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 Any piano players have any advice for the Stick? 
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Post Re: Any piano players have any advice for the Stick?
The Railboard has a shorter scale (34") so that plus tuning up the bass strings a whole step allows you to use a little lighter gauge strings than a 36" scale and that probably makes the bass side a little snappier and nimble to get around on. But what's more important to me is the extra position created when you open up the space between the hands. I don't care if you raise the bass side or lower the melody side like I do, the advantage is the same. The only mental difference is how you reference key centers in respect to the 4 quadrant markers.

Also since you're working with a 2 octave fretboard and moving things up or down, something's gotta give, so with RMR you give up 2 semi-tones of penetration into the bass register (your lowest bass note will be D instead of C) whereas in my tuning - standard Matched Reciprocal, I give up 2 semi-tones on the high end of the melody side (my highest note is C instead of D). I triangulate a lot about where I am from left hand positions. That's my GPS so to speak. So I prefer to keep my low C intact and keep the bass side common keys on the markers and have now internalized the right hand offset. That happened pretty fast after I switched from Classic. Maybe 2 weeks.

I considered having Emmett put 2 extra frets on the high end of my bamboo Grand like Andre Pelat has and get those 2 notes back - but Emmett explained that it affects how low the action can go in the high strings without hitting the pickup and this instrument is all about low action. So I decided I had plenty of real estate as things were to play whatever I was ever going to play. You can go round and round about all this but sooner or later you have to look into it, make a choice and get on with it. You can always tweak it later quite easily.


Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:25 pm
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Post Re: Any piano players have any advice for the Stick?
Thanks so much for the detailed reply. That makes a lot of sense.

The space between my hands was what drew me to the matched reciprocal style tunings. The exact version was up for debate though. I don't really opt for bass notes below E or at most a D on a bass anyway, so I figured raised matched reciprocal wasn't a huge loss in the bass side.

Having a higher melody side seemed divergent to what I prefer tonally (darker fuller timbres) but the standard matched and baritone options seemed to overlap too much in the lower register for the more accompaniment-based approach I'll be shooting for. However hearing the tone shaping options on the R Block, I'm not worried about getting a warmer thicker piano timbre out of the higher pitched raised melody side - looks pretty easy!

All this is speculation for the time-being, but though I'd share my logic in the event you or anyone else has any insight.


Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:48 am
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Post Re: Any piano players have any advice for the Stick?
I'm not a professionnal piano player even though I always had a piano or a keyboard in my home recording studio. I was using it to check some voicing mainly. But since a couple of years I started to practice more and I noticed something special. More I play my piano, more I improve on the stick...and...more I play my stick, more I improve on my piano. There is a close relation with these 2 instruments...for me at least.

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Last edited by Alain on Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:10 am
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Post Re: Any piano players have any advice for the Stick?
Alain wrote:
I'm not a professionnal piano player even thought I always had a piano or a keyboard in my home recording studio. I was using it to check some voicing mainly. But since a couple of years I started to practice more and I noticed something special. More I play my piano, more I improve on the stick...and...more I play my stick, more I improve on my piano. There is a close relation with these 2 instruments...for me at least.


I am primarily a guitarist/bassist with a lot of "fun time" as a drummer, and man can I ever attest to Alain's statement here. If I could go back in time, I would really, really develop better keyboard skills (especially in regards to improvising separate ideas simultaneously with both hands, and motif development) haha I was a horrible keyboardist with no intentions of ever getting any better at it; I use keys as a means to input midi. And now, thanks to a lot of hard work on the Stick, I can actually play keys passably kind of, umm "songwriter-ish" style I suppose. A weird side effect, but a welcome one.

Good luck, man!

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Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:40 am
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Post Re: Any piano players have any advice for the Stick?
Honestly I'm not sure tunings make a huge difference (not counting bass oriented tunings of course). I play 12-string Classic. I briefly toyed with Matched Reciprocal quite a while back but just never warmed up to it. I think it's all what you're used to though so if you're just starting out, the relationship between the two sides is probably a little easier to grasp with the Matched Reciprocal tunings. Whether you go Matched Reciprocal or Raised Matched Reciprocal is likely neither here nor there. We're only talking about a whole step.

Honestly, for playing music that's more pianistic in nature, I think number of strings plays a bigger role and I think you'll probably find yourself wanting 12-strings somewhere along the way. Of course the 10-string is a great instrument and I know several 10-string players doing much more than I can on a 12. But what I love about 12-strings is more overlap between the two sides. If I'm not mistaken, it was that overlap and Bob's desire to play fingerstyle guitar kinds of tunes that led to the 12-string Sticks in the first place.

Aside from all that though, as a piano player you should take to the Stick easier than a guitarist or bassist simply because you're already used to playing with two hands. I still find playing Stick to have more in common with keyboard instruments than anything else. It's just that now you get to bend, vibrato, slide, and process on top of everything else.

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Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:41 am
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Post Re: Any piano players have any advice for the Stick?
Hi, Mark! I'm a piano-player-turned-Stickist as well. I agree a whole bunch with a lot of what Glenn said here:
gpoorman wrote:
Honestly I'm not sure tunings make a huge difference (not counting bass oriented tunings of course). [...] Whether you go Matched Reciprocal or Raised Matched Reciprocal is likely neither here nor there. We're only talking about a whole step.

Aside from all that though, as a piano player you should take to the Stick easier than a guitarist or bassist simply because you're already used to playing with two hands. I still find playing Stick to have more in common with keyboard instruments than anything else. It's just that now you get to bend, vibrato, slide, and process on top of everything else.


Your tunings don't matter that much, unless you start playing with mirrored 4ths and the like. I started on Matched Reciprocal and it's my favorite and most logical tuning for melody side tuned in 5ths. But like Glenn and others said, it's just a whole step difference here and there. No open strings and no irregular tunings, unlike a "standard" 6-string guitar, which means the chord shapes are the same for any chords--you might just have to slide it up or down a couple of frets.

Us 2-handed pianer players do have an advantage at getting both hands to work, and the guitarists have that string technique (sliding and bending and vibrato and all that). But the 2-handed thing seems to be the most difficult, so ultimate advantage is us keysboarders.

Welcome and rock it out! Can't wait to see what you do with it. Please feel free to ask questions when you have them.

--Stephen Sink

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Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:20 am
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Post Re: Any piano players have any advice for the Stick?
Thanks guys. The tuning probably doesn't matter, just the timbre associated with different gauge string and tuning setups is the main thing I was curious about.

REALLY can't wait for this to arrive, sadly there's R Block delays, so uncertain when it will be ready.


Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:50 am
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Post Re: Any piano players have any advice for the Stick?
Alain wrote:
...More I play my piano, more I improve on the stick...and...more I play my stick….


….just exactly what I'm noticed for myself…
…maybe it's because the hands are used in a symmetric way, on both
instruments….


Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:16 pm
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Post Re: Any piano players have any advice for the Stick?
Balt-A-Sar wrote:
Alain wrote:
...More I play my piano, more I improve on the stick...and...more I play my stick….


….just exactly what I'm noticed for myself…
…maybe it's because the hands are used in a symmetric way, on both
instruments….



I'm thinking it's because of the act of doing "separate" things simultaneously with both hands.
Rhythmically different, different fingerings, etc - the act of doing/practicing that opens new pathways.

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Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:10 pm
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Post Re: Any piano players have any advice for the Stick?
I'd agree about the neural pathways re: motor movements etc. Though I definitely built my piano playing off my preferred voicings and arrangements I'd developed on bass and guitar separately - you can't play both on piano as it's a different instrument, BUT you can create the same/similar orchestration and feel through the piano.

I also find that my musical ear expands the more time I spent on piano. I think it's the capacity of the piano to fill THAT much sound gives you so much more responsibility for what you create.

Your awareness and capacity for perceiving and generating a full orchestration is heightened over JUST bass or JUST guitar etc. Through experimentation you can hear how (say) single bass notes vs octaves in the left hand vs root/fifth/octave voicings in the left hand changes the entire feel of the piece even when the right hand remains the same. And vice versa. Octave placement of your hands plays into it too, dynamic range of how much sonic space you take up at any given moment becomes an important concept (esp with lower register tones that take up more sonic space), which becomes even more important when you've got other people/singers/musicians you're working with.

So in that regard I'd also agree the Stick with a clearly defined bass/melody separation has a LOT in common with piano... says the man who hasn't YET got his Stick, so take it with a pinch of speculative salt!


Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:12 am
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