Franken-tar, redux

Spring is coming, and that makes us a little bouncier around here. Off the wall dreams seem like good ideas. And perhaps they are. What if we take those ideas one step further? You may remember the Teen’s Franken-tar.

I had a lesson the other day with Jim Loewenherz. He’s a local musician and luthier. We worked on some strum patterns for Irish reels and jigs. Near the end of the lesson I asked him about bass runs and fills for a song I’m working on with the Day Old Pastries, but all of that was pretty much over my head because I’d have to learn where the notes actually live on the guitar neck first. I’m a pretty rudimentary guitar player; I love my open cowboy chords, strummed or picked!

So we discussed ensemble play, and he talked about each instrument having its own sonic space, each doing something a little different. The Day Old Pastries have five guitars and a mandolin. The mandolin has its own sonic space by default. But the guitars can each have their own space by having one of them strum, one pick, one capo up for a different voicing. And then Jim asked if we have a 12-string. Nope. an extra guitar? Sure! So he suggested high string Nashville tuning, just for something different. Basically, you string a six string guitar with the extra six strings that you’d find on a 12-string guitar. The lowest four strings are an octave higher than normal, and the top two strings are the same as usual.

I just had to try this to see what it sounds like. I decided to try it on the Teen’s Taylor Big Baby, because he doesn’t play acoustic guitars much, and it’s a comfortable size for me. I poked around on the web and found that D’Addario sells string sets for high string tuning.

high strung

What a cool sound! (Listen to the video on the link.) I’m going to take it to practice tomorrow, and we can play around with it.


And now I’m about to go pick out some mis-crossed cables on my Heather Hoodie, ten rows back…ouch! That last “O” isn’t an O.

Here’s a sign of spring that I saw on my walk this morning.


Crocuses are blooming here! Is it winter or spring in your neighborhood?

15 responses to “Franken-tar, redux

  1. No spring yet even though the temps have warmed up into the high 20’s / low 30s . The days are getting longer, so that’s certainly a bonus!

  2. Sigh. Crocuses. I love that time of year.

    it’s summer here, but raining, thank God. We needed it.

  3. And I always thought those little fellas were made in China. Who knew they grew in Seattle?

  4. Definitely still winter here, although not too bad at the moment. It’s currently minus 10 (that’s apparently about 14, for you Fahrenheit people), with a windchill of colder.

    That’s OK, thought, because I *just* finished making the hubby a hat, so I wouldn’t want it to get too warm too soon. 🙂

  5. wow, your crocuses have such an interesting flower. 😉 our neighbors already have little white blooms on theirs! sooooo glad it’s on its way! 🙂

  6. Love the sound of the high string tuning! I’d never heard of that before, but it’s very cool.

  7. Um, no spring – but 18″ of snow!

  8. I took the high strung guitar to practice this morning, and it’s really cool in an ensemble! Or maybe *I’m* high strung…

    I think winter is in the eastern half of this hemisphere, and the western half isn’t getting much at all this year. Not even our neighbors up north at the Olympics.

  9. It’s still very much winter over here. I’m looking forward to seeing crocus soon!

  10. Temps in the 70’s in Feb – don’t you just love it! It feels like Spring.

  11. ouch re: that cable!!!

  12. Ooh, spring! I’m all aflutter for it! 🙂

  13. Sounds like you’re learning lots of new stuff. Keep it up. I have a co-worker who plays the Irish harp. She’s really good — goes on tour with an ensemble every year and has even played in the White House on St. Patrick’s Day. Practice does pay off. Talent is a good thing, but hard work makes for truly amazing results.

  14. Over a foot of winter here. 😉

  15. Crocuses smocuses! I’ve seen Rhodies blooming out on some of my routes…. :0