason that I am one of the lucky few who own an NS/Stick. I'm extremely thrilled, in all modesty, that I can actually play it. It's as if I can transfer an outrageous riff/melody from my brain, right to my fingers and to the strings in such a short amount of time! This instrument is made for me!
1 September 00 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stick Enterprises:
The show went off wonderfully and the house was packed. The NS and Stick got an excellent showing. Prog Fest will make CD's from the show and you can hear it then. Got asked quite a few questions about the NS. It sure held the fort down solid, what an instrument. The bass player from Spocks Beard was sound checking and got quite a nice deluxe bass tone on his Rickenbacker (standard Prog Fest issue bass of choice). The NS tone is the next level. Hugely deep, rich, clear and holds together at really loud volume. I picked, plucked and tapped, all great.
3 July 00 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stickwire:
I don't even take my basses out anymore unless specifically asked for. The NS does the job. I guess I got used to the slightly narrower spacing and don't even give it a second thought. Plus my own personal theory is that it will increase your bass playing style greatly. You start reaching for notes and parts that were not possible on bass and I'm not even speaking about tapping. Just the playability and range. Keep in mind that if you like to "dig" into the string really hard, the NS sounds best plucked light to moderate. If you want to dig in hard then you'll need to raise the action a bit. I am really into the NS and find new possibilities on it all the time. On its simplest level (plucking easy 4 string bass parts) and (its) most complex level (tapping and plucking together), it delivers.
16 June 00 - Rob Martino (IL), to Harmony Central:
I love the sound of this instrument. The dual pickup system (four pickups total) gives more tonal variation than the pickups on conventional Sticks. EMG pickups are rich and punchy, with tone controls for each pair of pickups for more brightness/darkness. The action, like any properly set up Stick, is extraordinarily low, allowing for easy tapping of strings into frets. With a light touch, this instrument is also designed to allow for more conventional strumming, plucking and finger picking techniques. Playing bass strings by tapping is 10 times easier than conventional fret and pluck technique, and in my opinion sounds better too(more percussive attack0. Plus your right hand is freed up to play chords or melodies on the higher strings (or you could have complex two handed basslines). The instrument looks great with the deep reddish natural looking finish, and is very unque with the wide neck and minimal body.
12 May 00 - Rob Martino (IL), to Stickwire:
I love the thing! I've kept mine in straight fourths tuning. The tone of the dual EMG pickups is great, particularly having both pickups going at once on the bass side. The instrument is very comfortable to wear both standing and sitting. I'll be sending mine back in the next couple weeks for a MIDI pickup.
11 May 00 - Chris Crofford (CA), to Stickwire:
While I'm on the subject, I might as well take this opportunity to say what a blast I'm having playing the NS/Stick. It's a different beast to be sure, but a pretty amazing instrument in it's own right.
April 00 - Ned Steinberger interview, Bass Frontiers (volume 7, # 2):
Well I am working with Emmett Chapman, who developed the Stick, on the new NS/Stick. He contacted me about three years ago and explained his interest in a kind of "bass-Stick hybrid" instrument. We'd known each other over the years and I had always admired his work, so when he approached me with this idea, I was thrilled. I was interested in an instrument you could both tap and pluck, and tuned a little bit more conventionally than a Chapman Stick.
27 April 00 - Rob Martino (IL), to Stickwire:
4ths tuning makes adapting from bass real easy, as well as the huge amount of material (recordings, sheet music, availability of lessons, etc) to learn from. Same applies to a more limited extent to guitar players (the longer scale length, width of fretboard, and a lower range make it a significantly different experience than playing guitar though). Can play open strings. Can play in a variety of positions. Easier to strum, pluck and pick. More tonal variety with two sets of pickups. Less strings = easier to learn fretboard and a cohesiveness from bottom to top string.
24 March 00 - Kevin Muir (Ontario), to Stickwire:
Quite different than a Stick in many great ways, and similar in many delicious ways. There are definitely issues of feel and technique difference between the instruments that I'm really enjoying. BTW, the NS/Stick just uses a regular guitar strap, too. It's obvious that the strap system was carefully thought out, and it works very well.
14 March 00 - Rob Martino (IL), to Stickwire:
I'm actually kind of surprised how easily it plays as a conventional bass, considering how low the action is. With light finger plucking, playing some of those nice Geddy Lee bass lines becomes almost effortless (except for my fingers' lack of precision!) after a little practice. It was never this easy on my 4 string bass. Overall the feel of the instrument is wonderful, and it can be played Stick style or bass style quite easily.
10 March 00 - Rob Martino (IL), to Stickwire:
It's so much easier for me to play basslines on an instrument like this than on a conventional bass, which was always a struggle because of the wide spacing and higher action. I remember now how satisfying just the act of tapping feels, it had been a while since I last played my Stick. Anyways, I'm thrilled about the potential of this instrument, and hope to make steady progress on it. Time to play some more....
19 February 00 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stickwire:
I took my NS/Stick to the NAMM show to play and by day 3 decided to just pull one of the shelf and feel the difference. Well, that did it. After a year of going back and forth over string gauges and height adjustment the usual happens. The setting that Emmett set plays and sounds the best. Like he says, the low action gives you better dynamic, tone, and string response.
7 February 00 - Chuck Ivy (CA), to Stickwire:
NAMM was great. NAMM was good. Must thank Yuta for my food. (A NAMM prayer... ) Yes, it was fun. I only made it out on Friday, unfortunately, but WOW, some great sightings as usual... While I was answering questions in the Stick booth, volunteering my time, both Dough Wimbish and Michael Manring took some time to try out the NS/Stick. Both took to it right away, and seemed to have quite a bit of fun with it. Now if only we'd been able to drag Victor Wooten to the booth...
7 January 00 - Greg Howard (VA), to Sticknews:
As a non-guitar/bass player, I found the instrument fun to play and very comfortable while at the Tokyo Music Fair. For those of you who'd like a closer listen, but can't get out to the NAMM show, I'd recommend you check out Don Schiff's "Timeless" CD and his performance on the Stick Night '99 video. I also imagine Don will be playing the instrument at the Stick Night on February 3rd in Sherman Oaks (see below in the Stick Events section). The nicest difference from The Stick to my ear was the sound. The 4 EMG pickups give you a great variety of tonal combinations. Perhaps we'll have a quad pickup module for the Stick sometime soon... :)
25 October 99 - Jaap Kramer (Holland), to Stickwire:
I also received the "Stick Night 99" video. Highly recommended if you want to see the experts at work. The NS/Stick (played by Don Schiff) is actually far above my expectations. Both plucked and tapped it sounds wonderful; totally different from both the standard and Block equipped Sticks.
31 August 99 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stickwire:
I laid down the NS/Stick bass track first and then asked for another track and played the melody strings like a guitar sometimes using a pick and sometimes fingers. To me that is one of the beautiful things about these instruments. You don't have to do everything at once, especially in the studio. Play a bass line, then add a strumming chord part, then a solo, harmonize the solo. By the time you're done their jaws drop at all that you did AND since no one understands your "time and feel" better than you do, you locked the groove in so tight with all your parts they can't miss.