Ten Strings Guitar

The instrument


The ten-string guitar is a laboratory of sounds and colors refracted by the instrument's unusual acoustical qualities.

Such guitar has its ten strings mounted on the fingerboard, which allows the sound to increase remerkably due to the duplication of sounds and the harmonics generated by the four additional strings.
The width draws the finguers closer to the fingerboard making the arch lower, facilitating speed and ligatures.

The advantage is that the works originally written for lute or ancient guitar can be performed without any previous trancription.
As regards the contemporary music field, this guitar offers a great number of possibilities, since it counts with a winder range of sounds and technical resources.

There is no rule about starting with this instrument from the beginning or waiting years before adopting it, because when to start depends on the sensitivity of each one.



1828 - Fernando Carulli uses a guitar of ten cords with an extension in the handle without a fret for the four extra strings. It was built by the luthier René Lacote and registered in Paris in 1861. Carulli, also composed works for this instrument which can be found in his method Op.293 for the ten-string guitar.

Sor, Coste, Mertz, among other musicians, wrote musical works for the ten-string guitar.

1960 - The Spanish luthier Jose Ramirez III, dedicated a lot of study to the construction of guitars with the purpose of solving the physical acoustic problems of the instrument and of extending its sound. He contacted Narciso Yepes with whom he created the idea of adding more strings to the instrument.

In 1964 the first modern ten string guitar originated. That same year Narciso Yepes performed for the first time with the ten string guitar in Berlin.


Néstor Benito, uses the ten string guitar since 1981.






The tuning of the first six strings is the same as that of the six-string guitar.

Yepes's tuning:

E   B   G   D   A   E  C  Bb Ab  Gb
1º 2º 3º 4º 5º 6º 7º  8º  9º 10º

These tones provide harmonic vibration to extend each note's resonance on the guitar's fingerboard

Other tunnings:

Laud tuning:

If resonance tuning is combined with tha laud's you obtain this:
E B G D A E D C Ab Gb

Every musician shoul make use of the tunning at will once the tonality of the theme to play is determined, using the more convinient basses.


To control and use sympathetic resonance at will, not at the guitar's, was an important artistic goal, by applying the bottom of the wrist (right hand) across the bass strings, I was eventually able to dampen unwanted resonance.
In time, this became an automatic aspect of the tecnique, according to the demands of the piece being played.
I also learned to use the left hand to block resonance, a devise that transferred from the six - strings guitar.
As far as resonance is concerned, it is important to realize that one is always using the extra bass strings because that is the physical that gives the ten string guitar such a distinct quality.
I became more attuned to the instrument as time progressed, realizing the power of its volume.
At each performance I learned how to refine and use the qualities of more sustained notes and greaster volume afforded by the ever-present sympathetic vibrations.