Extended Range Classical Guitars

Discussion in 'Jazz, Acoustic, Classical & Fingerstyle' started by 6or7mattersnot, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I'd actually love to hear that.
     
  2. Stan P

    Stan P SS.org Regular

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    I love the sound of drop D on classical! It really changes the tone of the instrument to my ears. Love this thread!
     
  3. vansinn

    vansinn ShredNeck into Beck

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    At some point I'll record some Southern Comfort like stuff, complete with simulated slide over four strings in drop-D on a classic wearing nylons.

    (can't record acoustics ATM; rec rig dismembered, bridge cracked off my classic while vacuum cleaning. Yes, sounds unrelated, and did give me a big shock :eek: Guitar now needs to sniff glue, and life is weird at times..)
     
  4. Stan P

    Stan P SS.org Regular

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    Slide on a classical? Sounds very interesting!
     
  5. Dayn

    Dayn silly person

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    In my own experience, I haven't found it any different to electric, besides slightly wider string spacing.

    I mainly play an 8-string electric. I also have an 8-string classical. When I went from 6-string to 8-string electric, I had a good few months of adjusting to it. Now I can play any-stringed instruments, and the classical is no exception.

    However I went into classical without having initially learned on a 6-string: my 8 is the only classical I've had. My skills simply transferred from my electric.

    That does depend on what you want to play and what tuning you want to use though. My classical came with a low D and low B string as the 7th and 8th. I instead tuned them to a low B and low E (bass E) to match my electric. It works with the music I want to play, and I view all 8 strings as a 'whole'. Whereas when I had the low D and B, they were mostly used as open notes; I viewed it more as a 6-string, with two lower open notes to play when needed.

    But that wasn't for me, it doesn't really match my playing. But it does have a purpose, and I found that it changed how I approached the instrument from a musical standpoint.

    But approaching it from a physical playing standpoint? No difference for me. Having already adjusted to 8-strings, it doesn't matter to me how many strings an instrument has: I treat each string individually. A ukelele is a bass is a guitar. My technique has never changed. (It may help that I've always used a classical grip.)

    There are only two things I'd be concerned for you about: being able to apply the extra strings in your studies, and what others think. The first is easy enough, but there are truly some purist dingbats out there who can't fathom the possibility of another string. I avoid them, but you may not be able to if one of them turns out to be a fellow student or, god forbid, a teacher.
     
  6. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    Just to be a smart @ss, what about these: :fawk: :cool:

    Piano:


    [​IMG]


    Oud:

    [​IMG]


    Hammered Dulcimer:

    [​IMG]


    Tar:

    [​IMG]


    Harp:

    [​IMG]


    Contrabass:

    [​IMG]


    Koto:

    [​IMG]


    Kora:

    [​IMG]

    Arched Harp:

    [​IMG]


    Sitar:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Dayn

    Dayn silly person

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    To be an equal smartarse, yep. I'd need time to adjust, but can easily figure out how to make music on them. Strings are easy.

    Don't ask me about wind instruments though. I'm sure that's just witchcraft.
     
  8. LordIronSpatula

    LordIronSpatula Indeed.

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    Hey all! I'm a bit late to the party, but since I've got a fair amount of experience in this arena I figured I'd weigh in too.

    I've been studying classical guitar at CSUS School of Music for almost two years now. I came in as a transfer student after completing an AA in guitar at community college. Back then I played six string, but I switched to seven between schools.

    When I made the switch I was in the process of memorizing prepared repertoire for my audition and I didn't have much trouble adjusting to the extra string at that point. I actually learned the prelude from one of the lute suites (BWV 998) with a low A just like Given To Fly was talking about. The audition went well and professor Savino enjoyed the low notes.

    It wasn't until I started my studies in the program that I had any difficulty with the seventh string. I had always done very well playing from memory in the past, but became to busy to memorize my repertoire thoroughly anymore. I found that I had been using my eyes as a crutch and that the seventh string did indeed cause me to stumble while reading, mainly my right thumb like Given to Fly mentioned. It took me close to a year to iron that out...

    I haven't faced too much snobbery about my seven-string. There is actually a surprising number of seven-string guitarists in Northern California. One of our community college guitar teachers uses one, and so does one of the grad students here. Our professor is actually having one made, but he prefers to tune the low string to D. I've been working on the first cello suite with him in that tuning, actually. I tried to arrange it for low A originally but he felt the D was more idiomatic.
     
  9. Given To Fly

    Given To Fly Contributor

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    Thank you for sharing! Honestly, I have not faced snobbery but I certainly did not ask for anyones advice about whether or not buying a 7 string concert classical guitar was a good idea. I already knew everybody would say No. That was a wise decision on my part. Ironically, everyone enjoys the low notes but very few people will buy instruments that actually have them. :scratch:

    Thank you for mentioning your "right hand thumb." I really think that is where people will struggle the most when making the switch. Maybe I should move to Northern California if that is where the 7 string classical guitarists are congregating. :coffee:
     
  10. InfinityCollision

    InfinityCollision SS.org Regular

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    I'll echo the above sentiments of needing a brief adjustment period before I was back to performance level. The human brain is very good at building up little tricks, cheats, and references to simplify complicated tasks, but sometimes those hacks get in the way of adaptation. Every so often I'd find myself playing one string off, particularly in more intricate arrangements. As with the above posts, my struggles were primarily in the right hand. I had to "relearn" that space and adjust my subconscious references to the extra strings, as it were.
     
  11. cesar

    cesar SS.org Regular

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    My friend ,seems like you are the one who can help me.

    I have a 7 string nylon guitar and i never found a really good book to learn classical music on it.Since i am brazillian , most of the material i can find is abour Samba, which don't get my attention.

    You have any material you can recommend ?

    I would classify my playing level as intermediate /advanced, as i play guitar and cello, i can read with ease sheets and have familiarity with the fretboard
     
  12. Given To Fly

    Given To Fly Contributor

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    There is no "7 string classical guitar book" that I am aware of. I gradually incorporated the 7th string into the music I was learning where ever it was useful. In your case, you might want to look at Bach's Cello Suite's. You can play them on a 7 string guitar straight from the cello score. There is also quite a bit of lute repertoire that can be played on a 7 string guitar which eliminates the need to transpose the bass notes up an octave. I have a great version of The Frog Galliard by John Dowland (1563 - 1626) which uses the open B string for the low B bass note.

    Also, even if Samba music does not catch your attention, it is a written source of information concerning the 7 string guitar and could be useful at some point.
     
  13. LordIronSpatula

    LordIronSpatula Indeed.

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    Hey! Late to the party as always, but hopefully you'll come back.

    I actually have the Frank Koonce edition of the complete Bach lute works. In his scores, he indicates where he's transposed bass notes up an octave to fit in the guitar range. If you have a seven string with a low A, you can put most of them back in the lute range. Generally, you can keep the rest of Koonce's fingerings intact, just moving a note over from the regular A to the low A here and there. There are also images of the Bach autographs in the back of the book if you want to read from them, but some are in flats... :ugh:

    Other than that, I have mostly done what our resident expert Given to Fly has, just moving things down an octave when it makes for a good effect or enhances the integrity of a line.

    There is actually some 19th century 7-string repertoire out there, though I'm not super familiar with it. Some works by Napoleon Coste (a 7-string player) include optional bass notes below the range of normal guitar. I've also heard rumblings of discoveries of manuscripts of 7-string guitar music in Mexico and Russia - I believe in both cases it's associated with the travels of European composers, not traditional music from those countries. I don't think any of it has been compiled or published yet, but keep your eyes open.
     
  14. Given To Fly

    Given To Fly Contributor

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    I have Frank Koonce's book as well but I felt recommending the Complete Bach Lute Works might be overwhelming to start with. You are right though, tuning the 7th string down to an A eliminates most, if not all, transpositions of the bass.

    You are also right about 19th century guitar music. The 7th string was usually tuned to D and the 8th string would have been a G but the tuning changed depending on the key of the piece. Hungarian Fantasy by J.K Mertz has a low A indicated with an 8va symbol but it only appears once (perhaps twice). The music translates to the 6 string guitar so well that the lower bass notes are not really missed by the listener, especially if they never knew they were there to begin with.

    The Russian 7 string guitar is its own thing. The guitar is designed different, tuned different, and it has its own specific repertoire. The only music that is played on the Russian 7 string guitar is Russian 7 string guitar music and I think the Russians want to keep it that way. This is not a bad thing either. I would compare it to something like American bluegrass. At no point is anyone going to tell the banjo player, "You know, you don't always have to play 16th notes for the entire song. Why not try playing something different?" :guns::frantic:
     
  15. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Yeah, I have played quite a few of those myself, and do still play piano and sitar.

    It's a different mindset between playing these instruments and brass instruments and woodwinds. In fact, a marimba, vibes, glass armonica, etc., it's all more or less the same basic idea of notes laid out in a matrix from which you can choose.

    On a woodwind, the notes are not set up in a linear fashion, and the shape of your mouth and your breath control mean everything. I'd throw sax into that set, too. Sax, flute, clarinet, oboe, english horn, you get the idea.

    On brass, the technique is even more about mouth and breath control, and very little is laid out for fingers. I'm talking trumpet, trombone, french horn, etc.

    That's why you often see guys play bass and piano, or guitar and piano, or clarinet and sax, or trumpet and trombone. You rarely see guys fully master instruments from different groups, but it happens sometimes. I've tried to learn saxophone, and nothing I knew about guitar, bass, piano, drums, or trombone helped me at all. I used to play flute pretty well, but I got away from it for a few years and coming back was near impossible.
     
  16. LordIronSpatula

    LordIronSpatula Indeed.

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    Right, I'm aware that the Russian seven-string is a different animal. The repertoire I'm talking about was actually written for classical seven-string with a low B. I was discussing seven string rep with an instructor over beers when he brought up this stuff from Russia. I also assumed it was folk/open tuned stuff but he assured me it was not - in fact I believe he said it was somehow influenced by Sor's time in Moscow. I've been meaning to follow up with him about that conversation because I'm a little hazy on the details... :cheers:

    In other news, I recently got a Milagro MRC-7. I know guys on this board have had some varied experiences with the Bartolex company, but my particular instrument is outstanding. Aside from the shiny lacquer finish, it could pass for something a few times as expensive as what I paid for it used. The woods and workmanship are quite nice, and it has a powerful, colorful sound. The string spacing is a bit narrower than normal, but I adjusted quickly and it hasn't been a problem.
     
  17. Given To Fly

    Given To Fly Contributor

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    Shows you what I know. It will be interesting to see what comes of it. Congrats on the guitar by the way! :yesway:
     
  18. LordIronSpatula

    LordIronSpatula Indeed.

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    Quite a bit, apparently. :yesway:
     
  19. ramses

    ramses Guitar/pizza regular

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    Where do you guys get your 7th string?
     
  20. LordIronSpatula

    LordIronSpatula Indeed.

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    I get single D'addarios from juststrings.com. I use .052 for low D and .060 for low A to get comparable tone and feel to the EJ46 high tension sets I usually get locally. Due to the fact that they're a little tougher and don't get quite as much use, the bigger strings usually outlast the rest of the set. I only need to change them every other time or so unless I have an important performance, but YMMV.

    http://www.juststrings.com/dad-nyl052w.html

    http://www.juststrings.com/dad-nyl060w.html
     

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