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The Chapman Stick

December 13, 2010

As we know, bass guitar legend, spaceman and all round good chap Nick Beggs, is also famous for playing an instrument called the ‘Chapman Stick’.


Hopefully this small delve into the world of the stick will tell you a bit more about what it is and how it sounds.  Taken from his 1984 book ‘Nick’s Christmas Mix’, here is the article Nick published to introduce how he came to find the instrument:





So now we know basically what a chapman stick is, what does it sound like?

Firstly, let’s take a look at my favourite video of Nick playing the stick.  This is a stunning piece of music called ‘Tava’ and and is an incredible example of how the stick can sound when played by an expert:

Nick has significantly modified his stick to be a fully MIDI capable instrument triggering from both bass and melody strings.  He had named this instrument the ‘Virtual Stick’.


Now if you’re thinking the stick is purely a soft gently melodic instrument, take a look at this next video of Nick, courtesy of SenorSenor:

This next stunning track is as haunting as it is beautiful, it is called ‘The Darkness in Men’s Hearts’, courtesy of gimpdak:

No look at Nick’s stick work would be complete without ‘RoboSlob’, courtesy of SenorSenor:


Nick has released two solo stick albums.  The first ‘Stick Insect’, was released in 2002:




The second solo album from 2004 is called ‘The Maverick Helmsman’.


There are many more videos of Nick playing the Chapman Stick out there to be seen, you can discover them for yourself but I shall leave you with one more video.

This one is very special as Nick teams up with John Paul Jones live with The Smile of Your Shadow, courtesy of ‘56ragtop’:

There is a world of Chapman Stick to explore, I do hope you’ve enjoyed this dip into the ocean.

2010 KajaFax

4 Comments leave one →
  1. TheRaggedTiger permalink
    December 14, 2010 8:38 pm

    Great article!

  2. Lee Halbert permalink
    January 15, 2011 11:13 pm

    That must be the Stick Enterprises version of Stick Insect, mine is a CDR signed by Nick, great article

    • January 16, 2011 10:03 am

      Signed CDR sounds great 🙂 If you wanted to send a photo in, I’d add it to the article and of course credit you for it. Thanks!


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