Early Guitars and Vihuela

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2 Studies by Coste Op38 3&4 - 8-string Guitar

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Comment by Rob MacKillop on February 7, 2013 at 17:28

As someone who recorded Bach on the tenor banjo, I'm in no position to be dogmatic! 

Comment by Scot Tremblay on February 7, 2013 at 17:24

Sometimes it is hard letting go but not so bad if I know they are going to a good home and will be well loved. Then sometimes one forgets all about them. I had a guy come up to me at a trade show to show me this very nice Lacote replica he had. I looked inside the soundhole, there was my label, the woods looked like my usual choices but I really couldn't remember making it...it was quite embarrassing actually.

I've examined that Decachord in the Edinburgh collection plus one other in Europe. Interesting instruments and one of these days I'll make one. The little levers to damp the strings is a well thought out feature which I'd like to explore.

I was only kidding about the correct music on the correct instrument. I'm not a dogmatic fundamentalist concerning guitar/music issues (nor anything else for that matter)...although I've been running into a few lately...interesting folks...sort of.

Comment by Rob MacKillop on February 7, 2013 at 16:32
Ha. Must be hard, letting go of your babies.

We have a Decacorde in the Edinburgh collection, not strung up. I'd love to try one someday. I imagine having the sixth string at G would be very confusing, but I wouldn't say it scares me. One could adapt the standard repertoire, but it also existed at a time when players would improvise and make up their own stuff. And it would be great for voice accompaniment.

As for playing Viennese music on a French instrument, the video here reverses that. How 'purist' can one afford to be? It would be nice to have a guitar for every composer...
Comment by Scot Tremblay on February 7, 2013 at 16:17

I've not had the occassion to build a replica of the Carulli/Lacote Decachord yet but I've thought about it many times, if that counts. For some reason it scares a lot of players...

There are a few different versions of the original Lacote decachord out there but other than the Carulli Method book I'm not aware of any repertoire for the tuning he invisioned. It would certainly work with the the later repertoire of Mertz and friends but then we're playing Viennese repertoire on a French instrument. The Kaisers would be turning over in their graves, not to mention Napolean.

The seven string Lacote is an awesome little instrument and I've built a number of those. Perfect if Coste is your main interest.

I have also built a couple of the Scherzer 10 string harp-guitars after the original which Matanya Ophee owns (looks a lot like the one in the photos you posted earlier this week from the lute and early guitar society meeting). Big instruments and quite imposing when one is first introduced to them.

I have an 11 string version of the same instrument on the go (about 1/2 finished). But it may be a while until it's done as I'm fitting working on it between everything else. Trying to build it for myself but as all luthiers know, that usually doesn't happen. Someone will see it, play it and out the door it goes... 

Comment by Rob MacKillop on February 7, 2013 at 7:19

Nice one, Scot!Ever built a Decacorde?

Comment by Scot Tremblay on February 7, 2013 at 0:09

The very first guitar that I built many years ago...well, not really built, it was an old Matsuoka plywood top thing which, with the help of a luthier friend,  I took the top off replaced it with a nice solid cedar one and made a new neck (8 strings no less). And the very first piece I played on it was the Giuliani Sonata Brillant Op. 15, first movement, Allegro Spirito. There's lots of places in that  Sonata to work in the extra strings but the last two and 3/4 measures of that piece just "rock" if you drop the bass line an octave from the 2nd beat third measure from the end and end the last chord with an added big low C.

Having those low notes for the last 8 or 9 beats of that piece made the whole effort of re-building that guitar worth every single splinter and chisel slice to the finger. It also convinced me that Giuliani played or at least thought as if he were playing, a multi-string guitar. Well, when he wasn't writing in the key of A or E major...so maybe there's only a few pieces where he thought like a harp-guitar player, but still. 

So no matter how many world respected scholors tell me he didn't,  I to this day believe he did and of course I'm right ;)...in my own mind.

So, I agree with Carulli, throw in a low note when you feel like it and throw in a couple when you don't feel like it too...it's good for your soul!

Comment by Jelma van Amersfoort on February 6, 2013 at 23:18

I thought you were using a Scottish term for pop :-)

Comment by Rob MacKillop on February 6, 2013 at 21:32
Oops...lute music!
Comment by Lars Hedelius-Strikkertsen on February 6, 2013 at 21:03

let music ???

Comment by Rob MacKillop on February 6, 2013 at 21:01
No shortage of repertoire, especially when you add in all the standard repertoire, which is still playable on the six strings. Carulli, in his Decacorde tutor, says you can play other repertoire, just throwing in a low note when you feel like it. I plan to do that. And when in a devilish mood, one could even play let music on it ;-)

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