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Alto Guitar

Mick Woods 21 Mar 10 - 02:55 PM
michaelr 21 Mar 10 - 03:56 PM
Don Firth 21 Mar 10 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,Woodsie 22 Mar 10 - 05:21 AM
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Subject: Alto Guitar
From: Mick Woods
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 02:55 PM

Just came across this on the internet while researching the late great Esther Phillips. Joe Beck Playing and talking about Alto Guitar kinda weird but would sound great on some folk songs I'm sure! Anybody ever come across one?

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Subject: RE: Alto Guitar
From: michaelr
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 03:56 PM

Too cool! Only 250 were made... must be hard to find.

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Subject: RE: Alto Guitar
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 04:34 PM

Joe Beck may be under the impression that he invented the alto guitar, but there are a number of different instruments that go by that name. One is a small classic with a correspondingly short scale length. Nobody seems to be able to agree on the tuning, except that the six-string models are standard guitar tuning, but with a capo on either the third, fifth, or seventh fret.

And then there is the monster that Swedish classic guitarist Gören Söllscher plays, referred to as an "alte-guitarre." 11-strings. The top six strings are tuned a minor third higher than a standard classic (G, C, F, Bb, D, G) and the lower five dip into the low bass. I'm not sure how they are tuned, but may be re-tuned a bit, depending on the key of the piece being played (sort of like dropped-D on steroids).

I'd love to get my hot little hands on one of those!!


Don Firth

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Subject: RE: Alto Guitar
From: GUEST,Woodsie
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 05:21 AM

I don't think that Joe Beck "is under the impression that he invented the alto guitar" Here is an excerpt from an interview he gave;

"It's a tuning that I came up with back in the early sixties actually. I played a lot of Bossa Nova sessions and I wanted a tuning that allowed me to really be a Bass player so I tuned the guitar down but that really didn't work so I came up with this alternate tuning that I use and it allowed me to play melody with one finger and chords with three fingers and bass parts with my thumb. And it worked great but I had no reason after that to do it until I met Aly and heard her play the Alto flute and it just occurred to me that now would be a good time to try it so I had someone build me a guitar, Rick McCurdy as it happens, and he made me a beautiful guitar and so I started using it on the concert stage. Now Martin guitars make the Joe Beck Alto Guitar which is a really beautiful instrument if you have six grand to spare"

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