Emmett Chapman

Chapman Stick creator talks about his invention, working with Ned Steinberger and more

Exclusive video interview with FBPO’s Jon Liebman
December 25, 2017

Emmett Chapman is probably best known for inventing the instrument that bears his name, the Chapman Stick. A jazz musician who originally made a name for himself by using an unusual homemade guitar, he developed the Stick in the early 1970s, building on discoveries he’d made with his two-hand tapping technique of playing the guitar. Looking somewhat like a wide guitar fretboard with 8, 10 or 12 strings, the Chapman Stick is an amplified instrument that’s played by tapping or fretting the strings. The first commercially available Chapman Stick was sold in 1974 and popularized during that decade by Alphonso Johnson and Tony Levin.

Chapman began performing and recording as a professional guitarist in the 1960s, working with

worked with Tim Buckley and Barney Kessel and eventually forming his own band. His debut LP, Parallel Universe, which features him playing the Stick, was released in 1985. A track from the album, Back Yard was featured in the David Lynch-directed film Dune and a modified version of the Chapman Stick also appears in the movie. Chapman founded his company Stick Enterprises in 1974 and has produced and sold thousands of instruments over the course of his career.

FBPO’s Jon Liebman recently caught up with Chapman at his California home for a lively discussion that covered the invention of the Chapman Stick, his transformation into an inventor and entrepreneur, an upcoming project and more.

Watch our interview with Emmett!

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