Tag Archives: Guitar


Baroque Guitar

Name: Baroque Guitar.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Guitar > Types > Baroque.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.5
Period: 1600-1750.
Country: Many.
Region: Western Europe & Europe.

Description: The Baroque guitar [c. 1600–1750] is a string instrument with five courses of gut strings and moveable gut frets. The Baroque guitar replaced the Renaissance lute as the most common instrument found in the home. The earliest attestation of a five-stringed guitar comes from the mid-sixteenth-century Spanish book Declaracion de Instrumentos Musicales by Juan Bermudo, published in 1555.

History: The first treatise published for the Baroque guitar was Guitarra Española de Cinco Ordenes [translated in English as: Spanish Five Order Guitar]. The Five-course Spanish Guitar c. 1590 by Juan Carlos Amat. The baroque guitar in contemporary ensembles took on the role of a basso continuo instrument and players would be expected to improvise a chordal accompaniment. Intimately tied to the development of the Baroque guitar is the alfabeto system of notation. The repertoire includes unaccompanied solo pieces, song accompaniments, dance music and mixed ensemble works.

The instrument was a part of the musical culture of European nobility and aristocrats of the time. Given the number of guitar tutors and solo works published for guitarists of varying levels of accomplishment. The guitar must have also been a part of the musical life of non-aristocratic social strata as well. A substantial repertoire of solo works written for the five course Baroque guitar survives. This music is written in tablature notations that were published throughout Europe from the late 16th to the mid-18th centuries.

Tunings: There were three ways to which one could tune the baroque guitar. The table listed below, includes the names of composers who are associated with each method. Very few sources seem to clearly indicate that one method of stringing rather than another should be used and it is often argued that it may have been up to the player to decide what was appropriate. The issue is highly contentious and different theories have been put forward.

Baroque Guitar Tunings
Musicians Tunings
Gaspar Sanz [Spain, 1674] A D G B E
Antoine Carre [France, 1671] D G B E

Citations: Bibliography: Guitarra Española de Cinco Ordenes [translated in English as: Spanish Five Order Guitar]. The Five-course Spanish Guitar c. 1590 by Juan Carlos Amat ; Declaracion de Instrumentos Musicales by Juan Bermudo, published in 1555; Manfred F. Bukofzer – Music In The Baroque Era: From Monteverdi to Bach, London: J. M. Dent & Sons – 1st UK edition 1948, P. 47 ; Harvey Turnbull, The Guitar – From The Renaissance to the Present Day 3rd, impression 1978 London: Batsford ISBN 0 7134 3251 9 p. 15: Chapter 1 – The Development of the Instrument. Lex Eisenhardt, Bourdons as Usual – In The Lute: The Journal of the Lute Society, vol. XLVII 2007 ; Schirmer Books, pp. 139-153 ; Bibliography: O’Dette, Paul. 1994. “Plucked Instruments,” In A Performer’s Guide to Renaissance Music. ed. Jeffery T. Kite-Powell ; New York: Schirmer Books, pp. 139-153 ; Turnbull, Harvey, and James Taylor. 1984. “Guitar, 1-4” NGDMI v2: 87-99 ; James Tyler, 1980 The Early Guitar: A History and Handbook. London: Oxford University Press ; Websites: Grinnell College Musical Instrument Collection / Baroque Guitar ;

Chitarra Battente

Name: Chitarra Battente.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.5
Tuning: A D G B E
Country: Calabria, Italy.
Region: South Europe & Mediterranean.

Description: The chitarra battente [in Italian “strumming guitar”] however “battente” literally means “beating”. The word “battente” is directly related to the particular playing technique used when playing this particular musical instrument. It is member of the lute/guitar sub-group of the chordophone family. It is similar to the 5-course baroque guitar.

History: It is considered a folk instrument, though it has its origins in the Italian court music in the early Baroque era. Musicologists refer to the “historical” as well as the “folk” chitarra battente. There are many extant historical 17th century instruments in museums.

Varieties: The chitarra battente comes in three sizes. The medium and large instruments are the most common. The instrument may have five or four courses of strings. These courses are typically double or triple, a“course” being a group of 2 or 3 strings plucked as a single unit. Thus chitarra battente is typically a five or four-course instrument.

Construction: There is a great variation in the waisted profile of the chitarra battente. The variations exist in the design, atheistic and the materials used in the construction of the musical instrument.


Guitarra Del Golpe

Name: Guitarra Del Golpe.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Guitarillos.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.5
Country: Jalisco, Michoacán, Mexico.
Region: Central America.

Description: The Guitarra del Golpe is a variety of guitar found in Michoacán, Mexico. It has five single nylon strings. The strumming is similar in style to the vihuela [as featured in mariachi ensembles].

Guitarra Del Golpe Tunings
Name Tunings
Standard Michoacán D G C E A
Tecalitlán D G B E A
Urban Up G C E A D
Urban Below G C E A D
Vihuela A D G B E

Citations: Websites: Pacoweb.net / Guitarra Del Golpe entry ;

Bajo Sexto

Name: Bajo Sexto.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Guitar > Guitarillos > Bajo.
Tuning: Ee / AA / DD / Gg / Cc / Ff
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.5
Country: Mexico.
Region: Central America.

Description: Bajo sexto [Bajo = Bass = Sexto meaning “sixth” in reference to its 6 courses 12 strings. Each course is paired or doubled. A closely related instrument is the bajo quinto [Spanish: “fifth bass”] which has 10 strings in 5 double courses. The origins of this instrument are somewhat unclear. As most of the history is oral transmitted by those who play and build the instruments.

History: In the 17th and 18th centuries, Mexican artisans built several types of instruments with double strings in three, four, fifths, sixth, seventh and eight courses, influenced by their Spanish ancestors. Descendants of these instruments are bandolon, guitarra séptima, quinta huapanguera, jarana jarocha, concheros string instruments, and guitarra chamula, among others. The manufacture of bajo quinto and sexto reached a peak in quality and popularity in the 19th century in central and southern Mexico, in the states of Guerrero, Michoacán, Morelos, Puebla, Oaxaca and Tlaxcala.

Playing Technique: A plectrum is used often as the strings are quite thick on the bajo-sexto.

Construction: The bajo-sexto is a member of the guitar family. Physically this instrument appears to be quite similar to the 12-string guitar. There are some slight differences. The Body is usually a bit deeper. The neck is shorter, joining the body at the 12th fret. Modern 12-string guitars usually join at the 14th fret; being a bass instrument the strings are thicker.

Citations: Bibliography: Avetardo, J. T. ed. Puro Conjunto: An Album in words and Pictures; Center for Mexican American Studies, The University of Texas; Austin, Texas: 2001. 470p. ISBN 0-292-78174-1 Bajos de espiga. Diccionario de la Música Española e Hispanoamericana. Sociedad General de Autores y Editores. Madrid 2002; ISBN 978-84-8048-303-2 ; Hernandez, Ramon; An Informal History of the Bajo Sexto; in Aventardo, Ch. 12, pp. 127–130. The Texas-Mexican Conjunto Bajo sexto / quinto ;

Guitar Tunings / Indonesian


Indonesian Guitar Tunings
Names Nomenclature Tunings
Stem Las Bas F Maj 13#11 F C D G B E
Kemayoran F C D G C E
Stem Pal F Bb D G C E
Stem Krembang Kacang F# A C# F# B E
Los Quinn Tallu-Tallu G Major G C D G B D
Karambagan Raised A Major G A D G B E
E Minor E B D G B E
Andu Andu Rudang A Sus 4/7 E A D G A E
Rabana E Minor E A E G A E

Citations: Discography: Liner Notes from the Music of Indonesia Series Vol. 20 Indonesian Guitars SFW40447 pp. 10-11 [adobe PDF file] ;

Guitar Tunings / Papua New Guinea


Papua New Guinea / Guitar Tunings
Names Nomenclature Region Tunings
Standard Em11th * E A D G B E
Faiv Ki E A B F# B D#
Faiv Ki E A B E G# B
Faiv Ki F  Bb C G C E
Faiv Ki F Bb C F A C
Samoan Ki G A D A D F#
C Ki East New Britain G C D G B D
Samoan Ki Open D Maj 7 Hood Lagoon D E A E A C#

Citations: Bibliography: Guitar Style, Open Tunings, and Stringband Music in Papua New Guinea by ~ Denis Crowdy ; Apwithirer: Studies in Papua New Guinea Musics, 9 ; Three: Analysis – Samoan Ki and the Hood Lagoon Area Page 46, Page 60 ; ISBN 9980-68-048-2 [book] Websites ; George Winston [georgewinston.com – Slack Key Information Booklet ; Section III ] ;

Guitar Tunings / Alternate


Guitar Tunings / Alternate
Names Nomenclature Pitch Tunings
Standard Renterant Emin11th E A D G B E
Semitone Renterant E [flat] min 11th Eb Ab Dd Gb Bb Ee
Tone Down Renterant  D D G C F A D
  Renterant D# D# G# C# F# A# D#
  Renterant C# C# F# B E G# C#
  Renterant C C F Bb Eb G C
Lute Renterant   E A D F# B E
Lute No. 2 Renterant   E A D F# A E
  Renterant A Sus 4/7 E A D G A E
Lazy D Renterant   E A D G B D
All Fourths Renterant   F A D G C F
Augmented 4ths Renterant C F# C F# C F#
  Dropped C6th C A D G B E
  Open C6th C E G A C E
Major Thirds Open C C E G C E G
  Dropped C C G C F A D
  Modal  C C G C G B D
   Open C Maj 7 C G C G B E
Orkney Modal G Sus 4/4 C G C G C D
  Dropped C C G D G A D
  Open G / C Add4 C G D G B D
    C Sus 2 C G D G C D
  Dropped C C G D G B E
  Open  C C G D G C E
  Modal D Sus 4 D A D F A D
Double D
Dropped   D A D G B D
Dropped D Dropped  D D A D G B E
Dropped D Maj 7 D A D F# A C#
Dropped D 6/9 D A D F# B E
Open D Minor D A D F A D
Vestapol Open D Major D A D F# A D
Curtis Mayfield Open F# F# A# C# F# A# F#
Tarro Patch Open G D G D G B D
Dobro Open G G B D G B D
Slide Open A E A E A C# E
Alternate Open A E A C# A C# E 
  Open A Sus 4 D A D G B E


Name: Mejoranera.
Types: Chordophones > Lutes > Guitar > Guitarillos.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.5
Country: Panama.
Region: Central America.

Description: The origin of the Mejoranera is unclear and there are different theories. The likely introduction came with the sailors who introduced a form of tap dance called the “zapateo”, in Panama the same dance is also called the “mejorana” dance, which includes this instrument. This instrument is a direct descendant of the Baroque guitar, it does bare similar in shape and depth to the Puerto Rican bordonua.

It first appeared at the town of La Mesa in Veraguas, but is now popular in all central provinces. Veraguas, Herrera and Los Santos, and the most representative musical instrument of this country.

Tunings: There are several alternate tunings in use they are identified as calls in Spanish as Por Veinticinco “by 25” or Por Seis “by 6” for example. Played with a plectrum or by hand for picking or strumming. It is found and widely used in the region of the central provinces of the Isthmus of Panama.

Mejoranera Tunings
Name Tunings
Por Veinticinco E / B / A / a’ / D
Por Seis E / B / G / g’ / D

Construction: Although of smaller construction the Mejoranera is similar appearance to the guitar. The wood used to make the body, bracing were cedar, hawthorn cedar [G. globosum], chira, beans, Jamaican and espavé. Having only five single strings and a short neck having up to only six frets. The frets were set in a chromatic manner.

The pegs and the flat pegbox are made of wood or and traditionally, the instrument has no metal parts. The bridge is quite pronounced and has two feet that are attached to the harmony table. It carries a rope, tied through a pair of holes in the body, to be used as a strap around the neck of the performer.

Citations: Bibliography: Rey, A.; Schaeffer, M. 1945 “Boletín del Instituto de Investigaciones Folklóricas”. California Folklore Quarterly. 4 [4]: Websites: