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My sweet laud: 14 strings of fun

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 @9:06:35 PM

   My new Philippine laud ( a.k.a. octave bandurria) made by O.C.Bandilla arrived from the Philippines  yesterday, and I've been teaching myself how to play in every spare moment. It's an authentic 14-string model (unlike the modern 12-string versions found in Spain and in Cuba) and some of my time was taken up in keeping it in tune (new strings tend to stretch). The strings are arranged in 6 courses tuned in full fourths: trebles in unison on courses 1 to 3 and doubled in unison on courses 4 and 5. (The sixth course is  a singleton.)

   The learning curve was fairly easy for me, because the patterns are similar to those on the Puerto Rican cuatro, which I already play. The sound is somewhere between that of a mandola's incisiveness (it's definitely a baritone instrument) and the jangle of a 12-string guitar, with a roughly pear-shaped body that looks like a the illegitimate offspring of an A-style mandolin and a cittern.

   Oh yes, tuning: The six courses, from 6 to 1, are tuned F#-B-E-A-D-G. I suppose that it could be tuned like a 12-string guitar, particularly the modern 12-string versions,  but why bother when it's so easy to just obtain a 12-string guitar.

   I took it around my errands today, and it drew a lot of interest and comment; everybody was impressed by the instrument's appearance and liked its sound.

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