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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ready For A 27 String Guitar?

Here's a video of Keith Medley, a master guitar builder who also happens to be a great player. In it he's featured playing one of his creations - a 27 string guitar. While this seems over the top, there's actually some sense to all the strings. According to Keith,
"27 strings were chosen not to have more strings than everyone else (as has been implied) but because I felt that was what a guitar note scale range stood. The highest note on the 27 string was the same note as the highest note on the smallest string on most of my guitars. It was a “b” note. The lowest note on the 27 String was an octave lower that a ‘dropped D’ on a guitar. And, the intention for the 34 string is to fill in the note gaps in the 27 string to carry the notes from an high ‘e’ to a low ‘E’. (again, not to be as pretentious to do it out of having more strings but to make a set of tones available.)"
Medley got the idea for a multi-neck guitar in the 70s, but later refined his idea after hearing Michael Hedges:
"…the more I thought about it the more discouraged about it I became; I mean come on, you can only play one neck at a time. The idea faded; or so I thought. I found myself still tinkering with sketches of it when that picture of Michael Hedges found its way to my eyes. As soon as it did it was like I got smacked in the face; my heart started racing and immediately saw the direction the drawing needed to go in. I wanted to simply extend the strings placements on both sides of a regular guitar so as to continue the scale note patterns and keep some music in the air without dead spots musically (if that makes sense)."
27 strings sounds impressive, but believe it or not, Keith didn’t create the guitar with the most strings. In 1984, Linda Manzer and Pat Metheny created a 42-string guitar called the Pikasso.

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