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Thread: Nordwall 10-string cittern - just ordered one!

  1. #1
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    Default Nordwall 10-string cittern - just ordered one!

    For the past couple years I've traveled a fair bit to Sweden to play music and learn the local fiddle tunes (so many polskas!) and have encountered a whole lot of amazing musicians. A few of them have played these fantastic 10-string citterns by a local luthier named Mats Nordwall, but I had never gotten to play one up close until yesterday. Once I had one in my hands for 20 minutes I had to place a custom order.

    Here is a little soundclip of me playing Mats' personal instrument:



    Here's a nice video of another of these citterns featuring a much better player than me haha:


    Wow. He's a very thoughtful maker and builds fantastic instruments. They are typically tuned CFCGC (basically DGDAD down a whole step) but a bunch of alternate tunings are possible with the typical string gauges he uses. They are a bit interesting in that they use a combination of nylon and steel strings on the lowest two courses, taking after what Roger Tallroth in Väsen does to achieve his low A and D courses on his ADADAD 12-string guitar tuning. This lessens the overall tension the top has to support to get the low strings and allows for a lighter, more responsive build that is easy to play and balanced across the strings. It also capos up very well, still retaining both a strong low end and high end when capoed up to open F, G, and A (the 5th, 7th, and 9th frets respectively). Intonation was perfect all up and down the neck. Every 5 course OM family instrument I have played before either was favored the treble or bass too heavily, been good at either melody or rhythm but not both, had intonation problems, or was just a bear to play. These instruments seem to hit the sweet spot. Highly recommend you check out Mats' work if you are looking for something like this :D

    Now the hard part is waiting!
    Patrick Gunning

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  3. #2
    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nordwall 10-string cittern - just ordered one!

    exciting. the sobell cittern i had was tuned DGDAD on receipt - it was a bit cool to be honest!
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

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    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nordwall 10-string cittern - just ordered one!

    I'm sorry, but you were just having way too much fun there

    That did sound very nice indeed: can you elaborate on the use of nylon strings a little?

  5. #4
    Registered User KennyE's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nordwall 10-string cittern - just ordered one!

    I liked it! Very jangley (sp?), yet full. What's your wait time? Definitely the hardest part about custom ordered instruments.
    Kenny

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    Default Re: Nordwall 10-string cittern - just ordered one!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tavy View Post
    I'm sorry, but you were just having way too much fun there

    That did sound very nice indeed: can you elaborate on the use of nylon strings a little?
    Sure.

    Here's a closer look at the bridge of Esbjorn Hazelius' cittern, so you can see the tied on nylon strings on the two lower courses:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    the setup is the two lowest courses in octaves, and the rest unison, with the following gauges:

    Elixir Bronze 0.32, Hannabach H-9 medium tension (nylon), Elixir Bronze 0.24, Hannabach E-6 low-tension (nylon), Elixir Bronze 0.32, Elixir Bronze 0.32, Elixir Bronze 0.22, Elixir Bronze 0.22, Elixir plain steel anti-rust 0.13, Elixir plain steel anti-rust 0.13.

    It actually works quite well since you get the warm "pad" of the bass note from the nylon string at lower tension, and you get the steel string attack from the upper string on those courses.
    Patrick Gunning

    "Truly, for some men nothing is written unless they write it."
    -Sherif Ali to T.E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia")

    Red Diamond "Vintage '22" F5 #190
    Arrow Custom OM
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    Default Re: Nordwall 10-string cittern - just ordered one!

    Quote Originally Posted by KennyE View Post
    I liked it! Very jangley (sp?), yet full. What's your wait time? Definitely the hardest part about custom ordered instruments.
    Wait time about 6 months - very reasonable (for now!)
    Patrick Gunning

    "Truly, for some men nothing is written unless they write it."
    -Sherif Ali to T.E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia")

    Red Diamond "Vintage '22" F5 #190
    Arrow Custom OM
    Collings D1A

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Nordwall 10-string cittern - just ordered one!

    I think this is great.

    I admire the fact that you go so often to Sweden from LA to learn as much as you can about this music at source.
    And I have to say that the whole Swedish cittern/bouzouki/mandola/guitar thing which seems to be going on is very inspiring.

    There was an interesting thread a few years ago about Swedish cittern player Ale Carr, where Ale himself commented at length here about his instrument.
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/s...highlight=carr

    It seems to be the case (to me, looking at it from Scotland) that the influences of Ale Moller and Roger Tallroth have been enormous in Sweden and this has led to luthiers like Nordwall responding to players' demands for steel/nylon strung instruments etc, which is not something I think I've come across elsewhere.

    Incidentally, Stefan Sobell's 10-string citterns don't seem to be so common here these days. In the late seventies/early eighties most Scottish bands had them. It seems to be more guitars and (increasingly) tenor guitars at the moment.
    David A. Gordon

  9. #8
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nordwall 10-string cittern - just ordered one!

    Very nice playing Patrick! Thanks for both of those sound clips!

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Nordwall 10-string cittern - just ordered one!

    Wow. It seems impossible to mix nylon strings with steel. I'm impressed with the result.

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