11 String Guitar

Name: 11 String Guitar.
Type: Chordophones > Lute > Guitars.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.5
Tunings: Bb C D Eb F G C F Bb D G
Inventor: Georg Bolin 1960s [Sweden].
Country: Many, Europe, USA.
Region: Many, Europe, USA.

Description: The eleven-string alto guitar [also known as altgitarr, archguitar or Bolin guitar] is an extended-range classical guitar developed by Swedish luthier Georg Bolin in the 1960s. Original Bolin instruments are now rare and valuable. The Bolin alto guitar most often has eleven strings, but Bolin also made a thirteen-string version.

In the United States, luthier Walter Stanul makes performance instruments ranging from 11 to 13 strings called the Archguitar. The design and the body shape of this guitar is similar to the vihuela, and thus it is fundamentally different from the Bolin design.

History: Georg Bolin first constructed 11-string alto guitar with collaboration with Swedish guitarist Per-Olof Johnson in 1960s. Johnson is the teacher of a well-known guitarist Göran Söllscher who made this instrument famous through his extensive usage of Bolin’s 11 String alto guitar.

Johnson was fond of lute music, but the difference in playing techniques between guitar and lute is significant, and he was looking for a way to play lute music using guitar playing technique. Thus, the design goal was specifically to be able to play renaissance lute music directly from original tabs using guitar playing technique.

Features: The 11-string alto guitar is a multi-string classical guitar, which generally refers to classical guitars with more than six strings. Classical guitars with extra strings can have from seven to 13 or more strings. The first six strings are tuned in the same intervals as the normal classic guitar. Therefore, a musician can play with conventional fingering on those strings.

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