Ok.... the Chapman Stick
is not exactly a vintage synth but it is a vintage instrument that's
been around since the '70s and so, in our books, it qualifies! Besides,
it's such a great instrument with such a great sound, it's good
to be able offer some samples from it.
The Stick was invented in the late '60s by Emmet Chapman,
a guitarist who developed a unique 'tapping' method of playing guitar
- by 'drumming' on the strings on the neck of the guitar with his
fingertips, he found could play melodies and chords. Furthermore,
both hands could be used simultaneously providing bass and/or chords
and/or melodies. The trick was not to hold and play the guitar horizontally
as normal but vertically - the hands then approach the neck at right
angles giving both sets of fingers full access to the strings.
Chapman developed his own 9-string guitar which, in
turn, evolved into the Chapman Stick we know today.
The Stick is a truly unique and amazing instrument that
can cover both bass and guitar duties. The left half of the instrument
(called 'Bass') has the lower notes and the right half (called 'Melody')
has the higher notes. Unusually, however, the strings don't go from
lowest left to highest right as on a traditional stringed instrument
- instead, the lowest string is right in the middle with the bass
strings going higher in pitch from the middle to the outer left
string. The Melody section also goes from right to left with the
lowest 'melody' string on the far right.
There are 8-, 10- and 12-string versions of the Stick
The Stick appears to use various tunings for the strings
and isn't subject to an absolute tuning reference such as you find
on most other stringed instruments. Some players tune the strings
to fifths, others to fourths - others use a combination of different
intervals for the Bass and Melody sections. Some even use different
'split-points' with different combinations of Bass and Melody strings
(the norm is a 50/50 split of Bass and Melody but this can be changed
according to your requirements).
Each section of the Stick (i.e. Bass and Melody) has
its own independent pickup so each section can have its own amplification
and/or be separately processed through effects.