Tag Archives: Types


Seminstrunnaya Gitara

Name: Seminstrunnaya Gitara.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Guitar > Types > Extended.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.5
Country: Russian Federation.
Region: Eastern Europe.

Description: The Russian guitar [in Russian: семиструнная гитара], sometimes referred to as a “Gypsy guitar”. This type of acoustic seven-string guitar was developed in Russia towards the end of the 18th century. While sharing most of the same organological features with the Spanish guitar.

Some historians insist on English guitar ascendancy. It is known in Russian as the semistrunnaya gitara [семиструнная гитара], or affectionately as the semistrunka [семиструнка], which translates to “seven-stringer”.

History: Although a number of sources associate the invention of the Russian guitar to Andrei Sychra [1773 – 1850]. There are strong reasons to believe that the instrument was already in use when Sychra began his career. Sychra was very influential in creating the school of Russian guitar playing.

He was a very prolific composer leaving a thousand compositions, seventy-five of which were republished in the 1840s by Stellovsky and then again in the 1880s by Gutheil. Some of these were published yet again in the Soviet Union in 1926.

Usage: The Russian version of the seven-string guitar has been used by professionals because of its great flexibility, but has also been popular with amateurs for accompaniment [especially Russian bards] due to the relative simplicity of some basic chords and the ease of playing alternating bass lines.

Tuning: Although these instruments appear similar in shape and acoustics. The Russian and Spanish guitars are tuned differently. The Spanish guitar in tuned to a reentrant tuning containing the intervals of fourths and thirds being the bottom D / G and B strings. Where as the Russian 7 string guitar tuning centres on a G major, the first and most common tuning tuning is an Open G not dissimilar to the Open G “Spanish” or “Tarro Patch” tuning for the six string guitar, with an added bass note being the D bass string.

Seminstrunnaya Gitara Tunings
Names Tunings
Open G D G B D G B D
Bulat Okudzhava D G C D G B D 
G Minor D G C D G BD
Tuning in Classical lit. C G B D G B D
Open G G B D G B D G

Citations: Bibliography: Casey, Fred 2003 From Russia, with strings attached, American Lutherie: The Quarterly Journal of the Guild of American Luthiers [Instrument Plan]. 8222 South Park Avenue, Tacoma WA 98408 USA – The Guild of American Luthiers. Number 75; Anatoly Shiryalin, “Guitar poem”, Moscow, 1994 p.11; Timofeyev, O. and Bazzotti, M – The Seven-String Guitar in 19th-Century Russian Culture; phee, Matayana – A Brief History of the Russian Seven-String 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 ;

Tenor Guitar

Name: Tenor Guitar.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Guitars.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.5
Country: United States.
Region: North America.

Description: The tenor guitar or four-string guitar is a slightly smaller, relative of the steel-string acoustic guitar. The instrument was initially developed in its acoustic form by Gibson Guitar Company and C. F. Martin & Company so that players of the four-string tenor banjo could double on guitar.

History: The earliest origins of the tenor guitar are not clear, but it seems unlikely that a true four-stringed guitar-shaped tenor guitar appeared before the late 1920s. Gibson built the tenor lute TL-4 in 1924 with a lute-like pear-shaped body, four strings and a tenor banjo neck. It is possible that similar instruments were made by other makers such as Lyon and Healy and other banjo makers, such as Bacon.

In the same period, banjo makers, such as Paramount, built transitional round banjo-like wood-bodied instruments with four strings and tenor banjo necks called tenor harps. From 1927 onwards, the very first true wood-bodied acoustic tenor guitars appeared as production instruments made by both Gibson and Martin.

Currently most major guitar manufactures including Epiphone, Kay, Gretch, Guild and national have manufactured tenor as production instruments at various times. In collaboration with Cliff Edwards, Dobro built the four-stringed round-bodied resonator tenor scale length instrument called the Tenortrope in the early 1930s.

Makers such as Gibson even used to offer the tenor models as a custom option for their six string guitar models at no extra charge. Gibson also produced a line of tenor guitars. During the 1950s and 1960s tenor guitars built by makers such as Harmony, Regal and Stella were produced in large quantities.

Tenor Guitar Tunings
Names Tunings
  C G D A
  C F A D
  G D A E
  D G B E
  G C E A

Construction: Tenor guitars usually made in a waisted body as with their larger sized guitar counterpart. They can be manufactured in acoustic [flat top or arch top] or with a cone resonator [as seen on the dobro guitars]. Tenor guitars normally have a scale length similar to that of the tenor banjo of between 53 cm and 58 cm [21 inches and 23 inches] ;

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: