Tuesday, 16 March 2010

14-string "guitar"


This strange-old 14-stringed instrument is currently up for sale on eBay, although I am not sure if the seller is correct in calling it a "guitar". The body shape is like that of a cittern. When the seller claims it is 24 inches long, I guess he is referring to the total length rather than the scale length, so to my mind that would make this instrument nearer in scale to a mandolin than a guitar because you have to factor in the length of that enormous headstock!

Having fourteen strings, you would be forgiven for thinking that it had seven courses of paired strings, but in fact it has only six courses, arranged with the highest three being tripled, the middle basses being doubled and the lowest bass being just a single string.

It's not a stringing system I have seen anywhere else, but perhaps it is better known than I believe. (I'm learning things all the time writing this blog). Possibly it is a relation of the Portuguese guitar, but with fourteen strings instead of twelve and a different headstock design. As usual, if anyone has any further info, please let us all know below in the comments.

G L Wilson

Additional: It's a Philippine Bandurria - see comments.

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1 comment:

  1. This is a Philippine bandurria, which evolved from the Spanish instrument of the same name during colonial rule. It is indeed a member of the cittern family. To make matters more confusing, however, there is also an instrument like this but with a guitar-shaped body (albeit smaller, but not as small as a ukulele). The string arrangement is the same as this, but with the guitar-shaped body it is called an octavina instead of a bandurria.



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