My Grand and Amp

September 7th, 2009

I finally finished my Stick amp. I took it with me to the Interlochen Chapman Stick Workshop, but it was clear very quickly that something was wrong with it. I had to finish it in a hurry before we left and I had wired up something wrong. It had no power and made horrible noises if it was turned up very high. I knew it would be a quick fix if I could only open it up and do it! I hadn’t brought any tools so I had to just wait until I got home. For the technically inclined here’s what was wrong. The woofers have dual voice coils and each voice coil is 8 ohms. I had to wire them together in a series/parallel configuration that had to end up being 8 ohms. I had accidentally wired them at 2 ohms. Grr…

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July 8th, 2009

I must say, this is a bit intimidating:

Logic Thumb

I just got the suite of applications named Logic Studio. This is a professional level suite from Apple that does audio recording and editing. Lots of the CDs we listen to have been done with this.

I get an insane academic discount or I wouldn’t have gotten this. Now I have to actually learn it! And, I realize that I just lost my last excuse for not recording some of the music I’ve been learning.

New Fever

July 3rd, 2009

I’ve got the fever again!

I’m thinking of ordering a new Chapman Stick. I already have an incredible Bamboo Grand 12-string that I just love. The new one I want is the SG12, 12-string Stick Guitar. It is a shorter scale instrument that doesn’t have the low-end of a Grand Stick, but, offers a new range and new possibilities. Here’s what they look like:

Greg Playing his SG12

Every musician’s current instrument is the best one in the whole world, until they get their next one. I’m certainly not immune to that old adage!

The Next DIY Stick Preamp

August 10th, 2008

This was originally posted on the forum on I want it here too.

This is my second Stick preamp project. This one has more to it than my first one.

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New Headphones!

February 5th, 2008

I got new headphones for my birthday. They are a set of Sony MDR-7506s and they are great. Here’s a picture of them:

I haven’t had new headphones for decades and my old ones are falling apart. I had no idea that headphone technology had advanced this much. I play my Stick through headphones a lot when the kids are asleep and these actually have bass. They are so clear that I’m hearing things that I wasn’t aware of before. They are essentially a music-altering experience!

DIY Stick Preamp

December 24th, 2007

This entry was originally posted on the forum in October 2007. Late December of 2007 the site had a catastrophic hardware failure and all forum posts from five years were lost. I found my post on Google and here it is again.

My DIY Stick Preamp

I have finally taken the time to make myself a preamp for my Stick. While this is certainly not a StepABout, the sound is really great to my ears. I based it on this fairly famous circuit by Don Tillman:

I put 2 of them in one box. Here is the input side of the preamp:

Here’s the output side, it is really simple:

The 2 channels are fully independent and could be used for bass and guitar as well as Stick.

Here’s the Ugly Truth. I haven’t made anything like this for a very long time, so the inside is not very pretty:

Here’s it in use:

The Specs:

This preamp has an input impedance of 3Mohms and a 3db boost. That’s all.

The Results:

WOW!!! Everything you have ever heard about the Stick needing a high impedance is absolutely true! The difference this little thing makes is truly amazing. I was using some stomp boxes as the first thing in my chain with what is normally considered “high impedance”. The difference is dramatic. It is not only that this adds highs to the sound. That’s part of it but everything sounds better, the lows, the mids, and the highs. There is more presence and my Stick just feels more responsive. I was hoping for an improved sound but, frankly, I didn’t expect this big of an improvement. I made it in this box so I could plug it into any type of amplification from Fender Twins to a PA.

I will make some audio samples next weekend, I’ve spent enough time for this one.

[ Update: I have not made the samples yet. I will post when I do.]

The Cost:

I dunno, not much really. Maybe less than $20 depending on what kind of box you use and where you get your parts. The FETs were 12 cents a piece. I was impatient and bought a big bag of resistors to get the ones I wanted, if you ordered them that part would be cheaper. This can also be made very small and put right into a cord but I wanted the most flexibility.

This is just the start of what will hopefully be a full DIY rig. One step at a time…

Final version of Gymnodedie No. 1 by Erik Satie

December 17th, 2007

I have put the final version of my transcription of the Gymnodedie No. 1 by Erik Satie on my Arrangements page. Let me know what you think

My First YouTube Video

December 17th, 2007

There was a great thread on about virtual performances that others could critique. Since most of us new Stick players don’t have teachers this sounds like a great way to help each other. If we do this more often we hope that the more experienced guys will comment, too.

So, in a moment of inspiration, I made a quick recording of my arrangement of Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1. I put it up on YouTube! Here it is:

What do you think?

Second Page!

June 24th, 2007


I have completed the second page of my arrangement of Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1 for Chapman Stick. This is the main body of the piece. What I have left are the 1st and 2nd endings. I’m getting closer on this learning experience. I have learned a huge amount about the Stick, music engraving, and the art and craft of transcription. Let me know what you think!

Here’s the download link

Here’s my arrangements page.

I’m working on a recording which I’ll also post when I have a good one.



First Page of First Stick Arrangement!

June 13th, 2007

Hi, all.

I have finished the first page of my first Stick arrangement. It is the Gymnopedie #1 by Erik Satie and I am really enjoying playing it and transcribing it. Here is the download link.

Update I have made some corrections and uploaded version 0.2.2a

I would really love to get comments since I’m sure that I have lots to learn about music engraving. If you see any mistakes let me know and I’ll put up another version quickly.

I also have a page that will have all my arrangements here.