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No-Wave pioneer Glenn Branca is auctioning off a beautifully ridiculous guitar
12:16 pm


Glenn Branca
No-Wave pioneer Glenn Branca is auctioning off a beautifully ridiculous guitar

My God, I WANT THIS THING. The No-Wave pioneer and minimalist composer Glenn Branca, whose famously massive guitar ensembles incubated key members of Sonic Youth and Helmet, has one-upped the double-neck guitar by creating the double-BODY guitar, and it’s up on eBay this week. The point of it is that when you strum guitar strings, your fingers (or the guitar’s nut) don’t completely stop the strings from vibrating behind them, meaning that the part of the guitar you’re not playing still makes a sound, albeit at a lower amplitude. A pickup of some kind at the nut position would thus amplify the unheard notes that resonate behind the player’s hand. A guitar with a complete body at each end is the logical conclusion of that idea.

This is a double-bodied Harmonics Guitar that I constructed out of two 3/4 scale standard guitars last year. The first version of this guitar was created in 1982 for use in my Symphony No. 2.  Since then I’ve done a number of variations. This one was made to be used like a standard guitar that can be played standing up.  The very early models required being seated.  The main purpose of this guitar is to bring out single harmonics or clusters of harmonics that exist on the length of a string up to the limits of the range of hearing or the amp being used.  Up to 32 to 64 different harmonics on each string depending on how it’s tuned.  The guitar facing away from your body plays mainly just harmonics.  The one against the body sounds the same as a slide guitar.  You can use either one or both guitars balancing them the way you want.  When using 2 amps you can get an extreme stereo guitar effect. The fret positions do not correspond to the pitches since the strings are longer than usual. The guitar can only be played with a slide bar.

This particular guitar was used in four solo shows that I did in Europe last year.  The photo is from the show at La Machine du Moulin Rouge, Paris.

I will include an instruction sheet explaining how I play it, string it, tune it and other pertinent info.  You can play it, string it or tune it any way you want of course.  Also included here are a long glass slide bar (which I prefer), a tuning wrench for the dulcimer pins that are used instead of machine heads and a strap that is screwed in with sheetrock screws.  It is adjustable or you can screw in a different one if you like.  It runs from the back of the body on one guitar to the front of the other.


The auction ends on Friday. Best of luck. Here’s Branca playing the guitar last year, in Copenhagen.

Propers to Mr. Rob Galo for this find.

Posted by Ron Kretsch
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