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About the author:
Jim Reilly is a writer, journalist, musician and teacher currently living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His first Stick, #492 Oak Grand Stick grouped into seven melody and five bass strings arrived on December 17, 1993 at about 11:30 am. (In truth, he was a Stick player long before that, but that's a story for another day.) His first thought as he opened up the white, hardshell flight case and looked down on his new instrument was, "What the hell have I gotten myself into now?" Over the years, he's played oak, ironwood and graphite Sticks. His main instrument now is a prototype model that was made in conjunction with the German company BassLab. The BassLab Sticks never went into full production.

Since 1993, Jim has played Stick across North America, hosted and taught at Stick seminars, demoed instruments at NAMM Shows in Anaheim, California and been featured on CBC Radio One in Canada. His writing has been featured in several music magazines and online. His short novel, The Bass Player, is currently available here: and at He can be found on Facebook (search Jim Reilly Creative) and reached by email at


The Story of Emmett Chapman and the Instrument He Created

Authored by Jim Reilly
Edition: One

Emmett Chapman did more than simply create a new musical instrument (as if that's simple). He discovered, developed and refined a new way for musicians to interact with stringed and fretted musical instruments. Along the way, a community gathered around this new instrument and a rich, new musical vocabulary emerged. This is his story.

The Chapman Stick is a 5 and 1/4 octave, stringed and fretted musical instrument played with a two-handed tapping technique. Both the instrument and the technique were created by American musician and inventor Emmett Chapman.

To date there are thousands of Stick players all around the world creating new, innovative music with The Stick on some of the biggest concert stages, small clubs, coffee houses and even in their parent's basements.

This is the story of the man who created this new musical instrument, his music and the community that has grown around both.


"Creation is a dream or an imagining about something existing that may never exist, but does exist in your mind and in your heart. It comes from your experience and it comes from stretching what you know is possible to include the improbable... In the dream somehow the new way of imagining away from a problem creates the solution that was never there before."
- Emmett's childhood friend Bill Kettman discussing Emmett and The Stick.

"I blended my creation-from-the-heart with the aspirations of other musicians, and almost got drowned out in the process. The rewards for such sacrifice may seem distant and less personal but are immense."
- Emmett

From Chapter 1 - Evolution:

"The room is silent. The audience has remembered that dimmed house lights signal the beginning of a performance. Quickly, burbling conversations dry up. Attention focuses. In the instant between the end of old banter and the potential to begin anew, a rich baritone voice fills the auditorium from unseen loud speakers:

"Would You Welcome Please..." (The voice rises ever so slightly, perhaps this is a question)

"Would you welcome please, Emmett Chapman." The name comes on an exhale, a downbeat. The name is a release. Shoulders drop..." And with that, the story begins...

Publication Date:
0991872916 / 9780991872916
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Biography & Autobiography / Composers & Musicians / General

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