malcolm brooks?

Discussion of all aspects of multi-string guitars, namely those with 7 or more strings.
User avatar
jeffrysteele
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:40 am
Location: Eastsound, WA, USA

malcolm brooks?

Post by jeffrysteele » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:07 pm

A six-string player for five decades, I've long wondered what it would be like to have a couple extra bass tones. I think of all the transcriptions I pitched up [e.g. Bach's First Lute Suite in Am instead of Em] so as not to compromise the bass line, only to end up with impractical performance issues. Do any of you have experience with Malcolm Brooks 8-strings?

User avatar
jeffrysteele
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:40 am
Location: Eastsound, WA, USA

Re: malcolm brooks?

Post by jeffrysteele » Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:13 am

32 views and 0 replies. I guess Malcolm Brooks draws a blank. The only other instrument I found posted online made by him was a vihuela. So figuring the 8-string guitar would be the product of a luthier rather than a factory, I ordered the pre-owned instrument from Elderly for $1500. I will post my impressions here after it arrives.

User avatar
guitarguy
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2015 7:19 am

Re: malcolm brooks?

Post by guitarguy » Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:01 am

I also happen to be a five decades six-string player. I have bought myself an 8-string guitar (Darren Hippner) a few years ago, which is a lovely instrument.

However, after a few weeks of practise on that instrument I gave up on it. It is just a lot of work finding your way around on an 8-string. I was amazed as to how much our brain does "automatically" when playing the guitar. In the beginning I couldn't even play the simplest of pieces. For me it was like learning to play tennis with my left hand after years of right-hand practise. You know how it is supposed to work, but you can't proceed on it...

Needless to say, it sounds great when playing Bach on an 8-string with all the sympathetic harmonics.

So, it wasn't my intention to frustrate you. But you will most likely be into a slightly longer journey than you might think. I wish you good luck with and hope that you have longer staying power than me.

Conall
Posts: 853
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:26 am
Location: Scotland

Re: malcolm brooks?

Post by Conall » Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:51 am

I know nothing of M Brooks but I have a budget ("Orfea") 8 string I bought recently and I am now convinced of the merits of the extended range particularly in the playing of Bach cello and lute suites. It does take a good deal of getting used to and is certainly not for everyone but worth the effort if you want to play the music closer to the composer's original intentions without having to take up the original instruments.

User avatar
Mark Clifton-Gaultier
Posts: 1878
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:03 pm
Location: England

Re: malcolm brooks?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:18 pm

jeffrysteele wrote:32 views and 0 replies. I guess Malcolm Brooks draws a blank.
I know malcolm Brooks - he's retired from guitar building now. You may find that your 8-string is the only one he ever built as this was never his primary profession (though he was trained, not a pure hobbyist).

I've never owned one of his instruments but played several (including the vihuela that you spotted) and would characterise his instruments as having a warm and intimate quality on the whole; not loud but solid and even across the range with a definite sweetness. The problem with generalising is that he was always experimenting - I don't recall ever coming across two instruments built to the same design.

The aforementioned vihuela has modern tuning machines - requested by the purchaser I believe - and there's one more of his instruments for sale - his final guitar which was completed by two other luthiers, one of whom was Dave Gregory - the other I'm not sure about. It's going for around £1500-2000 as far as I can remember - I can gather more information if required.

I'd be interested to hear your impressions of this 8-string Jeffry ... once you've had a chance to explore its possibilities.

User avatar
jeffrysteele
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:40 am
Location: Eastsound, WA, USA

Re: malcolm brooks?

Post by jeffrysteele » Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:21 pm

Thanks for your responses. I am reminded of the Donovan song where he asks the starfish for news of the long lost "banjo man," which the eldest starfish is able to offer. I expect the guitar on Thursday...

User avatar
jeffrysteele
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:40 am
Location: Eastsound, WA, USA

Re: malcolm brooks?

Post by jeffrysteele » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:44 pm

I received the guitar last night, after its circuitous journey from Elderly in MI to me in Tacoma. I needed to put some D'Addario carbon strings on it before it came to life. It seems well-crafted. There is quite a learning curve, as referred to above, like a kitchen with too many people in it. I'm using an A-D-E-A-D-G-B-E from 8th to 1st for now; having the two bass notes just a whole tone apart creates both possibilities and ramifications. I'm bothered by the lack of radius on the fingerboard; it's flat as a runway. Are 8-strings usually made that way?

User avatar
jeffrysteele
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:40 am
Location: Eastsound, WA, USA

Re: malcolm brooks?

Post by jeffrysteele » Sat Apr 28, 2018 11:09 pm

It has been a week since I received the guitar and I'm very pleased with it! I put on the D'Addario .06 bottom string recommended by Galbraith's luthier, tuned to A—giving me a real bass note as opposed to a flapping detuned 6th string. I installed a jjb electronics 4-transducer pickup. This is the second time I have installed this in one of my guitars, and I find this passive unit more natural sounding than active units I have used. Next week I will be performing the harp part to the Faure Requiem on this instrument in a performance by the Orcas Island Choral Society. Sometime I will post my arrangement here at delcamp. It utilizes two capos to facilitate fingering, overtones and pedal tones in flat keys. I will soon be incorporating this guitar as well into my electro-acoustic pieces, where I trigger synths via the midiguitar application. Fortunately that software developer, jamorigin, threw in their midibass plug-in when I purchased midiguitar—giving me access to the bass pitches now available courtesy of Malcolm Brooks.

Return to “Multi-string Classical Guitars”