by Steve Adelson
from TrueFire (2009 double DVD now in Stock at Stick Enterprises) $30.
Steve Adelson's double DVD set of 44 mini lessons demistifies the instrument and the Free Hands method in a way that will benefit players of all skill levels.
From the TrueFire Website:
"Ultimate Stick" is a comprehensive, beginner to advanced voyage, presented in 44 easy to understand segments. Starting with simple fretboard navigation and fingering geography, Steve illustrates the logic of the Stick's tuning and layout. Adelson goes through each hand's role, by exploring bass, melody and harmony step by step and then as a homogenous concept. Basic theory is explained and applied to achieve those hard to find complex harmonies.
The viewer of this course will learn to walk a bass line while soloing and comping chords all at the same time. Scales, chords and all musical tools are explored. Adelson also presents basic Stick tools and fingerings as well as unique techniques like "The Claw" and "The Kerchunk."
Video Samples (click image to go to TrueFire's "Utimate Stick" sample page):
Emmett's ReviewAfter several sittings with Steve Adelson's just released double DVD set of 44 Stick lessons, the comprehensive Ultimate Stick by TrueFire, I'd like to share my impressions.
Steve's style and method of teaching will grow on you, at least, it
had that effect on me. It starts off with lessons on the
fundamentals, the layout of The Stick, the dots, the symmetrical
tuning, and the simple transpositions across the board. Even then,
he takes you "by leaps and bounds" right away to larger terrain - the
big picture, graphic, geometric, and how it all fits together.
And it gets more involving as you go, with nearly four hours of wide
ranging instruction. Steve's presentation is multidimensional in
that he teaches on several levels at once in a relaxed manner. It's
not enough that he reveals his most powerfully musical two-handed
tapping discoveries, his natural instinct is to make it whole, move
it anywhere, apply it to any song or sector of the board. He has
always taught by bestowing ownership upon the student, making it your
own, and this is how I've always taught Stick as well.
The layered assault on your senses and sensibilities begins obviously
enough, with the notes, the fingering, and various devices to get
both hands working at the same time. Then you see his hands on the
board and they seem unusually nimble and dexterous. Each lick is
executed "cold" (no warm-ups), yet the fluid momentum is always
there. (He used to be a hobbyist magician but never mind that.)
His purpleheart "solar" Grand Stick is set up for very low action and
light touch but still, he makes it all look so incredibly easy.
Those floating fingers and flicks of the wrist might be intimidating
to the newcomer except that an entirely different message comes
through - that it's all mental. Thus paradoxically, physical ease
and comfort are essential to learning Steve's technical skills.
So you have the notes and the fingers, also the vision of gesturing
hands playing the connections between the notes. Then one hand will
point to the other in action, a different kind of dialogue as he
explains his moves. The hands are talking to themselves!
If that's not enough, he'll often conclude a lesson with a
philosophical "aside" to the camera, commenting on the larger scope
of what has just been taught. "You don't have to repeat history
because we're making history." Now he's a personality, so if the
fingers don't convince you, his power of communication will.
My interest grew with each succeeding lesson. There's truly a lot
there and it gets more intense as it goes. By the second disk,
you're into two-handed bass, two-handed melody, modal and blues
scales, Latin rhythms, his rhythmic "Claw" and "Kerchunk" techniques,
his famous "compass" walking bass (it's alive!), and a polychordal
theory of combined triads, one to each hand.
There's a lesson on right-hand expressive finger techniques, which he
calls "Articulation". There's another on layered orchestration,
adding the right thumb to the left hand and conversely, the left
pinky to the right hand. I refer to this sub-technique as "six
fingers on each hand" (conceptually as always, of course).
The magician has now given away all his best tricks, but then when he
actually plays a song arrangement (and there are several of his
performances here), it's still magic and he remains somehow above it
all, secure as an artist and stylist despite the revelations.
Easy flow of hands, easy flow of words, all combined into a river of
intelligent instruction. There are many creative levels to Steve's
presentation, not the least of which is to inspire confidence and
loving inspiration within our world wide Stick and string tapping
All the Best, Emmett.
Comments from viewers:
15 July 09 - Jeff Nogee (New York), to
I've been noodling around with my new stick (10 string, dark bamboo, turquoise recon dot inlays, pasv4) for a couple of weeks now, watching some of the DVDs and reviewing the instruction books.
When i started up Steve's Ultimate Stick DVD and watched the first couple of chapters, the proverbial lightbulb went off, and the Stick's logic began to click.
Thank you Steve - while I am still a complete novice, I now have some direction in how I approach this fascinating instrument and where to go next.
15 July 09 - Andy Salvanos (Australia), to
I had the chance to watch a chunk (or is that a kerchunk?) of this DVD the other day, and would highly recommend it to Stick players of all levels. Everyone has a slightly different perspective on playing an instrument, so match it up with material from other teachers and you will have a very good starting point.
I'm also convinced that more advanced players will experience a few "aha moments" while watching this.
TopicsThe 44 Lesson Titles:
Parts of the Stick
Bass Lines Roots
Bass Lines Roots & 5ths
Bass Lines Triads
Symmetrical Chord Shapes
Chords to Infinity
Exploring Triads Right Hand
Exploring Triads Left Hand
Triads Root, 5th, 10th
Application of 7th Chords
9th Chords Pt. 1
9th Chords Pt. 2
Two-Handed Bass Ideas Pt. 1
Two-Handed Bass Ideas Pt. 2
Walking Bass Lines Pt. 1
Walking Bass Lines Pt. 2
Two Hands on Bass Strings
Right Hand Major Scale
Blues Scales Pt. 1
Blues Scales Pt. 2
Soloing w/Walking Bass Lines
Comping with Bass Solo
Superimposing Triads Pt. 1
Superimposing Triads Pt. 2
2 Hands on Top Six Strings
Right Hand Articulations
Multiple Parts Thumb
Crossover Left & Right Hands
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