FYI: The Chapman Stick

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FYI: The Chapman Stick

Post by rogerwimmer » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:58 am

It may be because I live in a remote part of the world, but I just recently learned about a musical instrument that has been around for a while that I think is probably the most unique instrument I have ever seen and heard. The instrument is the Chapman Stick Touchboard, or simply the Chapman Stick. Here is the story . . .

During a recent trip to Hawaii (the Big Island), my wife, Darnell, and I had the opportunity to hear a great local band (The Rainbow Band) that played a variety of Rock music. One of the band members, Joe Conti, played a strange looking instrument I had never seen before. It has strings like a guitar, but the strings aren't strummed or plucked – they are tapped. What? Yes, tapped and you'll learn more in just a moment.

After the concert, I went up to the stage and talked to Joe Conti and learned a lot more about the Chapman Stick. However, instead of me trying to explain what Joe told me, it will be easier for you to go to Joe's website. Make sure you go to all the pages on the site.

OK, assuming that you visited Joe's website, it's time to hear a few other people play the instrument. There are many videos about the Chapman Stick on YouTube, and I selected a few as introductions. Check these out:

Chapman Stick Demo

Chapman Stick One

Chapman Stick Two

As I said, I may be the only person in the world who hasn't heard of a Chapman Stick, but I think it's a very unique instrument. The other bands members in Hawaii told me that Joe Conti is one of the top Chapman Stick players in the world. After hearing him play for a few hours, I can understand why he has earned that title (he's also an excellent singer). I want to thank Joe Conti for the time he spent with me explaining the instrument.

By the way, here is a good written summary of the Chapman Stick.

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Roger Wimmer is owner of Wimmer Research and senior author of Mass Media Research: An Introduction, 10th Edition.

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