Thanks, James. This is a good point... that the appropriate nut angle might vary for different players and how each one holds the guitar.James Lister wrote: I think it's probably quite important to get the nut angle right - and the best angle is likely to vary depending on how you are holding the guitar (traditional or upright), so you probably need to be sure about this before fixing the spec.
Ah, that's a beautiful Alto, Lance. That's quite the extended armrest you have on it - would you like to comment on that? Have you build many of these?Lance Litchfield wrote:I can't help you with a Brahms guitar, but I did make this Alto recently. If you were anywhere near Musikmesse the owner will have it on display this year. It worked very well regarding tuning I believe. If you want to ask general questions about multi string guitars email my 10 and 11 string representative Peter Mony of Laudarra guitars
He has experience with a range of these kinds of instruments...I don't know much about fan fretted guitars but I can't imagine it would make tuning easier if that is something you are focused on. Normally my impression is that these guitars are set up fairly low which makes tuning a little simpler, as opposed to active instruments with high action in the classical world. I could be wrong here...
I've been thinking about this, and even your "minimum" spread of 58cm to 68cm is a pretty big fan. I have come across one guitar with this much spread (albeit on a slightly longer scale, which makes the fan angle a bit less). It looks pretty extreme, with the nut and saddle angles looking something like 30 and 40 degrees respectively. You'd want to be sure that you could play an instrument like that comfortably before commissioning one!jack_cat wrote: After the fanned fret issue, there are the minimum and maximum string lengths to decide on, which is a matter of the string technology.
A high "A" 440 is easy at about 54 centimeters and becomes impossible at more than about 58 cm, and the low B would be very nice and fat sounding at about 68 or 70 cm, and both of these parameters need to be adjusted towards each other as much as possible to minimize the fanning of the frets, and this is something that so far I am basically guessing at
jack_cat wrote:Ah, that's a beautiful Alto, Lance. That's quite the extended armrest you have on it - would you like to comment on that? Have you build many of these?
What is the string length and how are you tuning it? And what string are you using for the highest pitched string (an A 440?) - that is, brand and material of the string?
Is there now a standard tuning for Altos or is it everybody's personal choice?
Re tuning - six or more non-linear tuning systems sided by side stretched on the procrustean bed of the frets - and then stretch it out in a fan - I would want some extra material in the saddle and nut so as to have something to cut on to make adjustments - and yes, as my consciousness about tuning has gradually increased over the years, I finally did realize that the higher the action, the more unpredictability due to the stretching of the strings, and so I have brought the action down on my guitars to about 3.3 mm at the 12th and now play more softly... in about 1973 the first thing my first teacher said to me was, "you're going to have to play louder than that if you're going to be heard in the back of a concert hall," and that sent me off on a path of many years of pounding on the guitar with super rest strokes and raising my actions up to almost 4 mm ... glad I finally got over that.
Absolutely. Deciding where to place the "perpendicular to the centre of the line of the fingerboard" fret in relations to the scale lengths is one of the elements that should be carefully considered. There are quite a few considerations that need to be pondered when building a multi-scale instruments... really slotting the board is the simple part.James Lister wrote:Jeremy - just to clarify, the "parallel fret" is the one fret that is actually perpendicular to the centre line of the fingerboard? So the further up the fretboard the "parallel" fret is, the larger the angle at the nut, and hence the smaller the angle at the saddle.
Thanks for that... so could you please continue to elaborate on the, er, less simple parts? Grateful for all info, thanks. Jack.Jeremy Clark wrote:There are quite a few considerations that need to be pondered when building a multi-scale instrument... really slotting the board is the simple part.
Right... I am still shooting in the dark and it is clear that I will have to start actually drawing some full-scale patterns for myself in order to get clear on realistic measurements. Then maybe paste them onto a guitar and sit and stare at the thing for a while. (To be clear, I am not going to build this myself.)James Lister wrote: I've been thinking about this, and even your "minimum" spread of 58cm to 68cm is a pretty big fan. I have come across one guitar with this much spread (albeit on a slightly longer scale, which makes the fan angle a bit less). It looks pretty extreme, with the nut and saddle angles looking something like 30 and 40 degrees respectively. You'd want to be sure that you could play an instrument like that comfortably before commissioning one!
Thanks for the pic, Micfik! That's one very interesting instrument, a little like one of Picasso's guitars! As far as the angle of the fan, though, it seems fairly conservative compared to others I have seen photos of. Is this your main axe? How do you like playing on that angle? Interesting that you can get the Saverez .47 up to an "A" at 630mm - I was pretty sure that I tried this with a Seaguar .47mm string and it broke, but I will do the experiment again, and will test it at 615, too. I did a bunch of string tests a year and a half or so ago, but it's possible my memory is confused, so I will dig out my notes and check it all again.mikfik wrote:Here is how I did it. Fan= 1st string - 630mm, 6th string - 670mm. I can tune the 1st string to high a with a Saverez .47mm (.0185inch) carbon string (available as a single string at "Strings by Mail") but I prefer to keep my 1st string as a normal high e. If I were to build for Paul Galbraith's tuning I would go with a 615mm for the 1st string.
Moreover, did you ever try a requinto, or a terz-guitar ? Didn't you ever think it would be nicer upon an ordinary guitar with a capo , or even in position, yet more difficult ?"As to the all-important question of stringing, I use as thick a nylon 1st string as possible, as it simply sounds & feels better. If it gets too tense, or threatens to break, then I tune everything down.
In fact, I tune the whole guitar down a tone these days, and it's working very well for me - with thicker strings