request Brahms gtr specs, input from extended range players

Discussion of all aspects of multi-string guitars, namely those with 7 or more strings.
jack_cat
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Re: request Brahms gtr specs, input from extended range play

Postby jack_cat » Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:04 pm

Hello Delcampers,
the original poster again with an update:
I have had the guitar 10 months.
I spent three months on the "G" tuning before going back to the "A" tuning. My experience was similar to Schub's (see his post four or five posts up the thread) : although the "G" tuning has some obvious advantages, the retooling of one's personal software is a tremendous obstacle with regard to composition and improvisation. Given that my personal working repertory represents 10 years of work, built on the 30 years of foundation work before that, the transition is not to be made in a few months. I worked on it hard, doing scales and harmony drills daily and reworking a representative collection of repertory to keep the same key in the new tuning. It could be done, but it's a long term project, and in the meantime I make a living playing existing repertory which needs to be maintained and extended... If I had a five-year sabbatical - but I don't.

Now to the real point: My original question, posting the drawings on the luthier's forum here, was: will it fly? Yes or no, and why or why not? Now I have some specific answers.
9-str-bracing.png

The real problem with this design is that the 45-o angle of the bridge does not transmit the sound to the top well. Perhaps this should have been obvious before, but the proof is in the build. I took the guitar back to the builder (Salvador Castillo) recently and we had a long talk about it. We each have our ideas about the "next" design. It seems clear that to succeed with the extreme angle of the bridge would require a complete redesign of the soundboard bracing and the position of the soundhole. As you can see, the root of the highest string is placed very near the confluence of two braces and the soundhole, and there is very little freely vibrating top for the sound to transfer to at that point. Hence the high A string is somewhat weak. This is not a function merely of the length of the string: my duet partner plays a straight-fret 7-string with a 58 centimeter scale and a high A string, and that high A string has much more body than the nine-string's A, and that guitar is also a Castillo made in early 2012. When I played the nine-string onstage with her, the nine-string did not compete well at all, lacking the necessary punch to do what we do. I should mention that Castillo makes mostly Flamenco guitars, and that the two matched sets of guitars (one pair of six strings and one pair of 7-strings) that we have bought from Castillo in recent years are all very strong guitars that work very well for us.

Castillo's own idea is that the high A string should be around 61 or 62 centimeters, with which I now agree completely, and that the low F# string should be no more than 65 centimeters, with which I don't - yet - agree at all, because I think that the lowest string will only work at 70 centimeters or more... but this remains to be seen. I base this on having played a few Yepes-style straight-fret 10-strings, and I don't admire the quality of the low basses at 65 centimeters. However this is all an open question until we make the "next" build.

There is one other guitar very similar to this, a ten string. The ten string runs from 54c to 68c, very similar to my nine-string. A guy named Fred Fernsemer had it built a couple of years ago. He uses a "G" tuning but adds yet another high treble string at C, one 8ve above middle C. See these links:

guitarsalon.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-6019.html
youtube.com/watch?v=eugmrfhPSco

Fred argued about his proposed design with anybody available for a number of years before getting his built, and it is interesting that his final specs are so similar to mine. I did not find his thread until about two weeks ago.

In closing, I would like to say that from a practical player's standpoint, my fanned fret design is very good. There really is no problem playing fanned frets even at this apparently extreme angle. I can actually bar on the 12th fret because of the angle. As a player, I love the guitar and have been obsessive about learning to play it, but the bottom line has been that it just doesn't kick it enough on stage - it's a fairly quiet guitar and can't be pushed. So I am relegating it to a study guitar for the time being, on which I can play Baroque and Renaissance lute and keyboard music, but for a performance guitar I will have to wait for the next generation.

An interesting exchange occurred between Fred Fernsemer and some luthier, in the thread linked above: Fred wrote something to the effect of "the luthiers should be more proactive about building radical designs!" to which the luthier responded more or less, "well, we have to make a living, and a couple of months work on a spec project that might not pay is a big financial sacrifice", or some such, the implication being, "put your money on the table and we'll build what you want, so don't whine!" I must say that I am grateful to have hooked up with Castillo, who has built quite a number of experimental designs of various types and has shown an intense interest in this project. (hope that little commercial is forgiveable - really, suppose I were trying to work with a luthier who was a wet blanket? - "aw, Jack, this crazy idea of yers will never work, ok, I'll build it but don't forget I told you so!" OMG.)

Alright, I'm going back to my practice! Got work to do!
- jack
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Alan Perros

Re: request Brahms gtr specs, input from extended range play

Postby Alan Perros » Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:55 pm

I agree with you Jack, something like 61-65 cm (almost exactly the Rubio one that Galbraith plays wich is 613-653 mm) is the best compromise. For the reason that you mentionned, but also in term of comfort and stressless play.

My 8 strings guitar has a fan at 610-655 mm. After a year of research on strings, I now have the perfect string set, and it sound really great. High A is a Savarez Alliance KF52.

Also, at this length, you can have a clear G-4 string. In my opinion the wounded one (0.025"/0.64mm) is really a pain: no good results in term of sound and too short lifespan.

I'm actually working on a 9 strings prototype that I hope will be built by Jean-Marie Fouilleul at the beginning of the year 2015. I'll post the specs as soon as the luthier begins the work !

In fact, I now aim for a really easy-to-play instrument, for both hands, as 9 strings are really more difficult to play than 6 if you want to really use the polyphonic potential of all the strings up to the 12th fret... If you think about it, the position of the perpendicular fret is really important too, and of course the range of the fan, and the global string length.

That's all for now...

Alan Perros

Re: request Brahms gtr specs, input from extended range play

Postby Alan Perros » Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:05 pm

I have a quick question though: Can you really bar the frets between the perpendicular and the 12th fret ? I mean is it not more difficult than on a regular straight-fret guitar ?



Thanks for you answer !

Fred Fernsemer

Re: My ten stringer

Postby Fred Fernsemer » Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:33 am

Somebody mentioned my ten string fan fretted classical guitar ,,, So I thought it would be good idea to give an update on it. It is scaled 54cm treble side and 68cm bass side. Originally I tuned it E, A, D, G, C, F, a, d, g, c Low to high. Where the 10th string is one octave lower than the 6th string of a 6 stringer. That actually works pretty good.

But as men go I don't have the advantage of big hands and that's important to me for the kind of music I like to play on the guitar. Consequently I've revised to a tuning to a tuning of G, C, F, B flat, E flat, g, c, f, b flat, e flat. Low to high. All this is ,,, is five wound bass strings and five unwound treble strings all tuned in 4th's with a 3rd between the 5th and 6th strings. The entire real treble clef is now brought down to the nut/capo. Which I find to to be much more useful than being strung out along the neck. All your traditional six string chord shapes are now in the midlle of the instrument with an addional chord shape available that is unknown to most guitarists. This with a capo makes just about any piece of music doable in many key signatures as desired.

Since the range of the instrument spans the range of the Grand Staff ,,, and it makes sense to write music for it using the Grand Staff ,,, it makes sense to call it a Grand Staff guitar. Do note that when you capo the 2nd fret you've got extended range Lute tunng ,,, two additional treble strings and two additional bass strings. I find this very delightful when playing a guitar piece piece that calls for dropped D tuning. I don't have to change anything as I'm good to go. When I capo the 4th fret I have extended range Guitar tuning. Three addtional treble strings one addtional bass string.

I had to build my own capo system for this ,,, but it all works really good for me and I can't see myself changing anything. At least not on this guitar. I hope this clairifies what I'm doing for the curious. Fred

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George Crocket
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Re: request Brahms gtr specs, input from extended range play

Postby George Crocket » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:24 am

Hi Fred. Welcome to the forum. As a new member, could you please introduce yourself here.
George
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jack_cat
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Re: request Brahms gtr specs, input from extended range play

Postby jack_cat » Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:36 pm

shub wrote:I have a quick question though: Can you really bar the frets between the perpendicular and the 12th fret ? I mean is it not more difficult than on a regular straight-fret guitar ?
Thanks for you answer !


Schub: Yes. The twelfth fret is the highest on which I can bar with this design, and it is really only comfortable to bar across five strings. However this is far better than trying to bar on the 12th fret of a straight fret classical with no cutaway, where a 10th fret bar is about the highest practical and awkward at that. For the record, there is NOTHING that is more difficult on fanned frets than on straight frets. Except the visuals.

I will be very, very interested to read about your next proposed build. May it be soon!

Now, a point to consider with these is that a fanned fret design could have as many strings as you like, using any of the historical lute tunings or any other. The necessary thing is to get the low basses long enough by one means or another, and the highest treble string short enough. My nine string would actually sound better if the string that I have as a low F# were tuned somewhat higher, and the only reason that I have not done that is that I like the pattern of fourths-tuning under my fingers. There are many other possible tunings, and good arguments for using a diatonic archlute-type scheme for the extra basses, however many might be desired. I am going to be studying this guitar for the next several years, until I can afford the "next build", and it is a very wonderful instrument to have for studying certain aspects of theory that have been difficult on the six or seven string; it has a very seductive potential as an eventual performance instrument, you know, like, how cool would that be?

Hey Fred Fernsemer, thank you very much for chiming in on this thread! We have between us the only extreme fanned fret classical guitars in the world! (---uh, I think.)

- jack

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Re: request Brahms gtr specs, input from extended range play

Postby jack_cat » Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:07 pm

shub wrote:I agree with you Jack, something like 61-65 cm (almost exactly the Rubio one that Galbraith plays wich is 613-653 mm) is the best compromise. For the reason that you mentionned, but also in term of comfort and stressless play..


I am thinking that the fan on the next build will be 60c to 70c. Slightly less fan than the present one and more length on the low F#. The F# has a .074" string which is so fat that it clicks annoyingly between notes unless I succeed in damping with the right hand before moving the left, a cludgy technique. Therefore, a successful F# must be longer so as to permit a thinner string. Naturally you could tune to A and 68c would be fine, but I really like the pattern of fourths all the way down. I am hoping, fingers crossed, that 70 will be enough, as obviously it could get extreme... 72c?

shub wrote:My 8 strings guitar has a fan at 610-655 mm. After a year of research on strings, I now have the perfect string set, and it sound really great. High A is a Savarez Alliance KF52.

Do you have a dimension on that string? like, around .018" or .42 mm ?
shub wrote:Also, at this length, you can have a clear G-4 string. In my opinion the wounded one (0.025"/0.64mm) is really a pain: no good results in term of sound and too short lifespan..
Yeah, I tried the wound G (at F, too) and it has as short a life span as a gut high E.
shub wrote:I'm actually working on a 9 strings prototype that I hope will be built by Jean-Marie Fouilleul at the beginning of the year 2015. I'll post the specs as soon as the luthier begins the work !

And what tuning are you proposing?
shub wrote:In fact, I now aim for a really easy-to-play instrument, for both hands, as 9 strings are really more difficult to play than 6 if you want to really use the polyphonic potential of all the strings up to the 12th fret... If you think about it, the position of the perpendicular fret is really important too, and of course the range of the fan, and the global string length.
That's all for now...

And don't forget, you can and should specify the distance between the strings both at the nut end and at the bridge end. There is a possibility that because of the difference between the thicknesses of the extreme strings that the bass strings should be farther apart at the nut than should the trebles. Bear in mind that the critical distance is that between, say, the low F# and the low E when you are fretting the low B, because the finger has to fit in this space, around 15 to 20 millimeters, which depends on how fat your fingers and how high the action. I set these parameters very tight on this first build, and even though I re-cut the nut to spread them a littel farther, I have had to work very hard this year to make my left hand technique cleaner and more precise, so I will ease up on the next one, BUT my fear is that the fingerboard will be too wide to reach across, so I am thinking around 8.4 mm for the center-to-center distance - possibly graduated from 8 to 9 mm from treble to bass. On the bridge end, I also put the strings very close, at 9.6mm, and this is really too tight, but it has pointed out that the 11.0 mm or so on my other guitars is too much and I waste time (milliseconds of course) traveling across, so maybe around 10.5 or less for the next one. Hey, we should measure the fatness of our fingers and compare notes.



it has also ocurred to me that there could possibly be harmonic properties in the triangle created by the bridge and nut lines extended out a couple of feet to the treble side... should this triangle have a harmonic ratio? But this is a little out there. I actually feel that my design is very close to the mark for playability: I have the right-angle at the fifth fret, leaving first position more accessible and putting most of the fan at the bridge. However, this means an extreme angle at the bridge which begs for a new design for the top, the bracing and the position of the soundhole. I have a lot of ideas about this brewing but no drawings yet. It's a new territory for me to start scratching my head about internal design details. What I am currently thinking is that the "harp" should be designed for maximum playability and the body of the guitar then re-designed around it, but this is getting pretty far out there for yours truly who is not a luthier. it's a worthwhile thought experience at the very least. The body design might evolve eventually to something that would sit on my lap and not require a footstool... OMG what is that thing you're playing?!!

maxi78

Re: request Brahms gtr specs, input from extended range play

Postby maxi78 » Mon Oct 20, 2014 7:59 am

Hello to everybody! I am a member of the Italian forum, and some months ago, searching for information about Brahms guitar I read this complete post before commissioning one to my luthier.
But now that the guitar arrived, I discovered a thingh I had undervalued! Infact neither me nor the luthier considered the need of making a narrow neck in order to facilitate the fingering of the left hand!!!

So my question is the following: can someone give me the exact measure of the neck used in the original Rubio project and/or in most common Brahms guitars? Are the neck width at the capo and the string distance at the bridge slightly reduced? Another question... is the neck perfectly flat as in common classical guitars?

Thanks for your answers! :bye:

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Re: request Brahms gtr specs, input from extended range play

Postby Intune » Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:58 am

Hi Maxi,

If nobody is able to answer your questions on the forum, I suggest you contact English luthier Martin Woodhouse, who -- as you may already know -- perhaps builds more Brahms guitars today than any other maker. I am confident he has answers to your questions and will reply to you. I can supply his email address by private message if you wish.

Good luck.

Intune
Intune
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"...beware of all enterprises that require new clothes..." -- H.D. Thoreau

maxi78

Re: request Brahms gtr specs, input from extended range players

Postby maxi78 » Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:30 pm

Ok, as I supposed, we did a mistake designing my Brahms-guitar not considering a narrowed string spacing at the nut. I found the right dimension of the neck at the nut should be 63 mm, whereas my guitar has a 63 mm neck!
At the moment, I solved with a new nut in order to reduce the spacing between the 1st and 8th string, and the instrument has luckily become easier to play!
The best thing would be shaping again the neck, but now the instrument works very well, I think I won't do that.

Another question for Brahms guitar owners: which is normally the life of a first string?
At the moment I am doing some experiments, and I am quite satisfied with an Hannabach low-tension first string tuned to A.

I would like to do some other experiments with medium/high tensions strings as suggested in previous posts, but how much the high tuning requested influences and shortens the string life? :?

Thank you to everybody... and sorry for my English! :D
Maxi78

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Re: request Brahms gtr specs, input from extended range play

Postby jack_cat » Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:48 pm

maxi78 wrote:...some months ago, searching for information about Brahms guitar I read this complete post before commissioning one to my luthier.
But now that the guitar arrived, I discovered a thingh I had undervalued! Infact neither me nor the luthier considered the need of making a narrow neck in order to facilitate the fingering of the left hand!!!

So my question is the following: can someone give me the exact measure of the neck used in the original Rubio project and/or in most common Brahms guitars? Are the neck width at the capo and the string distance at the bridge slightly reduced? Another question... is the neck perfectly flat as in common classical guitars?

Thanks for your answers! :bye:


Hi Maxi! I'm sorry that I have not been on delcamp for many months. But I do have, if not answers, some observations of my own.
When designing my nine-string fanned fret, I thought that it would be very likely that the neck would be too wide to play, and so I placed the strings very close together, at about 7.5 mm center to center. This turned out to be too close - it makes the technique very difficult for the left hand. I would not recommend less than 8.5 mm center to center, and I am also considering the idea that the bass strings should be farther apart - say 9 mm - than the treble strings, in order to accomodate the thickness of the strings themselves. My 7 string, which is my daily work guitar, has the strings spaced 9mm apart at the nut and 11 mm at the bridge. Nine millimeters is very comfortable in that it is easy to play contrapuntal music without the left hand fingers interfering with adjacent strings, and for that I think that 9 mm is very good; with any decrease in this dimension, the left hand technique becomes more difficult. The total width is obviously an issue. However, it is also noticeable that in the 3 years since I began playing the seven string, that my left hand has stretched out and that I can now reach chords involving the low B string which were formerly very difficult.

I don't think that the total width of the strings is so important for the right hand, and so I believe that 11mm or a little less - maybe 10.6 - would be fine at the bridge no matter how many strings.

The neck of my 9-string is flat, as is that of my 7 string. However, a radiused neck would probably be a very good idea, because it is really hard to bar across even with the action set as low as I can stand. The luthiers here in Mexico don't build radiused necks, at least none that I know. Obviously it would be a little complicated to radius the neck, on an already complicated piece of work which must include the fanned frets and a compound-angle scarf joint at the headstock. I also think - adding to the work - that some inlayed fret markers would be really a good idea. With the fanned frets it's really hard to find the 12th fret sometimes...

Just as I did at the beginning of this thread, you are asking for original Brahms guitar specs, and nobody comes up with them. This is still an experimental design, probably no more than a hundred have been built. Since the time of Torres there have been many thousands of six-string guitars made to his pattern and to those derived from it, and the design specifications have been standardized for six strings, for string length and for string spacing at each end. The string lengths and spacings are not yet standardized for fanned fret guitars with "many" strings. My own experimental design is a failure as a performing instrument, and it would not surprise me to need to have 4 or 5 of them built before getting the details correct, and even then the instrument would not be perfected until some luthier has practiced building that model for a few years. It's a far more difficult and chancy proposition than getting a six string built.

By the way, I became frustrated with the narrow string spacing, and changed the nine string to an eight string last month. I eliminated the low F# string (which I now believe would properly sound best at about 77 centimenters... equal to a "short scale" electric bass, but I might try another one at 72). I could not figure out how to safely drill new holes in the bridge, so I made a slotted saddle along with a new nut. The string spacing is now normalized and the guitar sounds fairly decent but still nothing like as good as my 7 string from the same builder. I think perhaps it is, among other things, overbuilt, which is understandable, because there is a whole school of 10-string builders here, both in Paracho and Morelia, and they are notorious for being underbuilt and having structural troubles - which we may also blame on the extreme seasonal dryness - and so it appears that Castillo beefed up the bracing in general to avoid at least that problem. As I say, I think several more experiments would be required to get the variables worked out.

all the best, and please keep us posted on further developments.
- jack

Slaven

Re: request Brahms gtr specs, input from extended range players

Postby Slaven » Thu May 28, 2015 2:46 pm

Hello, my experience with the Brahms guitar is great. I had one made in 2011 by a Croatian luthier Želimir Sever and have been playing it ever since. The scale length is 660-630 mm, the string width at the nut is 6.1 cm and 7.9 cm at the bridge. I am about to commission another one with a scale length of 660-615, although I'm thinking about making the first string even shorter, say 610 mm. At 630mm the high a' is just too hard. I use a D'Addario EJ27N .028, but I believe I could find a better one (nylon string, any suggestions?). I also switched to normal tension strings recently to reduce the tension on the bridge but I prefer nylon strings for a', e' strings and fluorocarbon strings for b, g strings (Dogal e' string is fluorocarbon but it sounds like nylon).

The strings I use:
a' - D'Addario EJ27N .028
e' - Dogal Diamante Regular NR127B1 .0285
b - Knobloch Actives CX 2nd B Medium
g - Knobloch Actives CX 3rd G Medium
d, A, E - D'Addario EJ45 Pro Arte Normal Tension, Bass Set
B' - Hannabach Silver Special 8159ZHT 9th string (B) High Tension

When I first heard that guitars with more than six strings exist I was amazed, notably the ten string guitar. I was in highschool and I became obsessed with the idea, mostly because I was obsessed with baroque music, Bach, Weiss... So when I was studying guitar at the Academy in Zagreb and the time came for a better guitar I decided that I want to play a ten string. Luckily there was a professor there who steered me in the direction of eight strings, saying that I would control the resonating bass strings more easily. I never regretted the decision. The design was a regular 650 mm eight string with 2 extra basses, low D and low A' by luthier Mladen Franković. It took me about a year to completely adapt to the instrument. I played this guitar for three years and even graduated on it, but I began noticing that I was missing the balance in the trebles, I just couldn't reach the high notes and combine them with the basses and even tried to play with the chin like Alexander Vynograd but that didn't work out. :) Also the D string was a second lower and then the A' string a fourth lower, it just wasn't natural to me. At the time I didn't like the idea of the high a' string that Vynograd has, thinking it would be impractical. Then after countless hours (months, years?) of research I came across Paul Galbraith's website. The Brahms guitar design seemed like the perfect solution and the fanned frets were extraordinary. After some time of consideration and pondering I asked Sever if he would be willing to build a Brahms guitar and he happily agreed to do it. It took me only a few months to adapt to the new design and I almost didn't notice the difference in playing on fanned frets. I have to mention that I also notate music in Grand staff because everything is much clearer that way, no more octave markings. :)

That's mostly it, I wouldn't switch back to six strings if you ask me. :wink:

Blkw wrote:Deep in my mind, I hope that the Octochord - far better than "Brahms" ?! - will be the XXI century guitar .


Same here, although I've come to like the name Brahms guitar. Galbraith and Rubio refered to it as such, so why not? Besides, if it does take its place as the 21st century guitar, the name Brahms will probably subside and there you have it - classical guitar. I might be wrong though. :D

Kind regards,
Slaven
Last edited by Slaven on Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

jack_cat
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Re: request Brahms gtr specs, input from extended range players

Postby jack_cat » Sat Jun 06, 2015 2:06 am

quote - "the string width at the nut is 6.1mm and 7.9mm at the bridge. "

Slaven, this seems a little unbelievable, just checking, are those really the right measurements? Your fingers must be as thin as pencils!! I had terrible difficulty trying to adapt to 7.5 at the nut and 10 at the bridge, although I did think that I would be able to achieve it if it were my only guitar, but switching back and forth with my other guitars with wider spacing proved impossible. (Perhaps if I played electric it would have been possible.) Somebody else also commented on this earlier in the thread.

I am not surprised that you found the high A too tense at 630, particularly a .028. D Addario makes strings as thin as .018 to my certain knowledge, google this -
D'Addario NYL018 Classical Guitar Rectified Nylon .018, single string

A friend of mine here has a straight-fret eight string made by Javier Pascual with a 630 scale. He is using a fluorocarbon Seaguar Fluoro Premier .405 mm string. It sounds a little bit twangy, but this may be what all high A strings are going to sound like. I have at this writing 4 instruments in the house with high A strings, a requinto at 540, my prototype nine string at 560 (with fanned frets and the low string at 680), and two straight fret seven strings at 580 millimeters (which are my wife´s instruments and which have D Addario .022 high A strings.) . . . they´re all a little twangy and require a special touch on the high A.

I am thinking about 600 mm for the high A on the next nine string, which is now on the drawing board (though when I can afford to build it is another question entirely).

It might be interesting to start a thread about high A strings - ask everybody who has one on any plucked instrument to chime in and say what the length is, what material and tension they are using, and how well they like it on a scale of 1 to 10.

Playing a guitar with a high A string, and being able to use the same guitar to play 16th c. lute music, has given me some very interesting insights in the thinking of 16th century musicians which would be much more difficult to understand if the two instruments were separate, and even more so if they were tuned to different pitches. Thinking of the high A string as "La" in the modal sense, (regardless of the actual pitch,) is one although only one of the possible mappings of the gamut onto the fingerboard, but it is the one Luis Milan chose to use for the entire first half of his book when showing the modes to beginners. In order to understand the modal system it has been necessary for me to learn to analyze and translate harmonic concepts into modern thinking in various ways while reading tablature. This is much easier on a high-A instrument which overlaps directly with the guitar. When I listen to recording of G-tuned lutes it bugs me at first to hear the Dorian mode played in C-minor! until my ears adapt and I can get clear about what I'm hearing.

I have thought a great deal in recent years about the high A string as a historical exhibit... It disappeared from the vihuela, leaving the Baroque guitar in its place, and the lute dropped its highest string first to G and then to F over the course of the seventeenth century. In light of this it is interesting to contemplate the phenomenon of the two pitch standards of the Baroque, "Choir Pitch" and "Chamber Pitch" - some Bach scores for instance have the string parts written, say, in E Major while the organ part is in D. Considering that some evidence - I am thinking of both Luis MIlan and Vicenzo Galilei, both of whom I have been studying recently for insight into the modal system - shows that there really was no fixed pitch concept among lutenists in the 16th century, I guess that at some point around the early 17th century guitar and lute players were sucked into the game of the rising pitch standard and were no longer able to acheive a high A with gut strings, perhaps not even at "Chamber Pitch", much less organ pitch. (the New Harvard Dictionary of Music has a list of historical pitches mainly from organs which go as high as about A-500 if I recall correctly). Even today, I´m sure that you could not put a gut string on your A at 630. Aquila Nylgut won't do it either. And even on my 560, I have broken an awful lot of high A strings over the two years that I have had it, of every material I could get my hands on. Right now I have a Seaguar Red Label .47mm fluorocarbon string on it and it has been there I think for a couple of weeks without breaking. Maybe its the one. It sounds pretty good. I tried a nylon DÁddario .020 just before and it broke immediately... it was the only one I had. I sanded the nut slot a little more (in case that was the reason) and moved on.

Slaven - maybe this is too radical for you, but I really like the low B on my prototype nine string, which is now the lowest string since I took the low F-sharp off and made it an eight string. The low B is now at 680 millimeters and I really like it. You might consider going a little longer on the low end than 660. If you went with 610 to 680 it would only be a 7 centimeter fan. The fan on mine is a total of 12 centimeters difference, which may be about as extreme as you can go, but it is perfectly playable after some practice. The problem is with the sound of the G and high B string on the upper frets - the intonation there is uncertain, and the frets are close enough together to be a little difficult, and so this is why I will go with a longer design next time (600 - 720 is my current drawing.) I will, however place the right-angle fret at the third fret on the next build, in order to minimize the angle at the nut and increase the angle at the bridge. (this creates a structural problem which I have a solution for on paper but have to run it by my luthier when the time comes to talk seriously.) The electric players usually put the right-angle fret up around the 7th or 9th fret.

And Slaven, bravo for using Grand Staff! Maybe you would like to play my waltzes - which I wrote out in grand staff - they are posted here --
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=79059

over and out.
The next nine string is on the way...
jack

jack_cat
Posts: 75
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:18 pm
Location: Latin America

Re: request Brahms gtr specs, input from extended range players

Postby jack_cat » Sat Jun 06, 2015 2:12 am

shub wrote: My 8 strings guitar has a fan at 610-655 mm. After a year of research on strings, I now have the perfect string set, and it sound really great. High A is a Savarez Alliance KF52.

I wrote -
"Do you have a dimension on that string? like, around .018" or .42 mm ?"

I went and looked it up - it´s a .52 fluorocarbon. I use that thickness for a high E string on my 7 string 650. Must be pretty high tension. But if it doesn't break, and you aren't complaining, why should I?

Slaven

Re: request Brahms gtr specs, input from extended range players

Postby Slaven » Mon Jun 08, 2015 7:38 pm

Well, see for yourself. :) My first eight string was 5.6 cm at the nut and 7.3 cm at the bridge and I never got used to it, but these scales work great for me!

I tried a few rectified nylons and the scratchy feeling is too much for me, I like the smooth nylon feeling under the fingernails. :) Also I think I will be trying something thicker than .018, that sounds very thin and I'm not sure I would get the sound I want from it.

I spoke with my luthier about the angle and he thinks a greater bridge angle would mess up the acoustics, although he said he would make a few measurements to be sure. Another issue with a greater angle is that the right hand would be too close to the bridge on the A string (and possibly E and B) which would require you to move the hand towards the fretboard. In terms of sound and color the trebles would then sound normal (loco, naturale) and the basses would be sul tasto all the time. But you have already covered these issues in this thread:

jack_cat wrote:
The high A and high E are still a little pinched sounding, at least so far, and because I often play the high A with right hand pinky, which is the closest to the bridge, and the bridge on the high A is really close to the sound hole, I have to keep remembering to move my hand away from the bridge and play over the sound hole. This is probably the biggest potential liability with this design - getting a nice round fat sound out of that high A string.


jack_cat wrote:
The real problem with this design is that the 45-o angle of the bridge does not transmit the sound to the top well. Perhaps this should have been obvious before, but the proof is in the build... ...It seems clear that to succeed with the extreme angle of the bridge would require a complete redesign of the soundboard bracing and the position of the soundhole. As you can see, the root of the highest string is placed very near the confluence of two braces and the soundhole, and there is very little freely vibrating top for the sound to transfer to at that point. Hence the high A string is somewhat weak.


So I might even go for 650-615 cm, if necessary.

jack_cat wrote:Maybe you would like to play my waltzes - which I wrote out in grand staff - they are posted here --
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=79059


I like your handwriting, it's very neat! :bravo: Thank you for sharing, I will try them out sometime. :)

Slaven
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