Six-Course Baroque Guitar/Vihuela

Discussion of all aspects of early instruments, lutes, theorbos, vihuelas, Renaissance guitars and Baroque guitars.
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Six-Course Baroque Guitar/Vihuela

Post by Sobers » Fri Jun 20, 2008 7:44 pm

Is anyone playing a Six-Course Baroque Guitar or Vihuela that has twelve nylon strings?
Can anyone explain the making, strings, tuning and other experiments (or traditional forms) of the instrument?
Is it actually Six-Course Lute or Vihuela or Six-Course Viola da Mano?
Six-Course or Six double Course?
I found links like [Mod note: replaces earlier link] ... 01454.html
Please add more links if you have any more information regarding this instrument.

I saw your video in youtube playing a six course baroque guitar.
Can you explain the making, any special attentions you have taken and specially the arrangement of strings?
Congratulations for studying this rare species of Guitar and thanks in advance.

Last edited by GeoffB on Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Link updated


Re: Six-Course Baroque Guitar/Vihuela

Post by Azalais » Sat Jun 21, 2008 2:16 am

Sobers wrote:Can anyone explain the making, strings, tuning and other experiments (or traditional forms) of the instrument?
Is it actually Six-Course Lute or Vihuela or Six-Course Viola da Mano?
Six-Course or Six double Course?
Sobers, you have asked a very interesting question that is the subject of intense on-going research. The geo-political and musical distribution of these instruments and the music written for them, and the language variations used to describe them may have blurred the exact history of this family of instruments.... so STAY TUNED! The lines of demarcation between renaissance lutes, renaissance guitars, vihuelas, "violas", viola da manos, (and a bit later baroque guitar), may be less clear than was once thought. Here is a very interesting article by John Griffiths that might interest you: ... _print.php Griffiths has done some excellent research and has published a number of articles and books on the subject including this one: ... 3NYI_NdPCU

There is a new forum member named RobMac who has a wonderful website devoted to these instruments. Luthval has also played and recorded on instruments of this type, and some excellent videos. Michael.N also builds them and I'm sure they can all help answer your questions.

My own curiosity (and very modest research) led to some hands-on experiments... Asking about that Youtube video forced me to dig up some of my own embarrassing "ancient history" :oops: I built that amateur 6-course prototype three years ago (and recorded the sound sample and three years ago too :oops: :oops: )... (You can see the photos here: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1403&st=0&sk=t&sd=a ) The tuning of that one is like a typical baroque guitar, plus an extra 6th course (also in octaves) It is the same tuning as a modern 12-string guitar.

Nine months ago I finally found a much nicer (and MUCH LIGHTER) professionally built vihuela in E (680mm scale) that I now try to play. It is of such a high level that I have abandoned my own early attempts at building!! I am still very embarrassed by my attempts to play it too... but I do love it! :grire: You can see me try to play it (with a capo when I first received it) and some photos of it here: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=24201&st=0&sk=t&sd=a#p232180 [I am even more depressed by my inability to play it as well as I should by NOW than when first received it... :cry: ] I have been experimenting with different types of strings (all gut, and various combinations of carbon and metal wound), and have been attempting to rework my RH approach to play using the "thumb under" lute technique. I've become even more of a frustrated perfectionist, and am very depressed by my lack of progress to date... :cry: )

There is so much beautiful music written for these wonderful instruments... and I want to play ALL!

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Re: Six-Course Baroque Guitar/Vihuela

Post by GeoffB » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:48 pm

Hi rondowe, welcome to the forum and thanks for the update, which I've now made in the original post. Could I invite you to introduce yourself here?

Classical Guitar Forum.

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Re: Six-Course Baroque Guitar/Vihuela

Post by RobMacKillop » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:56 pm

A very old thread!

Both Sor and Aguado are thought to have started their musical lives playing a 6c guitar. I've played one by Pages, one of the best luthier's of the day. Magnificent instrument!

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Re: Six-Course Baroque Guitar/Vihuela

Post by Seter » Wed Aug 15, 2018 3:38 pm

As a fan of 12 string steel string guitars as well as mandolin family instruments, I would love to play a 12 string classical guitar.

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