Extended Range Guitars
July 25, 2012 6:41 PM   Subscribe

There comes a time in the musical lives of some guitar players when six strings just won't get the job done. They need seven. Or eight. Or nine. Or ten. Or eleven. Or twelve. Or eighteen.

And in the interest of giving the bass player some, here is John Patitucci giving his 6-string bass a workout on "Giant Steps".
posted by Egg Shen (27 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Or maybe you only three, or one.
posted by 445supermag at 6:56 PM on July 25, 2012 [5 favorites]

Or perhaps 42?
posted by Doleful Creature at 7:00 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not to derail, but that Seasick Steve clip is just hot. Thanks.
posted by lumpenprole at 7:02 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I once learned to play four piccolos at the same time. Mastering that fourth piccolo was especially difficult, and actually somewhat painful.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:11 PM on July 25, 2012

The eighteen-stringer is double tracked. Notice how the bass continues when he begins the solo on the bottom 12, nowhere near the bass strings.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 7:12 PM on July 25, 2012

Ha! When I saw the link to "eight" I just knew it was going to be Tosin. That guy is amazing. I've really been enjoying his band Animals as Leaders, particularly the song CAFO.
posted by saladin at 7:16 PM on July 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

A lot of that metal stuff (other than Jeff Loomis, who's amazing, and the 8-string guy) seems pretty uninteresting to me, I must say. It's just regular sounding metal with the low riffs an octave lower. Very few of those clips seemed to demonstrate a unique and interesting use of the extra strings.

That fellow on the 12 string bass was also pretty disappointing. What he played sounded like someone playing a Chapman Stick badly.

On the other hand, Stephan Schmidt's arrangements of Bach's works for lute onto 10-string classical guitar revolutionised my understanding of those works. I rarely bother listening to any other version.
posted by monolith at 7:19 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Here's a local busker from Asheville named Flint Blade doing Take Five on a fourteen-string double neck. No looping.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:25 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

2 strings on bass is all you really need.
posted by Sailormom at 7:33 PM on July 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

2-string? 1-string? No-string guitar!
posted by carsonb at 7:37 PM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

Three strings rocking more than most people do on 6, 7, or any other number.
posted by The World Famous at 8:00 PM on July 25, 2012

Yes, but my penis weighs a ton.
posted by Decani at 8:08 PM on July 25, 2012

This thread is a goldmine of links. How have I never heard of Tosin Abasi before?
posted by adamdschneider at 8:34 PM on July 25, 2012

There's the other type of 12 string, which I guess is more of a 6 double-string guitar.
posted by eye of newt at 8:49 PM on July 25, 2012

More 12-string bass, and Ho. Lee. Shit.
posted by deadmessenger at 8:51 PM on July 25, 2012

The nine-string Hardanger fiddle doesn't understand what all the fuss is about. The Theorbo with its 19 courses and its archlute friends are not impressed, neither is the 19-string nyckelharpa. The sitar and its 23 strings watch like the older brother who pitted his younger brothers against each other for fun.
posted by The White Hat at 9:25 PM on July 25, 2012

There are also 8- and 12-string basses that have four courses of two or three strings each (like the normal 12-string guitar). I have never seen such a thing in person, though.
posted by kenko at 9:35 PM on July 25, 2012

posted by bardic at 10:02 PM on July 25, 2012

One String Sam

Not to be outdone, here's Yuri Landman playing a 25m string. More on Landman, and some photos. His stuff looks interesting; he leads workshops where you build an instrument in four hours.

Or you could just nail together whatever you have lying around.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:03 PM on July 25, 2012

i used to play this sweet, glossy-black 88-string bosendorfer guitar, until my damn shoulder went out. that was one sweet axe, son.
posted by facetious at 10:45 PM on July 25, 2012 [5 favorites]

A lot of those players remind me of Michael Hedges, but not in a good way. More in the I miss his playing kind of way, it's absolutely tragic that he died so young kind of way.
posted by plinth at 6:58 AM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

I used to play the banjo, till I took an arrow to the knee.
posted by TrinsicWS at 7:46 AM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

That one-string diddley do' sounds not totally unlike a berimbau. Pretty cool.

Coincidentally, i saw a video of a guy with a custom 17-string guitar, and i could never find it again. Has anyone else seen it?
posted by palbo at 12:11 PM on July 26, 2012

i saw a video of a guy with a custom 17-string guitar once...
posted by palbo at 12:12 PM on July 26, 2012

shouldn't Ravi Shankar be here somewhere?
posted by Redhush at 4:10 PM on July 26, 2012

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