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Luthiers and performers. Seven string guitars?   You are logged in as Guest
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odinz

Posts: 407
Joined: May 26 2010
From: Sarpsborg,Norway

Luthiers and performers. Seven strin... 

So I have been listening to alot of jazz and brazilian music lately and of course I have seen a bit of a trend in seven string guitars there.

Do anyone here have any experiences with these in Flamenco?

I've been thinking that having an extra bass string will give me more possibilities both in my playing and in composing and at the same time i've seen that some seem to frown upon it, why is that anyway?

I thinking having more options in counterpoint and such would be awesome and an extra string might also make for some technique options that may be interesting, maybe as simple as using the extra string as a leaning string for the thumb sometimes( I do that)

Has any luthiers here built one? Would a luthier here feel good about making a 7 string flamenco guitar?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 16 2012 15:17:24
 
tri7/5

 

Posts: 558
Joined: May 5 2012
 

RE: Luthiers and performers. Seven s... (in reply to odinz

I play a 7 string in the electric realm and played an 8 string in the classical realm for a short while. I love the extra range they provide personally. Steven Faulk has built and posted videos of his 7 string flamenco guitar on the foro.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 16 2012 15:39:59
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Luthiers and performers. Seven s... (in reply to odinz

You have to ask Estebanana.

You´ll get more tension from the string, meaning that the soundboard and the bracing should be modified, but better ask someone who knows.

A question is how much it´ll change your tecnique. Especially the rasgueados or maybe you can just compensate by resting the thumb on different strings.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 16 2012 15:47:24
 
estebanana

Posts: 8342
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Luthiers and performers. Seven s... (in reply to odinz

Odinz,

I've made three seven strings that were intended for flamenco. I can elaborate on the way they are made if you like. The last one went to Australia and I'm waiting to get some sound samples from the player.

You can visit my Youtube channel below and look for a short video where I give a few general ideas about how tunings work with flamenco palos. You can also search youtube with 'Stephen Faulk seven string' and see two more.

Depending on what you want to do the seven strings can be a great musical tool, but rasgueado in the regular sense needs to be adapted to seven strings. Not impossible but it takes extra work. Seven strings also open up classical possibilities.

Stephen

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 16 2012 18:22:31
 
turnermoran

Posts: 391
Joined: Feb. 6 2010
 

RE: Luthiers and performers. Seven s... (in reply to odinz

Here's something I shot on my iPhone playing one of Stephen's 7 strings. (maybe the first he made? he could verify if that's right)



I've been playing 7 string (elec, nylon, steel string) for about 13 years now. For flamenco it's tricky. I prefer 6 string.
But for Brazilian and jazz it's great.

I think the most difficult aspect for flamenco is the fact that the extra string results in a slightly tighter string spacing. For some people this may not be an issue. But if you play your normal guitar, and play some tremolo piece for example, where the tremolo line goes onto the 2nd or 3rd string, and then you play the same thing on someone else's guitar that has tighter string spacing and it totally screws you up, that's a good indicator of what it can be like to play the 7 string at all times.
Which is not to say you can't get used to it, but if you switch back and forth all the time, it can be an issue.
Obviously, the neck is wider. That takes some getting used to. And the fatt-ness of the neck needs to be dialed in, or the combination of girth plus width can make it hard to play certain things.

Finding a good 7 is another thing. Most are built more like accompaniment instruments and don't have great trebles. They can sound muddy.
Stephen does a great job at making a very balanced guitar that is versatile for all applications.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 16 2012 22:53:25
 
turnermoran

Posts: 391
Joined: Feb. 6 2010
 

RE: Luthiers and performers. Seven s... (in reply to Anders Eliasson

Anders:
I think it becomes pretty comfortable pretty quickly to rest thumb on 6, just like a normal guitar, and thus rasgueados aren't that much more difficult.

as previously mentioned, I think string spacing has the biggest effect: tremolo, alzapua,..just the general feeling that the strings are not where you are used to them being, coupled with the fact that by being tighter, there is less margin for error if you go for a string and you're off by a bit..you'll hit a neighboring string.

I've found the sound board thing not to be an issue. Though to be fair, I'm comparing various guitar, both 6 and 7 from various builders who all build in their own unique way.

But I have 6 string guitars with tighter soundboards than my 7. And I've owned 6 or 7 Seven strings, each with as much variation in soundboard tension as the potentials contained within the spectrum for 6 strings.

I'm sure if one builder has a stock spec, and made a 6 and a 7, you'd be correct by virtue of the math that the 7 would have higher tension. But I've not had that experience.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 16 2012 22:59:27
 
odinz

Posts: 407
Joined: May 26 2010
From: Sarpsborg,Norway

RE: Luthiers and performers. Seven s... (in reply to estebanana

Elaboration would be great!

The reason that I am interested in also having a seven string guitar is of course the opportunities that comes with an extra string.

As I understand it the opportunities that come with it also come with some drawbacks from what you guys have told me but I think that is a matter of simply using different instruments for different purposes, like I wouldn't use a violin to play halling music.

What I have been thinking is that it would open doors in range and counterpoint for me and I think that it could be interesting in the way that I have been making musical gestures pointing towards Sabicas lately as well as being inspired by brazilian music, but I think that there is definatly more to take from the legacy that Sabicas left and maybe by blending influences in Classical music and Flamenco with what exists in Brazilian music I can begin to shape my own musical style more and a 7 string guitar might bring new possibilities to the table as well.

Thanks for the info and clip Turner, and as Anders, Stephen and turner, you all talked about the technique, I think it can be an issue but also a positive thing, losing something to gain something else I guess?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 17 2012 12:51:14
 
estebanana

Posts: 8342
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Luthiers and performers. Seven s... (in reply to odinz

Odinz,

If you are interested in having more chord voicing possibilities and more choices for harmony and tone color then a seven might work for you. The trade off with a seven and a six string when trying to perform flamenco is going to mainly arise with accompaniment of dance. The low bass string might make it a bit tougher to work the regular kinds of breaks you need to play for dancers. Or you would need to spend time working that out.

For solo flamenco playing the seven does not really get in the way except when you do rasgueado, and even then you can adapt your technique. For accompaniment of singers by themselves same deal, rasgeuado needs to be adapted. One advantage with singers is that you have extra range on the instrument and more tuning options so finding a key for them and playing has new possibilities which have not really been explored too much.

The difficulty is that traditional or established patterns and voicing from six string playing por medio and por arriba will changed. You may play the regular voicing, but need to account for the extra bass string. You may also think about non traditional voicing of those chords, but be prepared to meet some resistance from those who will think the sound is not "traditional". But if you want to play solo and use tunings like Rondena, or other tunings you will have an extensive sound palette that others will not have. All the palos that lend themselves to using a bass pedal tone will naturally extend the soloists range. Granaina can use the low B etc.

Seven strings will also give you a cross over instrument for playing classical music, especially Baroque music because you'll be able to utilize the low bass so you don't have to move around the neck so much. Having the low bass also adds a dimension of the overtone series you will not have in a six string. So there are challenges as well as new territories to go into. And you can also go back and forth between six a seven stings if you keep your self limber with both instruments so if you need to use the six you can.

My seven strings are based on my calculations of string tension and from consulting with a few other older luthiers who built seven string plus instruments and how those instruments have held up structurally since the 1960's. I have looked at many seven strings from Brazil and have come to the conclusion they are over built and too heavy. The Brazilian style renders the basses very muddy and I did not like that, so I decided to go for a more flamenco sound by building lighter. The guitars I have made this way have been successful. They have even range with deep basses well speaking and a contrasting brighter higher register. My methods are structurally sound, but give a surprisingly light and responsive guitar. And I really enjoy building them. Next month I am going to get started on a cutaway Indian Rosewood seven string for a jazz player.

Moran,
Thank you for showing your seven string. Do you also have any of the great Brazilian music you play in your group ? Have you played your band mates (Carlos) seven string lately?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 17 2012 20:34:35
 
turnermoran

Posts: 391
Joined: Feb. 6 2010
 

RE: Luthiers and performers. Seven s... (in reply to estebanana

Estabanana - sadly Carlos had to move to Brasil rather abruptly for family reasons, and sold most if his gear, including the 7string. However, he sold it to a friend of mine. A good player in his own right, who lives in the South Bay.

I think the guitar you made him is great. For general Choro accompaniment purposes, I think it's better suited than mine, as it was built more like a classical, and sounds more traditional for that application.

Nevertheless, I enjoy what mine does, and Carlos and I have different aesthetics and interests anyway.

I'm traveling now, so I can't post audio. But your guitar was used for all the nylon guitar stuff on our album "Simplicidade", samples of which can be heard on the website for anyone curious (www.falsobaiano.com)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 17 2012 21:24:27
 
estebanana

Posts: 8342
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Luthiers and performers. Seven s... (in reply to odinz

Ah that explains why I have not heard from Carlos! I think he did not want to tell me he had to sell it. I'll write to him in Brazil.
Can you get me in touch with the new owner? I want to hear about how my babies are growing up.

Carlos is a fine composer, for sure. I love his stuff. He asked for something different than what I built for you. He actually brought me a CD of the Assad Brothers playing Gershwin on the Humphey's guitars and asked for the sound to be more like that. It did not sound exactly like that, in some ways sweeter really. Carlos' touch is so delicate I made it really light. I don't feel the basses are like the Brazilian guitars, though I think they are more lively. But it is more classical than yours, cedar top, rose wood back and sides and a more supported sound board. I would really like to hear it again soon.

Here is a sample of Carlos on his seven string: http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=213096&appid=&p=1&mpage=1&key=&tmode=1&smode=1&s=#213096

Moran has a choro group as he said here is the music sample page..oh look you can get the CD~! I believe I was there the night that was recorded at Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland CA or was it another night at the San Francisco Yoshi's? Anyway it's great music check it out. If you are in Northern California try to see them live.

http://grupofalsobaiano.com/music

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 17 2012 22:26:36
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