putting it all together

Hampshire Guitar Orchestra » Guitar stuff » hago's guitars » Our total sound

One of hago's prime or classical guitars

hago's four sizes of classical guitars

Read more about the contra | prime | bass | alto | our total sound

What can the Niibori guitars do?

A typical hago piece might use 3 altos, 7 primes, 2 basses and 2 contras.

Our Niibori guitars give us a pitch range of almost 5 octaves - 55% more than a guitar ensemble.

From this...

3 octaves on the fingerboard in a classical guitar ensemble

Ensemble guitar compass

To this...

Almost 5 octaves on contra (blue), bass (green), prime (red) and alto (orange) hago guitars
(Niibori guitars are transposing guitars, so we don't read all those leger lines below - we read from staves like the one above)

guitar orchestra compass

Note pitches

Lowest note (contra) : 41 Hertz - E (same as lowest note on a double bass)
Highest note (alto) : 988 Hertz - B (fret 12). Very highest note on alto 1760 Hz - A (fret 22)

hago use Hannabach and D'Addario strings for our Niibori guitars (no, we aren't being paid to say that!).
The strings have proved to have good intonation and lifetime.


Percussion - the finishing touch

hand-held percussion

From left to right - eggs, claves, cabasa

We occasionally add percussion to our pieces. The cynic might argue that the guitar's lack of sustain already singles it out from strings, brass, woodwind and even recorders, and means that the guitar orchestra sound is naturally percussive.

There's an element of truth in that, but we sometimes add percussion for the same reason that most non-marching brass bands add it - to break up the uniformity of tone across the ensemble. Another, of course, is that it is a definitive part of many modern pieces, and a proper realisation of them simply begs for percussion.

Our percussion includes chicken eggs, claves and cabasa, and of course, the guitars themselves, which offer a variety of pitches of percussion on the lower bout, the upper bout and the side...

This gives us a range of textures, all at volumes compatible with the guitars themselves.