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Unique 11-String Guitar Made In Sioux Falls

Seth Miller
Seth Miller

I was scrolling through Instagram last night when I scrolled by a post from a friend of mine who is a luthier (he builds guitars). I was so perplexed by what I saw. It was the sound hole of an eleven string alto guitar.

I’ve played guitar for 26 years. While I specialize in mediocre quality rock/metal playing, I have dabbled in classical a bit. However I had never heard of this instrument, nor could I even conceptualize how one would play it.

Seth Miller has been building, repairing and restoring guitars professionally for 17 years. He can build electrics and steel string acoustics but his specialty and passion is in classical guitars, which he builds in his home woodshop in Sioux Falls.

Photo courtesy Seth Miller
Photo courtesy Seth Miller

So why build such a unique guitar?

“Someone asked me to make one, thought it sounded like a challenging project,” Miller told me in the comment section. “It’s supposed to be the closest instrument to play baroque lute music.”

According to Wikipedia that means the instrument is used mostly for playing the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and Sylvius Leopold Weiss.

If you are a guitar player and are wondering how you would tune this thing, E, A, D, G, B, E would be incorrect. This guitar is to be tuned to G, D, A, F, C, G, F, E-flat, D, C, B. In watching videos of people playing it looks as though the lower strings are not fretted and are usually plucked in their open tuning.

Miller’s project isn’t finished quite yet, but he sent me some more photos of it.


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