Guitarist/composer Jay Manley is exploring new and old sounds on a 21-string hollow-body electric guitar designed by Wes Lambe. The result is an enchanting form of fusion: jazz indie rock with a Hindustani raga undercurrent
MAKE & MODEL
2009 Wes Lambe 21-string Saraswati Guitar
WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU
An instrument to explore a wide range of fingerstyle guitar, Indian music without having to use an altered tuning, and a fusion of these ideas where anything goes: from classical to punk! Hopefully it will be a notable piece in the lineage of sitar-inspired guitars.
WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE
Piano-like clear basses and warm trebles, tons of sustain, earthy mahogany tone with lots of chime from the drone and harp strings, a wide bending range and low-output humbuckers. RIYL: Gretsch Country Gentleman meets sitar and a Gibson EB-3 bass.
7 main strings, two drone strings and 12 sympathetic harp strings with a piezo sitar bridge, handmade Kent Armstrong Filtertron-voiced pickups, all mahogany body, maple neck with fanned frets, and an ebony fretboard.
Main string tuning is AEADGBE, drone strings are AE, harp strings are in various A modes. Wes Lambe used the sound of a saraswati veena (South Indian instrument) as a tonal reference in addition to his 7 and 8-string guitar ideas to design the instrument.
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photo by Hathir Pfau