Understanding Extended Range Classical guitars

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Sobers
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Re: Understanding Extended Range Classical guitars

Post by Sobers » Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:03 pm

The discussion is getting me to few points that....
1) 10 strings are enough to transcribe Piano pieces.
2) The strings will be fretted.
3) The string arrangement focus will be on 'range' and not on 'resonance'.
4) Some tuning calculations are needed not to complicate (the left hand positions) too much.
&
5) Still I would like to know more about the experiments done on the 'bass range' like........till date, How far the lowest note is achieved maybe in 13 string guitar or Baroque Lute??? (For Arch-lute it is F1)

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Sobers
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Re: Understanding Extended Range Classical guitars

Post by Sobers » Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:28 pm

Here, I've found some:

Lute:
Medieval 12 string/6 course:
G2 G2 • C3 C3 • F3 F3 • A3 A3 • D4 D4 • G4 G4
Medieval 13 string/7 course:
D2 D3•G2 G3•C3 C4•F3 F3•A3 A3•D4 D4•G4
Renaissance 15 string/8 course
D2 D3•F2 F3•G2 G3•C3 C4•F3 F3•A3 A3•D4 D4•G4
Renaissance 19 string/10 course
C2 C3•D2 D3•E♭2 E♭3•F2 F3•G2 G3•C3 C4•F3 F3•A3 A3•D4 D4•G4
Baroque 24 string/13 course
A1 A2•B1 B2•C2 C3•D2 D3•E2 E3•F2 F3•G2 G3•A2 A2•D3 D3•F3 F3•A3 A3•d4•f4
ArchLute
F1 F2•G1 G2•A1 A2•B1 B2•C2 C3•D2 D3•E2 E3•F2 F3•G2 G2•C2 C2•F3 F3•A3 A3•D4 D4•G4

Alto Guitar
A1 Bb1 C2 D2 E2 F2 G2 A2 D3 F3 A3 D4 F4
8 string guitar
[B1 D2] E2 A2 D3 G3 B3 E4
10 string guitar
F#1 G#1 A#1 C2 E3 A2 D3 G3 B3 E4
Baritone guitar: to E1
Bass guitar: to B0 (but that's not acoustic nylon)

Guitarro & Guitarrico (Spain) goes up to E5

So, as per wiki, the lowest is F1 in an Arch-lute and F#1 in a 10 string guitar
(not sure which 10 string, can't find it.. Is it a mistake? Definitely, it has to be, I think they have misinterpreted the Yepes' tuning F#2 - G#2 - A#2 - C2 - E2 - A2 - D3 - G3 - B3 - E4)

So, if I'm right Arch-Lute F1 is the lowest but for that long neck tuning, can it be achieved in a normal Classical Guitar?
Anybody has any idea about the Chiavi Miolin guitar range? Really goes down to E1?

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Tonyyyyy
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Re: Understanding Extended Range Classical guitars

Post by Tonyyyyy » Sat Nov 21, 2015 3:02 pm

Sobers wrote: 5) Still I would like to know more about the experiments done on the 'bass range' like........till date, How far the lowest note is achieved maybe in 13 string guitar or Baroque Lute??? (For Arch-lute it is F1)
In the past , to get the deepest notes on gut strings an extended vibrating length was needed ; wound strings did not become commonplace until the 18th century; later baroque lutes and archlutes may have had them.

Gnosienne

Re: Understanding Extended Range Classical guitars

Post by Gnosienne » Sat Nov 21, 2015 8:42 pm

I think practically you could go down to B1, maybe a bit lower. Anything lower than that will be sloppy and the intonation of fretted notes will suffer. Now, I'm not sure how nylon strings play into this, as I only have experience with extended range steel instruments.
Bass guitars can manage being tuned much lower, because their scale is much longer. The 8-string electric guitars manage to tune down to F#1, because of a longer scale as well, around 28" (it's a compromise, because the longer the scale, the harder it is to deal with the highest strings). Even so, the lowest string on those is typically very floppy and requires a very light touch. One solution is fanned frets - this way you can have a 24" scale for the high strings, and 29" for the low, for example. This allows you to add a top string tuned higher than you'd be able to tune on a regular guitar, like a high A.
Another issue on an acoustic instrument is projection. A classical guitar body most likely won't be really able to support a note that low with much volume - compare the size of an upright bass, or even an acoustic bass guitar.

Guero
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Re: Understanding Extended Range Classical guitars

Post by Guero » Sun Nov 29, 2015 11:29 pm

It seems in the Todd Green Video he only uses 6 or 7 of the 13 strings.
So the rest could be used as a weaving loom.. :wink:

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Sobers
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Re: Understanding Extended Range Classical guitars

Post by Sobers » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:38 am

Gnosienne wrote:I think practically you could go down to B1, maybe a bit lower. Anything lower than that will be sloppy and the intonation of fretted notes will suffer. Now, I'm not sure how nylon strings play into this, as I only have experience with extended range steel instruments..
Then how come many people are using strings lower like A1? and some people are even using E1?
The examples are there in YouTube!!

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Re: Understanding Extended Range Classical guitars

Post by jack_cat » Wed Apr 06, 2016 2:15 pm

I recently received my new Castillo fanned fret 9 string.
F#1 at 72 centimeters, B1, E2, A2, D3, G3, B3, E4, A4 at 60 centimeters. Perpendicular fret at #3, making for much more comfort than a higher perpendicular fret. Carpathian spruce and cocobolo. The cocobolo's density makes the basses very solid. Lattice brace design transfers the severely-angled-bridge force to the top in a very different way than fan bracing which is optimized for a straight traditional bridge.
This is a fabulous, fully successful guitar, based on info gained from a prototype I had built in 2013, which was not so successful.
pics on the other thread soon (search Brahms Guitar Specs)

Comments:
Some people here are unaware that the numbered octaves go from C to C, thus, B1 is the highest note in the first octave with C2 being a half step above.
My F#1 is a whole step above the lowest string of a four-string contrabass. From here down, the next register would be at C#1, and the next at G#0. (I have no plan to use those deeper registers ever. I consider the F#1 to be the lowest pitch necessary for my purposes. Note that it is a half step lower than the deepest baroque lute.)
The question has been whether such a bass range is attainable with a classical guitar with a normal sized body. Yes it is, but obviously only with a very high quality build and some attention to the internal design. My F#1 is a great success, but friendly critics have already asked whether it would not have been even better at 74c. Yes, it would. However, a length of 72c was barely imaginable to me in terms of playability in planning the design. Actually this is not really an issue though there are others. A peripheral lesson is that very long low basses are perfectly functional in a fanned fret design, and the makers of Brahms Guitars would do very well to extend the low B1 out toward 70 centimeters for the low B in order to eliminate the tubbiness and poor intonation.

Piano music: the problem with piano music is not lack of range but lack of fingers. The pianist can achieve 10 notes at once and can play two florid contrapuntal voices with each hand. The guitarist is challenged to play once florid voice alone. Even with my very radical extended range design, it would REQUIRE FOUR HANDS to play any of the major keyboard repertory. It is very possible to _study_ such keyboard music - I have read all of the Bach Inventions and Sinfonia and a good part of the WTC - but performing it is probably not possible. On the other hand, the easy two-part keyboard pieces in the Anna Magdalena Bach notebook are quite possible, but a lot of work. The 3-part pieces in the AMB notebook are interesting to study but the keyboard voicings even in these easy keyboard pieces are simply too un-idiomatic for the guitar in any conceivable tuning, I believe. Don't think that there is some magical new design configuration that will make keyboard music work on a guitar. On the other hand there is room for a new original repertory, which I am busy creating for myself, but nobody else will be able to play it. Ha!

A "guitar" with a high A4 string is a very different-sounding instrument. (You may imagine Segovia's comments.) The sound will always be somewhat more "lutelike" and will perhaps lack that certain earthiness and sensuality of the spanish guitar.

Although Fred Fernseher had a luthier build him a 10-string fanned fret 54c - 68c tuned E1 A1 D2 G2 C3 F3 A3 D4 G4 C4, based on my own experience with the 2013 prototype, this design probably wouldn't perform well for my purposes. The low E1 would be too short and tubby and probably make clicking sounds on the frets, and the high C4 would lack body, but obviously I never played the thing to find out. There is a youtube video.

Low bass strings are available from Savarez, D'Addario, La Bella, and Aquila, to name some off the top of my head. My low F# is a .075" diameter, which turns out to be perhaps a little thin, and I will shortly order whatever sizes are available up to .080" diameter for trial. For my high A4 I am currently using a .022" D'Addario rectified nylon. On a guitar with a radical fanned fret design all of the strings must be calculated and purchased individually because, of a normal six-string packaged set, only one string will be at its correct tension and all the others too loose or too tight.

My reason for choosing a fanned fret design is that I want all of the strings to be equal in function. When I want to play bass, I want to use conventional fingering patterns. The low basses of the various harp guitars, alto guitars, Yepes-style 10 strings, etc. are all pretty worthless from this point of view for various reasons. The diatonic tuning pattern means a great deal of un-necessary redundancy, and carries the problem of damping the unwanted continuing tones and sympathetic vibrations. The extended neck of the alto guitar prevents effective use of the low chromatic notes. On the Yepes-style or the Marlow-style 10 string at 65 centimeters, the low strings are far too thick to sound well when fretted.

Yes, the 80mm wide neck is too wide to play many otherwise potentially juicy chords. Again, four hands would be nice. But having access to 5 octaves using conventional techniques (i.e., no different set of techniques for a bunch of open bass strings) is a very intoxicating experience. Anything with six strings looks like a toy now.

- jack

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Sobers
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Re: Understanding Extended Range Classical guitars

Post by Sobers » Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:15 am

Thank you Jack, for your insightful post on this subject. I would like to hear your instrument.. please send me a link or share it here.
I have few questions though:
1) What is your scale length on the 7th, 8th and the 9th string. Are they like normal CG machine heads or attached separately? (though you have mentioned but a pic would be helpful)
2) What is the thickness of the wood you've used? (all I mean)
3) Any distinct bracing patterns to enhance the bass sounds?

larryguitar
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Re: Understanding Extended Range Classical guitars

Post by larryguitar » Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:52 pm

Interesting thread!

So, I have recently acquired a 900mm scale length contra guitar which has six strings and is pitched one octave below a classical guitar, so, E1, actually, it can go down to D1. I am like a double bass, I believe. ;-)

It is amazingly clear for such a low pitched instrument. All of my strings are wound. My teacher suggested replacing the high e string with a nylon only string. Any ideas of what string could work?

All strings are nylon, after all, because all strings have a nylon core.

Currently, my high e string is a .0338 wound string from Hannabach, they sell a six string set for 90cm contra basses. Would a nylon only string be too dull or could I could I get one that sparkled? Theorbos have a single course first string, different than the other double course strings and it sounds different, but maybe that is ok.

I plan on writing to Hannabach to ask them for some ideas but I thought I would ask on this thread.

Details on my contra guitar are here: http://www.hilhorst.demon.nl/contrabass.html

crazyrach97
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Re: Understanding Extended Range Classical guitars

Post by crazyrach97 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:34 pm

Ok, I am not an experienced classical player. Nor do I own an extended range guitar. I am, however, an experienced non-classical fingerstylist and having been doing my own arrangements for years. I'm considering getting an extended range guitar, and in fact was considering it BEFORE I got into classical playing. I've done a lot of thinking and research on the subject and have a few thoughts:

1) We're never going to compete with the piano on it's own territory. Forget it; not happening. I remember thinking I was going to arrange Bridge Over Troubled Water and keep the piano part 100% intact. I had to change the key, and was humbled by how much I had to thin out the chords. And that's not to even talk about complex counterpoint. Let us not be ridiculous. More strings will not change this.

2) The guitar is a midrange instrument... get over it. I don't really have a problem with that.

3) To the extent that I would like to be able to go a little higher, a cutaway solves the problem. When I get my extended range guitar it will very likely have a cutaway, and damn the purists.

4) The only time I really feel like I need to go lower is in the case of exactly one note: D. The C3 already available to us is fine; I never play that note and think my god, I wish it was an octave lower. If you get up as high as E3, we can now go down an octave. But that D just way too often feels like an inadequate bass note, especially in the key of D! And this is why guitarists have been tuning that sucker down virtually from the moment the instrument got it's sixth string...

5) The problem, as I see it, is not range but reach. We really pay for that top octave in terms of the availability of bass notes. I can remember one of my first attempts at arrangement; putting together a song to play in G (because I wanted to sing it in that key) and when I went to create an instrumental break saying some very unladylike words about the lack of a decent G bass note that I could get at when I went up the neck. That low C we just talked about? Not always easy to grab in several positions. I don't even wanna talk about F. Bottom line: The guitar doesn't have enough bass strings, and the intervals between the existing ones are too large. Our choice of bass notes in the higher positions is a constant compromise.

6) So the point of extended range, to me, is not to go lower. The point is to give us our choice of bass notes in any position! Consider simply the effect of a 7th string tuned to D. Not only does it give us a low D note and render dropped D tuning obsolete, we're talking about a string that is still reasonably reachable for fretted notes. Now we can have a G at the 5th fret, a C at the 10th fret, etc. Problem solved? Not quite, but greatly alleviated. Now add an 8th string tuned to C. Ok, I don't really feel like I need the lower C but it won't hurt and this gives us an open C. Considering the keys we play in, what part of that do we not want?! Plus the 8th string is still reachable unless you have small hands, and it once again increases your range of fretted notes along the length of the fretboard. You probably won't use it as much, but it's there if you need it.

7) When you're cruising around on the high frets, the best bass note is one you don't have to stop with your left hand. If I go for a 10-string, I'm neither looking to dramatically increase the guitar's range nor to get extra resonance a la Yepes. I want to have my choice of bass notes from any position! I've mapped out how I want to tune a 10 string if I get one on that basis. Except for D, I don't want to duplicate any of the existing bass strings an octave lower; I want DIFFERENT notes on the open strings. I'm also bearing in mind that fretted note playing on the lowest two strings will probably be borderline non-existent, and probably much less on the 8th string than the first seven. What I'm thinking is F2, G2, C2, D2 and the rest same as six-string. Obviously the F and G are re-entrants. I don't want them any lower (I doubt a guitar would handle that well); I just want those notes on open strings.

8 ) Obviously with several extra strings the number of ways you can retune some of the lower ones without screwing up other things becomes exponentially greater. I can see a creatively used ten string solving a lot of problems re: the use of flat keys and other such... all without altering your ground zero six-string tuning.

And with that, I rest my already long-winded case.

larryguitar
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Re: Understanding Extended Range Classical guitars

Post by larryguitar » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:39 pm

This is my guitar:



played by Peter Constant, an accomplished guitarist.

Dirck Nagy
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Re: Understanding Extended Range Classical guitars

Post by Dirck Nagy » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:59 pm

crazyrach97 wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:34 pm
...And with that, I rest my already long-winded case.
That was quite a screed for a beginner.
2015 John H. Dick
1994 Larry Breslin ("Deerhead")
1952 Vincente Tatay

crazyrach97
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Re: Understanding Extended Range Classical guitars

Post by crazyrach97 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:20 pm

Dirck Nagy wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:59 pm

That was quite a screed for a beginner.
Depends on how you define "beginner". I've been doing fingerstyle guitar arrangements for over five years, and I like to think that qualifies me to have an opinion. Just because I'm new to classical doesn't mean I don't know anything about playing the guitar... :D

larryguitar
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Re: Understanding Extended Range Classical guitars

Post by larryguitar » Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:56 am

So, I guess I’ve wandered into the wrong thread. :-)

I’m going to create a new topic asking for string ideas for my first string.

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