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Weird Instrument, Awesome Music

Aug 15, 2015 By Michael W. Pirrone
A relatively new instrument, the Chapman Stick (sometimes just called a Stick) was developed in the '70s by Jazz guitarist Emmett Chapman, to suit his "tapping" style of playing. Rather than plucking or strumming the strings, Chapman primarily played by striking with his fingers, much how a piano works. While historically many musicians have done this to a certain extent with their left hand, Chapman developed a style where both hands were striking tones on the fret board.

In developing an instrument specifically for a two-handed playstyle, Chapman created something so unusual in appearance that it even made it into the science-fiction movie "Dune," played by Patrick Stewart's character Gurney Halleck in an extended scene.

Strange as it looks, the sounds it can make in the hands of a skilled player are beautiful. It's of course very similar in tone to both a bass guitar and five-string, but with a greater range and with opportunities for creative expression the source instruments can't offer alone. Check out one particularly skilled player jamming out in this video from Indi.com.
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