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The Eight-string Guitar

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Guitars with more than six strings have been around for many years and they all have one thing in common: they add bass strings to the traditional six-string guitar.

The eight-string guitar I play is different in that it adds one treble and one bass string to the traditional six-string guitar. With this addition, the possibilities of the guitar expand to both the low and high register.
Paul Galbraith, together with English Luthier David Rubio, invented this particular instrument and called it the Brahms Guitar.

When I learned about it and listened to the fine recordings by Paul Galbraith, I decided that I wanted to try it. I talked to my good friend Abel García, the finest guitar builder in Mexico, and he immediately agreed to build me one.

Playing this guitar has been like learning to play a completely new instrument. For the first few months I felt like an absolute beginner and I had to wait a couple of years before I decided to play it in concerts.

One of the problems I encountered was finding a suitable high string. I experimented with requinto strings, extra-high tension strings and ancient instrument strings. For a while what worked best was...
fishing line!

Would you like to listen to the Eight-String guitar? Here is a piece for piano I transcribed for it. The Traümerei from Scenes from Childhood by Robert Schumann

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