Why are 8 string classical guitars not more popular?

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
Conall
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Re: Why are 8 string classical guitars not more popular?

Post by Conall » Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:41 pm

Rasputin wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:26 pm
Conall wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:58 pm
I found that if I tune the low E 6th to C and the A 5th to G I can play the suites from the bass clef cello music directly on a 6 string guitar. In fact in doing so I have at my disposal 3 of the cello's open strings (C,G,D) and so can play the third (C major) and fifth suites (C minor) in a more faithful & effective way than a 6 string guitar tuned normally. I can even play all the internal open string pedal notes in the original scores. I have also experimented with tuning the 2nd string down to A - to gain the cello's 1st open string - and used this tuning (C,G,D,G,A,E or D) to play the famous first suite in it's original G major. The open A 2nd string allows one of the pedal passages at the end of the prelude.
Does anybody have any comments on the tuning D A E [G/G#] B [E/F#] for playing music written for the cello? I would pretend it was a tone lower, obviously. I am not sure whether it is safe to tune the D and high E strings up a whole tone, or whether they might snap or damage the guitar.
Interesting. I'm no expert on string tension but I'd worry more about tuning upwards rather than downwards. If you try it (on a cheap guitar maybe!) tell us about the result. I'd imagine the sound quality would probably be too bright especially the first string even if safe enough to do so.

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Why are 8 string classical guitars not more popular?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:04 pm

Conall wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:27 pm
:evil:
AndreiKrylov wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:31 pm
my normal guitar is 7 string, but I do play 8 string sometimes too.
For classical music (medieval, baroque etc ) it is nice.
but ..
1.if one wants to play flamenco, folk, pop - there is a problem..
rasgueados with open string and strumming chords not possible... since chords changed because of more strings...
2. also for some hands neck becoming too wide...
3. directing fingers of right hand becoming more complicated than 6 strings
4. for someone who played 6 string for years changing to 8 is often difficult new mentality exercise..

therefore it is nice instrument! but it will never be as popular as 6 string...
Yes I accept that a 7 or 8 string will not be best for music originally written for 6 stringed guitar.

Also it's possibly not great for new Spanish or flamenco influenced music that is yet to be composed either as we are so accustomed to the sound of the 6 stringed Spanish guitar for that music.

But avont-garde / modern guitar composers of today might like to explore the added sonoroties & range of an 8 string guitar.

But it's mainly Early music I would be using it for.

And I'm not afraid of the mental & physical challenge of adapting to a slightly expanded range guitar.

And yes, I accept 8 strings will never be as popular as 6 - (or classical guitar as popular as electric either). I just wish 8 string guitars were popular enough for more lutheirs & guitar manufacturers to provide a larger & more easily available choice at all price points so I can try & buy one more easily!
I like it!
I have it.
I play it.
it is nice instrument!
but....
it will never be as popular as 6 string...
what is the problem to buy it?
if one want it - he probably will find it... int't it?
I'd better speak by music...Please listen my guitar at Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.

ddray
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Re: Why are 8 string classical guitars not more popular?

Post by ddray » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:34 am

Conall wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:07 pm
ddray wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:59 pm
Conall wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:49 pm
See above for answer on that one! I'm too old to start cello for now!!
But then no matter how many strings you put on it and despite being able to play the cello suites note for note and in the original key -- the guitar isn't and never will be a cello. It seems that some people sometimes want the guitar to be things that it isn't. I think six-string transcriptions that accept the character and limitations of the guitar are preferable. Just my opinion.
Fair enough, if that's your opinion!
I guess my view is why accept the limitations of 6 strings when with just one or 2 more you can suddenly be more faithful to the music itself while keeping most of the character of the instrument?
If one doesn't care about regularly sticking bass notes at octaves different from the original often breaking melodic lines or leaving them out altogether -
what's the point in scholarship & research in a desire to find the "best" i.e. most accurate version of a "lute" work by Bach or the search for & expense of the "urtext" edition of the same work? Or why bother going back to the facsimiles to get "what Bach actually wrote / wanted?
I'm not looking to play Baroque lute or cello: I just want a guitar that can play (especially) Bach's music more convincingly than a 6 string without the extreme change of 10 or more strings. I still think 8 or even 7 strings can do this without altering my technique too radically and even for just the lute works it would be worth doing.
It all depends on what you mean by "faithful" and "convincing". It usually seems to mean "fleshing out" the work by succumbing to the temptation to throw in keyboard-ish rolling arpeggios or "filling in" implied harmonies. Or doing like Andrew York and tuning a 6-string like a cello until you're overwhelmed by the scraping noise. If you want to be *really* "faithful", play it on the original instruments at about a=415.
Bei einer andächtigen Musik ist allezeit Gott mit seiner Gnaden Gegenwart.
-- J. S. Bach

Conall
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Re: Why are 8 string classical guitars not more popular?

Post by Conall » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:06 am

ddray wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:34 am
Conall wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:07 pm
ddray wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:59 pm

But then no matter how many strings you put on it and despite being able to play the cello suites note for note and in the original key -- the guitar isn't and never will be a cello. It seems that some people sometimes want the guitar to be things that it isn't. I think six-string transcriptions that accept the character and limitations of the guitar are preferable. Just my opinion.
Fair enough, if that's your opinion!
I guess my view is why accept the limitations of 6 strings when with just one or 2 more you can suddenly be more faithful to the music itself while keeping most of the character of the instrument?
If one doesn't care about regularly sticking bass notes at octaves different from the original often breaking melodic lines or leaving them out altogether -
what's the point in scholarship & research in a desire to find the "best" i.e. most accurate version of a "lute" work by Bach or the search for & expense of the "urtext" edition of the same work? Or why bother going back to the facsimiles to get "what Bach actually wrote / wanted?
I'm not looking to play Baroque lute or cello: I just want a guitar that can play (especially) Bach's music more convincingly than a 6 string without the extreme change of 10 or more strings. I still think 8 or even 7 strings can do this without altering my technique too radically and even for just the lute works it would be worth doing.
It all depends on what you mean by "faithful" and "convincing". It usually seems to mean "fleshing out" the work by succumbing to the temptation to throw in keyboard-ish rolling arpeggios or "filling in" implied harmonies. Or doing like Andrew York and tuning a 6-string like a cello until you're overwhelmed by the scraping noise. If you want to be *really* "faithful", play it on the original instruments at about a=415.
At the danger of repeating myself...

- I tried the lute & decided it was too different from the guitar

Playing at a= 415 is no more faithful than 440. 415 is just a standard that has been adopted by Baroque specialists in order to agree on a common pitch that is less likely to damage the lighter / weaker early instruments. It is pretty certain that there was no common standard at the time and in fact some instruments such as early organs were well above a = 440!

In terms of "fleshing out" this relates to the skill or wishes of the arranger. It applies to 6 string arrangements too. It's not obligatory.

I don't know about A York's experiments but I've no interest in adopting "scraping" noise effects!

But thanks for the comments anyway!

ddray
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Re: Why are 8 string classical guitars not more popular?

Post by ddray » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:01 am

Well then I'll take a stab at a succinct answer to the original question:

Very few even know that it exists, and very few care...the same reason that the euphonium isn't more popular. Euphonium players probably just play regardless and couldn't care less about how popular it is.
Bei einer andächtigen Musik ist allezeit Gott mit seiner Gnaden Gegenwart.
-- J. S. Bach

Conall
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Re: Why are 8 string classical guitars not more popular?

Post by Conall » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:53 am

ddray wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:01 am
Well then I'll take a stab at a succinct answer to the original question:

Very few even know that it exists, and very few care...the same reason that the euphonium isn't more popular. Euphonium players probably just play regardless and couldn't care less about how popular it is.
Ha ha, I'll admit I don't know a lot about the euphonium but, while I gather it's not used much by pros (or in orchestras) it is apparently popular & useful in amateur brass bands (in the U.K. at least).

I know the 8 string guitar is not well known & popular but surely popularity in itself is not the only indicator of worth. If it was, classical guitar and classical music itself would not be respected at all & would have died by now.

I accept that the 6 string classical is long established as the norm in the classical guitar world, that it is best for music originally written for it and that the vast majority of amateur classical guitarists who find that instrument difficult enough as it is (and pros who have invested so much time to mastering it) it represents a challenge that they don't want or need.

I'm instead appealing to advanced amateur guitarists & pros who love Baroque & earlier music, who don't want to learn the Baroque or Renaissance lute / vihuela, Baroque guitar or any other early guitar like instrument & who want to play something as close to the modern guitar as possible but who have noticed that the range and difficulty of combining high positions with low bass notes on a 6 string is at least partly solved by an extra bass string or 2 -
to investigate & demand 7 & 8 string guitars from makers & suppliers, making these more easily available (at a reasonable price) for those (like me!) who do think they want one!

And yes, I know that despite living on the fringes of Europe I can probably order a £3000 + 8 string from a lutheir & travel to Sweden or somewhere to pick it up, hide it in a cheap case & try to smuggle it into the UK without customs & excise noticing (don't worry Mr Taxman, I won't I promise). But I'm not yet willing to invest a large amount of money on something I'm not yet 100% sure I'm going to use extensively. I'm considering asking a local amateur lutheir to make me one (but I'm not sure he's that willing) or I may have to order the only cheap model I can see on the internet..
https://www.t h o m a n n.de/gb/t h o m a n n_class ... string.htm

I am interested to hear from those who have bought & tried any 8 (& 7) string guitar for the purposes of playing early music. What are their feelings on whether it is worth the effort in order to play from original sources / better transcriptions? Maybe I need to start a new topic / thread.....

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joachim33
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Re: Why are 8 string classical guitars not more popular?

Post by joachim33 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:04 am

Conall wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:53 am

And yes, I know that despite living on the fringes of Europe I can probably order a £3000 + 8 string from a lutheir & travel to Sweden or somewhere to pick it up, hide it in a cheap case & try to smuggle it into the UK without customs & excise noticing (don't worry Mr Taxman, I won't I promise). But I'm not yet willing to invest a large amount of money on something I'm not yet 100% sure I'm going to use extensively. I'm considering asking a local amateur lutheir to make me one (but I'm not sure he's that willing) or I may have to order the only cheap model I can see on the internet..
https://www.t h o m a n n.de/gb/t h o m a n n_classica_fusion_8_string.htm
My understanding is, as long as Britain is in the EU, you can buy things for personal use anywhere in the EU and pay the local taxes (e.g Swedish moms) and that's it. No smuggling involved. British customs were notorious in the late 90ies (when I moved there) for not obeying this rule e.g. in Channel ports. You could hear a lot about it in the news/radio back then. But please confirm in dependently that my understanding is correct and do not rely on me.

t h o m a n n is in Germany, they are shipping from Germany. After Brexit this will be more difficult for them to do.

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prawnheed
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Re: Why are 8 string classical guitars not more popular?

Post by prawnheed » Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:49 am

joachim33 wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:04 am
Conall wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:53 am

And yes, I know that despite living on the fringes of Europe I can probably order a £3000 + 8 string from a lutheir & travel to Sweden or somewhere to pick it up, hide it in a cheap case & try to smuggle it into the UK without customs & excise noticing (don't worry Mr Taxman, I won't I promise). But I'm not yet willing to invest a large amount of money on something I'm not yet 100% sure I'm going to use extensively. I'm considering asking a local amateur lutheir to make me one (but I'm not sure he's that willing) or I may have to order the only cheap model I can see on the internet..
https://www.t h o m a n n.de/gb/t h o m a n n_classica_fusion_8_string.htm
My understanding is, as long as Britain is in the EU, you can buy things for personal use anywhere in the EU and pay the local taxes (e.g Swedish moms) and that's it. No smuggling involved. British customs were notorious in the late 90ies (when I moved there) for not obeying this rule e.g. in Channel ports. You could hear a lot about it in the news/radio back then. But please confirm in dependently that my understanding is correct and do not rely on me.

t h o m a n n is in Germany, they are shipping from Germany. After Brexit this will be more difficult for them to do.
This is correct. There are some exceptions for things like alcohol and tobacco which have an "excise" duty that has to be paid to the importing state and for vehicles which have special regulations. Apart from those, the whole point of the customs union is that there is no customs duty within the EU and there are no limits on what personal effects can be moved between states. You can also buy on line with no issues (although for certain goods where there are differences in VAT rates between the buying and selling states there are rules for the seller as to which rate they should apply).

Conall
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Re: Why are 8 string classical guitars not more popular?

Post by Conall » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:23 pm

joachim33 wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:04 am
Conall wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:53 am

And yes, I know that despite living on the fringes of Europe I can probably order a £3000 + 8 string from a lutheir & travel to Sweden or somewhere to pick it up, hide it in a cheap case & try to smuggle it into the UK without customs & excise noticing (don't worry Mr Taxman, I won't I promise). But I'm not yet willing to invest a large amount of money on something I'm not yet 100% sure I'm going to use extensively. I'm considering asking a local amateur lutheir to make me one (but I'm not sure he's that willing) or I may have to order the only cheap model I can see on the internet..
https://www.t h o m a n n.de/gb/t h o m a n n_classica_fusion_8_string.htm
My understanding is, as long as Britain is in the EU, you can buy things for personal use anywhere in the EU and pay the local taxes (e.g Swedish moms) and that's it. No smuggling involved. British customs were notorious in the late 90ies (when I moved there) for not obeying this rule e.g. in Channel ports. You could hear a lot about it in the news/radio back then. But please confirm in dependently that my understanding is correct and do not rely on me.

t h o m a n n is in Germany, they are shipping from Germany. After Brexit this will be more difficult for them to do.
Ah yes, silly me. I must have been thinking of importation from China / U.S. etc. Bloody Brexit might well affect buying from the EU in the future dammit but not much I can do about that!

If I can't find a 2nd hand 8 string in the UK for about £500 or get my amateur lutheir to make me one for a similar price I'll maybe have to risk buying the above model from Germany. Still hoping somebody here can tell me if that particular model is at all adequate to start on. I'd tolerate a low-end solid top Admira equivalent sound & workmanship (such as the Admira Malaga or Sevilla) but I'd hate to order it & found it sounded like a terrible laminated top beginner guitar with the resonance & workmanship of a cardboard box! If I got on well with it I'd then save up & buy a decent 8 string in the £ thousands.

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Andrew Fryer
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Re: Why are 8 string classical guitars not more popular?

Post by Andrew Fryer » Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:00 pm

You'd have to find music for an 8-string?
I don't know the ins and outs, but if I wanted to buy another instrument with more strings, I think I'd go for a lute instead, music for it pre-existing.
Is it like 5- and 6-string basses, they too gather dust?
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.

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David Norton
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Re: Why are 8 string classical guitars not more popular?

Post by David Norton » Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:22 pm

Conall wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:53 am

I am interested to hear from those who have bought & tried any 8 (& 7) string guitar for the purposes of playing early music. What are their feelings on whether it is worth the effort in order to play from original sources / better transcriptions? Maybe I need to start a new topic / thread.....
This, I can maybe assist with.

I decided early on that I wasn't a fan of playing the lute, what with its rounded back and moving tie-on frets and doubled strings at low tension and such, but I very much like the music. Currently I have a 625mm 8-string, built for me by Joseph Redman (Delcamp "hanredman"). This one is specifically dedicated as a legacy gift to to my 2nd grandson, Alexander; his name and 2015 birthdate are printed on the label. The 625mm scale is intended to allow both renaissance and classical/romantic music to be played on it.

I tune the basses as 7=B, and 8=D. This is inverted from the "correct" 8-course lute pattern of 7=D and 8=B (in guitar pitch terms, not lute pitch!) but works best for fretting the 7th string; I only play #8 as an open string and never have reason to fret it.

The shorter scale helps with some of the stretches required by the music; I think some of those composers either had small lutes or huge hands. There are many modern lutes with 620 or 630 scales, so my 625 is right in line with these. The machine heads also make switching between 3=G or 3=F# tuning very easy to alter. I play from either the lute tablature or from modern notation, either one is fine. I tend to prefer the notation because I can see the chordal harmonies and lines better, but the tablature takes up much less space per piece. So it's trade-offs.

The eight-string is certainly louder than most lutes, the modern guitar fan bracing provides more horsepower than the ladder braced lute with low tension gut strings.

Bottom line: for me, the 8-string is "the best option" for playing renaissance lute music without dealing with the idiosyncrasies of a true lute.
David Norton
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Rasputin
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Re: Why are 8 string classical guitars not more popular?

Post by Rasputin » Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:27 pm

Conall wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:23 pm
If I can't find a 2nd hand 8 string in the UK for about £500 or get my amateur lutheir to make me one for a similar price I'll maybe have to risk buying the above model from Germany. Still hoping somebody here can tell me if that particular model is at all adequate to start on. I'd tolerate a low-end solid top Admira equivalent sound & workmanship (such as the Admira Malaga or Sevilla) but I'd hate to order it & found it sounded like a terrible laminated top beginner guitar with the resonance & workmanship of a cardboard box! If I got on well with it I'd then save up & buy a decent 8 string in the £ thousands.
Check the website for details, but I think you'll find you have a statutory right of withdrawal plus a contractual money-back guarantee. The statutory right is only good for 14 days but I think they pay the shipping and there is very limited scope for them to refuse on the grounds that the instrument is no longer pristine. The contractual one is good for 30 days but you have to pay the shipping and there may be more scope for them to refuse if there are playing marks. I have bought a few things from them and would expect them to be reasonable.

Conall
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Re: Why are 8 string classical guitars not more popular?

Post by Conall » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:13 pm

David Norton wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:22 pm
Conall wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:53 am

I am interested to hear from those who have bought & tried any 8 (& 7) string guitar for the purposes of playing early music. What are their feelings on whether it is worth the effort in order to play from original sources / better transcriptions? Maybe I need to start a new topic / thread.....
This, I can maybe assist with.

I decided early on that I wasn't a fan of playing the lute, what with its rounded back and moving tie-on frets and doubled strings at low tension and such, but I very much like the music. Currently I have a 625mm 8-string, built for me by Joseph Redman (Delcamp "hanredman"). This one is specifically dedicated as a legacy gift to to my 2nd grandson, Alexander; his name and 2015 birthdate are printed on the label. The 625mm scale is intended to allow both renaissance and classical/romantic music to be played on it.

I tune the basses as 7=B, and 8=D. This is inverted from the "correct" 8-course lute pattern of 7=D and 8=B (in guitar pitch terms, not lute pitch!) but works best for fretting the 7th string; I only play #8 as an open string and never have reason to fret it.

The shorter scale helps with some of the stretches required by the music; I think some of those composers either had small lutes or huge hands. There are many modern lutes with 620 or 630 scales, so my 625 is right in line with these. The machine heads also make switching between 3=G or 3=F# tuning very easy to alter. I play from either the lute tablature or from modern notation, either one is fine. I tend to prefer the notation because I can see the chordal harmonies and lines better, but the tablature takes up much less space per piece. So it's trade-offs.

The eight-string is certainly louder than most lutes, the modern guitar fan bracing provides more horsepower than the ladder braced lute with low tension gut strings.

Bottom line: for me, the 8-string is "the best option" for playing renaissance lute music without dealing with the idiosyncrasies of a true lute.
Thanks for that David.

Any chance you could post a few pictures of your interesting sounding guitar?

Yes, I too have a bit of a problem with the same idiosyncrasies of the lute yet, like you, I'd like to read & play from the original sources where possible when playing early music. I figure that 8 strings are just about enough to be able to do that reasonably faithfully without having to adapt my right hand technique to the many extra strings / large span of 10+ strings.

I have yet to decide the tuning I will use most often but provided the guitar can cope with it I hope to vary it as needed. I would like to start with low C on the 8th or 7th so I can play the Bach cello suites at their original pitches (as I can almost do on the 6 string now but with better aural results).

I'll then try lute tuning / yours for Dowland etc.

In an ideal world I'd have loads of guitars tuned / strung differently but I have a hard enough time stopping my wife chucking out my less often used guitars as it is!

Conall
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Re: Why are 8 string classical guitars not more popular?

Post by Conall » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:16 pm

Rasputin wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:27 pm
Conall wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:23 pm
If I can't find a 2nd hand 8 string in the UK for about £500 or get my amateur lutheir to make me one for a similar price I'll maybe have to risk buying the above model from Germany. Still hoping somebody here can tell me if that particular model is at all adequate to start on. I'd tolerate a low-end solid top Admira equivalent sound & workmanship (such as the Admira Malaga or Sevilla) but I'd hate to order it & found it sounded like a terrible laminated top beginner guitar with the resonance & workmanship of a cardboard box! If I got on well with it I'd then save up & buy a decent 8 string in the £ thousands.

Check the website for details, but I think you'll find you have a statutory right of withdrawal plus a contractual money-back guarantee. The statutory right is only good for 14 days but I think they pay the shipping and there is very limited scope for them to refuse on the grounds that the instrument is no longer pristine. The contractual one is good for 30 days but you have to pay the shipping and there may be more scope for them to refuse if there are playing marks. I have bought a few things from them and would expect them to be reasonable.
Yes thanks Rasputin, I will consider buying from t h o m a n n if I haven't found a better specified 8 string locally / nationally.

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David Norton
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Re: Why are 8 string classical guitars not more popular?

Post by David Norton » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:37 pm

Conall wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:13 pm

Thanks for that David.

Any chance you could post a few pictures of your interesting sounding guitar?
Here's a YT I did last year, playing music of Vicenzo Capirola.

[media]https://youtu.be/CD_yBBTvS0s[/media]
David Norton
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