New Guitar Day!
Here at last is my new Heikki Rousu 11 string guitar pitched in E. I've had it about a week and I'm wishing I'd bought something like it decades ago.
Materials: spruce soundboard, Indian rosewood back & sides, ebony fingerboard, mahogany neck, Schaller tuning pegs, 7 fan fretting.
Normal tuning (11-1): 3 open basses G,A,B; 2 fretable basses: C,D; 6 regular: E,A,D,G,B,E. I vary the tuning of all 5 basses up or (more likely) down a semitone depending on the piece. Other alternative tunings are same as 6 string guitar - dropped G 5th, dropped F# 3rd when needed. I try to avoid dropped D because I have D 7th.
- 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.
- 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 intend to record something relatively soon / as soon as I can play something well enough on it.
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