10 String Guitar

Discussion of all aspects of multi-string guitars, namely those with 7 or more strings.
User avatar
attila57
Posts: 407
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:46 am
Location: Budapest, Hungary

Re: 10 String Guitar

Post by attila57 » Fri Sep 30, 2016 6:42 pm

Hi, are you still interested in talking about 10-string guitars?
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8

User avatar
HNLim
Posts: 2553
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:02 am
Location: Singapore - The City in a Garden

Re: 10 String Guitar

Post by HNLim » Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:16 pm

attila57 wrote:Hi, are you still interested in talking about 10-string guitars?
Isn't this is what this thread is meant for?
1980 Yamaha GC30A - BRW/Spruce
2006 Yamaha GC70 - BRW/ Spruce
2015 Sen #5 - BRW/Spruce
2017 LHN - BRW/Spruce

soltirefa
Posts: 1996
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:59 am
Location: Southern California

Re: 10 String Guitar

Post by soltirefa » Fri Sep 30, 2016 9:04 pm

In the spirit of keeping this thread and section alive ...

I have mentioned this before, but I have my 10-string tuned up a whole step to F#. So it's like the Romantic tuning up a whole step. I love it. It sounds very balanced like this and it functions mostly like an altoguitar for the pieces I play. I happen to have it tuned to play in B major, too. I play three pieces in B major (originally D major) and one in E major. The piece in E major does not need the 10th string A# (really B# with my tuning up a whole step), so it works great.

I put together a custom set of strings to accommodate the tuning up to F#. It turns out that the D'Addario light tension J43 strings 1-3 work perfectly for strings 1-3 up to F#, C#, and G# (I have my 3rd string tuned down to the equivalent of F#). The rest of the J43 set for strings 4-6 are a bit too high in tension for me, although they would work if you like really tight strings. For those and the extra basses I used strings sold individually.

User avatar
attila57
Posts: 407
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:46 am
Location: Budapest, Hungary

Re: 10 String Guitar

Post by attila57 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:17 pm

Hi, you all,

I think we must have a good reason for having so many strings. On a 10-string guitar I wouldn't play music that is perfectly playable on 6 strings. What about you?

Some guitarists who own multistring instruments simply extend their normal tonal range by adding an occasional bass an octave lower. Some others just use the added resonance of the extra strings. That's OK, but I think the 10-string guitar deserves much more than that! I think it needs its own characteristic music and its own special technique, making use of the greatly increased possibilities.
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8

User avatar
David Norton
Posts: 4506
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:12 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Re: 10 String Guitar

Post by David Norton » Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:47 pm

attila57 wrote:Hi, you all,

I think we must have a good reason for having so many strings. On a 10-string guitar I wouldn't play music that is perfectly playable on 6 strings. What about you?
And here is the key point. The "good reason for having so many strings" envisioned by Narciso Yepes half-a-century ago was that the extra 4 basses would provide sympathetic resonance to the music being performed on the primary 6 strings. The initial concept was not so much to actually PLAY the lower four, as to have them vibrate sympathetically with the rest of the instrument and thereby create a better, more balanced background. Think of this as a sort of "sustain pedal" idea for the guitar.

In this light, it is worth noting that Yepes' first LP using his 10-string was a collection of 24 studies by Fernando Sor. By using a special design of half-capo (cejilla) covering just the main strings, he was able to convincing play in all 12 key centers, though not 12 major and 12 minor. So here is absolute proof that the initial concept did not involve plucking the lower 4 at all. (NOTE: A downside of this is that, unless listened to via headphones, it is difficult to really hear the overtone resonance of the extra strings on this LP. The player hears them fine, but they do not carry far into the audience).

Of course, in very little time, he started playing the lower 4 anyway. There is a good YT video of him doing the Prelude/Fugue and Bourree from Bach BWV 996, where he is plucking and fretting the 7th string, tuned to B in this case. And in the fullness of time, he reached the point of being able to pluck and even fret strings 8-9-10 on occasion.

Many people felt the Yepes tuning scheme was ineffective, and so have adapted a sort of quasi-lute tuning of ABCD for these low strings. This can work well for certain pieces, but to my ears it creates an imbalanced sound with too much of a compounded A/E/D overtone series going on. Again, this is not really so audible to an audience as it is to the performer.

A key element of the success/failure of the Yepes tuning is the quality of the instrument used, and the scale length. I have owned 3 Tamura 10-strings, and the one I currently possess has a really good resonance in this tuning. It's a 660 scale, so a bit of a beast to play laterally. The other 2 Tamuras were not so good. I owned a 640mm 10-string for a while, and it just did not generate much resonance at all. A very well made guitar, but it didn't do what I'd hoped it would do in that tuning (it would probably be superb in ABCD tuning). I've also owned two 650 sized 10-strings; neither was a particularly well-made instrument so we'll leave it at that.

There's a video on The 10 String Channel on YT of the South African guitarist Viktor Van Niekirk performing in a very large hall on his 664mm size Ramirez. This is a close sister to Yepes' own instrument. The video is done through a phone camera, but the sound and evident horsepower of the guitar are excellent. This supports Van Niekirk's oft-stated dicta that a long scale length, very high action, and a world-class builder are all needed to "make it work right". It certainly works well for him.
David Norton
Salt Lake City, UT
First person to complete the Delcamp "Let's Learn Sor's Opus 60" project

User avatar
attila57
Posts: 407
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:46 am
Location: Budapest, Hungary

Re: 10 String Guitar

Post by attila57 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:23 pm

Hi David,
That's interesting. I know that the whole point of the Yepes tuning is the balanced resonance, but I still feel the urge to play the lower strings, too. In fact, I play my 10-string instrument as if it were a 7-string guitar with 3 additional strings. I use more or less evenly the top 7 strings and the lower ones are used a bit like lute basses, and I often tune them up or down a half or a full step, depending on the piece, and the required tuning. Also, I always use a re-entrant tuning, the lowest 3 strings are higher than the 7th. I have good reasons for that. First, I like to have a fourth or fifth interval between the 6th and the 7th strings. This way I can play the instrument the same way as if it were a 6-string guitar, using and fretting the 7th string freely. The 7th can easily be reached in any position. The 8th, 9th and 10th strings are too far to fret them easily, so I use them as diatonic basses, usually merely plucking them when there would be an awkward 7-string grip configuration. Second, if I used all the basses, including the 7th string, lute fashion all the way down diatonically, than some accidentals would be difficult to play. Fretting a C# on a C 10th string is difficult, but fretting the same C# on C 7th string is easy. So I keep the 7th string as the lowest one, and whenever I have a difficult accidental in the bass, I fret it on the 7th string.
This may sound a bit complicated, but just try it; a good re-entrant tuning can solve many technical problems, giving you more possibilities than you would have with a stepwise tuning.
Attila
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8

User avatar
bear
Posts: 4014
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:55 pm
Location: Massachusetts

Re: 10 String Guitar

Post by bear » Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:23 pm

2013 Jeff Medlin '37 Hauser 640mm sp
2006 Michele Della Giustina Concert 10 string 650mm ce
2005 Jose Ramirez 4E 650mm ce
2005 Manuel Rodriguez Model C3F 650mm sp
2003 Manuel Rodriguez Model D 650mm ce

User avatar
David Norton
Posts: 4506
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:12 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Re: 10 String Guitar

Post by David Norton » Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:16 pm

^ ^ ^ ^

That's Viktor Van Niekirk's YT channel. He's very knowledgeable about the 10-string, although he is unwilling to accept players who are using anything other than the Yepes' tuning scheme. Viktor used to be a Delcamp member several years ago. I've learned quite a lot from viewing his channel. He used to have a Facebook site as well, but that is no longer active.
David Norton
Salt Lake City, UT
First person to complete the Delcamp "Let's Learn Sor's Opus 60" project

User avatar
HNLim
Posts: 2553
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:02 am
Location: Singapore - The City in a Garden

Re: 10 String Guitar

Post by HNLim » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:27 pm

isaacfe wrote:It is my opinion that 10-13 strings guitars are not very appealing aesthetically. The fingerboard relation to the body is a bit peculiar. The guitar is fat. I prefer the look of a multistring guitar with floating bass strings above the fretboard.

This is how I overcome the very thick and heavy neck/fingerboard on my almost completed 14-string harp guitar. I am just waiting for the strings to arrive, confirm the hole size on the tie-block, mount the nuts, tuning machine and sharping levers. Can't wait to hear how it is going to sound.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
1980 Yamaha GC30A - BRW/Spruce
2006 Yamaha GC70 - BRW/ Spruce
2015 Sen #5 - BRW/Spruce
2017 LHN - BRW/Spruce

tkoehler1
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 4:42 am

Re: 10 String Guitar

Post by tkoehler1 » Mon May 29, 2017 11:35 pm

attila57 wrote:
Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:23 pm
I play my 10-string instrument as if it were a 7-string guitar with 3 additional strings. I use more or less evenly the top 7 strings and the lower ones are used a bit like lute basses, and I often tune them up or down a half or a full step, depending on the piece, and the required tuning. Also, I always use a re-entrant tuning, the lowest 3 strings are higher than the 7th.


Hi Atilla, this sounds like a good idea. So how is your 10 string tuned right now?

Thanks,

TK

User avatar
attila57
Posts: 407
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:46 am
Location: Budapest, Hungary

Re: 10 String Guitar

Post by attila57 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:30 pm

tkoehler1 wrote:
Mon May 29, 2017 11:35 pm

Hi Atilla, this sounds like a good idea. So how is your 10 string tuned right now?

Thanks,

TK
Hi tkoehler,

I mainly play Baroque lute music on my 10-string guitar. I invented a set of tunings which are suitable to play the original 13-course lute stuff with the least modification. With a little alteration even the original lute tab can be used, too. You can use the same set of strings for these tunings.

The key point in these tunings is that the omitted strings (compared to the 13-course configuration) won't make it impossible to play the piece. Also, the re-entrant strings make it possible to use them open when most often needed in certain keys, and still be able to reach the lower bass string to finger
it when the open bass string is missing.

I can give you more info and post some tabs if you are interested.

Attila
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy...

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 8

decacorde
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:54 pm

Re: 10 String Guitar

Post by decacorde » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:01 pm

I decided to take the plunge into 10-string realm after a long time playing my 7-string guitar. My first 10-string guitar built by a local luthier will be completed next month. I intend to try first with Modern tuning and after a while I will try with Baroque/Romantic tuning to see which is suitable to my playing. I hope this thread will be kept alive so as I can learn from your experience.

hanredman
Posts: 415
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:00 am
Location: Abingdon Virginia USA

Re: 10 String Guitar

Post by hanredman » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:26 pm

David Norton wrote:
Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:16 pm
^ ^ ^ ^

That's Viktor Van Niekirk's YT channel. He's very knowledgeable about the 10-string, although he is unwilling to accept players who are using anything other than the Yepes' tuning scheme. Viktor used to be a Delcamp member several years ago. I've learned quite a lot from viewing his channel. He used to have a Facebook site as well, but that is no longer active.
I would regard David as very knowledgeable regarding the 10-string, despite his best efforts to divert attention from his considerable attributes. Don't for one moment be fooled by his modesty. If you search "10-string" on this forum, you will find numerous posts on 10-string guitars from this self proclaimed layman.........!!!
Joseph Redman
Amateur Guitar Builder

2lost2find
Posts: 365
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:04 am

Re: 10 String Guitar

Post by 2lost2find » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:38 pm

I'm on the side of the fence that says the best way to use a 10 string guitar is to do things you can't do on a six string. My lady and I are looking at buying ten string guitars (well, I've decided to and she's on the fence) and I've already devised the tuning I'm going to use: high to low E B G D A E D C G (reentrant) F (reentrant). The purpose is to come a little closer to being able to get any bass note I want no matter my position on the neck.

decacorde
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:54 pm

Re: 10 String Guitar

Post by decacorde » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:39 pm

2lost2find wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:38 pm
I'm on the side of the fence that says the best way to use a 10 string guitar is to do things you can't do on a six string. My lady and I are looking at buying ten string guitars (well, I've decided to and she's on the fence) and I've already devised the tuning I'm going to use: high to low E B G D A E D C G (reentrant) F (reentrant). The purpose is to come a little closer to being able to get any bass note I want no matter my position on the neck.
I agree with you on extended bass notes. And extended treble notes also. My 10-string is custom-built to my specs with 24 frets and cutaway body. I'm play a 7-stringer and feel limited when transcribing some piano pieces for guitar. With the new guitar, I will play only 7 string for a while to accustom myself to the instrument. After that I begin eperimenting with those bass tuning.

Return to “Multi-string Classical Guitars”