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Chapman stick?

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Chapman stick?

Postby Steve Sawyer » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:14 pm

I noticed that Erick Knapp mentioned in another thread that he plays a Chapman Stick. That is a fascinating instrument. I'm not sure I could ever develop the skill to play it, but I've been itching to get my hands on one just to try it out, especially since I discovered bass-playing last year.

Anyway, it certainly seems to be a good candidate for a DIY project, and was wondering if anyone 'round these parts has ever tacked one?
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Re: Chapman stick?

Postby Eric Knapp » Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:12 pm

Steve Sawyer wrote:I noticed that Erick Knapp mentioned in another thread that he plays a Chapman Stick. That is a fascinating instrument. I'm not sure I could ever develop the skill to play it, but I've been itching to get my hands on one just to try it out, especially since I discovered bass-playing last year.

Anyway, it certainly seems to be a good candidate for a DIY project, and was wondering if anyone 'round these parts has ever tacked one?

The Detroit area has more Stickists than anywhere other than southern California. They are such a simple looking instrument that hides its underlying complexity. A tapping instrument is very different than a normal electric guitar or bass. Make sure you know those differences before attempting a build. There are many tapping instruments on the market now and they are all interesting.

-Eric
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Re: Chapman stick?

Postby Steve Sawyer » Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:24 pm

I wouldn't DREAM of tackling a stick at this point - I have yet to complete my first solid-body electric!! :lol:

I'm just curious if anyone hanging out here has given it a try. After I have a few guitars under my belt I MIGHT be interested in giving it a shot. I'm not surprised that it's an entirely different beast. Though I've never gotten an invite to even hold one, I've seen a few up-close and it's obvious that you can't just apply the same design principles that you would with a guitar.
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Re: Chapman stick?

Postby Eric Knapp » Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:52 pm

Steve Sawyer wrote:I'm just curious if anyone hanging out here has given it a try.

Well, yes, I've sort of made one. I really wanted to try one a in the 80s. Back then I was broke and had a full pro shop at my disposal so I threw one together to try it out. I still have it but it is not up to good standards. It was an experiment as I didn't know any dimensions except for the scale length. It was playable enough that I was hooked. I'm on my third one made by Emmett and it is really fun. Here's my latest official Stick, not the one I made, up on Flickr as I can't attach any images for some reason:

https://flic.kr/p/wqpeM9

For luthiers the main difference is the low amount of energy created by tapping as opposed to strumming or plucking. It's a challenge to get all the strings to have the same volume. It starts with the action which is extremely low. The fretboard is dead flat with no curve at all. The frets are stainless steel rods embedded in dovetail channels and are very high. The strings are custom made by D'Addario and are very loosely wound. It is quite easy to get some sound from one but it takes a lot of time to play them well. I only have 9 years of hobbyist effort and it's coming along, slowly.

-Eric
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Re: Chapman stick?

Postby Steve Sawyer » Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:43 am

Cool!!

I'm not sure I'd have the coordination to play one successfully, but I'd sure like to try.
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Re: Chapman stick?

Postby Keith Howell » Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:17 am

I'm busy building one at the moment for friend of mine, a professional bassist and guitarist. Will post some pics shortly.
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Re: Chapman stick?

Postby Steve Sawyer » Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:27 am

Keith Howell wrote:I'm busy building one at the moment for friend of mine, a professional bassist and guitarist. Will post some pics shortly.

Looking forward to that.

How did you arrive at your design, Keith? Have you built sticks before, or did you use plans or base the design on an existing instrument?
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Re: Chapman stick?

Postby Keith Howell » Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:48 am

I based my design firmly on the Chapman Stick by looking at the published photos and specifications on the Chapman website then did a bunch of cad drawings to make sure things panned out. Mike, my bassist friend, then reviewed the drawings and we came up with a final layout.

Pete, the guitarist in the same band, is also a video maker and editor and has been making a video of the build, though he is now spending a year in London on a documentary project so not sure how we are going to complete the final bit of assembly in the video.

For the record its definitely NOT a Chapman Stick. I don't want to be sued. When we were looking at the drawings it reminded us of a snake standing up, a Cobra, quite common around here. The drummer is also the Sales Director for Cobra Taps (Faucets to you guys in the states) which are plumbing accessories so with his permission we named it a Cobra Tap.
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Re: Chapman stick?

Postby Steve Sawyer » Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:15 pm

Keith Howell wrote:so with his permission we named it a Cobra Tap.


Clever these South Africans! I love it!! :D
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Re: Chapman stick?

Postby Keith Howell » Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:14 am

Here are some shots of the CAD drawing I did to get the layout defined.

I'm not sure if this thread belongs in the Acoustic forum? Perhaps one of the mods could move it somewhere appropriate?
Attachments
Cobra2.jpg
The Cobra
Cobra1.jpg
General Layout
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Re: Chapman stick?

Postby Barry Daniels » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:23 am

The tuners look pretty crowded. But then I have never built a stick.
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Re: Chapman stick?

Postby Eric Knapp » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:42 am

Barry Daniels wrote:The tuners look pretty crowded. But then I have never built a stick.

They are a bit crowded on my Stick, but they are mini-tuners and they all work fine. One interesting feature is the two outer tuners are reversed so all the strings are completely straight to the tuners.

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