English guitar

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Mrs. Robert Gwillym playing an English guitar, painting by Joseph Wright of Derby (1766)

English guitar is a stringed instrument, a type of sister (or cittern), which was popular in many places in Europe from around 1750-1850. The instrument was also known in Norway as a guitarre. There are many examples in Norwegian museums, including at the Norsk Folkemuseum. The English guitar has a pear-shaped body, a flat base, and a short neck.


It has ten strings in a repetitive open C tuning, of which the highest eight are paired in four courses (duplicated strings),

C E GG cc ee gg.

The English guitar influenced the Russian guitar, which has seven strings tuned in open G tuning in thirds (G'-B, B-D, g-b, and b-d') with two fourths (D'-G', and D-g):

D', G', B, D, g, b, d'.

See also


  1. Hannu Annala, Heiki Mätlik (2007). "Composers for other plucked instruments: Rudolf Straube (1717-1785)". Handbook of Guitar and Lute Composers (Translated by Katarina Backman ed.). Mel Bay. p. 30. ISBN 0786658444. ISBN 9780786658442. 

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