A 9 string “Terz” Guitar, commissioned by Peter Rueffer

Scale length : 62cm
Frets : 22
Fingerboard : Ebony, 80mm at nut, 93mm at 12th fret
Soundboard : Spruce
Body : Indian rosewood
Tuners : Nicolo Alessi

Peter’s brief was for me to design and build a guitar with a regular complement of 6 strings, but tuned G to G, and an additional 3 lower bass strings, to be tuned as deemed necessary. Ideally it should also have a cutaway to improve access to those upper frets. This had developed from a desire to be able to play music written for lute without transposition, and after examining various “Alt” guitar designs.

From the design point of view the instrument presented a number of interesting challenges, like choosing a viable scale length, choosing body and top plate resonances that would best suit the tuning of the instrument, and then determining the body dimensions that would hopefully deliver them! Oh, and most importantly, it had to look good and be comfortable to play.

Things worked out quite well I think, but Peter’s the man to ask. Actually I think he’s pretty chuffed with it. Overall a most enjoyable project.

Ken Leftwich

The Finished Guitar

Purfling Detail

Headstock Detail

Soundboard Bracing

Internal Detail

Rosette. Note shaping of the fingerboard

Nearing Completion

Ken can be contacted at kleftwichtiscali.co.uk