The stringing of the 5-course guitar



This is a survey of information about the stringing of the 5-course guitar in the 17th and early 18th centuries, taken from original documents of the period. It is not exhaustive, but it includes the most important sources. The  guitar  was  double  strung  -  that  is  each  “course”  comprised  two  strings, although the first course was usually a single  string. It was tuned  in  4ths with a major 3rd between the second and third courses.  Scordaturaor irregular tunings were  often  used,  but  do  not  affect  the  way  in  which the  instrument  is strung. When  pitch  is  indicated,  the  first  course  is  usually  tuned  to  the  nominal pitch  e’  as  on  the  classical  guitar,  although  a  few sources  give  d’  as  an alternative. The  strings  of  the  second  and  third  courses  were tuned  in  unison.  The  main part  of  this  survey  deals  with  the  different  methods  of  stringing  the  fourth  and fifth courses, with or without low octave strings (usually referred to as bourdons). It is arranged under three main headings…)

Monica Hall

the stringing of the 5-course guitar

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