19 October 21 - Michael Peters (Texas), to Facebook regarding Greg Howard's Tapping Into Bach book
Mine arrived yesterday. The word that spraing to mind as I browsed was "generous" - the care and attention to detail in here are (another) generous gift from Greg to the Stick Community. Will keep me busy, well, probably forever.

19 September 18 - Carlos Rey (New York), to forum
When I first bought a Stick I thought, this will be easy, I can figure this out. But I neglected the most important part of learning the instrument, learning "Free Hands" inside out and backwards. After two years playing The Stick, I am realizing hand positions and theory that I should have learned when I made my first purchase, geometry, chords, scales, chord changes, patterns that create new scales, etc.. Everything in its time. I love this instrument! If you own a Stick you need to learn this book. Hopefully I will.

19 September 18 - Mark Graham (UK), to forum
I read through "Free Hands" during the first few days of receiving my Stick, and it is remarkably deep in the material it covers. I keep going back to it and tabbing certain sections up. It's an absolute must (I think) to read when playing The Stick.

15 July 09 - Jeff Nogee (New York), to
I've been noodling around with my new stick (10 string, dark bamboo, turquoise recon dot inlays, pasv4) for a couple of weeks now, watching some of the DVDs and reviewing the instruction books. When i started up Steve's Ultimate Stick DVD and watched the first couple of chapters, the proverbial lightbulb went off :idea: and the Stick's logic began to click. Thank you Steve - while I am still a complete novice, I now have some direction in how I approach this fascinating instrument and where to go next.

15 July 09 - Andy Salvanos (Australia), to
      I had the chance to watch a chunk (or is that a kerchunk?) of this DVD the other day, and would highly recommend it to Stick players of all levels. Everyone has a slightly different perspective on playing an instrument, so match it up with material from other teachers and you will have a very good starting point.
      I'm also convinced that more advanced players will experience a few "aha moments" while watching this.

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.

29 May 08 - Eric Knapp (WI), to
      Even a few minutes with Greg when you are a beginner would be an incredible way to start on Stick. He will start you on good habits and give you enough material to work on for a year. Do everything you can to be there! You will not regret it. Just having him just correct things like your posture, the way you hold the Stick, it's position on your body, and your arm positions would make the entire trip worth it. But, you would get much more than that from the experience. I can't recommend it any higher!

08 April 08 - Ben Weber (CA), to
      Yeah, big ups to StaffTab! I'm somehow surprised that it worked out as logically as it did. When I first realized what was going on it was a revelation. At that point I had not read normal notation in years so it helped a lot. Its like magic that Stick shapes translate into notation like they do. Sometimes a full page can look daunting but its actually not so mental. I hope for more stuff to come out in this format.

07 April 08 - Chris Rogan (Australia), to
      I just wanted to express how impressive stafftab is. Since learning of it, I can't believe how intelligent its design is. As someone who formerly read music and now has essentially forgotten, I feel like by showing the notes, stafftab is slowly reteaching me how to read. I think a tab that integrates rhythm, conventional staff notation and tab is ingenious and should be used in modified form by the whole guitar community!

07 April 08 - Eric Knapp (WI), to
      I agree, StaffTab is just great. I am really enjoying writing down my arrangements so I won't forget them. What I like about it is that it's complete. You can capture everything about a piece. It's taking me a while to develop a system that lets me create it because I don't want to pay for a big application, but I think it's worth the effort. I have learned a ton about music and scoring and that's part of the fun.

09 February 07 - Rob Martino (Virginia, USA), to
       I took a look at your videos again and think I can understand why you're finding the three finger approach difficult (by the way the videos are good, you are too hard on yourself). Your approach on melody seems to be to lock the hand in one position and play all the notes within a "box", and I can see how it's logical in this case to line up notes with fingers.
       While taking some time to get used to, what three fingers opens up is a consistent way to navigate the WHOLE fretboard, not just across strings but up and down, a consistent way to jump from one note to the next. You shouldn't stretch when going from the 2nd to 3rd finger, you should move your hand a bit, and not just that, but using part of that movement in striking the next note (Greg went through an exercise with me on this once). Your fingers shouldn't be providing all the percussive power, but as much of your forearm/shoulder/body as you can get into it. Notes then ring out more powerfully and you have greater dynamic control from soft to aggressive.
       Three fingers provides a nice way of navigating this consistent framework all over the fretboard. The pinky actually makes it more difficult because you can paint yourself in a corner while navigating around. You actually gain MORE freedom by not using it. With three fingers there is always an easy way to get from one note to the next, all over the fretboard, with the advantage that they are fairly equivalent in length and strength, like three drumsticks.
       A key to it is moving your hand as you play the notes, not keeping it stationary and trying to stretch.

31 January 07 - Bruno Ricard (France), to
       I was a fierce defender of the 4-finger technique, having a bass player background, but the last teaching from Greg made my point of view change a lot. When I force myself to use only three fingers (it's not completely natural yet), I feel that my playing is more physical and I feel that my notes are getting a kind of "strength" (pretty hard to explain). The hand seems to be more mobile and I can reach some notes I usually didn't play. When I use four fingers, it locks me into some note patterns. Now, I think I will extensively use a 3-finger technique but still use my pinky for some wide extensions or for some special effects - the best of both worlds. A good example: try to see some videos of Ron Baggerman who plays mostly with 3 fingers, but still uses his pinky sometimes.

05 January 07 - Har (PA), to Stickwire:
       It's worth noting that "No Chance To Dream" features something I thought was kinda cool Stick-wise: I recorded the Stick tracks the very first day I ever plugged it in, not long after I first got it! So what you're hearing, while admittedly not a stellar performance, was the very first thing I came up with on the Stick. I would say that this is definitely a testament to what you can accomplish by just studying the three Bob Culbertson videos for three months while anxiously waiting for your first Stick to arrive!!

16 December 05 - Rob Cathcart (CA), to Stickwire:
       A great place to start is Greg's "Stick Book" in the chapter on two handed bass side playing. (Who da thunk it?) Mostly it deals with two handed patterns in one range with both hands playing on the same couple of strings but once you have the patterns down you can easily move your right hand over to the higher range on the bass side. I've come up with some awesome stuff starting with Greg's patterns then expanding them out and making them my own. (Not that Greg's stuff isn't cool in and of itself ;)        I found that my lack of skill in getting my right hand out of the way before the left hand taps the same or adjacent string brought out some very cool riffs wherein the accidentally muted string is tapped with the left hand, making for some very percussive grooves where some of the notes are "whaps" and/or "thunks" if you will. Even after I cleaned up my technique on these riffs I went back to the sloppy way cuz it sounded so cool!

28 September 05 - Steve Adelson (NY), to Stickwire:
       Amazing. I recently revisited Emmett's book Free Hands with a new student. Not only did Mr. Chapman invent this spectacular instrument over thirty years ago, he created a logical system and vocabulary on his own in those early stages. When I reviewed some of the pages and the techniques he was exploring, it's mind boggling that along with the Stick, Emmett founded the operators manual simultaneously. And there's a wealth of knowledge, things that I haven't discovered in 21 years of Stick playing. I'm truly astounded that this book shows the full concept at such an early stage. Simply inspiring.

19 August 05 - Greg Howard (VA), to Stickwire:
       This is one facet of Stick playing that StaffTab(TM) was intended to deal with. It's a fairly compact system that includes all of the note placement and fingering information for written music. With StaffTab you know: (1) exactly where to play the note, (2) excactly which digit with which to play it, and (3) exactly when to play it and for how long. You also get all of the information in a relatively small space.

16 July 05 - James Storm (IL), to Stickwire:
       Greg was able to stop in Mt. Vernon IL this morning on his way home to give me a lesson. He has been on the road all week, and I am sure he was in a hurry to get home, but he was still willing to stop for an hour or so to help out a new player (I have been playing 10 months). After showing me basic setup of the Stick (mine wasn't too far off), he mainly concentrated on showing me proper hand technique and some exercises for rhythm and hand independence. I was a little dismayed to discover that I have already taught myself some pretty bad habits as far as technique goes, and feel like I am starting all over. But I am sure that once I incorporate what he showed me into what I have already been working on, I will catch on pretty quick. The hour went way too quickly, but was very instructive and helpful. It also motivated me to get myself to a seminar. Hopefully within the next year I can do so.
       I am really impressed that he was willing to stop. I know he would have like to have gotten home, and he looked pretty tired, but was willing to stop. I really appreciated his time.

14 April 05 - David Barrett (Toronto), to Stickwire:
       My day is instantly a little brighter when I see a StickNews email in my inbox in the morning, or when I see that the StickWire digest for that day is especially large. In a lot of ways, these are the glue for this community and I don't think we should take them or the contributors efforts for granted. As a beginner, I don't know how I can possibly express how much I appreciate the lesson type articles that have been appearing in StickNews of late.

01 April 05 - Kevin Ramsey (Japan), to Stickwire:
       Yes, Free Hands is full of wonderful little nuggets of info. I've read it many times, and yet never fail to find something new or finally have the lightbulb come on for a passage I've read so many times before.

28 March 05 - Jon Southwood (IA), to Stickwire:
       Your best bet for StaffTab on a PC (just as on a Mac) is either Sibelius or Finale. The choice of which one to use comes down to a personal preference guided by: 1) Your perception of the quality of printed output, and 2) Your preference for the user interface of one over the other. Both are font-based, meaning that the symbols used for notation come from True Type or Type 2 Postscript fonts. Art Durkee has provided font files for StaffTab on his website. Both programs, however, allow the customization of noteheads and other symbols.
       I have used both quite a lot and prefer Sibelius of the two, both for its user interface and for the look of its output. When I'm producing scores of my own works or doing freelance music engraving work, however, I use an old DOS program called SCORE that is still the preferred choice of many of the world's best and most well-known publishing houses. After I get a Stick, I will develop a library of StaffStab symbols for use in SCORE so I can create scores for Stick.

28 January 05 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
       The things I remember as being the most helpful in Bob's teachings were concepts as opposed to specifics. Such things completely transcend tunings and you carry them with you forever. I remember using Greg's arrangement of "Autumn Leaves" in The Stick Book and combining that with Bob's "diatonic scale patterns" (in his "Lessons" video) and spending hours at a time improvising over the changes - fun.

24 December 04 - Manny Tau (CA), to Stickwire:
       Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! To our Stick community, thank you for being such a wonderful community that continues to bring inspiration, laughs, and most importantly, friendship. This listserve and the Website continues to be a highlight for me, amidst the reality we all have to daily wrestle with. May 2005 bring you all prosperity, good tidings, and a new Stick! Manny,

01 December 04 - Mike Baran (OH), to Stickwire:
       The Stick Book was a great primer for when I started playing the Stick, and to be quite honest, I do not think I would be where I am at playing wise without it. I come from a guitar background but that only helped me as far as seeing the scales. Playing them was a different animal. I refer to The Stick Book as needed and it always gives me something new to refine my skills. Highly recommended.

01 December 04 - Drew Rittgers (WI), to Stickwire:
       The Stick Book does contain a lot of basic techniques. Most of it I think you'll find helpful. The StaffTab notation system in particular is helpful in telling you where to use what finger. There are interdependence and independence exercises and etudes. The Stick Book along with Bob Culbertson's videos have pretty important to my development as a player. If you are looking for ideas, there may not be a better place to start, particularly if you're on your own.

31 October 04 - Jeffrey Dunning (OH), to StickWire:
       Thanks for all the insightful responses! This really is a community of sincere and helpful folks. (And one of the things that draws me to the instrument.)

19 September 04 - Har S (PA), to StickWire:
       Thanks to "Free Hands", many new bolt-out-of-the-blue revelations came to me, starting with the not-so-obvious bass fingering explained in the "Three Notes to Build a Kingdom" section. Once that fingering suddenly started making a whole world of sense to me, I found a bunch of other things beginning to unlock as well. This was especially evident as my right-hand technique started to develop properly, and I found myself playing scales and lead-runs much, much smoother than I ever could on my guitar...this mainly due to the fact that in all the years I've been playing, I could never get my picking hand completely sync'ed up with the fretted notes in my left hand after a certain playing speed had been reached. With the Stick, this is obviously a completely moot point, which makes me a very happy guy. :-)

01 June 04 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to StickWire:
       I'll second that! I was impressed with this book (The Stick Book) when I first got it but have been even more impressed in the years since because the book continues to be so useful no matter where your skills are at. It seems like no matter what, I can always pull this book out and find a chapter to really get some good stuff out of. With the recent release of the versions for Matched Reciprocal and Classic tunings, Greg pretty much has everyone covered.

30 May 04 - Pete Gonzales (AZ), to Stickwire:
       Just wanted to throw some Kudo's out to Greg for all his efforts on "The Stick Book" along with the Audio Companion CD. I have to say that "The Stick Book" was probably the single best instructional book I've ever come across and believe me, I've gone through quite a few for guitar, keyboard and even bass guitar. Greg has put a lot of "real" exercises that I felt were very challenging and have a real purpose behind each one.

18 March 04 - Ken Higgins (CA), to StickWire:
       Stickwire is pretty exceptional. You all have created a great sense of community with very little 'attitude' compared to most lists out there. The largely non-competitive style seen in the Stick community is really wonderful. I'd like to say a big Thank You to the list regulars who have invested so much time and energy over the years answering questions on the list (sometimes repeatedly). In particular, Glenn P. and Greg H's postings and web-based info helped to give me the knowledge necessary to push me to the purchase point. The list traffic over the last few years also helped to give me some understanding of the challenges and joys that lay ahead.

12 March 04 - Barrett Blackwell (SC), to StickWire:
       There's definitely no such thing as a StaffTab Stick Songbook. Yet. I was thinking along the lines of "Why on Earth ISN'T there one yet?" This comes from having received my copy of the new MR Stick Book the other day, and being completely blown away by how brilliant StaffTab is. It's just screaming to be requisitioned into more intensive active service. True, the multi-dimensional nature of it means it's significantly more work to write out a full composition, taking into account all the parameters of the notes/strings/fingerings, and there's the hurdle of the multiple Stick tunings, and the geometric fingering note-fonts (circle, diamond, triangle, square) that would be excruciatingly tedious to notate by hand (thank god for computers). BUT as an educational-notational resource, it seems quite a treasure.

27 January 04 - Kevin Ramsey (Japan), to StickWire:
       I love Free Hands. The chapters on bass rudiments and "Fourths to Infinity" are gold. That reminds me, I need to go back and work on those bass rudiments.

17 December 03 - Joe McCollam (CA), to StickWire:
       Free Hands, is, of course, groundbreaking. It gives you the techniques necessary to develop your own style without trying to influence what that style will be.

13 December 03 - Jim Kam (TX), to StickWire:
       In addition to the great work that Glenn has done with the design and maintenance of the Stick site, I am very impressed with how responsive he is to requests for things like adding gig notices and such matters. Remember that he has a fulltime job.

12 December 03 - Ben Weber (MN), to StickWire:
       Hi, I just wanted to say that I got The Sticktionary and its very cool. It is really thick and has tons of interesting chords as well as good theory explanations. It must have been quite a task putting it together. There are lots of amazing shapes that I probably would never have come up with. Also I think that its cool that there are some dissonant chords included. It gives you a huge spectrum to choose from. This is a great resource for any type of Stick player.

29 September 03 - Rod Smith (NJ), to StickWire:
       How many other companies out there (in any industry) solicit this kind of input from customers? This is one of the things I appreciate about this community - ideas are floated, then debated and brainstormed in a rational and civilized manner, and inevitably something comes out of it that enriches all of us. Maybe some of our national leadership should subscribe to Stickwire - they might learn a thing or two.

5 August 03 - Denis Mellion (France), to Stickwire:
       I've just received the famous companion audio CD set, ordered from SE. It is very clear and the sound is very good. I think it will be a very useful tool to learn stick. Every beginner should buy this CD with the book! Thank you Greg for this good idea.

18 June 03 - Jeff McLeod (AL), to Stickwire:
       I've been working with the first Culbertson video and playing The Stick every chance I get. I've really found myself coming along in the last week?more so when I sit and improvise with it. The video is so very, very helpful?yet I'm still stumbling around with it. I do see and hear it helping when I start working on my own ideas, though. I feel so great after a session with the instrument! Anyone else here feel some "therapeutic" value in their hands and minds after playing The Stick? It's certainly a different afterglow than I've had with other instruments!

12 June 03 - Pete Gonzales (AZ), to Stickwire:
       I received The Stick Book Companion CD's last week, and have been able to go through several tracks and I must say that it's a very valuable tool. I decided to go back to page 1 and go through each exercise at the tempo that Greg plays on the CD. I found that I must have overlooked or ignored many things the first time through.

5 June 03 - Jim Reilly (Canada), to Stickwire:
       Just wanted to thank Greg for once again contributing an invaluable resource to The Stick community. The audio companion to The Stick Book is the perfect addition to the book. The Stick tone is great. I love the fact that bass and melody are panned left and right. The Stick Book is already a top of the line learning resource. It comes alive with the audio companion.

5 June 03 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
       My copy of Greg's new Stick Book Companion CD came in the mail yesterday. So out it came last night. I had a feeling that working with the book in front of you and the CD playing nearby would be a gigantic resource. Now I'm sure of it. Let's face it. As good as any written material is, getting to actually hear it along with trying to read puts a much better idea in your head of what you're going for. The CD sleeve contains a complete list of all 120 tracks using the same titles that are used in the book along with the chapter and exercise number. That means anything you're looking at in the book can be found in a snap. Each track then starts with a metronome click (which goes out when the playing actually starts) to start you off. It couldn't be easier.
      Bottom line. If you use the book, you should have the CD. If you're just getting started, get both.

8 March 03 0 Jaap Kramer (Netherlands), to Stickwire:
       I agree! I often use The Stick-site as an example how it is possible to make a site that's really informative, easy to navigate, with plenty of pictures, without having to wait for hours until the page has loaded. Good job, Glenn!

7 March 02 - Qua Veda (OR), to Stickwire:
       Just wanted to say thanks to Glenn Poorman for doing such a fabulous job on The Stick website, keeping it updated, etc. It has come a long way since a couple years ago and is truly informative, interesting and useful for us, and for those who want to find out about the Chapman Stick. Super job, thanks, Glenn!

8 February 03 - Henrik Poulsen (Denmark), to Stickwire:
       There's also the program called XStick. This app. is great for researching chords for every scale you encounter. The fretboard part can be set up to show you scale positions on a full Stick fretboard, which makes it fairly simple to decipher chord positions within the scale. And since The Stick bass side with it's inverted 5ths is equivalent to the melody side's straight 4ths (not tonal) everything you brew up for the melody side can be moved straight to the bass side thus getting the inverted chord (you probably have figured this out by now).

27 December 02 - Chris Guarino (PA), to Emmett:
       I'm a new Stick player (just bought #644) and I was intrigued by your scalar star chart. I've been studying them for a couple days and I was wondering if you could continue discussing them as you said that you would at the end of your posted article. Thanks for the great instrument and countless opportunities you have given to musical scholars the world over.

27 November 02 - Qua Veda (OR), to Stickwire:
       I think matched reciprocal with medium gage strings is one of the most popular tunings right now, but it does require a bit of mental adjustment when using books, which are based on Baritone Melody with Standard Bass tuning. There are other interesting options as well (see for details on tunings). If you haven't seen The Stick Night 99 video, you may want to get a copy to see some of the great variety of performances. I bet you are going to *love* playing stick, and I'd venture to say that you be amazed at the possibilities even more so after you've played for awhile.

11 July 02 - Brian Schubbe (IL), to Stickwire:
       Tarara Grand Stick #1950 w/PASV-4 and MIDI arrived earlier this afternoon. 'Tis beautiful indeed. I am now dealing with the same issues as Paul Potts - the transmogrification (Re: Calvin & Hobbes) from being a good guitar player to being a really bad Stick player. But, bruised guitar playing egos aside, I can already see amazing possibilities (even if I can't come anywhere NEAR close to playing them yet). The most frustrating part for me right now is having to take about 30 seconds (or more) to figure out what notes I'm playing. But, I have all 3 of Bob Culbertson's training videos awaiting me, and the Midwest Stick Seminar rapidly approaching with it's first class instructors (not to mention the other attendees who will most certainly all be more knowledgeable than I on the instrument)...How cool. How very, very cool.
      P.S. I just finished watching Emmett's "Hands Across The Board". My jaw is sore from hitting the floor so often. :-)

21 May 02 - Paul Frields (VA), to Emmett:
       Greg stopped by last night and gave me a tremendous lesson. You should be proud to be associated with him (I know the reverse is already true); he's a great teacher and musician, generous with his time and knowledge, and as always is very inspirational - and most important, PATIENT!

12 April 02 - Paul Frields (VA), to Stick Enterprises:
       The great thing was that The StickWire community is still vibrant and strong. A lot of the people I knew when I was last a subscriber are still there, and quite a few of them have really developed as full-fledged Stick artists (or Stickists, as Greg says). It's nice to have some support and something interesting to read almost every day!

9 April 02 - Paul Frields (VA), to Stick Enterprises:
       Greg Howard, who gave me a spectacular lesson last night. Again, out of his busy schedule he carved a good hour (possibly even stretching that hour slightly) to give me a plethora of tips for doing good Stick setup, being conscious of my body position and attitude in addressing the instrument, thumb position, intervals, and a lot more. I have read a lot of this previously in the excellent "Free Hands" and "The Stick Book," but having a live demonstration and someone to help correct you is simply invaluable. My head is still bursting; I wish I was at home so I could practice all day!

1 March 02 - Jim Kam (TX), to Stickwire:
       The best exercises that I have found for building up independence are the ones that you find in Greg Howard's "Stick Book" where you repeat a single note in both hands using varying fingerings and rhythm patterns. After you get bored with those, roll your own. The last time I saw Greg, I asked him for advice on getting a bass groove going, which I found great difficulty in doing. He gave me some advice which I have found invaluable. He told me to make up a groove (just make something up by humminig it), and keep playing it over and over to get comfortable with the fingering and work on keeping the rhythm smooth. Then keeping most of your attention to the groove, do a little with the right hand - rhythm chords, even a single note repeated over. Pretty soon it gels and you are able to do stuff seemingly independent.
      It's a pretty heady feeling when you get it.

26 February 02 - Andrew Rittgers (WI), to Stickwire:
       As for general advice, once you get your hands on a Stick, take a look at Bob Culbertson' instructional videos, at least the first one. I had been playing about a month before I bought the video, and man, did my progress zoom from there.

4 February 02 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
       Personally, I found it surprisingly easy. Maybe I was just one of those people ... I don't know. But ... I remember opening up the case and popping Bob C's tape into the VCR whilst checking the thing over. As the opening credits rolled, Bob was playing some tune and I remember thinking "oh right ... how long until I can do THAT". An interesting thing happened that weekend though. I patiently went through Bob's beginner tape one lesson at a time. Three days later, I was feverishly trying to put the last lesson together. As I worked out the kinks and picked the tempo up, I suddenly realized that what I was playing was the very music that Bob opened the tape with.
      True story. Thanks Bob!

5 November 01 - Qua Veda (OR), to Stickwire:
       The Stick is my first instrument. I've started going through the "Theory of Tap" lessons that I found at They are really helping to fill in some gaps in my understanding. (I'm taking beginning piano lessons to help me learn music, as an aid in learning to play The Stick.) Just wanted to thank Andy, Rick Bellinger, and others who authored them and posted them on the web.

13 October 01 - Craig Hudson (UK), on "Tappin' the Plank" Website:
       A quick note to anyone thinking about taking up The Stick. There is a fantastic online community associated with The Stick. Numerous people helped me decide to get one - Carrie Melbourne was very helpful answering questions, which must have been the last thing she wanted after her tour with Mike Oldfield. Since then the various problems I've had with method and setup have been addressed by Emmett Chapman, Greg Howard, and numerous others. One of the most compelling reasons to take up the instrument was knowing that this community of talented and helpful people existed to get me started. Thanks to everyone, hopefully one day I'll be able to offer similar advice to other newcomers to the fantastic instrument.

5 May 01 - Brandon McPherson (Canada), to Stickwire:
       I just got Greg Howard's "The Stick Book" and it's awesome. I have some theory knowledge, but there's a wide array of information there for people at any starting point.

3 May 01 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
       Do you have a copy of "The Stick Book" by Greg Howard? In it, you are introduced to "StaffTab" notation developed by Greg Howard and Emmett Chapman. It's a real handy way to notate for Stick. The extra handy part also is that there is a font floating around that allows you to do StaffTab using Finale (which is what, I believe, Greg used to do the notation in his book).

18 April 01 - Chuck Ivy (CA), to Stickwire:
       When I bought my Stick, the store I bought from threw in a copy of Emmett's "Hands Across the Board". It was actually the first time I had ever seen anyone play Stick (and the first time I had knowingly heard Stick) ... I bought it totally based on reading about the instrument. So sitting down, that first night, and putting in a tape of Emmett, was kinda like "Oh, so THAT'S what you're supposed to do with it!" I recommend the Stick Night '99 tape from Stick Enterprises (if for no other reason than I get an engineering credit on it ... B>) But it really is a good tape to see what's going on ... it was mixed from 3 cameras, in a small club, so you get some decent coverage, as well as being able to see a large number of players' ideas and techniques all for one low price! Sorry, went into sales pitch mode there ...

18 April 01 - Chris Astier (NM), to Stickwire:
       I'm sure this is not news to other folks, but for someone waiting on the delivery of their new Stick (July, you ain't coming quick enough!) the videos of Greg Howard on his Website are incredible! Having never really seen a "Stickite" doing their thing, I can vouch for these clips to be inspirational. I'm sure in time these and other videos will be instructional for me. I'm lucky enough to have cable modem so the performances come across the net pretty well for me. I can see that I'll be looking for Stickite video quite a bit in the future.

7 October 00 - Matt Hillyard (UK), to Stickwire:
       It's not quite Suffolk, but Jim Lampi lives in London, and having had a lesson with him, (I too am going to buy a Stick shortly), I am convinced he is truly outstanding. You can e-mail him on or visit his Website

24 August 00 - Greg Howard (VA), to Stickwire:
       Sticknews: This weekly digest currently has 373 subscribed e-mail addresses from around the world. Each issue includes a dedicated STICK EXCHANGE section for buying and selling instruments. Subscription instructions and back issues can be found at:
You don't have to subscribe to post or to read the archives. Stick Player Directory: this new directory lists Stick players from 13 countries (so far no one from Norway ... )
      Welcome to The Stick world.

17 August 00 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Sticknews:
       I can't make any recommendations on model or tuning but I can talk a little about instructional material. First, get all the material you can. Both "Free Hands" and "The Stick Book" have excellent material in them that I'm still using. My biggest recommendation for the absolute beginner, however, is the "Lessons on the Stick" videos. I find the written material to be more helpful in the long run but, straight out of the case, the videos are great because they give you live "hands on" play and get you going very quickly. Just make sure and buy a least two of the videos to start with. If you have a music background, you might get through the first one in the first week so you'll want the second handy right away. Also, listen to what other people are doing. Start picking up CDs by other Stick players. Pickup some videos so you can listen and watch.

4 June 00 - Jaap Kramer (Holland), to Stickwire:
       Highly recommended: the 'Stick Night 99' video (you can get it from Stick Enterprises). 8 Stick players (with completely different styles) on one video! Guess what? My handicapped daughter is addicted to this video. She wants to see it every single day (and she wants to see all 8 players! Drives my wife crazy!!).

24 May 00 - Stew Benedict (OH), to Stickwire:
       XStick (TM) has its roots in a number of programs and hopefully has some things that are unique for players of the Stick and other tapping instruments. This iteration of XStick has integrated Greg Howard and Emmett Chapman's "Staff Tab" (TM) notation system which combines standard musical notation with tablature style encoding that indicates the finger, fret, and string encoding for a given note. The package allows composing, saving, loading and printing the Staff Tab, enabling users to share their work with other players either in native format or as an EPS or graphic file. If you don't already have tools to manipulate/print EPS files, Ghostview will do the task quite nicely.

27 April 00 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
       Great story Chad! Let me guess... you were playing Bob's two handed arpeggios in G. I remember having people over for dinner about a week after I got my Stick and playing that very same exercise. I also remember Bob playing that at the beginning of the video and thinking "how long until I can do that". About a day later... out it came and I didn't even realize it right away. That is what convinced me that, for a beginning Stickist, those tapes are the best.

31 March 00 - Peter Francz (NY), to StickNews:
       To those of you who don't have the opportunity to interact with many Stick players in person, the STICK NIGHT '99 VIDEO is an up close and personal experience with some of the great Stick players out there today. It offers a broad variety of stylistic and technical tips that will enhance your playing. When listening to many Stick featured CDs, you must have wondered, "How does he get that great expressiveness", or, "How did he generate that great passage." Now you can see it for yourself. I just received the video from Stick Enterprises and felt compelled to write this review. It's a great inspiration, especially for the developing Stick player.

8 November 99 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
       I have to second the Bob Culbertson note. I have recently been working on that section of his tape when I took a break and started making up some simple melodies over some chord progressions. When I started to try and improvise over one of them, my coordination went to pieces. The tape was still fresh in my mind so I applied Bob's technique to the pattern I was playing in the bass. In no time at all, the coordination had improved a ton. I have to say... I don't know if I would have progressed as far as I have if I hadn't decided to order those tapes with my instrument.

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.

8 September 99 - Richard Gunn (England), to StickNews:
       Andy Salvanos asked for comments about Bob Culbertson's instruction videos; I have all three and would thoroughly recommend them - especially to anyone who does not live near enough to another player to get lessons (as is my case). The videos are well explained and are easy to follow for a beginner; they introduce interesting techniques even in the first video but Bob explains and demonstrates so well that they are no difficult to pick up (given practice).

30 August 99 - Steve Adeleson (NY), to Stickwire:
       Nice video!!!!! Eight Stick players, some vocals, humor, percussion, drums, a trumpet and an enthusiastic audience (including Tony Levin), blending in an entertaining and educational combination. Editing is professional, but video still retains a friendly "I feel like I'm there" flavor. Good variety of music with camera closeups and many viewing angles, giving the student fine insight into the seasoned players' styles. If this were a college course, "Stick Night '99" would be your textbook.

18 August 99 - Vance Gloster (CA), to Stickwire:
       I would recommend being able to find a "root" note to start on, and then using the "strings in Fourths to Infinity" infinite scale pattern on page 41 of Free Hands, to be able to play a scale starting on any scale note and any finger. Bob Culbertson teaches that this is the way to really know the Stick and be fluent all over. This one pattern, once you learn to apply it in this way, allows you to play any diatonic scale or mode starting anywhere.

09 May 97 - Scott Wedel (WA), to Stickwire:
       Well, I just received the book in the mail. All I can say is that it has basically ruined me for the rest of the day here, since all I want to do is go home, dig into the book, and come up for air at rehearsal on Sunday with a whole new perspective. Having seen a lot of substandard documentation, manuals, instructional guides, etc. etc., especially in the music industry, the first thing that comes to mind when I read the book is "first-class"; there's not a lot of annoying "fluff" which you don't need, just a LOT of exercises, motors, tabbed songs, etc. which you DO need. Overall, if you're serious about your tapping instrument, you should definitely pick up a copy of The Stick Book.

06 May 97 - Jim Swan (NJ), to Stickwire:
       Greg's new Stick Book arrived in my mailbox today....very impressive, especially the six dimensional notation. My first glance though, produced the quizzical, "what the hell is this???", but once I took the time to read what it all meant, it made perfect sense....everything's there..notes, time, fingering, fret number, tab, chord names. I would say, that whatever your grasp on printed music is, you'll be able to use this book. I call in sick to work tommorrow to take the new stick book for a tap? know how hard it is to keep "Free Hands" open without breaking the binding? All my pages are falling out. Well, the new book has a spiral binder. Greg thinks of everything.....

29 April 97 - David Crawford (CA), to Stickwire:
       I finished watching Bob's Intermediate Video and now I am more impressed than ever. Topics that caught my eye include: Left thumb chords and scales. Right hand thumb across both-side arpeggios. Wow! Independent hand stuff, and some basic scale theory (very useful, actually). I took lessons from Bob for about a year and a great deal of that material is on this tape. This is a long tape with several lessons on it. A Best Buy.

29 April 97 - David Crawford (CA), to Stickwire:
       What a day! I just got the Stick Book in the mail. Incredible would be an understatement; wow! I'm set for the next year or so.

15 April 97 - Casey Arrillaga (CA), to Stickwire:
       This is undoubtedly the greatest resource for Stickists and tapboardists of all stripes since Emmett penned "Free Hands." I got home from work, made a cup of tea and skimmed the entire thing, looking at the pictures and looking forward to trying out the exercises and music. And what a lot of music - from simple, "familiarize and warm up" exercises to full blown arrangements of popular and original music. This will be a resource and inspiration to turn to again and again. "The Stick Book" reads well both as its own book and as a companion to Free Hands, and I heartily recommend both to anyone who doesn't already own them. Staff Tab seems easy to learn and may help players improve their 'conventional' sight-reading skills while adding a wealth of new information to the written page.

14 April 97 - Sean Malone (FL), to Stick Enterprises:
       Hello Emmett and Greg: I received a copy of The Stick Book Vol. 1 on Saturday (a great present, and my birthday to boot!) - thanks to the both of you, for the personal inscriptions. Graphically, the book is stunning; excellent layout job. The concepts are clear and well presented, and are great in number. Staff Tab is a breakthrough for Stick literature and I have a feeling it will grow conceptually to an all-inclusive, indigenous-to-Stick system of notation.

16 January 97 - Leonardo Cavallo (Italy), to Stickwire:
       Now "Free Hands" is my Bible. Every time I read those pages (and I've read it entirely a lot of times) it makes me feel suddenly inspired for playing. How it's structured, every lesson, every paragraph and every word, hide a lot of ideas and inspiration that you can't imagine. It's not only a method book; it's more. Each exercise is very open in interpretation, and you could study for months and months on the same little concept without wasting your practice time. There are whole universes to explore on the pages of Free Hands.