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tom testerman

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Does anyone have a recommendation for a professional quality touchstyle instrument?  I am primarily a trombone player, but used to play the accordion.  My budget is ideally a max of $250.

Thanks in advance.
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megatar

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I think Megatars are pretty cool.
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bergland

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Reply with quote  #3 
Testerman:

Finding a specialized touchstyle/tapping instrument for $250 is difficult. You can try Kevin Siebold at Krappy Guitars who will construct a touchstyle instrument for you for around $600 - $800. That's about as cheap as you are going to get. If you want to try the touchstyle/tapping experience on a budget, the best thing to do would be to reconfigure and set up a regular guitar for tapping. With a few inexpensive modifications to a guitar, you can at least try out the experience and see if it attracts you to go further.

Don

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bergland

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Reply with quote  #4 
Megatar:

Re: "I think Megatars are pretty cool."

I agree with you. I have 3 specialty touchstyle instruments, and the one I use the most is my Megatar Classic, 12-string Max Tapper. I purchased this in 2008 and have gone through various involvements with it over the years.

Shortly after getting my Megatar, I purchased a Chapman Stick. Of course, I put away the Megatar and focused on the new acquisition. But my attraction to the Stick was short-lived. I like a wide fretboard, and the fretboard on the Stick was just too narrow for my style. I like a deep growly and rough blues sound. I was able to attain this with the Megatar Bartolini pickups. I was never able to get the sound I wanted on the Stick, even though I purchased many accessories and devices for it. I didn't like the tone I got from the Stick and I also didn't like the system of straps and belt-hooks that secured it to me. So, I put the Stick away and returned to the Megatar for the next few years.

in 2013, I purchased a Warr guitar (Artist 12-string with MIDI), put away the Megatar, and focused on the new instrument. But again, my attraction for the Warr guitar was short. The sound was very smooth and powerful, but it was a little too unrestrained. I felt I wasn't able to impart as much control over it, especially the bass. I didn't like the method of holding it (The Slider Strap) and ended up putting a MegStrap on the Warr (ultimate heresy). I also didn't like it that there was no division between 6th and 7th strings (treble and bass sets). The Megatar has this space and it is essential for me as I play a lot of low melody lines on string 6.

So, now I spend most of my studio time working out with the Megatar. My other touchstyle instruments sit in the corner, sadly looking out at me. I frequently take out the Warr when I need to focus on getting a particular sound. But aside from that, my studio life is dominated by the power and sonic dynamism of the Megatar.

My next acquisition may be a Stu Box SRB-640, but there are a few difficulties with the body shape that prevent this. Are there any Stu Box SRB-640 players out there that want to provide some commentary on the instrument?  

Don

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TxTouchStylist

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Reply with quote  #5 
My dual MIDI SRB-640 is hands down the best short scale length TouchStyle Guitar ever made.
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Tapladder

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Reply with quote  #6 

>Does anyone have a recommendation for a professional quality touchstyle instrument?  I am primarily a trombone player, but used to play the accordion.  My budget is ideally a max of $250.<

I bought a used 7-string guitar off of eBay for well under $250, set it up for tapping (lowered the action, installed a muting strip under the strings between the nut and first fret) and also installed a lap bar so I could play seated.

It sounds nice, and is fun to play.  You can see pictures here:

http://rjaysplace.com/fargobar/fargobar.html






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bergland

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapladder

Does anyone have a recommendation for a professional quality touchstyle instrument?  My budget is ideally a max of $250.

Tapladder:

Welcome to the forum. It is difficult to get a specialized tapping instrument at the price you are wiliing to pay. There is really only one luthier out there who is making inexpensive touchstyle instruments whose quality is decent. He is Kevin Siebold who runs a company called Krappy Guitars. Don't let the name put you off. Most people say he produces some very good instruments. I've never owned one, so I'm not offering advice based on first-hand experience. You can find his touchstyle guitar offerings at the following address:

http://www.krappyguitars.com/touchstyle.html

I think you send Kevin a design and he custom builds your touchstyle instrument for around $700-800 (something like that). You can read about his pricing here:

http://www.krappyguitars.com/pricing.html

At the present time, Kevin is selling a specialized tapping instrument on eBay. The current bid is $307. You might want to look this over.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/10-str-touchstyle-guitar-w-Chapman-Stick-style-tuning-get-your-tap-on-/161519053056?pt=Guitar&hash=item259b492900

Kevin is also selling a do-it-yourself touchstyle guitar building kit on eBay for $425.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/10-str-touchstyle-guitar-KIT-can-use-Chapman-Stick-style-tuning-/161517691900?pt=Guitar&hash=item259b3463fc

I think you need to be handy with tools and woodworking to put this together.

There is one more low cost touchstyle instrument that has just entered the market. This is the Tenayo Ziggy, made by luthier Siggi Abramzik in Europe. This is a 12-string touchstyle instrument which sells for 900 Euros (I'll let you work that out yourself).

http://www.abramzik.com/factoryZiggy.html

Siggi Abramzik is a very fine luthier and this instrument is receiving a lot of good reviews.

If you are enjoying the touchstyle/tapping exerience, and if you are considering putting out expenses like the ones above, you might just want to make the leap and invest in one of the specialty instruments like Megatar, Warr, or Chapman. Any one of these will certainly enhance your learning experience and make the whole process of touchstyle play more profound.

Let us know what you decide to do.

Don

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- Chapman Stick, Grand, Satine, Classic
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bergland

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gdrakely
My dual MIDI SRB-640 is hands down the best short scale length TouchStyle Guitar ever made.

Glenn:

You've got an SRB-640 also? Amazing! I keep looking at this instrument and wanting to make the purchase. It is exactly the size I want and it generates a sound I find intriguing. The only thing that deters me is that Stu recently raised the price of the SRB over 30%. The other thing that deters me is the shape of the instrument. I like to play with my thumbs running under the neck. I don't think this is possible with the right hand on the SRB because of the protruding horn. Am I right in this assessment?

Don

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- Chapman Stick, Grand, Satine, Classic
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RonBaggerman

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bergland
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapladder

Does anyone have a recommendation for a professional quality touchstyle instrument?  My budget is ideally a max of $250.

Tapladder:

Welcome to the forum. It is difficult to get a specialized tapping instrument at the price you are wiliing to pay. There is really only one luthier out there who is making inexpensive touchstyle instruments whose quality is decent. He is Kevin Siebold who runs a company called Krappy Guitars. Don't let the name put you off. Most people say he produces some very good instruments. I've never owned one, so I'm not offering advice based on first-hand experience. You can find his touchstyle guitar offerings at the following address:

http://www.krappyguitars.com/touchstyle.html

I think you send Kevin a design and he custom builds your touchstyle instrument for around $700-800 (something like that). You can read about his pricing here:

http://www.krappyguitars.com/pricing.html

At the present time, Kevin is selling a specialized tapping instrument on eBay. The current bid is $307. You might want to look this over.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/10-str-touchstyle-guitar-w-Chapman-Stick-style-tuning-get-your-tap-on-/161519053056?pt=Guitar&hash=item259b492900

Kevin is also selling a do-it-yourself touchstyle guitar building kit on eBay for $425.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/10-str-touchstyle-guitar-KIT-can-use-Chapman-Stick-style-tuning-/161517691900?pt=Guitar&hash=item259b3463fc

I think you need to be handy with tools and woodworking to put this together.

There is one more low cost touchstyle instrument that has just entered the market. This is the Tenayo Ziggy, made by luthier Siggi Abramzik in Europe. This is a 12-string touchstyle instrument which sells for 900 Euros (I'll let you work that out yourself).

http://www.abramzik.com/factoryZiggy.html

Siggi Abramzik is a very fine luthier and this instrument is receiving a lot of good reviews.

If you are enjoying the touchstyle/tapping exerience, and if you are considering putting out expenses like the ones above, you might just want to make the leap and invest in one of the specialty instruments like Megatar, Warr, or Chapman. Any one of these will certainly enhance your learning experience and make the whole process of touchstyle play more profound.

Let us know what you decide to do.

Don


About the Ziggy: this is NOT just entered the market, but already has been around for a couple of years. Besides Siggy I also represent this instrument. and have sold quite a few.
Check my Ziggy videos on Youtube. just type "Baggerman Ziggy" in the search window or direct: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=baggerman+Ziggy  http://ronbaggerman.com
Check also my FB tapgyuitarpage: http://www.facebook.com/RonBaggermanMusic

Ron Baggerman
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Per Boysen

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Reply with quote  #10 
I had the pleasure to try out two Ziggy tappers at a music trade show two years ago and like that design a lot. The 30" scale feels nice; i.e. produce a nice tone due to string thickness vs length vs string tension. I'm used to playing Sticks with the 36" and 26,25" scales and it is worth noting that the 30" Ziggy does well at the same tuning as my 36" and I did not find the strings flubby as you might suspect at that shorter length. Also fun IMHO that the Ziggy uses standard size guitar pickups so you can enjoy experimenting and swapping around with different pickups for fun and variation. A nice plank in my opinion. 
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TxTouchStylist

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Reply with quote  #11 
" I like to play with my thumbs running under the neck. I don't think this is possible with the right hand on the SRB because of the protruding horn. Am I right in this assessment?"

Yes Don, valid assessment. You'll reach a point where your hands/fingers need to be totally on top of the neck, "Totally Free Hands" [smile]
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bergland

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TxTouchStylist
...valid assessment. You'll reach a point where your hands/fingers need to be totally on top of the neck, "Totally Free Hands" [smile]


It is this aspect of the SRB-640 which disappoints me. The "valid assessment" of this fingering problem in the instrument was attained with a bit of exploration. I wasn't quite sure if my right hand could fit under the "horn" on the instrument or not.

srb-640.jpg 
Somehow, just looking at the photo of the instrument didn't convince me. So, I got the exact measurements of the instrument (emailed Stu Box), and projected an image of the SRB on a piece of cardboard. I cut it out, and then spent some time playing this piece of cardboard as if I were really holding the SRB.

playing.jpg 

I don't think this cardboard SRB was exact in its accuracy, but it did convince me that I couldn't play the instrument in the manner I wanted.

At the time, I wondered if I could contact Stu Box and have him make a custom SRB for me, removing the projecting horn(s).

custom.jpg 

The one on the left is the original. The two on the right are suggestions for a new SRB-640 which would allow FreePlay.

Don




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- Chapman Stick, Grand, Satine, Classic
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TxTouchStylist

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Reply with quote  #13 
Here's a blast from the past, my other short scale length Tapper, a Box LM...... LM004.JPG
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Jtmart

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Reply with quote  #14 
I've watched several of his videos and he plays it much more like a guitar, reaching over the horn or sometimes even using his right hand to pick. The whole instrument is like a double neck guitar but with the necks actually joining. From what I've seen his method of tapping is very different from a Stcik kind of tapping. All the different adaptations for playing style are interesting.

Glenn, since you own a Stu Box, does the fingerboard have a radius? In the pic it appears to but it may just be the way the light is hitting it.

If it does have a radius is there any advantage/disadvantage for tapping?

Just thinking in terms of design. I'm glad Don is sharing his thoughts as it helps me think through a design process.

The 30" scale that Per Boysen mentions peaks my interest, the Dragonfly instruments that Mark produces are shorter scal and sound great.

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TxTouchStylist

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jtmart
I've watched several of his videos and he plays it much more like a guitar, reaching over the horn or sometimes even using his right hand to pick. The whole instrument is like a double neck guitar but with the necks actually joining. From what I've seen his method of tapping is very different from a Stcik kind of tapping. All the different adaptations for playing style are interesting. Glenn, since you own a Stu Box, does the fingerboard have a radius? In the pic it appears to but it may just be the way the light is hitting it. If it does have a radius is there any advantage/disadvantage for tapping? Just thinking in terms of design. I'm glad Don is sharing his thoughts as it helps me think through a design process. The 30" scale that Per Boysen mentions peaks my interest, the Dragonfly instruments that Mark produces are shorter scal and sound great.


Yes, tapping on the LM or SRB-640 is very different than Free Hands (r), the instruments lend themselves to uncrossed playing. Left hand playing with the thumb residing in the channel on the backside of the neck is "effortless" and should pose no problems to any current guitarist (my instruments are tuned standard guitar on both sides); right hand playing typically requires all digits to be on top of the fretboard and even then circumnavigating the long horn can be a bit tedious, takes a bit of getting used to, after that no problemo !!! I've never considered playing these uncrossed and Free Hands would totally limit the playability of these most excellent instruments !! The LM (not available for quite some time) is best suited for sitdown playing IMO, the SRB not so much as the Steinberger Tuning System creates too much interference in that respect.

Both fingerboards have a radius and string heights off a given fret at any given fret are different, not sure there is any advantage/disadvantage there, they both sound awesome, far more guitar like than the long scale length tappers, and that's better IMO.

As far as Don's designs go, I'm not sure i'd want a hornless-bodied Box in short scale 5th's/4th's tuning ala Stick(r), might consider alternative dual melody tunings tho........


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