A plank of wood, similar to the earlier-invented 'Plank' instrument developed by Dave Bunker, using a belt hook earlier patented by a Mr. Lester, with two sets of strings similar to those patented by Jimmy Webster, using a tuning similar to a mandolin and a ukelele, played by tapping as invented by Jimmy Webster many years ago.
It's nothing you should shake a stick at.

A fiendishly difficult instrument to play. It has the scale length of a bass and the range of a piano. It is played with a technique somewhat reminiscent of Eddie Van Halen's famous two-handed tapping, except that the right hand, which plays the bass strings (which are reversed from their normal order on a bass guitar, to make the instrument more symmetrical), is held perpendicular to the instrument. Famous users include Tony Levin, John Myung of Dream Theater, and Trey Gunn.

In truth, Jimmy Webster's technique was nothing like that developed by Emmett Chapman. Webster's guitar teacher, and people who played and recorded with Webster have gone on record to say as much. trakwebster has made it his life's mission to belittle the contributions of Emmett Chapman to the musical world.

‘Is that a sitar?’ asks a bleary-eyed concert-goer. ‘No,’ responds an attentive musician who is bent on correcting him. ‘Haven't you ever seen a dulcimer before?’ And so is acted out a nightly ritual: the attempt to understand that thing the bassist was playing. The correct answer always being, ‘it was a Chapman Stick.’ ---Sean Malone

The chapman stick is a 10 or 12 stringed intrument played solely by tapping. It has a very wide range and has been used mainly in progressive music since the 70's when Tony Levin used one with King Crimson. Chapman Sticks are the first new instrument since the saxophone, and because of this they are still finding a place in music. This is actually a good thing since there are no preconcieved ideas as to how the stick should be used. This leaves so much space for creativity it isn't even funny. If only every other instrument were approached in this way there would be some pretty interesting stuff going on i can tell you

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