PDA

View Full Version : Steve's Vachalia information please.



Ridvan
03-25-2004, 12:05 PM
I hope that someone can help me find a portuguese guitar like Mr. Howe's. I don't turn up anything under the name vachalia. The few portuguese guitars that I find have a different tuning peg arrangement. It looks like a hedgehog instead of a headstock. I suspect this may be the traditional way. Steve's has a headstock that looks like a regular 12 string. That would be more comfortable to me than what I've seen.

Or has been a Steve Howe signature vachalia all along? (just kidding)

Thanks,
Ridvan

ANTIOCH
03-25-2004, 01:04 PM
I recall reading where Steve said that particular instrument was not a Vachalia, but I don't remember what he said it actually was . . a portuguese 12 string maybe ?

yarstruly
03-25-2004, 01:49 PM
I seem to remember him calling it that as well, even though credited on TYA as you have it....

There is a chance you could find something in an article on this site: http://yesmuseum.org/ ...There are tons of classic Yes articles linked here....

PO
03-25-2004, 04:39 PM
I hope that someone can help me find a portuguese guitar like Mr. Howe's. I don't turn up anything under the name vachalia. The few portuguese guitars that I find have a different tuning peg arrangement. It looks like a hedgehog instead of a headstock. I suspect this may be the traditional way. Steve's has a headstock that looks like a regular 12 string. That would be more comfortable to me than what I've seen.

Or has been a Steve Howe signature vachalia all along? (just kidding)

Thanks,
Ridvan
---------------------------
After many years looking for the particular guitar you use in "Your Move" and "Wonderous Stories", I finally got one in 1993 (Banduria). I'm not sure about the tuning I set. Do you use the same tuning for both songs and what is exactly this tuning.

"I call it a Portuguese guitar, and the tuning I use is two D strings tuned to E, two A strings tuned to B, two D strings tuned to E again, something like two .16s for a high B, and then E which will be two .12s, then the top string is in A flat, which has to be an .008 gauge tuned to A flat. I do use the same tunings on both songs, both songs are based around D or E."
--------------------------
In "The Steve Howe Guitar Collection" book, you mention the tuning you use on your Portuguese 12 string but I did not understand it because you mention the top string to be A flat below the guitar, what is the top string, what does that mean?

"There must be a mistake, [the book says] the top string should be A flat above the guitar, not below on the guitar. That's what the top string would be."

Generally, what gauge do you use on your twelve strings (acoustics, electrics, Portuguese)?

"I use gages 11 to 47, somewhere around that ballpark so it's kind of soft at the top and reasonably strong at the bottom."
--------------------------

Ridvan
03-25-2004, 06:35 PM
Thanks for the reply everyone. Paul, thank you, thank you, thank you! Banduria is exactly what I was looking for. A quick search brought it up and where to get one. I had never heard that name before. I have wanted one for so long, I don't know why I didn't ask here before.

I shoulda known.................Thanks again, this is going to be so cool.

Ridvan
03-25-2004, 08:57 PM
Actuality.................while looking under banduria I found the octavina. I believe this is the closest I've found to what Steve has. The bandurias that I've seen have too short a neck. Looking between the octavina picture and the Keys video they appear to have the same scale length, aprox body size, string and tuning setup. I'm going to order one tomorrow.
Thanks again Paul, I never would have gotten this far without your info.

PO
03-25-2004, 09:42 PM
Once again, Howe is THE guitarist.

Let us know what you find out about the tuning. Howe seems to tune his Port. guitar as:

(low to high)

E (from D)
B (from A)
E (from D)
B
E
Ab

This is very similar to some lap steel tunings (low 3 strings) with a bit of 10 string pedal steel (high 3 strings, E9th tuning). Odd.

It seems he uses a quasi-mandolin type of tuning. Perhaps he just jacked it around until it worked and devised the chords as necessary (wouldn't surprise me one bit!).

I'm not sure of the banduria or octavina tunings, either. Yes, the banduria is a shorter scale. So. America and the Philippines use the banduria.

PO
03-26-2004, 06:59 AM
Here's a link.

http://sg.geocities.com/nus_rondalla/instrument/laud.html

Laud/octavina tunings

The Spanish Laud (A, E, B, F#, C#, G#)
The Filipino Laud (G, D, A, E, B, F#)

These are tuned in 5ths like most Euro/Arab/Persian stringed instruments. Interesting that the mandolin is tuned in 4ths. I don't know what instrument Steve's tuning appies to (yet).

LaBella makes a lot of oddball strings sets. Go to their site and the instruments are listed (including the Laud).

http://www.labella.com/showcase/listing.asp?CategoryID=9

Ridvan
03-27-2004, 02:02 AM
This has been an interesting search. It seems that Steve's instrument goes by several names, but none named vachalia. Most of the octavinas i've seen had 14 strings. Although I did find one 12 string. At long last I've found what I believe to be the instrument. The Spanish guitar company calls it a laud. This laud is very different from the Arabic or Turkish instrument. Here is a picture.

mdthomas
03-27-2004, 09:45 PM
You might try using a 12 string tuned (low to high) CGCGCE and capo on the 4th fret. I play a Rickenbacker 330-12 tuned this way and I'm pretty happy with the results.

To hear it, check out www.yourmovetheband.com and listen either to our versions of Your Move or Wonderous Stories.

Michael Thomas

PO
03-27-2004, 10:23 PM
You might try using a 12 string tuned (low to high) CGCGCE and capo on the 4th fret. I play a Rickenbacker 330-12 tuned this way and I'm pretty happy with the results.

To hear it, check out www.yourmovetheband.com and listen either to our versions of Your Move or Wonderous Stories.

Michael Thomas

Interesting.

So, you are basically using a E-B-E-B-E-Ab tuning (with capo). Do you develop your chords as needed or is this a tuning which can use mandolin or some other chord structure?

Good move to get the Fender lap. I think you have a Champ or Studio. The white tuning keys are common on those. If you have two pickups then it's a Deluxe 6 (single neck Stringmaster). With 2 pickups and white tuning keys, though, the tuning machiones have been replaced or reworked. It doesn't look like you have the string-through pickup of the early '50s models.

Good info, Michael.

mdthomas
03-27-2004, 11:15 PM
Interesting.

So, you are basically using a E-B-E-B-E-Ab tuning (with capo). Do you develop your chords as needed or is this a tuning which can use mandolin or some other chord structure?

Good move to get the Fender lap. I think you have a Champ or Studio. The white tuning keys are common on those. If you have two pickups then it's a Deluxe 6 (single neck Stringmaster). With 2 pickups and white tuning keys, though, the tuning machiones have been replaced or reworked. It doesn't look like you have the string-through pickup of the early '50s models.

Good info, Michael.

You just develop the chords using your ear. It's somewhat uncanny, if you try this tuning the songs just jump out at you. Your Move, Wonderous, Nine Voices just seem to appear as you noodle with different fingerings.

I have a fender champ with legs...It is a bit bright and I have to roll off the highs but I couldn't do &U&I or Comfortably Numb without it. Audiences really gasp when we start comfortably numb and they hear that slow delayed steel part in the beginning of the song.

I really wish I had a delux 6 or twin neck stringmaster but those things are harder to find than Coral Sitars ! You see a lot of 8 and 10 string versions but the 6 string steels are difficult to find. I've thought about getting an 8 and only using 6 strings but that just didn't seem "right".

Michael Thomas

Ridvan
03-28-2004, 01:15 AM
Very good idea Michael,
I'll give it a try while I'm waiting to get my laud. It will give me a chance to try and work out some of the chords before hand. You haven't written up the tab for your chording have you?

As to your guitars, that's a lovely set up. You guys sound good. Nice set list. I'm jealous, it seems so hard to find a group of musicians into that kind of music where I live.

mdthomas
03-28-2004, 01:32 PM
[QUOTE=Ridvan]Very good idea Michael,
I'll give it a try while I'm waiting to get my laud. It will give me a chance to try and work out some of the chords before hand. You haven't written up the tab for your chording have you?


I haven't, but I'd be glad to write down the fingerings I use. It will get my butt in gear to try some of the tab software I have on my computer.

MDT

PO
03-28-2004, 03:09 PM
... Howe seems to tune his Port. guitar as:

(low to high)

E (from D)
B (from A)
E (from D)
B
E
Ab
...


This is what Michael uses on the 12 string above, also.

Ridvan
03-28-2004, 03:52 PM
paostby,
That's the beauty of Michaels idea. I can practice the chords right away. I can't keep retuning my 12 string. But for two weeks it's no problem. I've wanted to do this for a long time. I could just buy a second 12 string to keep in open tuning. But 400 dollars will buy a fair 12 string or a good laud. I have been interested in them since I first saw Steve use one 30 plus years ago.

Thanks again to all of you for helping me. With your assistance, I found what the instrument is, how it's tuned, where to get one and a good clue on figuring out the chords.

Michael.............if you get the time, I'd be greatful for anything you come up with.
Regards,
Will

PO
03-28-2004, 04:03 PM
Where did you find the instrument? Is there something online?

Ridvan
03-28-2004, 07:47 PM
Paul,
There are several places but after all this work to find, it's a secret.................

Of course I'm kidding,
This is the one I'm getting : http://www.laguitarra.net/ELaud.htm

One of these should work. These lauds are as close as anything I've seen. If you look closely at Steve's (the closeup at the begining of wonderous stories) There is no inlay around the soundhole. And I don't think the fretboard is ebony. The more affordable looks like a dead ringer for what is used in the WS video. Another is Alhambra guitars. I'll try and find the link. Very nice handbuilt guitars and lauds. Just a bit more than I wanted to spend.

mdthomas
04-07-2004, 09:12 PM
I saw something in Guitar Player Magazine that you all might find interesting. Veillette at www.veilletteguitars.com has this thing called a Gryphon Hi-Unison 12-string. It looks like it may be an electric version of the Port. guitar. Kind of a neat instrument although not extremely versatile.


Michael Thomas

Buglunch
10-30-2004, 06:13 AM
Why ever call it open A-flat if it's in E on a fretted string instrument?? Or even D?
G-sharp makes sense.

PO
10-30-2004, 04:22 PM
Why ever call it open A-flat if it's in E on a fretted string instrument?? Or even D?
G-sharp makes sense.

What are you referring to?

A Student of YES
10-30-2004, 05:32 PM
Ridvan There are a bunch of guy's here who have been playing and studying YES and their music longer than I . But I think, ??? it was a Tiple that Steve uses? It is a 10 string south American guitar. there are a few companies that still make a modern version as well. I may be mistaken but that Tiple sounds like a strangely tuned twelve string. and it sure looks like what he has? I have never been on a Steve Howe Site and looked at an equipment list but I'll bet that's what it is. Martin made these a long time ago but there are other companies that make new versions that are real well made for around $500- $600 I found an old one for sale at Elderly Instruments here's the link.
http://www.elderly.com/vintage/items/180U-216.htm
Randy

Buglunch
11-01-2004, 02:13 AM
This seems to be a doubled ukelele; is it big enough to fit the bill?

PO
11-01-2004, 03:22 AM
... I think, ??? it was a Tiple that Steve uses...

There is a lot of info on the first page of this thread. Even quotes from Steve himself. Tunings are also included.

PO
11-01-2004, 03:40 AM
Why ever call it open A-flat if it's in E on a fretted string instrument?? Or even D?
G-sharp makes sense.

G-sharp would be correct for an E major scale. Is this what you are referring to? They were discussing a tuning, many of which have kind of dubious names, anyway!

Some note names just aren't used in a default way. C flat is rarely used even when it's correct for the scale. I guess I would refer to that pitch as an A-flat, more often than I would refer to it as a G-sharp. Favored terms are common in many disciplines. I guess when just talking, people have their habits.

A Student of YES
11-01-2004, 06:23 PM
Interesting I have not heard of this one? Vachalia? Yeah the tuning is sure not a Tiple?

I hate to confuse the issue by jumping in late with more questions than answers? Thought I knew this one, but I was not sure. I guess this is what makes for good conversation.

PO
11-01-2004, 06:34 PM
He uses the "Vachalia" (not an accurate term) on Your Move and on Wonderous Stories. He also used it live on 9 Voices. As this thread has explained, it's something his sister bought for him while in Portugal a long time ago. So he called it a Portugese 12 string. Even he isn't exactly sure what it should be called.

And You and I is simply a standard 12 string guitar.

A Student of YES
11-01-2004, 07:27 PM
I realized I posted And You and I as soon as I reread my post. This is one of the songs I play on my 12 string now? I am trying to find a performer stand for an Ovation so I can return to the Bass during this song (but the Gracie stands are tough to find now?)
I will have to look again at the songs? I can't remember what ones he uses the Tiple on Right now, my kids are playing a video game and the music is distracting, I'm blankin out man. Ahhhh.. I've Seen All Good People!

Now that I think of it I do not think I have ever watched a Video of Steve where he plays Wonderous Stories. Have not bothered to try and learn that one yet I always just figured this was a 12 string with different tuning?

I did read the posting about his sister. But Again I thought I could help?

A Tiple it ain't. I got that far.

Interesting; seems as though to keep up with Steves Acoustic contributions I have to buy yet another odd stringed instrument?

Can I ask
(or perhaps this answer has been posted somewhere and I did not see it?)

Can you tune a 12 string to closely match this guitar?

A Student of YES
11-02-2004, 07:19 PM
Jee I would hate to get scolded again but I found this web site?

Let me know if I made a mistake, by posting this. Perhaps this web site was already posted before?

So for I am batting pretty low. How many mistakes now Paostby? Looks like a bunch just in this thread alone. I try. Just can't seem to get it right.

This may not help it was easy enough to find on the web Most of you must have already seen it, but here it is?
If I read this right Steve mentioned this is not a very expensive instrument. Perhaps not to him but they sure ain't cheap for me. Looks like fun though!

http://www.fernandezmusic.com/Port.%20Guitarra%20For%20Sale.html

A Student of YES
11-02-2004, 07:48 PM
OK Found this also. to answer my own question here;

Forgive the effort I find this guitar very cool and am looking into getting one for fun if I can find it cheaper than $900! Perhaps, for those of us who are not going to run right out and buy one of these instruments, this will work in the meantime.

See copy of an instrument web site below; To be used with a CAPO.

"If however you have a 12-string guitar you can (mis)use for this purpose, that gives you the opportunity to comes even closer to the tuning of the Portuguese guitar, because it too has twelve string. Both type of guitar have the higher strings tuned in unison, but the lower three pairs in octaves, to get a richer sound.
You could then tune as follows Guitar string - - Tune to - - Resulting pitch
e' e' e' e' b' b'
e' e' d' d' a' a'
b b a a e' e'
g e' e e' b b'
d e' d d' a a'
A g G g d d' "

This was found at

http://rudhar.com/musica/tuneguit/portguit.htm

Hope this helps

PO
11-02-2004, 08:37 PM
Interesting instruments. I don't quite understand the tunings, but i'm also not sure of the music played with them, either!

I have yet to try mdthomas' idea for a regular 12 string. See his post #12 in this thread.

http://www.yesfans.com/forum/showpost.php?p=218683&postcount=12

Naw, I'm not scolding. Banging through information is just trying to sift out opinion and guesses. This is R & D!

A Student of YES
11-02-2004, 08:58 PM
Alright. Fair enough.
I am going to mess around with this as well? Problem is I use my 12 string a lot as it is, and man what a job it will be to tune and retune this to try and learn one song?

Hey by the way How you doing on the Fender slide? I honestly have never tried to play one, and I am curious how hard it is too get used to?

jcr4runner
08-10-2016, 11:54 AM
I hope that someone can help me find a portuguese guitar like Mr. Howe's. I don't turn up anything under the name vachalia. The few portuguese guitars that I find have a different tuning peg arrangement. It looks like a hedgehog instead of a headstock. I suspect this may be the traditional way. Steve's has a headstock that looks like a regular 12 string. That would be more comfortable to me than what I've seen.

Or has been a Steve Howe signature vachalia all along? (just kidding)

Thanks,
Ridvan

This is kind of an old thread. But I figured this out. Vachalia is actually the Arabic name of a Camel Thorn Tree, the wood is often used to make guitars. So maybe somewhere Steve was told the guitar was made from Vachalia wood and the name stuck?

ragtime
08-10-2016, 01:24 PM
This has been answered several times over the years. What Steve uses is actually a Spanish laud.

http://www.yesfans.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=25171&stc=1

A Portuguese (fado) guitar is a different instrument, related to the cittern.

http://www.yesfans.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=25172&stc=1



He does tune his laud to an open E chord, which is not standard laud tuning.