Chapman Stick : Left Handed Guitars

The Chapman Stick was devised by Emmett Chapman in the early 1970s and is a rather uniquely designed electric musical instrument.  The instrument, which looks like an enlarged guitar fretboard is usually played with a tapping technique which allows players to perform bass, chords and melody lines simultaneously!

The company offers all but one of their instruments (the NS model) in a left handed option and there is no added charge for the modification. Prices start at $1900 USD for the Alto Stick and plenty of custom options are available when ordering your own.

If you’ve never seen a Stick in action before, head to the end of the article to see Stick maestro Kevin Keith doing his thing.  For now, let’s take a look at the different models that are available left handed…

Chapman Stick 10-String Left Handed

Chapman’s 10-string stereo fretboard tapping instrument has evolved greatly over the years but still has the classic Chapman Stick sound. Each new instrument features their latest adjustable components for easy setup. A wide variety of ordering options allow you to customize your instrument with your choice of exotic hardwood laminates, tunings, string gauges, pickup configurations, MIDI, and even the inlay material.

Chapman Stick 10-String Left Handed Lefty

Chapman Stick 10-String Grand Left Handed

The wider fretboard of this 10-string stereo Stick model provides more room for the fingers. Center-to-center string spacing is .350″ as opposed to .315″ on the standard 10-string Sticks. The space between the two groups of strings is also wider, at .500″ instead of the standard .430″.

This instrument is meant to accommodate those musicians with larger hands and fingers, and those who want more of a guitar-like string spacing. It’s a step in the direction of the SB8 (Stick Bass), which spaces all eight strings uniformly .400″ apart, measured from center to center of each string. The SB8 has the typical Stick stereo placement of strings into two groups of four, but the string spacing is uniform all across a single sequence of perfect fourths. The Ten-String Grand, on the other hand, preserves the wider physical gap at the center between the two groups of strings, as with other Stick type 4ths/5ths tunings.

Chapman Stick 10-String Grand Left Handed Guitar  Lefty

Chapman Grand Stick 12-String Left Handed

Chapman’s 12-string extended range stereo fretboard tapping instrument gives you more of what you like about the 10-string Stick. The fretboard is slightly wider and the strings are very slightly closer together making it comfortable for most Stick players. Each new instrument features the latest adjustable components for easy setup. A wide variety of ordering options allow you to customize your instrument with your choice of exotic hardwood laminates, tunings, string gauges, pickup configurations, MIDI, and even the inlay material.

Chapman Grand Stick 12-String Left Handed Guitar  Lefty

Chapman Alto Stick 10-String Left Handed

A new model based on Chapman’s 10-string Stick design, this 26.5-inch scale 22-fret tapping instrument moves the bass range up into guitar territory, and gives the player easy access to high melody in the violin register.

The Alto Stick features the same hardware, wood and inlay options as the other Stick models, including the Flaps™ dual nut system, patented dual-action rear adjustable truss rod and fully intonatable and adjustable bridge. All of the active and passive pickup options are also available.

Perfect for anyone who wants to expand their Stick pallet into the higher registers, or for small-handed and younger players who want to get started in two-handed tapping.

Chapman Alto Stick 10-String Left Handed Guitar Lefty

Chapman SG12 12-String Left Handed

The new 12-string “Stick Guitar” gives the two-handed tapping musician an overall higher range for lead and accompaniment than the 36″-scale models. Based on the Grand Stick design but shorter in scale length by 5 frets, the SG12 is the perfect vehicle for players who don’t need to occupy the bass role, but still want a wide range of notes with more overlap between the string sets than on the 10-string Alto Stick.

Closer fret spacing means easy reach of close intervals on both sets of strings. The Rails™, stainless steel precision tapping frets, provide excellent tactile feedback and clearer tone for tapped high notes than conventional guitar frets, with enough room for fingertips between the fret tops even at the highest notes. This makes for fast, articulate tapping in the high lead guitar and violin range.

Chapman Stick Bass 8-String Left Handed

This 8-string switchable stereo/mono fretboard tapping instrument is favored by people who want to play bass parts. The fretboard is the same width as the original Stick, with a wider string spacing because it has fewer strings. Each new instrument features the latest adjustable components for easy setup. A wide variety of ordering options allow you to customize your instrument with your choice of exotic hardwood laminates, tunings, string gauges, pickup configurations, MIDI, and even the inlay material.

Chapman Stick Bass 8-String Left Handed Guitar Lefty

Chapman Stick Example Video – Kevin Keith

Chapman Stick Website

The company website does look fairly behind the times, and could really do with a little makeover to bring it up to date.  However, it does contain all of the information you need, apart from one little vital detail…

No left handed information!  When I contacted the company to find out about left handed models I was completely surprised when it turned out that they made all but one of their range left handed.  I was under the impression that lefty models were not available, and after browsing their website you could be forgiven for thinking the same thing.  I did suggest that they added this information, so hopefully it will be added at some point.

For more information:
Chapman Stick Website

3 replies
  1. craig
    craig says:

    i have seen these played on tv, i think they sound fantastic, i dont know how hard it would be to play one but i’d like to give it a go just for a laugh

    Reply

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