This 1940s harp guitar makes Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata sound totally badass

6 June 2016, 17:17

Resonant broken chords, and amazing bass. This instrument makes us listen to Beethoven, expecting it to launch into a Jimmy Page solo.

Meet the harp guitar. This epic instrument is also known as a Schrammel, or contraguitar, and was developed in Vienna in the 19th century. It features six strings in standard guitar tuning and nine sub-bass strings tuned chromatically. Basically, it sounds like Led Zep in their folk-metal period.

Guitarist Brin Addison has recently uploaded a video to YouTube of Beethoven's famous and evocative piano sonata. For this arrangement tuned the instrument's long bass strings, low to high, E F F# G G# A D C D.

Addison says the piece was very challenging to learn on the guitar, but he felt the bass strings bring it closer to the piano's voice. He says "classical guitar has very little sustain, something which is needed in this sonata, however the bass notes sustain quite well which adds to the effect of playing piano without dampers."

It's a majestic tone, with sustained, resonant bass and a wash of sound. Turning up the volume and hearing this instrument in full splendour is definitely recommended.   

And now you're like:

Here's some more from Brin. Not Beethoven this time, rather an original composition, Euforia del Loco. And it's equally epic and badass...

Classic FM Apps

Get the Classic FM app for iPhone, iPad and Android - now with HD audio

Musical abbreviations quiz asset

You won’t get 20/20 on this quiz if you don’t know your musical abbreviations

musician would you rather

This musician edition of Would You Rather is completely excruciating

greatest best man speech

Everyone is saying this pianist gave the greatest best man speech of all time