Emmett Chapman

September 28, 1936November 1, 2021
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Celebration the life of Emmett Chapman

Emmett Howard Chapman, age 85, of Woodland Hills, California, died at his home on Monday, November 1, 2021. He was born in Santa Barbara, California on September 28, 1936. 

An innovative jazz guitarist, Emmett discovered the Free Hands two-handed tapping method, a new way to play the guitar, in 1969, and he invented a new instrument to embody that method. Together with his wife Jutta, in 1974 he founded Stick Enterprises, Inc., to make the musical instruments that bear his name, The Chapman Stick, which he ran until his death.

Emmett served in the United States Air Force from 1963 to 1967, rising to the rank of captain.

Emmett is survived by Jutta, his wife of sixty-five years, their two daughters, Grace Chapman McCarty and Diana Chapman Lang, his brother Dan Chapman, and a worldwide community of musicians who play his instrument.

The service will be this Friday, November 12 at 11:00 am. Prior to the service, there will be a memorial slideshow in the chapel from 10:00-11:00 am.

LOCATION   Gates, Kingsley & Gates Praiswater Mortuary 6909 Canoga Avenue Canoga Park, California 91303

You can add your thoughts and photos to the memorial website page.

The chapel service will also be live-streamed on facebook, via this link:

With love, from the Chapman family

Friends that would like to view the family service, may do so Friday November 11th at 10:30pm on Facebook Live.

Please go to Gates, Kingsley & Gates Praiswater Mortuary Facebook at this link


  • Vistation

    Friday, November 12, 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Friday, November 12, 2021

  • Committal Service

    Friday, November 12, 2021


Emmett Chapman

have a memory or condolence to add?

Steven Balogh

November 28, 2021

It's taken me a few weeks to gather my thoughts on Emmett's passing. Since I bought my first Stick, an NS, in 2004, Emmett's creation has taken me on a journey I never expected. I played band instruments as a kid and took up bass guitar at 16. Bought an electric guitar around 2002. But after taking up Stick, I met Steve Osburn and Glenn Poorman, through them I got to meet Emmett in person in Ann Arbor and Interlochen. Saw him again at a bar near the NAMM 2015 show. Stick seminars have lead me to meet an amazing number of local as well as well known professional musicians. I've even reconnected with relatives I have not seen since a child in Australia, back when Konrad and Justin organized a seminar in Melbourne in 2010. Through the Stick via Interlochen/Steve Osburn/Glenn Poorman I also got into acoustic guitar. This lead to more experiences and meeting even more people. Then in 2019 my employer gave me a surprise when they announced our facility was closing and consolidating up north in Traverse City. With Glenn Poorman's help my wife and I found a home a few miles north of Interlochen. Thanks to those Stick seminars I was familiar with this area. I've by some twist of fate reconnected by chance with another musician I met at an Interlochen guitar seminar up here in TC, and play live quite frequently since at open mics. And again, meeting even more musicians up here. I'm thinking if I never took up the Stick, I would still be a bedroom musician recording in DAW with a guitar and a bass. Relocating for work would have been an even more enormous task and I would know very few people up here. None of the above would have ever happened if it wasn't for Emmett. Both my wife and I have a lot to be thankful from him. He will be greatly missed.

Don Schiff

November 24, 2021

With all my love and all that I am I love you and have felt so a part of your family. I am so honored to have been your friend always.

Keith McKeehan

November 22, 2021

Emmett was a unique visionary.
My condolences to Mrs. Chapman, their family and friends, and to Stick players everywhere.
Are there charities to which Emmett wanted us to send donations?


Kenny Green

November 16, 2021

I purchased my first Chapman Stick in 1982 and sold it in 1995. I began playing it again about three years ago. I make my living playing family music and Jewish music and I use my Stick quite often. Of course, everyone wants to learn the name of the instrument that I'm playing. I hope that you'll be as happy as I am to know that hundreds of children ages 3 and up now shout out "CHAPMAN Stick" every time I walk in the room with my instrument.

Jason Brock

November 16, 2021

My deepest condolences to Emmett’s family. I just saw this news today and is affecting me greatly. Emmett has changed my life as well as many others around the world. I have my arm permanently injured in 1999 and could not play bass without pain, that’s when I got my first Chapman Stick! I was able to have music as part of my life again. Emmett took the time to call me up in Canada when he heard I was very sick after my appendix ruptured… it felt like Christmas. I will be writing a song to dedicate to this GREAT man who HAS changed the world. Hard to process this and I know it will happen to everyone and had happened to everyone who has been gifted with Life. Please know there are people all over the world praying and grieving along with you.

Boaz Bar Levy

November 15, 2021

Thanks Emmett for changing the life of so many people worldwide, with the universal language of music.
Condolences 💐 to the Chapman family and stickists all over the world.

Your legacy lives on.

Louis Hesselt van Dinter

November 12, 2021

Emmett, I wish I would have had the opportunity to meet you. Right now I have two Grand Sticks. I also have had five instruments in the past, upgrading each time you advanced the technology of the instrument.

You will be happy to know, because of your instrument I have met an incredible community of Stick players. People that have inspired me, changed my life, become my friends. As I charted the years learning to play the Stick I have become a better musician and a better person.

Emmett, thank you for making my beautiful instruments and may your journey be filled with beautiful music.

My condolences to Yuta and the Chapman family.

Art Valdez

November 12, 2021

My Introduction to the Chapman Stick began in the late 80’s after playing drums in a band with another Stick player . As many do , the band split up and I missed the sound of the Stick and went to see Emmett play at a small venue on Ventura Blvd . After the set , another player was there and asked why I was there , I told him I was interested in the Stick ? And before I could finish my sentence he called to Emmet , “ This guy wants to buy a stick ! “
Emmett came over to the table and we started talking and the next thing I knew I was at the house “just to look” . I was handed a beautiful instrument and shown how to hold it , and I had to tell him “but I’m a drummer “ but after he explained how to make some chord shapes , it felt natural to me . I bought it and began a journey. I’m still on that journey.
Thank you Emmet for opening up a new world for me and the encouragement even when I was dealing with tendinitis.
My deepest sympathies to Yuta and the rest of the family .

Jim Meyer

November 12, 2021

Heartfelt sympathies to the Chapman family on the loss of Emmett. And the same to Stick players around the world who have lost our mentor.

Emmett, meeting you changed the course of my life. Thank you for nudging me to look at things differently, sharing your perspectives on topics from astrology to Somalia, and 20 years of supporting our local Stick events - especially with your entertaining online sessions the past several years.

Your creations are a daily part of my life. Sharing the Stick Night stage with you gave me thrills I’ll cherish forever.

Jim Meyer, Vancouver

Tomas Merlo

November 12, 2021

It was 1995 when I started playing an instrument, I wanted to play guitar but my dad said I should play the bass ‘cause it will be easier to get a job. So they bought me a bass, but weeks later a friend of mine showed me a vhs of a guy playing an instrument that had both instruments in one, that was The Stick and the man who played it was Emmett Chapman playing his tune Parallel Galaxy. That was love at a first side. I remember calling Stick Enterprises to order one, I couldn’t speak a word in English but Yuta and you were so kind and enthusiastic. That instrument gave me a different vision about music, the years I spend studying it without any other references, just the freedom of an empty world yet to be discovered were the happiest years of my life as a student. Thanks for so so much, I’m so happy I discovered you, your music and your invention. Have a safe trip master