Introducing the Polychords & Microtonal Steel Guitar Fretboards

Polychords titlepageThe two polychords are large steel guitars which were inspired by the ancient chinese instrument called the ch’in or ‘philosopher’s lute’. I wanted an instrument with a long scale length, yet short enough to be playable as a steel guitar (using a sliding bar or ‘steel’). Polychord 1 has two banks of strings; in other words, it is ‘double-necked’. Polychord 2 has a single bank of strings. These two instruments are meant to be together, and to compliment each other. Polychord 1 has a ‘chordal’ tuning; it is a ‘rhythm guitar’ in its orientation. Polychord 2 has a ‘scalar’ tuning; it is a ‘lead’ guitar. This is reflected in the tuning of each instrument.

This article was published by Experimental Musical Instruments, Volume II, number 4, December 1986

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http://www.siementerpstra.com/writings/Terpstra-Polychords.pdf