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 SB8 or NS Stick for one-handed bass playing - advice? 
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Joined: Tue May 30, 2017 7:29 am
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Post SB8 or NS Stick for one-handed bass playing - advice?
SB8 or NS Stick for one-handed bass playing - advice?
Need some advice. Looking for either a Chapman SB8 or NS Stick for an accomplished professional bass player (gigged extensively for many years on both upright and electric) that lost use of his right hand 2 years ago due to a stroke. Assuming bass tuning in 4ths for either option, I need advice as to how they compare in terms of feel in your hand, sound, playability etc. assuming no right hand. I know that the NS Stick enables plucking (which he can't do) but was told that the necks feel totally different - flat for SB8 and curved for NS Stick, so that a bass player might prefer the feel of the NS Stick? Also that the NS Stick neck is not as wide at the nut - wonder how the difference in string spacing affects the feel. Need advice and the pros/cons of each for one-handed playing. Also if anyone knows of either instrument in the Boston area that he could see and put his hands on that would be helpful. Hard to know which would work better for him without being able to try them. Already purchased an inexpensive 5-string touch style bass for him to see could still play and he can! It has a block in the back with a screw thread that we attach to a sturdy cymbal stand so the bass can be positioned in front of him while he is sitting and can be angled in any way he wants. Would need to do something similar for an SB8 or NS Stick. Advice?


Tue May 30, 2017 10:07 am
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Post Re: SB8 or NS Stick for one-handed bass playing - advice?
I don't have any experience with the SB8 but from conversations I think there are two major differences. String spacing/alignment and tone.

The SB8 has parallel strings while the NS/Stick has string spacing like a bass guitar where it's wider at the bridge end. Russell Keating likes parallel Strings of a Stick over the traditional spacing style of the NS/Stick.

The tone of the SB8 is more like the "stick" sound. Where the NS/Stick is more like the traditional bass guitar sound. For me the "stick" sound is pokes out and has it's own growl where the traditional bass sound is rounder and bottom heavy. But that can be in the way you set up your gear too...

Here are videos of Don Schiff playing each instrument. I believe he is playing straight through an amp without any pedals... but I wasn't there... I know Don does use some pedals but even when he does it's a very clean sound so I'm sure these videos represent the sound of the instrument itself.




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Tue May 30, 2017 11:00 am
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Post Re: SB8 or NS Stick for one-handed bass playing - advice?
Unfortunately, there is a whole lot of lack of love for the 8 string stick, it seems.
IMO/ IME...

NS pro..
I love the NS headless design. headless just makes a ton of sense.

the neck of the NS is really nice.
Movable damper is nice, if you might use it as a standard bass/ guitar.


Pro Stick.
But.. I think that the sticks sound better ( i have a RB and a 10 w/ Villex) I think both of those just sound "more stick like" and better.


Could go either way
Visually, I like the stick aesthetic better. The NS is just kind of an odd duck. You'll either like or hate the look.


Something to consider:
IF you get an SB8 and don't like it. It will probably be quite a bit harder to sell trade than the NS would be.


Tue May 30, 2017 1:02 pm
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Joined: Tue May 30, 2017 7:29 am
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Post Re: SB8 or NS Stick for one-handed bass playing - advice?
Skydiver - Thanks for the info - listened to both videos - they do sound different but it's seems hard to tell if its the way they are recorded or the actual instruments. Also wonder if the feel of the NS/Stick might be easier for him since it may feel more familiar.


Tue May 30, 2017 7:53 pm
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Post Re: SB8 or NS Stick for one-handed bass playing - advice?
Seancasler - Interesting point about resale. I have noticed that there seem to be alot more used NS/Sticks that have been sold in the last year or so than SB8s. The SB8s seem hard to come by. I had just assumed that there were simply less of them, but maybe that's because they don't get much love as you said...


Tue May 30, 2017 7:57 pm
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Post Re: SB8 or NS Stick for one-handed bass playing - advice?
Okay so your friend is a musician who played upright and electric bass, a few questions.

1 What styles? Jazz and classical/pit band? Or mainly one? If so which?

2 one handed tapping is very different than using 2 hands on the bass. One hand has to both play pitch and rhythm, so does he want to just make music as best he can? Or relearn whole new techniques for things like repeated notes? It's not that hard just some new learning.

3 was he more comfortable on upright or electric bass?

I'll do some thinking on this

Brett


Wed May 31, 2017 4:04 am
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Post Re: SB8 or NS Stick for one-handed bass playing - advice?
He played mostly jazz on upright and some R&B on electric. At this point he just needs a nice instrument to be able to play again - i would think he will likely play just jazz bass to start.


Wed May 31, 2017 5:04 am
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Post Re: SB8 or NS Stick for one-handed bass playing - advice?
He was very comfortable on both upright and electric. He made his living as a professional musician and gigged all the time. A beautiful and skilled player with great time. He can't play his uprights at all, so needs a new focus. We may try to modify his electric, but would love to get him a really nice instrument that is made for tapping and will sound great.


Wed May 31, 2017 5:08 am
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Post Re: SB8 or NS Stick for one-handed bass playing - advice?
Moose..

Now that I reread your post.. I have a couple of ideas..

1 I assume that your friend already has basses. Why not just set one up for tapping? This should be fairly easy and a low cost solution. If this works then that may be the best solution, he is still playing a bass.. his bass. Just have the nut bridge and pickups adjusted and see what happens. Nothing that can't be fairly easily and cheaply undone.

2 I am south of worcester. Depending on where you are we might be able to schedule something. I have a 10 string stick, railboard, ns stick and an 8 string warr.

3 as an add on to 1. You might just take your friend and his bass to a trusted luthier and get their input. I have used Noll guitars in providence for years and they are great. Or I would also highly recommend Jim mouradian, I think he is in Cambridge or Somerville now.

4 as a frame of reference you might have him look at don schiff's video of him playing the half fretless ns. I think that might give some ideas and insights.

Feel free to ping me at Sean.casler@gmail.com


Wed May 31, 2017 5:28 am
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Post Re: SB8 or NS Stick for one-handed bass playing - advice?
The NS will feel more like a bass than an SB8 for the following reasons
-string spacing is closer at the nut and further apart at the bridge (as on a Fender bass)
-the NS has a body and strap and that makes it hang and feel more like a bass.

If you don't have any use of your right hand, tuning the NS will be extremely difficult as you would have to reach all the way over to the tuners with your left hand.

Both necks are flat (they have no curve or radius) so that isn't an issue when comparing the NS to the SB8.

If you don't have any use of your right arm, the SB8 may be better as it will be lighter and stay in a fixed position as you wear it.

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Wed May 31, 2017 5:54 am
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