Emmett Chapman and Ned Steinberger jointly designed the NS Stick, so I had to get one. I traded in my 1980 #688 Chapman Stick for this new NS Stick in June 2000, #9120521.
- Bolt-on 24-frets one-piece wenge neck with truss rod, alder body.
- 8-strings, tuned in 4ths - B (.128"), E (.092"), A (.065"), D (.044"), G (.030"), C (.020"), F (.013"), Bb (.011"). Scale length 34". This is more like a bass than a guitar as the C6 to E6 notes are not available unless another tuning mode is used.
- 4 active EMG-FT stacked double-coil pickups, 2 for the 4 melody strings and 2 for the 4 bass strings. Separate volume knobs, separate stacked tone knobs and separate pickup selector toggle (neck/both/bridge) for each group of melody and bass strings.
- Stereo mode - toggle in stereo position - use stereo cord - output melody strings to one amp and bass strings to another.
- Mono mode - toggle in mono position - use mono cord - output all strings to one amp.
- Bridge - adjustable for individual string height and length, with 8 tuning knobs.
- Nut - adjustable for individual string height, string clamps installed, use ordinary strings, not Steinberger double-ball strings.
- Spring loaded damper at 1st fret - flip easily to muted position for tapping, or open position for plucking.
Most importantly, how does it play and sound?
TAPPING - set the string height to rock bottom just before the buzz gets intolerable, lightly tap the strings against a fret and get a very nice "twang" easily. No sweat. I just placed my left hand fingers as if I were fretting the notes, and the bass line is played clearly without any help from the right hand. On the melody strings, using about 1/3 of the strength of a Van Halen tap will produce the twang. I experimented with a higher string height, but tapping then produces muted tones.
PLUCKING - just play on the tapping string height as if it is an 8-strings bass, the plucked sound is more "dong" than "twang". For plucking, the string height can be set higher if desired.
SOUND - good! Hear that wonderful harmony sound of 2 guitars as the melody and bass strings are played together. As the tuning is guitar-like, the learning curve is much shorter for guitar and bass players, at least for the bass strings. The melody strings will require a lot more practice.
October 2002 - a musician from Paris, France flew over here to see this instrument, and I sold it to him. I'm happy that this Stick has found a nice new home with an aficionado!