StickXBL™ prototypes with BassLab resonant beam
This instrument is currently a prototype. Watch this page for pricing and
date of availability.
I'd like to announce a new Stick model, now in final prototyping
stage and ready to exhibit and play.
Emmett Chapman plays a prototype
I've just assembled and set up the first two prototypes of an
extended 36-inch scale-length Stick with BassLab sub-contracted
through-neck beam construction in Germany. These will be on display
at the Frankfurt Musicmesse world trade show March 5th through the
9th, played live by Greg Howard at the BassLab/Stick Enterprises
booth K08 in hall 4.0.
The booth will accommodate a Mercedes light blue maxi-van, which will
also serve as a large sound room for Greg's scheduled Stick
performances as well as bass guitar demos by BassLab artists and
Reiner Dobbratz, a well known luthier co-exhibiting under his
business name LeFay. Greg will also play and demo the two prototype
Sticks outside the van at lower volumes for visitors to the booth.
Upon setup and first play testing of these two instruments, I
observed some interesting qualities:
The sound is somehow more open and "live", though not by means of
any discernable natural reverb. The hollow shell construction
throughout the length of the neck-beam seems to acoustically
reinforce the mid and low frequencies, and at the high end there is
a gloss and polished resonance that seems to rebound from the hard
lacquer finish, reflecting harmonics back into the sustained strings.
Along with this live sound is a related lively "feel" in tapping the
strings, a bit of a bounce and percussive attack. I had to
double-check myself to make sure this wasn't just a subjective
reaction, perhaps unduly influenced by the unfamiliar sound, the
slick appearance of the metallic finish, and by what I had learned
about hollow structures. Indeed, these characteristics do all seem
to be bound together, including the responsive "feel" when you tap
this instrument. The magic is there!
This through-neck beam is more rigid than any hardwood, laminate or
man-made material I've ever used in construction, yet the fretboard
reacts nicely to tensioning adjustments from The Stick's rear surface
This prototyped model sets up well with lowest string tapping
action and responds to the lightest touch.
BassLab in Kassel, Germany, designs and builds some interesting and
avant guard instruments (see their Website at
including their current line of four bass guitar models and one
guitar model. They also take unusual custom orders. Their main
concern, however, is acoustic science and unique composite materials
that enhance the sound of various stringed instruments, including
violins, some traditional Japanese instruments, and now The Stick.
Both prototypes featuring BassLab|
through-neck beam construction
Heiko Hoepfinger, founder and owner of BassLab, has a diploma in
theoretical physics and since 1993 has applied his knowledge to
improving sound mainly in electric bass guitars. In 1995, he
received a patent in the field of acoustic materials and began
BassLab in 1996. He blends various composites to "tune in" the
desired tonal characteristics of whatever instrument he is working
on. He refers to this well researched process as "monocoque design",
where the outer hull is the sole supporting member.
My first BassLab Stick prototype is lacquered in metallic silver with
blue linear fretboard markers. The second prototype is in metallic
watermelon red with black fretboard markers. A wide variety of
metallic and solid colors will of course be possible when actual
production begins. The five markers are 1/4-inch lines extending all
the way across the fretboard width and abutting against the "leading"
(higher pitched) fret. They are spaced perfect 4ths apart along the
fretboard, starting at the 3rd fret and repeating at 8th, 13th, 18th
and 23rd frets. Octaves along the fretboard are at 1st, 13th and
25th (highest) fret on this extended 36-inch scale instrument.
These prototypes are equipped with our patented
Rails™ fret system,
Flaps™ dual nut system,
and the standard Stick adjustable bridge, belt hook and shoulder strap. The
silver prototype is equipped with an
ACTV-2™ EMG pickup Block®
module and is tuned Baritone Melody/standard bass in heavy gauges for Greg at
the show. The red prototype has the
PASV-4™ Villex pickup Block
module and is tuned "Matched Reciprocal" (my tuning) in medium gauges.
Rear view of a prototype
See what our customers have to say
about the StickXBL™.
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