Even though 10 string guitars are not very popular among classical guitarists, playing a 10 string guitar can bring some advantages to the classical guitar world, a wider range is the most remarkable one. Moreover, on a standard guitar, guitarists face some so called “unusual fingering” sooner or later. But on a 10 string guitar, those fingerings might not be unusual anymore, because there are 4 extra bass strings that can be played “open” (without holding any fret) and assist the player in some positions.
Also, 10 string guitar makes it easier to arrange pieces that are written for other instrument on classical guitar without too much alteration.
Narciso Yepes (1927 – 1997) is one of the greatest guitarists of all time. He started his musical studies at the age of four in Lorca, Spain. During his studies, he has been technically challenged by many violinists and pianists who believed they can play much better than he can. The challenges, forced him to work much harder, and ultimately made a virtuoso out of him.
After 1964, he toured all six inhabited continents with his 10 string guitar, performing in recitals as well as with the world’s leading orchestras, giving an average of 130 performances each year. For the first time, he recorded the Concierto de Aranjuez with the ten string guitar in 1969 with Odon Alonso conducting the Orquesta Sinfonica R.T.V. Española.
His research into forgotten manuscripts of the 16th and 17th centuries resulted in the rediscovery of numerous works for guitar or lute. He was also the first person to record the complete lute works of Bach on period instruments (14-course baroque lute). In addition, through his patient and intensive study of his instrument, Narciso Yepes developed a revolutionary technique and previously unsuspected resources and possibilities.
He was granted many official honours including the Gold Medal for Distinction in Arts, conferred by King Juan Carlos I; membership in the Academy of “Alfonso X el Sabio” and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Murcia. In 1986 he was awarded the Premio Nacional de Música of Spain, and he was elected unanimously to the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando.
Yepes claimed that he is the composer of the wonderful piece “Romance anonymous” which is an extremely popular piece in classical guitar repertoire.
By Arash A.
(some biographical parts credited Wikipedia)