Early Guitars and Vihuela

A network for historic guitars and vihuelas

I only joined recently as I was looking for more information I found pictured in one of the discussions.


It just occurred to me this is the perfect place to ask questions on some guitar minutia that have been bothering me.


I should explain I am doing research (as one of a small group) on Martin guitars from 1834 to 1867. Hopefully, you don`t mind such modern guitars on your site.


Anway, I have run across a few types of Martin guitars where I can find no information:


1) Amadill guitar (don`t know if this is a person, a type of wood or a type of guitar shape)

2) Fifth guitar

3) Lyra guitar (not sure if Martin didn`t mean lyre guitar)

4) Octav guitar


I also have some questions on the types of wood Martin used on his early guitars but I will start a separate discussion for this.

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Hello Greig, posts about gut strung guitars from before 1850 are welcome.

Can you give us a bit more info on where you heard the term 'Amadill' as related to Martin guitars?

Lyra guitar and lyre guitar are the same thing as far as I know.

I googled this on the “amadill” guitar:


A fifth guitar would most likely be a guitar tuned a fifth up from normal.

Same with an octave guitar.

A bit more context would be helpful to those that would assist.

I’m guessing Greig found these terms in the Martin archives, Yes?
Since I haven’t heard of these terms, I can only state the obvious:
1) Amadill guitar: this is surely reference to the charango made from the body of an Armadillo. Perhaps Amadill is an antiquated way of spelling it, or German?
2) Fifth guitar: Like a tiple? Can’t remember how these were tuned, but Martin made instruments like this. I have one from 1796 by Juan Pages (five double courses).
3) Lyra guitar: Could be a French lyre-guitare, or a similar ‘guitar’ in the form of a Lyra. (Sometimes 7 or 8 courses)
4) Octav guitar: yes small octave guitars, Louis Panormo made them in the 1820s, later called both the bambino and bambina by Madame Pratten in the 1870s and by George Lewis Panormo.
I hope I got one of them right!


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