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" Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
----Arthur C. Clarke----

The Stick, created in Los Angeles during the late 1960’s by Emmett Chapman, is a unique twelve-stringed instrument which combines the properties of the electric guitar, bass guitar and piano. The instrument has six bass strings, tuned in fifths, and six melody strings, tuned in fourths. It has 25 frets and a range of 5 1/4 octaves, greater than either a guitar or a bass. There are two electric-guitar style pickups, one for each set of strings. This allows for the creation of two completely distinct and separate tones at the same time, often creating the illusion that the listener is hearing two instruments at once.


The Stick is played with a "tapping" technique, which is the very heart of its unique sound. The tone is produced by tapping the strings against the frets. Since there is no strumming or picking involved, either hand can perform a complete musical idea by itself, as on the piano. The right hand can play a flowing melodic line while the left lays out chords, bass, or rhythm, or both hands can roam freely across the instrument, overlapping into each others' territories.


The Stick has been played by Tony Levin on the recordings of Peter Gabriel and King Crimson, by Fergus Marsh on the recordings of Bruce Cockburn, and by Alphonso Johnson with Santana and others, as well as by Emmett Chapman himself.


Larry Tuttle discovered The Stick in 1984, drawn by a deep desire to find his own personal instrumental voice. He performed on the instrument for years with FREEWAY PHILHARMONIC, and then released his own album of Stick solos, "THROUGH THE GATES" in 1999, providing an intimate view of the instrument in a solo setting as well as showcasing Larry's personal playing style and original compositions.


As used by Larry, The Stick is often playing two ideas at once, the left hand laying down a bass line while the right hand is doubling a melody or playing supportive chords and textures. The Stick, even though it's amplified, has the soul and feel of an acoustic instrument.

 

For more info about the Stick and an extensive list of Stick-related web sites, visit http://www.stick.com

 

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