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Fretted Bass Strings (1 viewing) (1) Guest
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TOPIC: Fretted Bass Strings
#2979
Altophile (User)
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Re:Fretted Bass Strings 1 Year, 5 Months ago Karma: 0  
Thanks again, James. Yes, that was helpful

My challenge is that I really love Renaissance lute music AND the music of Sylvious Leopold Weiss, but I'm too old and not wealthy enough to get both an Alto guitar and a Weiss guitar (like "The Dresden". So I listened to Michael Thames's Dresden and Heikki Rousu's open Alto, and noted the following:

1. Heikki's open Alto has a sweeter tone to my ears, which I find irresistible.

2. It will be easier to transition from a six and eight string classical to an Alto, especially since I already tune the third string to f# and put a capo on the 3rd fret with the eight string.

3. I won't have to learn lute tab. (I hate tab in general, and typically only want to see it below standard notation as a guide to what position the arranger had in mind).

As you've suggested, I could tune the Alto to d minor, but you really need at least 13 strings to play Weiss as it was written, and I'm going to have enough trouble with 11 strings!

My right hand (my fingerpicking hand) was partially crushed in an industrial accident when I was 18, which left the tip of my right thumb bent slightly downward at the first knuckle, i.e. toward the palm, which makes doing classical guitar music more challenging as it's literally impossible for me to do a rest stroke with my thumb. Had I ever met Segovia he would have snorted that I should give up guitar and become a chef or something, but I love the guitar, can't cook that well, and have enough of a stubborn streak to help me determine to plod forward despite the handicap. I'll never reach the status of "professional musician", but I'm content to be a hobbyist.

~Sean
 
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#2980
tenvec (User)
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Re:Fretted Bass Strings 1 Year, 5 Months ago Karma: 1  
Sean,
Sorry to learn about the thumb problem, but, at least, it does not seem to be a definite "no no" to playing at some level.
Adjusting to multi-string guitars does take a little time. Firstly, one has to have visual readjustment to the extra strings. It helps if one uses a gold/bronze string for the 7th. Adjustment to the new visual clues takes about two/three weeks. Secondly, the whole process, which involves a large re-training of the plucking thumb, is sizably helped by NOT playing a 6s for several months. I recommend not less than three, preferably six. I ceased playing 6s guitars many years ago, save on rare occasions, a 40 cm scale octave to play baroque violin or mandolin concertos at the original pitch. I do not miss the 6s at all. There is a much more worthwhile repertoire for multi-string guitars.
Once you gave an alto, you will come to realise what you have been missing ... .
James.
 
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#2981
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Re:Fretted Bass Strings 1 Year, 5 Months ago Karma: 0  
Thanks, James. Fortunately it's only slightly bent, but there are definitely things that I just have to resolve that I can't do, and so I have to pick my repertoire carefully.

It also makes tremolo more challenging, because the tip of my thumb plucks in towards the other fingers rather than away from them, and so if I don't practice they can mess up the rhythm and even collide! That would seem to be another plus with the Alto, because I don't think I've ever heard an Alto player use tremolo, not even the master, Goran Sollscher. Then again, Goran uses the instrument primarily for lute music, and so tremolo would be out of place.

Say, I have a couple more questions for you.

1. Do you happen to know if Goran played Georgia on his Alto or on a six string guitar on the Cavatina CD? It seems like that piece would work really well on the Alto.

2. Do you know if anyone has ever tried to compile a list of six string guitar pieces that work as well or better on the Alto, along with a list of those pieces that are so well suited to the six string guitar that an Alto player would feel compelled to own a six string for those pieces? It seems like much of Tarrega's music would require a six string to pull it off well, or at least a guitar with a standard fret-board tuned with standard tuning (e.g. a Yepes-style 10 string).

~Sean
 
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Last Edit: 2016/04/28 01:26 By Altophile.
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#2982
Glen (User)
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Re:Fretted Bass Strings 1 Year, 5 Months ago Karma: 3  
Sollscher's Georgia is on 6-string. Just so happens I learned that. Not as good as Sollscher's of course, but ...


https://youtu.be/JWhRH-OfJ2s
 
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#2983
tenvec (User)
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Re:Fretted Bass Strings 1 Year, 5 Months ago Karma: 1  
Sean,
I do not know of any list of thy type in which you are interested. My advice would be to just do an arrangement and see how it goes.
For performance on an alto, to keep the same key as the original piece for a tenor in E, one lowers the key signature by a minor third, or maybe half a tone near to the ideal minor third, if the resulting key for a minor third has too many sharps or flats. This is equivalent to moving the capo down three frets, so, transpositions like this may well turn out to be easier than the original. It is just a question of trying out an arrangement.
Other than the lute repertoire, I do have a liking for some of the "golden oldies" from the '20's and '30's, i.e., pieces by such as Gershwin, Kern, Porter, Rogers, and composers of that quality. Following the original piano score can give rise to a rather difficult piece. An example of a more straightforward case is, "Smoke gets in your Eyes", which is in the downloads of this forum. However, the alto does usually give a much better version of the bass line and greater sonority than is possible with a 6s.
Much of the music of the '20's and '30's uses the same keys as those popular with renaissance lute composers, mainly because they suit the human voice. Consequently, you will find many pieces in two and three flats which are perfect for the alto. Another connection with lute music is that in performing one often has to use "notes inégales" for pairs of quavers/sixteenth notes, just as in the baroque era.
James.
 
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#2984
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Re:Fretted Bass Strings 1 Year, 5 Months ago Karma: 0  
Beautiful performance and guitar! On the one hand I noticed that you didn't need to use rest strokes with your thumb, which makes this piece a good one for my repertoire, but on the other hand it's a bit demanding on the left hand! It reminded me a little bit of Rick Foster's arrangement of Joy of Man's Desiring, which Christopher Parkening has described as one of the most difficult pieces in all of guitar repertoire, because you really have to move across the fret-board into some precise positions.

I'll save that one for a period when I have more time to practice

~Sean
 
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