16 November 15 - David Tipton (CO), to Cambria and Emmett:
Can't express enough how much I'm enjoying the new instrument. Had the day off today and spent most of it playing. I'm digging the slimmer version of the fret rails and find myself playing more in the highest frets than ever before.
12 August 15 - Jeff Brookmyer (MI), to Cambria at Stick Enterprises:
Just wanted to let you know that the beautiful wenge Grand Stick arrived without any issue. I spent the evening playing it and will spend more time with it before I offer a full review. One thing I can say though is that the smaller rails are everything I hoped for! I love the additional contact with the wood on my fingers and it really has the comfortable feel of my trusty old Stick.
01 February 10 - André Pelat (France), to Stick Enterprises:
Dear Emmett, I received the Stick Friday 29th January at 3 pm. My first feeling when I opened the parcel was, "It's incredible!". This Stick is so beautiful, I couldn't imagine that before!
When I began to play - wouaouh! The "Rail" frets are absolutely great and give a precise touch and slide easily. Also, these frets reveal a more brilliant sound than the older Rods. It is really pleasant. I am wondering how you did that!
Thank you so much for the 4 extra frets. I can play Classic pieces like Winter of Vivaldi or Hungarian dance #5 without bending high notes. The "Flaps" dual nut allows me to play a Gm7 in the same position as my Am7, and that lower C is powerful!
One thing more incredible I notice - The Stick arrived in tune in spite of the travel from CA to France. You adjusted perfectly this stick. Everywhere you play on the fretboard it's easy and each note is in tune. The 2 GK3 are perfect.
This stick is the BEST I have held in my hand! Emmett, I haven't the English words to express my gratitude for your love of the perfect work and your sensible advice. Your intuition helped me in my choice, and I don't forget Yuta, Cambria and Ben for their friendly help. I am so happy!
11 June 08 - Matt Rogers (TX), to Stickist.com:
This instrument simply soars. The Rails were lightning fast, quick flurries of notes were so easy and fluid.
05 May 06 - Mike Baran (OH), to Stickwire:
After playing the the fret Rods for 8 years, my new Stick with the Rails is quite the differance. The Rails IMHO offer more tone anywhere on the Touchboard and make the Stick a tighter playing instrument. I can bounce the low D on the 14th fret with zero tone loss, and in fact it has a nice growl. Emmett you are a true visionary and thanks for the extra fret.
09 April 05 - Mike Baran (OH), to Stickwire:
Thanks Emmett for clearing up all my questions! I did not know the Rails could be dressed to different heights and curves and that made my day. I will e-mail my preference on the Rails soon. It is not every day that a company like S.E. comes along and where the owner will follow the questions concering the players needs and answer them personally. I feel privileged to be part of the Stick community and the support you get where many other companies fall short and are nonexistant at times. Looking forward to my new Stick.
07 April 05 - Rob Martino (IL), to StickWire:
I think the Fret Rods on the Grand before my new one were smoother feeling for slides but the Rails don't make it any more difficult. Where the Rails make up for it is in the feeling of precision. You have a better sense for how many half steps you're moving up or down. Rails make it easier to find your way around the fretboard by touch rather than looking all the time.
17 March 04 - Jim Moy (CO), to StickWire:
Rails are terrific and would be the number one reason for my upgrading. Not having some of my finger pressure go to the fretboard as currently happens on my Grand Stick with Fret Rods made a significant difference for being able to tap lightly and confidently after only a half-hour of poking about. Bends were easier since the Rail tips are up a bit higher, allowing a bit more finger tip to get further to the side of the string. Someone posted recently that it was more difficult to apply vibrato on Rails than Rods, but I detected no difference or difficulty rocking toward and away from a fret for the desired effect.
12 March 04 - Greg Howard (VA), to StickWire:
Rails are a dramatic step forward for tapping instrument technology. There's no question in my mind that these new frets are more precise and provide more tactile feedback to the player. They make me feel even more connected to the instrument, and I notice it each time I play. This is especially true each time I go up high on the melody side. I always know where I am now. At this time Sticks are the only instruments available with these frets, but I can easily imagine a time when they are the standard fret on all tapping instruments made by forward-thinking builders.
12 March 04 - Matt Rogers (TX), to StickWire:
The only Stick I've owned has regular "jumbo" frets. I never even experienced the Rods. I had a chance to play a Grand (Stick) with Rails and it was like opening the flood gates. I could play much lighter and I could feel my right hand speed and fluidity increasing by the minute. I don't know how the Rods feel, but Greg is right. The Rails are the tapping frets of the future.
11 March 04 - Matt Herman (CA), to StickWire:
In my experience (I own both a "Rails" and a "Rods" instrument), the Rails are a drastic improvement. They just *feel* better (to me). Due to the sharper edge at the contact point of the fret, there is a little more space between adjacent frets. This requires a little less precision when touching the string (not to condone less precision!)--it's more forgiving. I think that for one who has spent years with the Rods, Rails will not necessarily be "better," but they probably certainly will be for the newer player.
27 January 04 - Kevin Ramsey (Japan), to StickWire:
Yeah, I discovered that I need to use less "meat" of my fingers when sliding on the rails. Otherwise, my fingers get stuck on a Rail before I reach the destination of my slide. This is a minor adjustment, and with some practice you should have it down in no time. It also helps me to be more sensitive to playing with a light touch.
24 December 03 - Greg Howard (VA), to StickWire:
I really prefer the overall feel of the Rails over the Rods, for all the reasons cited here so far, precision, playability, tactile feedback (especially up high). Compared to standard jumbo guitar frets and even the Rods, they are a superior fret for tapping, and, in my opinion, a big leap forward in this art.
13 December 03 - Pete Gonzales (AZ), to StickWire:
As an owner of a Stick with the original size fret Rods, I have to say when I first tried fret Rails I thought the feeling was much more sensitive overall. At the last seminar I had a chance to try out Greg's latest instrument X36 rosewood 10 string, played like a dream. That's a 3rd person perspective.
12 December 03 - Eric Wallack (OH), to StickWire:
I was immediately shocked by the "purity" of tone (even unamplified) of the string against the Rail. This may be due more to the stainless steel than anything else, but I think that the less surface area the string comes in contact with, the more freedom of vibration in the string. I love Greg Howard's phrase "tactile feeback" - this is something you really need to experience for yourself. I don't like to look down at the instrument, and the Rails give me a feeling of security when I'm "flying by the seat of my pants" (I'm an improviser). Expressive devices like vibrato and bending seem effortless (think John McL's "Shakti" guitars). I've never imagined the playing action of a fretted instrument could be so low without buzzes or rattles. The Rails are most certainly a factor here. You can "pop" harmonics off of the Rails with delightful ease (methinks due to the precision of intonation and focused, minimal surface area). I'm thrilled to be "ridin' the Rails"!
12 December 03 - Kevin Ramsey (Japan), to StickWire:
Rails are manufactured to very precise standards, and I can feel this precision when I'm playing. Many people feel that the precise construction of the tips of the Rails (= very distinct point of contact with the string) allows an improvement in intonation. The tips of the Rails have less surface area than the tops of the Rods; this gives me a feeling of my hands "floating" over the fretboard, because there is less contact between my fingertips and the frets. This results in (hopefully) more fluid playing. The angular construction of the Rails produces greater distance between each fret, which is a big benefit the farther my hands move up the neck. Rails look damn kewl!
Dec 03 - Greg Howard (VA), to StickWire:
I have not owned a ten-string with Rails yet, and the more energetic improv style I usually use on ten-string really benefits from them, especially playing higher pitches, and from the incredibly dynamic low action that's easier to achieve with the Rails.
May 03 - Andy Long (UK), to www.thirdbass.com
If you have ever played a graphite necked bass you will know how great they feel under the fingers and that feel has traveled beautifully to The Stick. The precise feel of the graphite is augmented by the innovative frets known as 'Fret Rails'?. These Stainless Steel frets have a 90-degree point to them, which helps to create wonderfully smooth slides and vibratos as well as giving the fingers a more precise reference point.
11 November 02 - Vance Gloster (CA), to Stickwire:
The Rods were a big improvement on the old guitar frets, but the Rails are even better. My Stick has the Rods, but every time I play a Stick with Rails, I say to myself "I gotta get one of these." Logically, the Rails only give you a small amount of extra room and it should not matter, but when you play them it feels like you have a lot of extra room and you can get a lot closer to the fret. That said, the Rods play well and if you can stay away from the Fret Rails you should be very happy with them.
8 October 02 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
Definitely easier with Rails. That's one of the things that I really like about the Rails. The ease and clarity of the high notes.
28 July 02 - Jim Kam (TX), to Stickwire:
After years of playing Grand Stick, I suddenly realized the 10 string is more ergonomically suited to my finger length, etc. and thus it is easier for me to play. Add to that, the Rails on the Graphite make it such a joy to play.
17 July 02 - Glenn Turner (IL), to Stickwire:
The Rails are taller, so your fingers don't touch the fretboard surface as much as with Rods. I think this is an advantage in a tapping instrument because it makes it easier to slide from one hand position to another. Also, I can get more of my finger on the side of a string for note bending. The Rails feel like there's more distance between the Frets, especially as you move up the fretboard, which is nice, too.
17 July 02 - Bill Kitley (MI), to Stickwire:
When I switched to Rails in March, the only difficulty I had was in sliding. I thought the Rods were much smoother. I have adjusted to sliding on the Rails though and they offer much more of an overall feeling of precision as well as more space (as mentioned). I love 'em.
16 July 02 - Matt Herman (CA), to Stick Enterprises:
I received my Stick last week (#2022), and am very happy with it; the Rails are far easier to play on than the Rods, which is what I had been hoping for. The setup is far better than on my Grand model (#1510). I had made some adjustments after experimenting with different tunings); though I've had little time to play it while on vacation, it feels very "right". I've gotten to be very comfortable with my Grand, after a period of time, but this new one just seems to play itself. And I'm very impressed with the pickup.
21 June 02 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
I can say that the difference is most definitely noticeable. In general, the higher notes are easier to play and sound is noticeably more pronounced with better sustain. Like most of the real dramatic changes that are made to the instrument, you have to withhold judgment until you've put in a little time. The first time I played on the Rails, I wasn't super thrilled. On each successive opportunity, I noticed more things about the Rails that I liked and might even call better. By the time I came to a point where I was ordering a new instrument, there was no contest.
20 June 02 - Glenn Poorman, (MI), to Stickwire:
As much as I like using that technique, I would still never allow that to sway me from the Rails. The more I play on them, the more I love the feel and sound in every other respect.
20 May 02 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
Rails rock! They add some crispness all over the fretboard. They really come to life up in the higher ranges though, where notes up close to the pickup feel and scream as good as the note further toward the nut.
18 April 02 - Paul Frields (VA), to Sticknews:
And let me tell you, the Rails are awesome in and of themselves. Both my Sticks have the Fret Rods, which are wonderful, but the Rails have a more precision feel, and they seemed to act as a sort of "early warning system" against your fingers interacting with the wood. When playing Stick you generally are trying to fret notes by tapping the strings so they interact only with the frets, metal on metal; contact with the wood happens from time to time but too much of it could mean one was playing sloppily.
9 December 01 - Pete Gonzales (AZ), to Stickwire:
I can tell you that tapping on regular guitar and or bass frets isn't anywhere as easy as tapping on Fret Rods or Fret Rails! In fact at the California Stick Seminar last June I actually got to try out Greg Howard's new Grand with Fret Rails. One word, AMAZING! It takes an incredible light touch. I can't wait to order a new Grand with Fret Rails but it will be awhile due to my financial situation.
2 December 01 - Steve Burnett (NC), to Stickwire:
And after getting less than five minutes time after Greg Howard's set here in Raleigh NC last week with his Rails-equipped Stick (thanks for letting me give it a try, Greg), I know what I'd choose: Rails. Those things feel amazing. Giving a precise feel for the notes, the Rails were astonishingly conducive to clean notes without fret buzz, something I occasionally have problems with if I'm playing sloppily on a given day.
18 September 01 - Will Pirkle (FL), to Stick Enterprises:
Fret Rails are totally killer - a real improvement over my old black Poly 2313. Perfect. I couldn't buy another Stick without 'em. Thanks again for such a great instrument - and the design improvements - especially the Fret Rails and PASV-4 - have exceeded my expectations. If it isn't obvious, I am a happy customer.
26 July 01 - Jerry Ballard (CA), to Stickwire:
I tried Greg's instrument with Fret Rails at the San Diego seminar. Although I played it for a grand total of 30 seconds, I had several strong impressions.
There'sre's a definite difference in the clarity of the notes, especially on higher frets.
2. Again, on higher frets, there's a touch more room between frets due to the reduced width.
3. The adjustment of just tapping the string down to the fret, as opposed to tapping all the way down to the wood, allows a light touch, more like you're floating above the fretboard instead of digging into it.
24 May 01 - David Wozmak (NH), to Stickwire:
Here's a bit about the Rails, compared to my Fret Rods. The Rails shouldn't really make that much difference intonation-wise, since you really have a precise anchor point on a tight radius, just like you do with a knife edge, but the major difference is that when playing Rods, the "playing plane" is down on the wood, but the Rails move the playing plane up, so you're floating above the fretboard. This has significant implications to the touch, because you now interact with the string, not the fretboard. I'll use the car analogy here: Rods are like a Toyota Camry (a fine car), Rails are like a Porche Boxter.
18 March 01 - Brian Baggett (TX), to Stickwire:
After playing around on Emmett's 10 string with the Rails I remember thinking, "Now this is something an ordinary fretted-stringed instrumentalist would have never come up with because they would not have needed to." The new Rails, in my brief experience with Emmett's 10 string last summer and more recently with Greg Howard's new Grand Stick, are definitely the most logical step in the evolution of any serious tapping instrument. The Rails encourage light touch. They provide a feeling for light touch. Don't ask me why, they just do. I suppose it has something to do with LESS surface area of the fret touching the string. My own personal amendment to that assumption is that it would seem intonation would be even more accurate. All I know is when that great day comes in my life for a new Stick order, mine will DEFINITELY be equipped with Fret Rails.
18 March 01 - Greg Howard (VA), to Stickwire:
My first reaction to the way these feel was that they were a little jaggy, but after only a day of playing I didn't even notice that aspect of Emmett's new Frets. What I did notice was that I had the lowest, easiest to tap action on any instrument I had ever tried, and that playing high notes was especially improved over conventional frets and even over Fret Rods. There's much more room for your fingertips up high. Since the beginning, Emmett has designed and redesigned his instrument to facilitate his new playing technique. These Frets do just that, and I look forward to what his next innovation will be. I believe that in the future all tapping instruments will have Frets like these. Once again, Emmett leads the way.
30 December 00 - Greg Howard (VA), to Stickwire:
Having followed Emmett's path of innovations, I decided the time was right to order a new instrument. My padauk Grand Stick, with Rails, Flaps and The Block, tuned in Matched Reciprocal with heavy bass and medium melody strings arrived three days ago, and I've finally come up for air. This is a beautiful and beautifully playable instrument. The sound is full and clear. The playing surface is so fast, and I love all the extra room for your fingers between the frets. After a couple of hours playing it, I didn't even notice the fret slope anymore, and there seems to be a little extra bit of articulation, especially on the descending notes (perhaps just my imagination, but I don't think so). I do believe Emmett is hot on the trail of what future tapping instruments will be. The Rails are definitely the tapping frets of the future. Congratulations to Emmett, Yuta, Grace, Tom and all the rest of the folks at Stick Enterprises. The state of The Stick is the most amazing yet.
18 June 00 - Brian Baggett (TX), to Stick Enterprises:
I do not have many words on the Fret Rails that I briefly played last Wednesday, but I know that I DO like them. Still can't quite put my finger on "why", but it would seem that intonation would be very precise. And really?I just liked the way it felt. Very "exact" or even "secure". I hope you plan to keep Fret Rails as an ordering option when I have the means to purchase a second Stick.
19 February, 00 - Don Schiff (CA), to Stickwire
I was over at SE yesterday and happened to try the new "Fret Rails." It felt wonderful. It's like the SUV of Stick Frets. You feel like you're sitting up higher off the road on the musical highway of life. I played it at first not plugged in because I like to feel and hear the instrument without being effected by what amp tone I'm hearing back. As always the instruments feel and play fantastick (pun intended, couldn't resist) and the "Fret Rails" felt more precise. When plugged in the tone had all the harmonic resonance I like and sounded precise and percussive, I immediately felt like playing all my favorite funk grooves ... so I did, with ease. Yet another deluxe idea from SE.