A Raimundo 1498 requinto with Hannabach alto strings.
The spruce front and shallow body give a powerful crisp sound.
The alto guitar
hago's alto guitars take the role of the "first violins" in our orchestra.
Across the globe, there is more than one type of alto guitar. hago plays the Niibori alto guitar - a six-stringed instrument that measures 535mm long from nut to bridge - the so-called scale length (what's this?)
It's tuned 5 notes (7 frets) higher than a Classical Guitar, although the neck is only about 4 frets shorter, meaning that the strings are much thinner.
The alto plays from conventional notation just like a Guitar "capo 7" would do, but...
- It's only 4 frets shorter than a guitar, not 7 - it's not as cramped to play
- It has a smaller body and thinner strings to give a brighter sound
- It has a 14-fret neck - a capo'd guitar only has a 5 fret neck (and if you use dots, they're all over the place, if you see what we mean!)
If you can spare 5 minutes, put a capo on fret 7 of your guitar and try a few simple 1st Position pieces - it will give you just a hint about how bright and clear the alto can be!
The cutaway neck on each hago alto guitar makes it easy to reach the notated note F# (14th fret), which equates to an actual pitch of C# - just about over the soundhole of a Classical Guitar!
And yes, we use that note quite a lot ... Hear it here.
Interested in trying an alto guitar? It plays from conventional notation. See our Playing Tips