I love my Stick!

After having my new instrument, the Chapman Stick, for five months I finally decided to shot a video of it. What makes the Stick so fun to play is that you can use both hands more or less as “two musicians that jam together”. The playing experience is very open and creative. Quite different compared to most ordinary instruments that force you to train multiple body parts until they become one unified performance machinery. Stick playing rather puts your brain into multi tasking mode and calls for a split vision attitude.

Powerful live sound design options

Another thing I like with the Stick is the powerful live sound design options you get by having two fretboards going out through separate outputs – meaning you can treat them with two different effect chains. I plug those two outputs into a laptop running Mainstage.

10 thoughts on “I love my Stick!”

  1. OK, so here it is months later, and I’m working on building what will basically be a midi kazoo. I’m digging and digging and digging for 3 days now on realtime, audio-to-midi solutions, and I find a thread, and I think, “weird, that name sounds familiar…. Per Boysen…. wait, that’s the dude that plays stick and ewi….”

    Get out of my head!

  2. He, he… thank you for the tip… but it misses the point – would be like playing guitar with gloves on :-))

  3. Well, by “constant CC#2” I meant setting it up so that you don’t have to blow through it, so that something else is providing the “breath” so you can use your voice for things like Vocoding. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to try it out this weekend.

  4. >> “ending a constant CC#2 so that you can just finger the notes?” >>

    Well I guess so… since blowing into the EWI always “sends” CC#2. If blowing at a constant power you stay at about the same “drive” whatever virtual instrument you control and legato playing is “all about fingering”. What I do is to set up CC#2 to control the VI’s filter cut-off parameter; the harder I blow the louder and brighter the sound. Just as any physical wind instrument. This opens up for doing tongue thrills (“banjo tremolo tone”) and and sharp attack notes as well, while legato fingering sounds more like seamless. There are of course other ways to set up an EWI, this is just how I like it.

  5. Ha, you beat me to it again, except I was thinking of using the bite sensor for wah instead of breath. I’ll have to experiment with both.

    I have to say that, after some 25 years of playing instruments, I honestly feel like I’m finally exploring something musical that someone else hasn’t. New musical territory? Imagine that. I’ve been in a prog band for about 15 years playing all kinds of odd-meter weirdness, but this setup is kinda like floating in space in a rocket and opening the hatch to see what’s really out there.

    So I got my Macbook all set up with everything I needed, started configuring the FCB1010 that I picked up on Saturday, and the display on my laptop crapped out. Gone, dead, $700 to repair it. Bah.

    I picked up a new 13″ MBP yesterday on my lunch break, and spent all last night getting everything re-installed on it. It went from 250 gigs to 100 gigs of free space with nothing but music software, and I haven’t even installed BFD 2 yet. This is gonna get ugly.

    Oh, I meant to ask you… You use Bidule, right? Have you experimented with sending a constant CC#2 so that you can just finger the notes? I installed Vokator last night, and I’m thinking the EWI might be the perfect thing to control it with. It might also be nice to run BFD as well.

  6. Ha, you beat me to it again, except I was thinking of using the bite sensor for wah instead of breath. I’ll have to experiment with both.

    I have to say that, after some 25 years of playing instruments, I honestly feel like I’m finally exploring something musical that someone else hasn’t. New musical territory? Imagine that. I’ve been in a prog band for about 15 years playing all kinds of odd-meter weirdness, but this setup is kinda like floating in space in a rocket and opening the hatch to see what’s really out there.

    So I got my Macbook all set up with everything I needed, started configuring the FCB1010 that I picked up on Saturday, and the display on my laptop crapped out. Gone, dead, $700 to repair it. Bah.

    I picked up a new 13″ MBP yesterday on my lunch break, and spent all last night getting everything re-installed on it. It went from 250 gigs to 100 gigs of free space with nothing but music software, and I haven’t even installed BFD 2 yet. This is gonna get ugly.

    Oh, I meant to ask you… You use Bidule, right? Have you experimented with sending a constant CC#2 so that you can just finger the notes? I installed Vokator last night, and I’m thinking the EWI might be the perfect thing to control it with. It might also be nice to run BFD as well.

  7. Yes, I’ve tried MIDI expression pedals as software wha for sampled guitar played by EWI. But I don’t find it musically useful in the stuff I do. But when playing real physical guitar I love using a wha pedal, because of the rhythmic options in combining string strumming and wha sweeping. You loose all that strumming stuff with the EWI. On the EWI I rather assign breath (CC#2) to the wha, besides also using it for volume and cutoff. I think that makes it more fun to play; like typically on this tune: http://perboysen.bandcamp.com/track/angry-basket-case

  8. Actually, I have the 4000s. I picked it up because I wanted the built-in synth for practicing, but as it turns out I never use it, I always have a laptop nearby anyway, and the sounds on the laptop are much more inspiring. I’m still working on the growl strip by the left thumb, but other than that I’m pretty comfortable with it now.

    I can’t wait to pick up my FCB tonight, I was setting up Mobius in Bidule last night, but haven’t had a chance to play with it yet:

    http://crap.libertylost.org/bidule2.jpg

    I still have to set up the sync, though, thanks for posting the howto on that.

    Have you tried using an expression pedal on the FCB as a wahwah with your sampled guitar?

  9. @Raketemensch, what a funny series of coincidences! I too play a sampled Fender Strat (see the EWI video). Actually I sampled my own vintage style strat playing it through my SOVTEK MiG60 tube amp + two 12″ Marshall Lead Series cab’s. When EWI-ing the strat on the lappy I also run it through the Amplitube 3 plug. Are you planning to buy an EWI? I really fancy the 4000s over the USB model, because it offers more continuous control – which to me is where you can make electronics come alive when played live.

  10. How bizarre, man. I went googling for info on looping using the FCB1010 and Mobius, and hit your site. Wow, the guy has a Chapman Stick! Definitely one of my favorite instruments. My bass player switched to the Stick about 10 years ago, and I play it every chance I get. Beyond the wonders of havng both bass and guitar at your fingerprints, it’s just laid out so beautifully and intuitively. After 10 minutes of playing it, it just feels Right.

    So I finally get over that and scroll down to find the bit on the FCB and Mobius, and there you are with an EWI! Which is what I’m looking to loop with….

    So weird.

    I’m running Plogue Bidule to host a bunch of different things I run with the EWI (mainly Absynth, and Kontakt playing a sampled Fender Strat into Guitar Rig). I’m picking up the FCB tomorrow and jamming Sunday night, I can’t wait.

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