Video: Tony Levin on the Chapman Stick and Buying His First Electric Bass

Tony Levin is a bass player's bass player. When he came by our NAMM booth this past January, Bryan Beller and Mike Keneally — two highly respected voices in the prog and metal community — were beyond geeked to talk to him.

It's not hard to understand why. As the bass and Chapman Stick player for King Crimson since 1981, Tony has brought a standout sonic voice to a band that's always chock full of them. When not touring in the court of Mr. Fripp, Levin has notably played with Peter Gabriel for several decades on top of a massive list of session contributions that includes everyone from Paul Simon to Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson and John Lennon.

When Tony recently came by our studio, he gave us an overview of the Chapman Stick and how he uses it with King Crimson and his own outfit, the Stick Men. As you can see in the video above, Levin sees the Stick as a truly versatile instrument that's capable of covering all sorts of musical ground. He also reminisced about meeting Peter Gabriel and Robert Fripp at the same session, two players he's still working with today.

Mr. Levin also spent some time telling us how he came to buy his first electric bass — a used Fender Precision. Later, he made the switch to Music Man (which he's played ever since), and in this video, you can hear his explanation of how he utilizes this instrument in different live and studio situations.


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