XStick(TM) - Virtual Chapman Stick(R)
XStick(TM) is a tool for viewing scales, notes, and chords on the
Chapman Stick(R) under unix, MSWindows and the MacIntosh. It requires
the Tcl/Tk scripting language for the users platform, available from
ftp.smli.com. I was inspired by a unix program called xfretboard,
which was written for guitar, and initially just modified it for a ten
string Stick. I then rewrote it specifically for the Stick(R) in
Tcl/Tk to make it portable to various platforms.
1997 Stew Benedict email@example.com
"Stick" as used in "XStick" is a federally registered trademark
of Stick Enterprises and is used with permission.
The Stick(R) is a 10 or 12 string tapping fretboard instrument
invented by Emmett Chapman. It can be setup in a variety on tunings,
the most common being similar to a five string bass, 5 string guitar
combination. The guitar in 4ths, the bass in 5ths. The common tunings
are built into the program, setting it up for either a 10 string
standard model or the 12 string Grand. Custom tunings can also be
added by editing the xstickrc file. It's an incredible instrument. To
find out more follow this link: StickWire - The Authorized Chapman Stick(R) Web Page
Regardless of platform, you'll need Tcl/Tk8.x, which can
be obtained from www.tcl.tk.
Detailed installation instructions for each platform can be found there.
New: Cross-platform sound support with Snack. I've added in support
for the Snack sound extension to enable tapped sounds to play on all
platforms. Support is minimal at the moment, but in my initial testing, I
am able to hear sounds on Linux, WinXP, MacOS.
Unfortunately, due to a family medical crisis, I had to sell my Stick(R),
but I do have a little free time lately to resurrect activity on this project.
If anyone notes any issues with my representation of the Stick(R) fretboard,
please let me know.
I'd suggest making a directory under your home directory called
xstick, and placing everything there. You'll want to put .xstickrc in
your home directory.
I use Mandriva Linux, and Tcl/Tk is installed via urpmi. You'll want
to install tcl-snack also. I hope to package XStick(TM) as an rpm for
On my WinXP system, Tcl/Tk is installed in C:\Tcl, and
I put the XStick files in C:\xstick, although I
believe you can put them anywhere you'd like, as long as they are
Lastest Tcl/Tk for Windows: ActiveState
As of this writing it is: ActiveTcl188.8.131.52.226725-win32-ix86-threaded.exe. Snack is included in the package.
Win9X: I was unable to install the above package on my Win98 install. Apparently it is a known issue in Win9X systems and will be corrected with the next ActiveState release. In the meantime, ActiveTcl184.108.40.206.201775-win32-ix86-threaded.exe worked for me, and includes Snack.
MacOs9 and less:
Once you install Tcl/Tk, drop the xstick.tcl file onto the Drag & Drop
Tclet icon, you will be prompted for a name and location for your app. I
use XStick and put it in the folder with the rest of the XStick(TM)
MacOS9 support has been dropped in Tcl/Tk. The last link I find is
As of this writing it is: MacTclTk_8.4.2_RuntimeInstl.bin, but for the new sound
support with Snack, you'll want MacTclTk_8.3.3_RuntimeInstl.bin (I tested the
compiled snack-2.2.2 with 8.4.2, it didn't work). A binary for Snack-2.2.2 can be downloaded
I did have to increase the memory allocation of the XStick app to 8192M.
Lastest Tcl/Tk for OS/X: ActiveState
As of this writing it is: ActiveTcl220.127.116.11.227020-macosx-powerpc-threaded.dmg. Snack is
included in the package. Although I have OS/X installed, wish crashes. I suspect it's because I have
10.2.x and a lowly G3 (ActiveTcl says the requirements are 10.3 or 10.4 and a G4 or G5).
That's about it! There's more detail in the on-line help.
Thanks to Emmett Chapman for creating the Stick(R).
Also thanks to Vance Gloster, moderator
of the Stickwire mail-list and web page.
Also thanks to the rest of the Stick(R) community
for the helpful hints and inspiration.
Also thanks to Mark R. Rubin for the program xfretboard,
which I modelled this after.
Thanks also to John Ousterhout, the author
of Tcl/Tk and Linus Torvalds and the whole
Linux community for a GREAT operating system!
Last but not least, thanks to my wife
DiAnne and my daughter Emma, for putting up
with my compulsive hacking/tinkering.