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  1. #1

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    I couldn't resist this beautiful instrument, though had to sell my Gibson 175 to pay for it - sacrilege, I hear you say!! The truth is, I have to admit I'm a 100% acoustic player, and the 175 just wasn't getting played. The forthcoming Elferink will be my main jazz guitar.

    So, to the theorbo. How did such a monster come about? Well, let's go back to the Reformation of the 16th century. The reformers decided that church music had become too complex - often there were six or more singers all singing different lines, often with different words. The whole was meant to elevate your spirits to admire the greater glory of God, but very often it went over the congregation's heads. So, they put forward the idea of one melody, which everyone would sing, and in the vernacular.

    Well, the Counter Reformation got itself organised, and thoughts soon turned to music. They liked the idea of the vernacular, but not of one melodic line. So they opted for a tripartite formula: a melody, to which was added a functional bass (rather than an independent melodic line), and chords in between. Thus was created Baroque music. By the way, "baroque" was a disparaging term. It really refers to a broken diamond - the diamond being the old Renaissance modal style.

    Anyway (are you still with me?!) all this meant that the bass increased in importance, and soon all the lutes were having long bass strings added for the low notes. Many early theorbos were adapted from lutes.

    My theorbo is actually a small one, though that makes it a bit easier to play. The video explains more, and I give a little performance at the end. I hope you like it!




    Edit: The French wrote for it too: Not easy, but I can't stop myself sharing it...

    Last edited by Rob MacKillop; 10-27-2017 at 10:56 AM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Awesome. As soon as I saw the thread title I knew who the author was.

    Check out this bad girl!

    Theorbo-theorbo-jpg

  4. #3

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    congrats rob..beautiful instrument...not to sound heretical on a jazz forum, but it almost makes a ply top 175 seem silly in compare!!!

    great post info, overview vid...and playing of course

    the maestro!!! bravo

    congrats and enjoy

    cheers

    ps- i thought i remembered seeing you play one before!!



    cheers

  5. #4

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    pss- youre very likely the only theorbo player in the world who doubles on a danelectro longhorn bass!!!! haha...fantastic


    cheers

  6. #5

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    Just a delight! Thank you!

  7. #6

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    This is fantastic, congratulations.

    What a sound !

    Like WoodySound, upon reading "theorbo" i knew whose post this would be.

    Awaiting your take on Donna Lee à la manière de Robert de Visée.

  8. #7

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    I just heard this Capona.

    Interesting. Sounds a bit like this fantastic Madagascar guitarist, D'Gary, but on valium and with stockings and wig.
    Last edited by xuoham; 10-26-2017 at 08:49 PM. Reason: typos, typos, always TYPOS !!!!

  9. #8

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    xuoham- like your guitar and koto pieces...lots of strings moving!!! haha

    cheers

  10. #9

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    I love hearing you talk almost as much as I enjoy hearing you play.
    You are a gentle soul Rob.
    I forgive you for offing the 175. I understand. I would trade my theorbo for a 175 any day, if I had one...
    Joe D

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    I forgive you for offing the 175. I understand. I would trade my theorbo for a 175 any day, if I had one...
    Joe D

    hahahaha..now that cracked me up!!!

    funny

    cheers

    ps- both of you guys love of playing is great!! inspiring

  12. #11

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    I'm glad the post generated such good comments. Thank you, all!

    Love my Longhorn (so to speak)!

    The Capona video was on a larger theorbo, not mine, with an 83cms playing string length, 14cms longer than my theorbo. It was LOUD.

    Part of the deal in selling my 175 was the inclusion of a Peerless Manhattan, which is now my only jazz guitar. It's actually a fine guitar, not a 175, but it will certainly keep me happy for now.

  13. #12

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    Happy New Theorbo Day, Rob! Didn't even know that an instrument of this name existed. It sounds beautiful and so does your playing! Why am I not amazed that you can play such a beast? LOL!

  14. #13

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    Cheers, Tommo. Happy you have now made your acquaintance with the old beast.

  15. #14

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    Rob, can you cut the top and put a pickup in there??



    Beautiful stuff!

  16. #15

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    Or you can just wedge a BJB in there..
    JD

  17. #16

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    Personally, I think that's the most beautiful musical instrument ever made - and one of the best sounding, too

  18. #17

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    I'm so jealous...


    congrats!!!

  19. #18

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    Ah, the Counter Reformation, my favorite outcome of the Reformation. Happy new stringed instrument day Rob. Your playing and your history lesson made my morning. Thanks for sharing!

  20. #19

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    Can you get a gigbag that will fit, though? And careful not to dislocate your thumb, hitting those low strings!

    No seriously, Rob, that is one beautiful-looking and -sounding instrument!

  21. #20

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    Cheers, lads. I remember once taking a larger one through the London Underground, with a lute in my other hand, and a back pack. One American spoke to me, asking, "What IS that?", to which I replied "A lute". I've never forgotten his response: "Maaan, that's the MOTHER of all lutes!" Americans,

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Cheers, lads. I remember once taking a larger one through the London Underground, with a lute in my other hand, and a back pack. One American spoke to me, asking, "What IS that?", to which I replied "A lute". I've never forgotten his response: "Maaan, that's the MOTHER of all lutes!" Americans,
    The "Motherlute"!

  23. #22

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    Latest video. Some french baroque:


  24. #23

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    Folks, not in the Capona clip, but in the others you can see Rob's right-hand technique. This is a good look at lute technique, FWIW. Rob is using the lutist's attack on the strings--which is considerably shallower than the "traditional" classical guitarist's right-hand approach. (I say "traditional," but lute playing is older than guitar playing.)

    When I was a student of classical guitar, I also worked with a lute player who was quite good. She helped me with this right-hand style on lute.

    It was good to see and hear Rob on his theorbo. What a nice "wake up in the morning" sound for my morning coffee.

  25. #24

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    Yes, Greentone, well observed. Each instrument I play has a different technique, and one of these days I'll get them all mixed up! Plectrum Theorbo - now, there's an idea!

  26. #25

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    Theorbo-lin!