07 March 06 - John Edmonds (NM), to StickWire:
Today I learned that graphite has a beauty of its own. The overall
precision of the instrument seems to be up a notch, the highs so crisp
and the lows so resonant and full. To me, the low end approaches the
added beef I hear in NS/Sticks, though I wonder if some of this also has
to do with the 36-inch scale.
That's another thing I didn't think I'd like. I was
skeptical of 36 when
it was introduced, and I lamented the passing of 34. I was wrong about
that too. I figured the extra length would make the board harder to get
around, but it actually feels easier.
Or is this also due to the graphite? The material is so
smooth, like the
difference between cotton and silk. While you have to sweat awhile on
wood before it lets you glide, graphite is fast-action as soon as you
pick it up.
Many thanks to Emmett, Yuta, Grace, Chiz, Yumi, and the rest
of the SE crew for
the personal touch, as always. Inspiration renewed.
07 March 06 - Jim Moy (CO), to StickWire:
I too went from a nice Cherry model to my XG. I miss the rich,
textured look, but when I put my thumbs on that graphite all I can
think is smooooooooth. Plus it looks great next to my baby grand.
1 June 05 - Jim Moy (CO), to StickWire:
As the owner of a new 10-string XG, I'm really into the feel of my new
Stick, so I'm curious about the comments likening it to the bamboo
model. Related to a comment elsewhere, I was also very interested in
the XBL but went to graphite after I actually put my hands on one, the
surface feel being a significant factor.
31 May 05 - Olivier Vuille (Switzerland), to StickWire:
Being the happy owner of an old ironwood Stick (short scale) and a
new graphite Stick (10 strings XG), I can give you following answer.
(The) ironwood Stick is very stable but I have to tune it more often
than the graphite, which stays in tune for WEEKS (and I play at
least one hour a day). Graphite Sticks are VERY stable and VERY
precise, actually SO stable and precise that one can just forget
about it and concentrate on the music (which is what really counts
01 December 04 - Ian Corfield (UK), to Stick Enterprises:
Something I appreciate over and over again is how incredibly stable the
tuning is on the graphite stick. I find I don't have to touch the tuning
from one month to the next, despite taking the instrument from place to
place. And yet when I play with other instruments it's spot on, and when
I play with a CD it's right on the money.
30 July 04 - Michael Hoegeman (CA), to Stickwire:
The graphite Sticks are very smooth with a very dry "slidable" feel,
pretty much like you envision graphite being, not laquery or varnishy
24 December 03 - Michael Hoegeman (CA), to Stickwire:
I must say I like the feel of the graphite quite a bit. It has a very
"dry but lubricated feel". Emmett conveyed the feel to me as "lubricious"
which I find an apt description. Maybe we should submit the term to the
oxford english dictionary committee ;-)
29 September 03 - Sean Malone (OR), to Stickwire:
For those of you who may have been exposed to early music theory, the
term 'greater-perfect' (as in the Greater-Perfect System) will sound
familiar. However, even though music theory has been handed down through
the ages in various shapes and sizes, I'm less concerned with rules and
regulations with this post as I am in trying to tap into the notion of
timelessness; how something considered to be 'perfect' in one person's mind
can exceed a seemingly impassable sense of limit: I'm speaking of course
about my brand new 12-string Stick XG with fret rails and PASV-4 Villex
pickup. I've had it for a few days now and have put it through its paces and
wanted to pass on my initial impressions of this amazing instrument;
something I've come to describe as "brutally beautiful."
6 June 03 - James Whisenant (MA), to Stick Enterprises:
The XG is a joy to play. The body finish moves easily under my thumbs, just like the Ironwood does. The fret spacings are comfortable, just like on the Ironwood. The Rails feel very good under my fingers. That said, the tone selection for both bass and melody is a real eye-opener. I'm now able to dramatically change the sound of the entire instrument, with a couple of well-placed switch turns, more in real-time, than I could with the ACTV-2. Not that I plan to do this very often to begin with (there are band mates to consider, after all), but this extra tonal flexibility is going to be very handy.
Anyway, the XG is a real pleasure, to play, to hear, and to behold. I'll be gigging it for the first time next Thursday, June 12, at a Berklee Faculty recital. As far as I know, it'll be Boston's first exposure to the XG. I'll try to do it justice.
31 May 03 - Matt Springer (GA), to Stick Enterprises:
I just received my new Graphite 10-string yesterday number 4811-G. Let me just say it wildly surpassed my expectations. I love it!! I had been playing an older Ironwood model from the early 80's that was nice. However, I can now see the advances in design, playability and sound capability that your company has developed these last 20 years. The tone is wonderful and I think the Graphite body adds to the punch and sustain. The PASV-4 pickup module I selected is great for dialing up all manner of different sounds. Wonderful. I haven't even hooked up the SP-13 that I ordered for it yet. Just wanted to thank everyone at Stick Enterprises for this wonderful instrument and tell you all that it was a pleasure doing business with you. Keep up the fabulous work.
29 May 03 - James Whisenant (MA), to Stickwire:
XG #4812-G just arrived. It's a work of art, plain and simple.
5 March 03 - Jeremy Cubert (MD), to Stick Enterprises:
I received my new 10 string Stick XG yesterday and my reaction can be summed up in one word - WOW! The instrument arrived unscathed and in perfect tune. I love the Fret Rails. Accurate fretting is easier especially in the upper register. The Graphite is smooth and responsive. The sound is wonderful. I am looking forward to bringing it to band practice this weekend. Thanks for making an incredible instrument.
8 January 03 - Manny Tau (CA), to Stickwire:
I'm envious. I was visiting over at Emmett's on Monday, and he had a Graphite Grand (with MIDI) there. It's absolutely gorgeous in all of its graphite beauty. And it is the 'mother of all Sticks' being the largest Stick and weighing in around 8 lbs as Emmett told me. Accomodating the longer scale and the 12 tuning heads makes this Stick really stand out when next to some of the other Sticks he had laying out (prepping for NAMM). I also checked out his Stick Bass and NS/Stick...eyeing out my next Stick (leaning heavily towards an NS).
My first impression when I picked up this XG Stick was, wow, chuckle chuckle, this is huge, look at all this graphite, and then thought it was something that came out of an aerospace skunkworks project...very immaculate and 'trick'! It is a very stunning instrument!
8 January 03 Kevin Genus (MD), to Stickwire:
I took delivery of Graphite Grand Stick #4800G this evening. It is a beautiful Black instrument with no inlays and PASV-4 pickup. I guess since Fret Rails and Flaps are standard, I really do not need to mention them, however, they are there. I cannot say enough about the workmanship of the instrument. The smooth design of the instrument really stands out with the metal against the black background. Seeing the instrument without inlays was just what I wanted. My initial thought was to have a designed inlay pattern, however, I like the plain fretboard so much, I doubt I will have anything added. Even the violinist/cellist feel for the fretboard.... Overall, this is truly much more wonderful than I expected and an instrument I will keep.
The greatest testament I can give to this particular instrument is that it shipped on Dec. 27, 2002 and arrived today, Jan. 8, 2003. I can only imagine the temperature changes it went through going from the US West to US East. Amazingly, it kept it's tuning, it needed about 1/4 turn truss adjustment (and that's pushing it). I have traditionally used heavy gauge strings, but switched to medium when I ordered this Stick. The main reason is I am pretty aggressive with my left-hand pinky and felt like a minor change in string gauge would be a different feel. The play with mediums is a little different, but against the Rails it's a pronounced feel, which I love.
Emmett, Yuta and everyone else at SE, Thanks for adding another gem to your jewelry box. You've outdone yourselves once again. I give you my word, this instrument is going to get the work over it deserves (used heavily).
28 October 02 - Marc Pelath (UK), to Stick Enterprises:
I'm just writing to let you know what I think of my new 10-string Graphite Stick. Well, basically, it's great. I don't have a single complaint about it, and there's plenty that I like. It's interesting to come from playing an old polycarbonate to playing a new, top-of-the-line instrument?I get the benefit of all the changes over the last 10-20 years all at once, and there are a lot of those. I love the tone controls and the stereo/mono capability on the active pickups, and I'm looking forward to running my Stick through a decent amplifier (next purchase). The feel of the Graphite is much warmer and slicker than the polycarbonate (I've never had a "fetish" for wood), and compared to the poly, I don't notice the extra weight relative to wood. The extra fret is just about my favorite thing - that one fret gives the illusion of much more space at the low end. My actual favorite thing is the Rails?I really do get more precision out of my notes. At first I though this was going to make sliding more difficult (fingers bumping into Rails), but after a while I found that sliding chords was actually easier than with Rods. It's been a big Stick year for me?the new Stick, going to the Detroit seminar, starting Alexander lesions to improve my playing.
P.S. I took a risk on getting the paua inlays, and it paid off. The inlays against the graphite are like nebula against a night sky, making The Stick look cosmological in a way.
2 July 02 - Dale Bushnell (OR), to Stickwire:
Well, my 10 string Graphite arrived June 4, and I haven't had time to read a single Stickwire message since then. Damn! A beautiful instrument.
24 April 02 - Paul Frields (VA), to Stickwire:
Hmm, let's see, the graphite instruments have all the capabilities of the wood instruments but with the added benefits of being more resistant to climatic conditions, and more difficult to damage through accident. Plus they look great, incorporate The Block, add an extra fret of room at the nut side, they're apparently Emmett's instrument of choice, and you'll be the envy of every other Stick owner who doesn't have one. If you've got long fingers the 12 string is a perfect fit, and if you want to shave off a few hundred clams, the 10 string is every bit as good. I don't know what further arguments you're expecting to get, go buy one already!!! :-)
17 April 02 - Jim Reilly (Canada), to Stickwire:
The extended scale length is a really nice feature. Having more room to play there was an unexpected and now much used bonus. Which of course leads to the stroke of genius Emmett had to bump the inlays up a fret. The notes fall in the same place relative to the inlays on all his instruments. Even though there is an additional fret, the relative note placement doesn't change. I got my Stick on a Thursday night and performed Friday morning. There was nothing to relearn.
10 vs. 12. I played 12 then 10 then 12 again and now 10. As much as I see the advantage to a couple of extra strings in the middle, the 10 string is the instrument for me. I like the feel of the narrower neck, the string spacing is a little wider, which works nice with heavier gauge strings and I'm forced to move around more rather than just stay in one position. The sound needs no more boasting about from me.
All in all, with the all the adjustable components (everything that can be adjusted is adjustable), the Rails and the new electronics, we have seen the next step in the evolution of The Stick. Wood or graphite, it's a great time to be a Stick player.
16 April 02 - Jim Kam (TX), to Stickwire:
I bought the Graphite because I figured they were sturdy and relatively impervious to climate changes. Plus I like new toys. I had misgivings because it was a 10 string (only ones available at the time). I half expected to have it feel inadequate compared to the Grands. WRONG !!! Starting the day after I got it, I have used it every single time I play out - which I try to do once a week.
I like playing it for various reasons:
1. Precise feel (probably due to fret Rails)
2. Punchy bass - possibly because of string gauge. My other Sticks have light gauge. The bass just feels even more percussive than my other Sticks.
3. Easier to play (narrower neck)
4. Tone - these new pickups are GREAT!
5. It looks cool
The 10 string is everything I want in a Stick - and then some. To tell you the truth, if somebody would offer me a good price for my other Sticks - I'd sell 'em and get another Graphite. (Gotta have a spare). Don't get me wrong - there ain't a thing wrong with my other Sticks. They are still great instruments that play very well. The Graphite is just, well, better. Knowhutimean, Vern?
11 March 02 - Jim Reilly (Canada), to Stick Enterprises:
The new Stick arrived safe and sound. And what a sound! I got it on Thursday evening and performed with it on Friday. The feel of the instrument, both the silky smooth graphite and the playing surface of the Rails felt completely natural immediately. This Stick just feels right in my hands.
24 January 02 - Qua Veda (OR), to Stick Enterprises:
I loved Jim's latest interview with Steve Mosher! Very well done! Jim, you really get the reader involved. I really look forward to reading the articles. Steven and Moses Graphite seem to be a natural partner in the magical world of Stick Enterprises. Sounds like there is a great synergy there, and that Emmett and Steve have been able to even further enrich an already amazing instrument. I thought I had sufficient rationale to justify my graphite Grand obsession. Thanks to your article I now have more than enough - maybe I should order two!
I continue to feel really wonderful energy flowing throughout this wonderful community we know as Emmett Chapman, The Stick and the SE family. Although my contributions at this time are more in consciousness than as a musician, I'm not letting that stop my full enthusiasm and appreciation for all that you are doing while I continue to learn to play.
24 January 02 - Greg Howard (VA), to Stickwire:
It was a particularly validating show for me. I played a graphite 10-string for the whole show, which took me a bit of adjustment since I've been playing almost exclusively 12-string for the past year. But I have to say that Emmett is at the top of his game, and leads the way as usual in terms of playability, sound and ergonomics.
3 January 02 - Brian Baggett (TX), to Stickwire:
This evening gave myself (and several others) the opportunity to play Jim's new Graphite 10 string, equipped with PASV Block pickup and Fret Rails, along with all the now standard adjustable components. It was a superb instrument. The Rails are a given: I still like them. The extended low-note fret range that only the graphite offers was not awkward to get used to like I expected. Thanks to the dot markers being in the same place (pitch-wise) as all other Stick models, the slight "longness" of this instrument was barely noticeable while playing.
Overall: a very fine sounding and sleek looking instrument. I admit?I still like the look and feel of "wood", but perhaps the extended fret range and the possible lifetime stability of the graphite could change my mind someday.
6 October 01 - David Wozmak (NH), to Stickwire:
I offer as proof, (such as it is?) the sensations I had when trying out the new Graphite Stick at Emmett's house in May this year (has it already been 4 months?). My hardwood-predisposed sensibilities were not even remotely offended by the synthetic material?or rather, they were probably completely drowned out by my appreciation for the utter precision and acutely expressive touch of the instrument.
28 August 01 - Jim Kam (TX), to Stickwire:
The waiting is over. I just got my new Stick today. It is a 10 string Graphite with PASV-4 pickups, medium gauge strings and matched reciprocal tuning. It would appear that the Chapmans have outdone themselves yet again. The instrument is superb in every detail. I'm not sure what superlatives to use, since I used them up last time around. Let's just say that this one's even better than the last. I did like the idea of a Graphite Stick, but was not too sure about getting a 10 string, since I am pretty set on 12 stringers. Emmett assured me that sometimes less is more. I don't think that is right. There is nothing "less" about this Stick. It feels and plays incredibly, is lighter than what I had expected (having tried a Poly). In short, it is the best instrument I have ever had.
26 August 01 - Chris Astier (NM), to Stickwire:
Quick thoughts on my new Graphite Stick. The sound is darn good. Clear, and deep. The electronics on the active Block seem to be all I need. The tone is clean and clear. The Graphite looks nice. It's almost "neutral", just an expanse that allows the frets and paua position dots to show up well. I shouldn't say frets, since I purchased my Stick with Fret Rails. Since I have nothing to really compare them with (either another Stick or a fretted instrument) I can only say that the action is low, and they ain't hard on the fingers. They come well out of the fingerboard, but the action is low and close to them. Ease of playability is spot on. I just have to learn how to use this technology to my musical advantage by learning to become fluent and fluid on The Stick.
24 August 01 - Chris Astier (NM), to Stickwire:
Graphite Stick #2073G was brought to me today by UPS. Amazed? Shocked? Realizing that it's a whole new ballgame? All of this and more! I was so happy, I immediately plugged it into my amp (didn't even go through the RANE preamp I ordered!) and fuddled about with the hands and listened to the SOUND. Oh, I can't describe how happy I am. The low end sounds like no bass I've heard, and the treble side SANG! My fingers could barely do what I wanted them to do, partly from unfamiliarity and partly from my hands shaking.
25 May 01 - Virna Splendore (Italy), to Stickwire:
I read what David Wozmak wrote about the graphite Stick, and I have to say that I agree absolutely with what he says! I played Emmett's new Stick at the January NAMM, and I have been really impressed!!! I wrote a small review of it at www.megabass.it but it's in Italian. It had one fret more than usual, Fret Rails, heavy gauge strings, the active Block, MR tuning and it was Graphite! None of these things was usual to me. I usually don't feel comfortable with any of these characteristics except for the Fret Rails, and for The Block that now I have on my new glossy Stick. Well I found myself playing it like if I was playing my Stick!!! And I was astonished, because when Emmett told me, "Try my new Stick!", I said "Oh, but I don't feel very comfortable with synthetic materials, I like woods better?" well I really felt absolutely comfortable with it! The sound is so clean and it has really a powerful attack.
24 May 01 - David Wozmak (NH), to Stickwire:
I played Emmett's Graphite Stick with the new passive Block and Fret Rails, and I was surprised by a few things. I really expected to be unamused by a synthetic material, because I am first and foremost a lover of sensuous exotic wood instruments. I don't know quite how to express this, but other synthetic instruments I've played have felt?inert. Real wood has a tactile advantage that only improves the more you touch it?the instrument grows more and more touchable. But this preprogrammed bias of mine HAD to be abandoned, much as I tried to apply it. The Graphite Stick was every bit as sweet to the touch as my own impeccably finished Indian rosewood Stick. It felt warm and balanced?not too heavy, not at all too light.
13 April 01 - Kevin Ramsey (Japan), to Stickwire:
You know, that was my first reaction too. Now, Greg and Steven's explanations strike me as the more probable reasons behind the design (the thirteenth inlay is now the octave of the first tappable note, inlay positions are consistent with other models). Of course, Emmett probably had both in mind (improved string response, inlay positions) when designing the new model.
11 April 01 - Greg Howard (VA), to Stickwire:
The Graphite Stick is fantastic. Emmett's suggested tuning is for a low B as the open bass string, and I believe this is the way the inlays are set, with the first (inlaid shell) at the third fret rather than the second. The sound is clear, the feel solid, and while the instrument weighs more than a standard 10 string, it's not much more, because the instrument has a ribbed structure inside with some hollow spots.
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