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http://www.chiaviguitars.comThe 13-string Chiavi-Miolin Guitar

Anders Miolin : J.S. Bach - Prelude BWV 998

This instrument is among the most recent developments created in my workshop.
The unusual position of the soundhole, close to the 12th fret region, supports a more effective transferrence of string energy.
The soundboard is slanted, creating additional room for the player's left hand at positions as
high up as the 24th fret!
This advantage is further enhanced by the careful shaping of the neck and fingerboard profile.

The guitar is equipped with an individual length compensation for each string, allowing for a
maximum tuning tolerance of only 2 cent.
This instrument features a wide dynamic spectrum, a clear and voluminous sound, excellent
balance across its entire range and a rich sonic coloration.

Based on the same construction principles as the 6-string model.

The 7th and the 8th strings are tuned to D and C to widen the bass spectrum, and can be played
over the entire fingerboard.
The smart design of this guitar's headstock allows for the additional string's integration without
having to add size or sacrifice visual symmetry.

In terms of basic construction, this guitar is similar to my 6 string model.

The headstock is not much longer or heavier than on a 6string guitar, thus maintaining the
instrument's balance. The additional 4 tuners for the bass strings are accomodated by the
innovative design, which assures ideal sting alignment at the headstock.

Even with 13 strings, this instrument's head is not much longer or heavier than on a regular
6-string guitar. This makes for exellent balance. 7 additional tuners are part of this design, still
the alignment of each string is achieved without creating strong angles, which would result in tuning
and resonance problems.

A custom made capodaster has been developped for this guitar, which enables the player to work
easily in various tunings. The fingerboard is used in its entire width only on the first three frets. This
made it possible to reduce the neck's width in the higher regions. Up until the 12th fret, only 7 of
the guitar's 13 strings run over the fingerboard. Above the 12th fret, it becomes continually narrower.
This allows for a dramatic weight reduction, which proved to be crucial to maintain overall balance.
The additional bass strings provide an entire octave below the known spectrum, the fingerboard
design offers as many as 24 frets. This leads to an overall spectrum of 5(!) octaves.
(A regular 6 string guitar offers only three octaves and one quint.)

The soundboard is slanted at an angle toward the fretboard. This creates better handling in the
region above the 12th fret, where the left hand's thumb can no longer be used to provide counter
pressure for the fingers. This angle also increases the transferrence of string vibration.

The guitar is built using an unusual bracing pattern. This new system offers unparalleled efficiency:
The sound shaping forces are provided evenly over the entire surface, granting the highest possible
strength combined with a very economic use of material, which is important to keep the overall weight
at a minimum. Using this bracing, the top can be built very thinly, thus enhancing its frequency
connection with the strings. Using lightweight braces, the loss of energy could be kept amazingly small.
The result is a louder sounding guitar which never compromises on versatility.

Replacing the soundhole to the upper portion of the body creates a vibrating surface almost a third
larger than on a conventional guitar.  

The strings are tuned to: E/F/G/A/B/C/D/E/A/D/G/B/E.


Standard configuration
Soundhole position on both sides of the fingerboard
Scale legth: 650 mm
Top: Swiss Spruce
Back and Sides: Indian rosewood
Neck: Mahogany
Fingerboard: Ebony
Lacquer: Frenc polish (Top), special DD-Lacquer (Body and Neck)
Neck widthness: Saddle 114 mm; 3th fret 121 mm; 5th fret 85 mm;12th Fret 90 mm
Distance between strings: Saddle E/e 104 mm; Bridge E/e 135 mm
Neck thickness: 1th Fret 22 mm; 9th Fret 24 mm
Neck shape: C
Tuning machine : Alessi, black rollers
Scale lenghts: 630 mm, 655 mm, 660 mm
Lacquer: completely Frenc polish
Tuning machine: Slone, Rodgers
Audiosystem: Scherlter
Back and sides: Brazilian rosewood; maple bigleaf, quilted, flamed. European maple
Customized neck shape
Left-hander guitar

The 13-string Chiavi-Miolin Guitar
                                           By Johanes Labusch

The preconception of what a classical guitar has to look like my spring from our desire to find the definitive, the classic look and feel of what we cherish. The familiar visual signals give us a certain
peace of mind, the reassuring feeling that something has found its final, perfect, and most
satisfying shape.

I had known Swiss luthier Ermanno Chiavi's guitars to be firmly rooted in that straightforward philosophy.
But constant improvement has been as much a mark of his development as a steady and firm belief in tradition.
I own a Chiavi guitar built in 1996, and it is proof of his solid no-nonsense style. At the same
time, it illustrates his keen curiosity and sense of experiment: The body is made from beautiful
bird's-eye maple, and the inlays around the soundhole represent a row of maple leaves.

Chiavi could happily have gone on building guitars that embodied this blend of solidity and style.
But four years ago he was contacted by Anders Miolin, guitar professor at the Zurich Conservatory.
Miolin views music mainly in terms of freedom of expression, not necessarily in conventional terms. Ermanno realized right away that Miolin was not easily satisfied with standards. He was playing
two guitars at the time: a 10-string by Corbellari and an 11-string alto guitar built by the Swedish
luthier Bolin. Lugging these two instruments around was necessary to accommodate the various
tunings and ranges required by his repertoire. Anders (which ironically means "different" in German)
was now looking for a way to play piano and lute literature on one guitar. He wanted the greatest
possible amount of freedom from a single instrument.

Professor Miolin inspired Ermanno to rethink many of his experiences. If music is an art form that
gains from versatility, he argued, why should the spectrum covered by six strings, or eight, or even
ten strings, be accepted as the final limit? Wouldn't that be like a painter denying the existence of
certain colors? If a piece was written for piano, was that really only because of that instrument's
tonal capacities? What if a guitar's range could be stretched to accommodate the composition?
Wasn't it possible that all the differences in sound and playing technique could bring something
exciting to the piece? And this way of seeing things - and wanting to hear things - made a lot of
sense to a luthier committed to the idea of marrying tradition and innovation.

Anders and Ermanno tried to define the spectrum their guitar would have to cover, and it became
apparent that five octaves would be ideal. A challenging goal, considering that a regular 6-string
guitar only stretches across three octaves plus a fifth. They found that thirteen strings were going to
be necessary. The lowest note would be E and the fingerboard would have to go five frets higher
than a conventional classical guitar's, thus including the note e´´´.

A headstock with thirteen tuners would cause balance problems if they just made a regular headstock
that much longer. Instead, Chiavi came up with a layered construction: Two platforms are placed on
top of each other, each with six tuners, and the thirteenth tuner is placed in the middle.
This headstock does not extend far over the length of a 6-string. Visually and functionally,
it makes immediate sense.

Thirteen strings create a tremendous pull which the instrument's top would have to withstand.
Ermanno started experimenting with a rectangular bracing pattern that has been used since the 1930s.
It ensures even distribution of forces and makes it possible to have a very thin top with particularly
even acoustic capabilities. The body, by the way, is not bigger than that of a regular classic guitar -
the wide neck represented the maximum of bulkiness the tow inventors were willing to live with.

Another crucial decision was not to place the soundhole where tradition has taught us it "belongs".
Chiavi moved its location to the upper bout, increasing the vibrating area of the top.

One tormenting worry was the question of weight. The huge fretboard would have to be stripped of
every unnecessary gram of wood. Only the first three frets would be needed for all thirteen strings.
Between the 4th and 12th fret, now only seven strings run over the fingerboard. Higher up, it
becomes continuously narrower.

Ermanno was not very happy with the fact that above the 12th fret, the player would have to do without
the help of his left thumb, which could not remain behind the neck and provide support. He decided
to use a feature he had seen in the work of some other guitar makers over the years: a slanted top,
which adds some distance between the fingerboard and the top at the neck-body connection and
leaves more room for the guitarist's left hand. It also improves the tonal character of a guitar. The
wider angle at which the strings are attached to the bridge creates a better transference of string
vibration to the wood. One could think of it as a small step toward the harp, where the strings meet
the resonance chamber at a high angle, as opposed to the conventional guitar, where the strings
are aligned with the top.

Ermanno Chiavi has now built four of these guitars. With each of them, he made new discoveries
and solidified his research. The moment one of the bass strings is first picked, one realizes that we
have left traditional guitar territory for sure. But even if only the standard six strings are played, this
instrument has an amazingly big sound. Ermanno explains this with the "reverb chamber" effect on
the additional strings. Interest from musicians has been very encouraging. After a short period of
getting used to the wide neck, this instrument becomes part of their range of expression. It lends
its voice to their imagination. After Anders Miolin's first public presentation of the 13-string guitar,
a happy Ermanno Chiavi told me: "It almost feels like giving somebody a fresh set of words for an
ancient language!"-------------------

Comment '5'
  • Zorro Zin 2011.02.18 05:33 (*.146.185.110)
    좋은 음악 감사합니다^^
  • 곰탱이 2011.02.18 09:43 (*.229.68.77)
    Prelude BWV 998가 이렇게 좋은 곡인줄이야..확실히 바흐곡은 다현기타로 쳐야 제맛일듯...
    P.S.이 게시물은 다현악기란으로 옮기면 좋을 듯싶은데용..
  • 섬소년 2011.02.18 14:38 (*.17.103.20)
    으윽, 13현이었군요. 눈이 아리아리 12현으로 잘못 알았네요. 엄청난 배음효과와 질감이
    역시 특수기타 답습니다. 왼손과 오른손 통제도 어려운데 다현 악기는 적절한 지음과 소음까지
    동시에 해야 하니 어렵고도 어려운 수련입니다.

    미올린은 절대로 성급하지 않고 차분하면서도 깊은 울림을 들려주는데, 특히 드뷔시의
    <베르가마스크> 모음곡이 일품이더군요. 암스테리담 기타 트리오의 현한한 연주보다 어느 피아노 연주보다
    그윽하고 품격있는 미올린의 대가적인 연주에 이번 주말을 잔잔하게 지내볼 까 합니다.
  • 최동수 2011.02.18 23:43 (*.255.172.196)
    좋은 자료 잘 보았나이다.
    허어, 연구할 과제가 점점 복잡해지네요.
  • 최창호 2011.02.19 13:06 (*.223.61.12)
    이분 연주는 몇 개 들을수록 맛이 있네요. 자기의 색깔이 꽤나 분명하지만 그게 자연스럽고 어울려요. 악기도 처음엔 너무 류트처럼 풀풀거리지 않나 생각이 들었지만 자꾸 들으니까 트레블이 아주 매력적인 걸요.. 게다가 이분 동영상은 화질 음질이 다 좋아요!

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