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

6 June 2016, 17:17 | Updated: 3 January 2017, 16:39

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.   

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