Pat Hawley's 8-string guitar

Pat Hawley is the person who encouraged me to try to build my own ukulele, and also the person I turn to for building advice.

Last time I visited Pat Hawley, he had an interesting guitar to show me. He had just finished a custom 8-string guitar, for Lucas from the group "Go Long (!)"

The middle 6-strings of this guitar have the standard tuning of regular guitar, but this guitar adds an extra low B on the low side and a high A. So the tuning of this guitar is:
B E A D G B E A (extra strings in bold)
Middle C would fall between the second B and E.

To get this extreme range, Pat went with a fan-fret guitar. This allows for a shorter high string. This is really important, because the high string on this guitar is actually an over-tensioned E-string. A shorter string requires less tension to tune to a high note. The highest string has 23 frets. The open strings on the guitar cover almost three octaves (21 piano keys), but if you play to the last fret, it covers 35 piano keys, almost five octaves!

By comparison, the strings of a typical tenor ukulele fall within one octave, less than the range of the last three strings of this guitar.

Here's Lucas is performing with the 8-string guitar for the first time, at the Black Sheep Inn, in Wakefield, Quebec, March 31. Lucas usually performs with a 6-string guitar, also by Pat Hawley.

Danielle, in the middle, is also performing on a Hawley guitar...

... which Pat Hawley had also just finished when he showed me the 8-string guitar. The ukulele that Pat is building in this series is also for Danielle. Nicolas, the base player of the group, has also commissioned an acoustic base guitar from Pat.

Pat's workmanship and attention to detail is just amazing. Very different from my style of building a ukulele, I must say, I'm more somebody to slap things together quickly by comparison.

Another video of Danielle and Lucas (of Go Long) playing their new Hawley Guitars

See also:

Back to the ukulele build on my woodworking website.