11 string Guitar by Heikki Rousu 2019

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

Re: 11 string Guitar by Heikki Rousu 2019

Post by Richwilly » Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:05 am

Looks like a wonderful instrument Conall. I'm so pleased it's turned out well for you. I've been toying with the idea of a 10 string for years but this has definitely got my attention. Very much looking forward to hearing it.

Conall
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Re: 11 string Guitar by Heikki Rousu 2019

Post by Conall » Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:56 am

Richwilly wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:05 am
Looks like a wonderful instrument Conall. I'm so pleased it's turned out well for you. I've been toying with the idea of a 10 string for years but this has definitely got my attention. Very much looking forward to hearing it.
Thanks Rich!

I think if you can get your head around the extra strings the added sympathetic resonance is worth it alone. We all worry about lack of sustain & look for church like resonance for concerts & add reverb post recording but with 10 - 13 strings you feel as if you are playing in a cathedral when sitting in your bedroom! Even my cheap 8 string has extra resonance that my concert 6 string lacks in places (& that guitar sounds wonderful by 6 string standards). Of course the overtones can get too much too though in fast passages or quick changing harmony so I'm getting used to a lot more damping than usual.

If you don't think you need the lowest basses eg in Weiss, Bach etc an 8 or Yepes tuned 10 string should be an aural improvement and also provide a bit of extra range. But for me 11 was the minimum to be able to play the most important low basses in the Bach lute suites.

I promise I will eventually record something. It might only be an audio file and it won't be a pro quality recording but it will at least give an idea!

Cheers,

Conall

decacorde
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Re: 11 string Guitar by Heikki Rousu 2019

Post by decacorde » Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:56 am

Congratulations! What a gorgeous guitar!

Conall
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Re: 11 string Guitar by Heikki Rousu 2019

Post by Conall » Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:52 am

Thank you Decacorde!

Your forum name is very appropriate for extended range enthusiasm. I note many of the kind comments from others above are from the same names that crop up in other extended range threads. Perhaps we need our own forum / webpage! I tried joining the altoguitar forum / website but was rejected!

Richwilly

Re: 11 string Guitar by Heikki Rousu 2019

Post by Richwilly » Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:10 pm

Conall wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:56 am
Richwilly wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:05 am
Looks like a wonderful instrument Conall. I'm so pleased it's turned out well for you. I've been toying with the idea of a 10 string for years but this has definitely got my attention. Very much looking forward to hearing it.
Thanks Rich!

I think if you can get your head around the extra strings the added sympathetic resonance is worth it alone. We all worry about lack of sustain & look for church like resonance for concerts & add reverb post recording but with 10 - 13 strings you feel as if you are playing in a cathedral when sitting in your bedroom! Even my cheap 8 string has extra resonance that my concert 6 string lacks in places (& that guitar sounds wonderful by 6 string standards). Of course the overtones can get too much too though in fast passages or quick changing harmony so I'm getting used to a lot more damping than usual.

If you don't think you need the lowest basses eg in Weiss, Bach etc an 8 or Yepes tuned 10 string should be an aural improvement and also provide a bit of extra range. But for me 11 was the minimum to be able to play the most important low basses in the Bach lute suites.

I promise I will eventually record something. It might only be an audio file and it won't be a pro quality recording but it will at least give an idea!

Cheers,

Conall
I really notice extra resonance and sustain even from my 7 string guitar and have found that varying the tuning of the 7th string depending on what I'm playing can help a lot when playing regular 6 string music.

11 strings must give a very exciting sound!

Conall
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Location: Scotland

Re: 11 string Guitar by Heikki Rousu 2019

Post by Conall » Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:50 pm

Richwilly wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:10 pm

I really notice extra resonance and sustain even from my 7 string guitar and have found that varying the tuning of the 7th string depending on what I'm playing can help a lot when playing regular 6 string music.

11 strings must give a very exciting sound!
Yes indeed on both counts. If one can get over the unfamiliarity of extra string(s) it's worth doing so. It's only a matter of persistence - and avoiding 6 string for a while. Eventually the RH gets used to the new geography and adapts (especially if you train yourself not to look!).

Every extra string gives new possibilities. A low thick 7th could theoretically go down to A or even G allowing at least some access to Weiss' fabulous low basses. But even a normal E6th at the 7th is good at least for dropped D & if you use high tension or extra high E6th you can tune to low C & play cello music eg Bach cello suites in original keys!

And of course the sympathetic resonance afforded by the low C helps massively to lift the dull Cs of a 6 string guitar.

On the 11 string I flatten the 11-9 just to get extra flat note resonance sometimes (eg if in flat keys) - though I still get considerable resonance of flat notes even if I just leave the basses natural.

Conall
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Re: 11 string Guitar by Heikki Rousu 2019

Post by Conall » Sun Feb 24, 2019 8:31 am

Conall wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:57 am
Steve Ganz wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:21 am
Yes Conall,
https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi ... _Rousu.jpgis the other style for using a capo on those extended frets.

Congratulations on the new baby.
Hi Steve,

Yes I only really thought of the capo implications after ordering the open basses! But so far it's not been a major issue because I intend to play solo music without capo (I like capo on third fret for Renaissance lute music but don't think it's essential) & if I genuinely need a capo for (eg) ensemble I have an 8 string capo (thanks to fellow forum member Crofty) that at least affords more choice than a 6 string. So far I've used the capo for a piece I arranged for 8 string guitar (Bach 4th cello suite prelude) - which of course works on the 11 string too.

I'm intrigued by the idea of harp semitone levers - perhaps something I might consider for the open basses in a future guitar. The thinner neck of an open bass guitar is presumably lighter than one that has a fingerboard for 11 strings - and my headstock is already heavy / slightly overbalanced (not that it's a problem from playing what with leaning normally on side of guitar - but you wouldn't want to forget to rest your left arm as per usual - or see the guitar tip over!).

Thanks for your info & good wishes!

Conall

Conall
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Re: 11 string Guitar by Heikki Rousu 2019

Post by Conall » Sun Feb 24, 2019 8:38 am

I reposted the above because I noticed I originally mentioned the 4th lute suite rather than cello suite.

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Tomzooki
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Re: 11 string Guitar by Heikki Rousu 2019

Post by Tomzooki » Mon Feb 25, 2019 5:49 pm

Conall wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:33 pm
Good points:

- sounds loud, balanced & amazingly resonant (every note sings unlike the dull Cs & Fs etc on 6 string guitars),
- allows me to play Bach cello suites in original keys (though I play the 4th suite in D major with capo on 1st fret), Bach lute suites & many Weiss & Dowland & other lute pieces with almost all bass notes at correct octave,
- is not much harder for me to play 6 string music having done the same previously on an 8 string.

Less good:

- finish (French polish) is not as well done as it could be (I would ask Heikki to use alternative varnish instead if ordering another),
- a couple of small scratches on neck probably caused in transit,
- will take a while to get acquainted with the new basses,
- basses need more damping to avoid piano sustain pedal effect,
- damping requires adapted technique particularly using right wrist.

Heikki has a lot of experience in building extended range instruments & it shows. His prices are reasonable compared to many other luthiers.
I own a 11 string alto guitar in G by Heikki Rousu. My comments would be exactly the same as yours. Fantastic guitar for the price, good sound and projection, the only draw back being the french polish: I sweat a lot, and despite trying to be careful I destroyed the polish very quickly on the back of the guitar. I thought it was all my fault, but currently I play all the time on a Stauffer 8 string replica, all french polish, and the polish stays intact even if I take less and less care to not let the sweat come in contact with it. I plan to have the finish restored by my Stauffer’s maker. One positive point: it survived harsh Quebec climate. No, it is not the same as Sweden at all. In Quebec it is colder in winter, hotter in summer, and very dry in winter and very humid in summer. So much more variable, a guitar killer.

It has been much more hard to adapt to the multiple basses than I previously thought; it has been a lot of work, as you said I had also to adapt my right hand technique. But when after I got my Stauffer it took 5 minutes to adapt to the 2 extra basses :wink:
Miodrag Zerdoner 8 string Stauffer-Legnani
Benoît Raby, Engelmann sp/Ziricote
11-strings alto guitar by Heikki Rousu, sp/indonesian RW

Conall
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Re: 11 string Guitar by Heikki Rousu 2019

Post by Conall » Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:59 pm

Tomzooki wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 5:49 pm

I own a 11 string alto guitar in G by Heikki Rousu. My comments would be exactly the same as yours. Fantastic guitar for the price, good sound and projection, the only draw back being the french polish: I sweat a lot, and despite trying to be careful I destroyed the polish very quickly on the back of the guitar. I thought it was all my fault, but currently I play all the time on a Stauffer 8 string replica, all french polish, and the polish stays intact even if I take less and less care to not let the sweat come in contact with it. I plan to have the finish restored by my Stauffer’s maker. One positive point: it survived harsh Quebec climate. No, it is not the same as Sweden at all. In Quebec it is colder in winter, hotter in summer, and very dry in winter and very humid in summer. So much more variable, a guitar killer.

It has been much more hard to adapt to the multiple basses than I previously thought; it has been a lot of work, as you said I had also to adapt my right hand technique. But when after I got my Stauffer it took 5 minutes to adapt to the 2 extra basses :wink:
Thanks for your comments Tom.

Yes, I confess it's a bit disappointing for the finish to be patchy. But I've already marked the guitar in a number of places so I suspect I'll ask a local luthier to redo the varnish or polish at some point. Any idea what charge you would expect to pay to redo the whole body?!!

But yes, the sound is fantastic - I haven't touched the 6 string for more than a few minutes since getting the 11 string. Despite my 6 string having a somewhat superior fundamental tone & power (ie if I cover the 5 additional basses of the Rousu) I much prefer the overall timbre of the 11 string because of the extra resonance. But I would expect the 6 string that would probably cost at least double the Rousu to have the stronger fundamental. But the tone is excellent, plenty loud and of course those basses are to die for!

I'm already fantasising about an alto guitar - maybe with some form of harp levers for quick semitone alteration!

I did move to 11 strings from 6 strings via 8 strings so it's not as much a shock is it might be. I think I will get used to them fairly quickly - as long as I stay away from the 6 string (which now feels like a ukelele!).

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