In Memoriam: Emmett Chapman

Emmett ChapmanEmmett Chapman, known for his musical invention the Chapman Stick, has died from cancer. He was 85 years old. The news was announced on the Stick Enterprises website.

“The musician, inventor of the Free Hands two-handed tapping method and The Chapman Stick, and founder of Stick Enterprises, died at his home on Monday, November 1, after a long battle with cancer. The funeral will be held on Friday, November 12.”

Chapman began as a jazz guitarist in the late ’60s with a major influence of Barney Kessel. It wasn’t long before he struck upon the idea of playing the guitar in an upright position and tapping with his hands parallel to the strings. He eventually designed the “Stick” as it would be called, and began marketing it in 1974.

Although he came from a guitar background, the instrument became a hit with bassists who were looking to expand their sonic palette. Weather Report bassist Alphonso Johnson was among the first to use it, and many came to know the instrument thanks to Tony Levin, who played it with Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, and Liquid Tension Experiment. Levin also formed the band Stick Men with two stick players and one drummer.

Hear the bassist perform on the instrument and talk about its special qualities:

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Emmett Chapman.

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