Narciso Yepes

Name: Narciso Yepes 10-string guitar.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Guitars > Extended > Range.
Hornbostel Sachs No#: 321.322.5
Tuning: F# / G# / A# / C / E / A / d / g / b / e’
Inventors: Narciso Yepes & José Ramírez.
Luthiers: José Ramírez.
Country: Spain.
Region: Iberian Peninsula & Western Europe.

Description: The Narciso Yepes 10-string guitar is a variety of the extended range family of guitars. It was conceived by conceived in collaboration by Narciso Yepes and constructed by José Ramírez in 1963. This instrument is called the “modern” 10-string guitar. In order to differentiate this guitar from other extended-range guitars including the 10-stringed guitars of the 19th century.

Narciso Yepes 10-string guitar / Tunings
Names Tunings
F# / G# / A# / C / E / A / d / g / b / e’
F# / G# / A# / B’ / E / A / d / g / b / e’
F# / G# / A# / A’ / E / A / d / g / b / e’
F / G# / A# / C / E / A / d / g / b / e’
F / G# / A# / A’ / E / A / d / g / b / e’
Malagueña by Izaac Albénez F# / G / A# / C / E / A / d / g / b / e’

Constructions: In Ser Instrumento; Yepes mentions the reasons that led him to carry out the “design” [diseño] of his instrument were physical or acoustic [“físicas] and musical [“musicales”]. After some “initial protest” that the 10-string guitar envisioned by Yepes was “impossible”to construct. Ramírez agreed to the commission and completed the first of these instruments in March 1964.

Yepes hastens to point out that he invented nothing [inventado nada] by adding four strings to the guitar. Nothing the constantly changing number of strings on the guitar during its history. Including the 10-stringed guitars of the 18th and 19th centuries. Like earlier 10-stringed guitars, his instrument has an augmented tessitura.

However, unlike the earlier 6 or 10 stringed extended range guitars, the normal tuning of the strings Yepes added “also incorporates all the natural resonance that the instrument lacked in eight of twelve notes of the equal tempered scale”. As Yepes explains, the tuning of the Romantic ten-stringed guitars is “not exactly the same, because the tuning that I use is also for the resonance”.

Today, ten-string instruments to Ramírez’ original design remain available from the Ramírez Company and similar instruments in a variety of designs are available both from the Ramírez Company and other luthiers, notably from Paulino Bernabe Senior. Their scale lengths range from 650mm [25.6″] and 664mm [26.1″].

Citations: Bibliography: Fred Kazandjian, 1992 The Concept and Development of the Yepes Ten-String Guitar: a Preliminary Investigation [M. M. thesis] University of Cape Town ; Fred Kazandjian, 1995 “An Interview with Narciso Yepes in Cabo-Roig, Alicante – Spain on 7 July 1987”. Musicus. 23 [2]: 11–18 ; Kozinn, Allan [22 November 1981]. “Narciso Yepes and his 10-string guitar”. New York Times ; J. Ramírez 1994 “Andrés Segovia, the guitar and I”. Things About the Guitar. Bold Strummer. ISBN 978-84-87969-40-9 ; J. Ramírez 1994 “The ten-string guitar” Things About the Guitar. Bold Strummer. pp. 137–140. ISBN 978-84-87969-40-9 ; Websites:

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