converting a classical guitar into a 13-string

Discussion of all aspects of multi-string guitars, namely those with 7 or more strings.
havoc

converting a classical guitar into a 13-string

Post by havoc » Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:34 pm

13-string guitars (for Weiss and Bach music ) are rather expensive, like 8000 dollars, but great.
So, to get one cheaper, would it be possible to convert, say a cheap (but good) classical guitar into one ?
Or, if that is not possible, add 5 or 6 (non frettable) bass strings ?

Catire
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Re: converting a classical guitar into a 13-string

Post by Catire » Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:40 pm

I have a rather nice romantic guitar that had 3 strings added. This was done by enlarging the bridge towards the bass side, and gluing an extra head for the additional strings onto the head. It was well done. Unfortunately it resulted in a spectacularly mediocre guitar.
I removed the bridge, a massive one, replaced it with a smaller, much lighter one, removed the extra string box, with very happy results.
I'm afraid that if you do this conversion to your guitar, you will get the same results.

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"The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible." - Oscar Wilde

havoc

Re: converting a classical guitar into a 13-string

Post by havoc » Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:03 pm

Thanks. Then I guess I should use a loud (big?) new guitar to begin with.
Was your guitar top heavy with the extra string box?
Maybe an experienced lutier could advise me what guitar I should use for this experiment.

Catire
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Re: converting a classical guitar into a 13-string

Post by Catire » Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:12 pm

No, the headstock was not too heavy, the bridge was.
I'm afraid that you missed the point on my advice. The guitar sounded dull, lifeless. The massive bridge killed the sound.
Guitar tops are sensitive, that way. Plus the extra tension of the added string will have an effect, too.
"The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible." - Oscar Wilde

Nick Payne
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Re: converting a classical guitar into a 13-string

Post by Nick Payne » Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:27 pm

Unless the guitar was way overbuilt to begin with, more than doubling the number of strings would probably cause it to fail. You're more than doubling the total amount of string tension - about the same effect on the guitar as if you tried to string it with steel strings.

havoc

Re: converting a classical guitar into a 13-string

Post by havoc » Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:29 pm

So what would be the way to do it?

havoc

Re: converting a classical guitar into a 13-string

Post by havoc » Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:02 pm

What are the differences between a 6 string and a 13 string (apart from the 7 strings)?
More bracing; thicker top, larger body?
Maybe a steelstring would be a better starting point for conversion to a 13-string guitar?

David starbuc2
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Re: converting a classical guitar into a 13-string

Post by David starbuc2 » Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:55 am

Try this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfMpyO6OeZA

Music doesn't start until 0:45. Standard Torres type bracing on this one. You can see in the pictures of it being built. It's very light weight.
I think he might be making a few more.

titocotos

Re: converting a classical guitar into a 13-string

Post by titocotos » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:02 pm

Yes David, Ramon Chavarry, the guitar maker from the video, is building a new 13 string guitar, just like the ones on the video. He was going to build two but then decided just to build one. The guitar should be ready by the end of May.

Tito

soltirefa
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Re: converting a classical guitar into a 13-string

Post by soltirefa » Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:34 am

This guy recently posted on the 10-string forum that he converts 6-string guitars into 13-strings. There are a couple videos embedded in his site demonstrating him playing Weiss on a converted guitar.

http://www.weissguitar.com/

Lance Litchfield

Re: converting a classical guitar into a 13-string

Post by Lance Litchfield » Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:07 am

As above, plenty of things could go wrong. If you are doing it yourself for fun, go for it...otherwise you just have to weigh up the risks with the cost of modifications. Main things are structural, like neck stability, top strength, joint strength. Sound wise it would be a gamble so if you could try out something before you get the work done, that would be best. Still doesn't give you a high range on the 1st string either. Soltirefa's link is interesting all the same, if it fits your bill.

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David Norton
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Re: converting a classical guitar into a 13-string

Post by David Norton » Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:21 am

soltirefa wrote:This guy recently posted on the 10-string forum that he converts 6-string guitars into 13-strings. There are a couple videos embedded in his site demonstrating him playing Weiss on a converted guitar.

http://www.weissguitar.com/
I saw him play this same instrument last night. It's quite a successful concept. Perhaps the foundational guitar (a Yamaha flamenco) was overbuilt a bit, but what Sterling has done here yields a very good result.
David Norton
Salt Lake City, UT

earwighoney
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Re: converting a classical guitar into a 13-string

Post by earwighoney » Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:01 pm

I saw a cheapish Martinez 10 string guitar (under . Could that suffice? On sale for under €1000 or so.

http://www.martinezguitars.com/ProductD ... f_type=108

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Alain Cloutier
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Re: converting a classical guitar into a 13-string

Post by Alain Cloutier » Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:24 am

earwighoney wrote:I saw a cheapish Martinez 10 string guitar (under . Could that suffice? On sale for under €1000 or so.

http://www.martinezguitars.com/ProductD ... f_type=108
A 10 string guitar with a regular tuning for the first six strings and a 13 string tuned in d minor are like two different instruments. One cannot replace the other.

Paul Micheletti
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Re: converting a classical guitar into a 13-string

Post by Paul Micheletti » Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:05 pm

For 6-string guitars, the centerline of the top falls right between strings 3 and 4. But for a 13-string guitar, the strings are shifted so that the center line falls lower in the string grouping on the bridge. For instance, Michael Thames has the center seam directly under the 7 string on his dresden bridge.

To do this, the neck needs to be angled so the fretted strings point towards the treble side of the soundboard. If you try to modify a a standard 6-string guitar to have more strings, the only way to do this without changing the neck angle is to extend the bridge purely towards the bass side, which would put the lowest strings very close to the edge of the guitar. That would be OK for adding only a couple of strings on the bass side, but adding 7 strings there would push the bridge so far out on the bass side as to make the guitar difficult to play and limit the sound produced.

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