Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Before The Strat Was The Strad

Antonio Stradivari, the celebrated maker of violins, made two guitars. (Two, I suppose, that are documented and known to be his creations?) And this is the exquisitely crafted sound hole of one of his master creations, a guitar known as the Rawlins:




More pictures at the University of South Dakota's National Music Museum page, where the instrument now resides. Click, drool, wipe, repeat.

(Anybody know if the museum has a "NO STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN" warning sign?)

UPDATE: Puppy Manohar: In response to your question about 5-stringed guitars, I came across this terrific page on the evolution of 19th century guitars. You may want to look it up. That site even has a picture of Rawlins' headstock (scroll down the page.)

17 comments:

Rahul Siddharthan said...

Extraordinary. Is it playable still, I wonder? Classical guitars don't age very well (unlike violins). I wonder how many early-18th-century guitars, by any maker, still exist.

km said...

Rahul: I agree (remembering all my 20th century guitars that died young, thanks to warping and excessive humidity.)

(A nice page on Segovia's luthier)

Puppy Manohar said...

A 10 string guitar? Does that even qualify as a guitar?

Maybe it was a 12 string, but they removed the two high Es to block "Stairway to Heaven".

Regards,

Puppy Manohar

km said...

Puppy: if they can have a 5-string bass, why not a 5-string guitar?

And I like your idea about removing the high E. If only they could lose the lower E and stop people from playing Sabbath riffs in guitar shops :))

Tabula Rasa said...

she will be yours...?

km said...

TR: if by "she" you mean Rawlins and if by "be yours" you mean "in my possession", I say bring on your gang of intrepid museum robbers.

You will make this man very, very happy.

Puppy Manohar said...

Dear KM,

Even more annoying are the people who play Metallica riffs. Yes, get rid of the low E I say. I'm tired of hearing "Sad but Enter One Horseman to Black and Destroy" every time I want to buy a set of strings.

Regards,

Puppy Manohar

km said...

Yo, Pup, do you mind telling me what part of the States you're in?

Puppy Manohar said...

Dear KM,

Email at :

manohar[dot]iyengar[at]gmail[dot]calm

except it is com not calm

Regards,

PM

Szerelem said...

Wow...this is gorgeous! Arabesques...

Szerelem said...

Wow...this is gorgeous! Arabesques...

??! said...

Oh always picky (pun mara!) unkel-ji, hum bhi kuch mistake batlayein?

There's a comma missing in your title (after "the Strat"). Nahin toh people will read it and continue "..well, what was it?"

km said...

??!: "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow" - :)

The comma separates independent clauses. The phrase "was the Strad" is a subordinate or a dependent clause. Therefore, no comma. (At least that's how I remember the theory. But are headlines subject to grammar rules?)

szerelem: That's the word I was thinking of (but couldn't): arabesque.

Puppy: will mail ya.

??! said...

are headlines subject to grammar rules
Not if you're an Indian journo. Heh.

Puppy Manohar said...

Dear KM,

Also, thanks for the special mention and the link. Yes, that was very interesting. I had no idea that the 12 string was the original and the 6 string version evolved from it. I am now smarter and wiser.

Regards,

Puppy Manohar.

lekhni said...

It resides in South Dakota ? How? Why?

km said...

lekhni: That both surprised me and saddened me. Hopefully, these things leave their "home" on loan to other museums...