Here we would like to have a brief introduction for new readers about the alto guitar. It is one of the 25 kinds and model of Niibori Guitars designed and developed by Dr. Hiroki Niibori. Its total length is 854 mm to 867 mm and the length of its scale is about 530 mm. The normal total length of a prime guitar in nowadays is 985 mm to 1005 mm, and the scale is about 640 mm to 650 mm. So an alto guitar is about 100 mm smaller than prime guitar. Tuning the strings up 5 degree higher, just as the tune when a prime guitar used a Capo on the 7th flat, and its 1st string is in H and 2nd in F#; 3rd in D; 4th in A; 5th in E; and 6th in low H. For the interval between the strings are the same as prime guitar, you can soon get use to it if you can play prime guitar. Besides, on the high tone side, the distance between the top of body is shorter than the low tone side, which is so-called as a dropped-shoulder style. So it is easier to play the instrument on the position over the 12th flat.
Well, here we would like to introduce you some important lines written in the preface of this book by Dr. Hiroki Niibori, he is the composer, arranger and the author of this book:
"I think the publishing of this book has important meaning in guitar music history. Though it is published as a collected works for alto guitar, it can also be used as a text book...... Alto guitar is an instrument of great value, even in the historical viewpoint, for it could be considered as "an instrument touches the root of music from its very beginning.
Firstly, it is really the same kind of this instrument took a main active part in a long period during the 6000 years history...... actually, the prime guitars in nowadays are not quite fit for beginners in Japan (we are not a nation with big hands or big body), but we are easy to play an alto guitar both in holding a position or play scales and music.
Secondly, saying about the pitch extent of a prime guitar, as it is mainly in low tones, something like the pitch below the middle C of a piano, or the sound of cello...... it has the impression of gloomy and sad, except the persons who are used to the sound. The point is that it is better to choose an alto guitar instead of a prime for a beginner, especially if he or she is a little child...... Naturally, the sound of alto guitar is easier of hearing, so that it is easier to start learning guitar when he or she decides to enjoy or to play music during all their life.
As mentioned above, alto guitar is easier to sound its tone, that means the player can easier of hearing his or her own playing. And much more, as alto guitars take a leading part in a guitar orchestra or an ensemble, compounding with the sound of bass, prime, even accompanied with excellent prime guitar solo...... it keeps the balance so well and it can give you an impression of wonderful sound.
"Music for Alto Guitar" is a book which will help you to get the essential knowledge of the guitar music...... Also as a guide book it will help a beginner to know how to do the training of playing the open strings and enjoying guitar ensemble music. The works include many popular songs such as "Jingle Bells" and "Minuet by J.S. Bach", and as well as more than 15 pieces original works composed by Dr. Hiroki Niibori. These works will help you to improve step by step. Though the book is for beginner and intermediate level, it can be also used by advanced for their further studying of how to express the sense of music.
This month we held a discussion on the theme of alto guitar. Till now, not only the Japanese famous guitar makers but also the well-known guitar makers in abroad have been producing alto guitars. From last year the studio of our Niibori Guitar Music Academy has firstly produced alto guitars. There are kinds of different styles and models being presented, and it is easier to purchase the instrument than before.
Please do try to have an experience of playing it, especially for the beginners. We are sure that it will make you enjoy the guitar music much more.
The price of the book " Music for Alto Guitar" is \1,800 (5% tax and postage are not included).
Niibori Guitar Music Academy, Editorial Office
143-14 Fujisawa, Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa-ken,
Phone: +81-466-23-8338 / Fax: +81-466-23-9337
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