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  1. #1

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    I love this picture of the infamous Borgias having a jam, dated 1493.

    The archtop guitar is actually referred to as a viola da peñola - a vihuela or guitar played with a quill (pen). The tuning was relatively the same as today, but with the third string down a semitone.

    We have all been here before!

    Archtop guitar traced back to 1493!-37f5a900-ff77-4eb5-a83a-f7cb72aee6fe-jpeg

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Made by Hofner, obviously

  4. #3

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    Naa. Italian. Looks like a Moffa.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    I love this picture of the infamous Borgias having a jam, dated 1493.

    The archtop guitar is actually referred to as a viola da peñola - a vihuela or guitar played with a quill (pen). The tuning was relatively the same as today, but with the third string down a semitone.

    We have all been here before!

    Archtop guitar traced back to 1493!-37f5a900-ff77-4eb5-a83a-f7cb72aee6fe-jpeg
    That is a Cmaj then? What about the thumb over neck -- muting?

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danil
    That is a Cmaj then? What about the thumb over neck -- muting?
    Pinky appears to be on the first string as well. Clearly playing the intro to "The Wind Cries Mary."

    Or the first chord in "Hard Day's Night."

  7. #6

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    I think something significant happened the year before

  8. #7

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    Picking hand is also mainstream looking - palm on the bridge, possibly lightly supported by fingers on penguard or deck. Nice picture to refer to people with innovative (unorthodox!) grips

  9. #8

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    Remember that the 3rd string is down a semitone…

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    I think something significant happened the year before
    But news hadn’t got back yet…

  11. #10

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    If he's at the 2nd fret position and the 3rd string is tuned down a half step, that's a Db Hendrix chord. Actually, it all fits if you check out his right hand middle finger sneakily about to tap the hell outta that top string.

  12. #11

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    Most of the comments are about his hands. What about that archtop? Pretty cool, no?

  13. #12

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    At that time one had to choose their repertoire with care. After all, it was the age of the Inquisition. Probably wise to leave Hava Nagila off the set list.

  14. #13

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    Much like how the modern archtop developed out of the violin, the viola da peñola developed out of the viol. There was the viola de arco (played with a bow), viola da mano (fingerstyle), and the viola de peñola (plectrum of sorts). I’ve played the “da mano” version, but not the peñola.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter C
    If he's at the 2nd fret position and the 3rd string is tuned down a half step, that's a Db Hendrix chord. Actually, it all fits if you check out his right hand middle finger sneakily about to tap the hell outta that top string.
    Index finger on a 2nd fret would make it Db7 (2nd string is open B/Cb).

  16. #15

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    My first arch top was a Kay, looked like that one but not as well-built.

  17. #16

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    It's likely the fretting hand in this painting bares the same resemblance to a real chord, as Saun Penn's fingers do in Sweet & Low-down.


  18. #17

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    Sean Peñola?

  19. #18

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    Do I see a P90 on it?

    Just kidding

  20. #19

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    His hand is in the way, so I can’t tell

    Looks like a Koentopp Amati.

    By the way, players in those days were seasoned improvisers over ground basses: repetitive chord sequences. Nothing was written down. Some were great virtuosi, some accompanied themselves singing. Not so dissimilar after all.

  21. #20

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    Were there any structural differences between the viola da mano and the viola de peñola, or were they the same instrument played in different ways?

  22. #21

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    Looks like Nigel Tufnel....maybe Tap are immortals. Was it a viol style tailpiece or is a Bigsby lurking under that sleeve?

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jehu
    Were there any structural differences between the viola da mano and the viola de peñola, or were they the same instrument played in different ways?
    Good question, but as only one atypical mano survives it is impossible to say for sure, and we are therefore entering the world of conjecture. It is generally assumed the string spacing at the bridge would have been slightly wider for the quill attack. There is also debate about a curved bridge inherited from the viol - some paintings show a curved bridge being played fingerstyle - which would have been flattened for quill playing. If there were internal differences, we don’t know them.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchtopHeaven
    It's likely the fretting hand in this painting bares the same resemblance to a real chord, as Saun Penn's fingers do in Sweet & Low-down.
    Ah, yes, the utter wrongness of so much of that movie is breathtaking.

  25. #24

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    These men are not Borgias, although they decorated a room used by the worst Borgia. The figures are a detail of a fresco depicting music as part of the quadrivium, in the Room of the Liberal Arts in the Borgia Apartment, which is in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. They were commissioned from Bernardino di Betto, known as Pinturicchio, by Pope Alexander VI (Rodrígo de Borgia), who used the room as his study.


    Archtop guitar traced back to 1493!-2music-jpg

  26. #25

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    Very likely an American archtop, 1493 being one year after a major import obstacle to Europe had been removed.