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Arch Guitar. May 31, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in music.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

At Northanpton’s Tuesday Market this past week I was delighted to find that they had entertainment.  Not John and Mary singing folks songs, but Peter Blanchette playing his own creation, the Arch Guitar.

Now, if you’ve been reading for any while you know I’m an old softy, so I’ll just admit to crying in public.  This was some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard, and certainly the most beautiful music I’ve heard from three feet away.

Mr. Blanchette is world renowned, and on the brink of flying off to Europe for another widely anticipated tour.  And if you’re selling out classical guitar venues in Spain, you might just be considered to have made it.

I asked permission, then stepped around the bowl where people were dropping change and dollar bills to get these shots:

This creation of his, the Arch Guitar, is the sweetest monster I’ve ever seen, with eleven strings and a fretboard you could launch planes off of:

This man is a genius, pure and simple.  Know his face:

…and, if you have three minutes, hear his genius:

I spent longer than this dialing in these photos, but given the entertainment, I wasn’t in a hurry.

Again, Elliot delivered, hand-held and unfiltered.

Great good luck to Peter on his upcoming tour.

And thanks to Elliot for his hard work, and to YOU, my readers, for humoring my divergences into things which are hard to categorize.




1. emdoyle - May 31, 2012

Neato guitar and lovely music. I sent it to my brother who is in the process of making a guitar. Thanks.

2. notakidding - June 1, 2012

This man is exraordinary. Thanks for sharing him with us!

3. susancrow - June 3, 2012

I’m glad I took the time to listen too. He’s amazingly good but I still can’t figure out how he reaches all the strings.

4. littlebangtheory - June 4, 2012

Eileen, I’m so glad you passed this on. Peter is a local treasure, and deserves a wider audience. He also founded/conducts the Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra, Google THAT if you dare! 🙂

notakidding, welcome, and thanks so much for commenting. Apparently some folks visit without leaving their thoughts, and that’s decidedly NOT what blogging is about!

Susan, watching him (through the tears and the view finder,) I came away thinking that he added bass with his right thumb, primarily with the open tunings of his capo, though the vids I’ve watched of him were capo-free zones, suggesting that he uses tunings in concert which enable that.

Of course I’m a very amateur musician, and am doing some guesswork here…

5. hal mooney, valrico, florida guitar teacher - August 21, 2013

I’ve researched Peter and his instrument.
The bottom six strings are tuned essentially like a normal guitar, and the top five are tuned to continue down the scale from the lowest note on the sixth string. This lets you play any bass note “open”, so you don’t have to finger them.
Your left fingers are then free for more complex and wonderful stuff! And the low bass notes give a full, rich sound that no normal guitar can match!
I can’t begin to afford (on a humble guitar teacher’s pay) to have an arch guitar made, but I’m working on how to make a reasonable facsimile thereof! It’s the most wonderful instrument I’ve ever seen.

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