Tag: UK


The English Guittar or Cittern – A popular Plucked…

I am currently reading about the history of the English Guitar or Guittar, a kind of Cittern. Some time ago I have written a post about this instrument in my German blog www.gezupftes.de.

The guittar was developed after 1753 in Great Britain. According to the very detailed paper by Jürgen Kloss it has first been used by the actress Maria Macklin in a play that has become very popular. After this the guittar has become very popular for the next 50 years.

The guittar has 6 courses and ist typically tuned in C-major. The guittar can be used to accompany the singing, but it can also be used to play instrumental music like that for the guitar. It can be played with the fingers, but also with a pick or quill. Early instruments had tuning pegs, later a system using watch keys has been developed similar to the system used for the Portuguese guitar.

Rob MacKillop has compiled interesting information and pictures on his website (choose “guitar” first, then http://robmackillop.net/guitar/cittern/ ). His videos can be found at the beginning of my playlist.

Pictures of historical citterns can be foudn on the museum websites listed below.

The first video shows an instrument from the workshop of John Preston from the 18th century:

Robert Mouland on The English Guitar

An example in which a cittern is used to accompany the singing with Dante Ferrara:

The Wager – Dante Ferrara ; cittern


The Wager
(William Ellis, 1652)
from the CD Bazimakoo by Dante Ferrara

My lady and her maid, upon a merry pin,
They made a match at farting, who should the wager win.
Joan lights three candles then, and sets them bolt upright.
With the first fart she blew them out, with the next she gave them light.
In comes my lady then, with all her might and mane,
And blew them out and in and out and in and out again.

Music Copyright Dante Ferrara 2007
Video Copyright Adam Verity

Doc Rossi plays his arrangement of a Sonata by J. C. Bach on a cittern from the workshop of John Preston (ca. 1770).

Doc Rossi: J C Bach Sonata for cittern (English guitar) and violin

Solo arrangement of JC Bach’s Sonata for 18th-century cittern (a.k.a; English guitar) and violin played by Doc Rossi on a Preston cittern from around 1770.

Read more “The English Guittar or Cittern – A popular Plucked String Instrument of the 18th Century”

electric guitar

Bert Weedon – The Guitar Sound of the Sixties…

On April 20,  2012 Bert Weedon has passed away. Weedon was a very influetial guitarist in Great Britain, his instructional book Play in a Day has served many important guitarists including Paul McCarney and Eric Clapton to learn to play their instrument.


Herbert Maurice William ‘Bert’ Weedon, OBE (10 May 1920 – 20 April 2012) was an English guitarist whose style of guitar playing was popular and influential during the 1950s and 1960s. He was the first British guitarist to have a hit record in the UK Singles Chart, in 1959, and his best-selling tutorial guides, Play in a Day, were a major influence on many leading British musicians, such as Eric Clapton, Brian May, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon, Keith Richards, Pete Townshend, Tony Iommi and Jimmy Page.[1][2][3][4] He was awarded an OBE in 2001 for his “services to music”.[1]

Bert Weedons sound was very special, and who grew up during the 60s like me will certainly know some of his recordings. I liked to hear again his tunes Albatross and Apache. 

In the following video you find some information about Play in a Day:


Bert Weedon recounts the tremendous succes of his guitar playing textbook : ” Play in a Day “.



Additional Information

New York Times: Bert Weedon, Guitar Teacher to a Generation, Dies at 91:


Wikipedia about Bert Weedon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bert_Weedon

Amazon Partnerlink: Bert Weedon’s Play in a Day: Guide To Modern Guitar Playing


aa mandolin guitar

Cambridge Performance Masterclass for Mandolin with Alon Sariel

Alon Sariel will teach a masterclass for mandolin in Cambridge in August. You can find more information on the special website about this event:

Cambridge Performance Masterclass: http://www.cpmcuk.org/

Cambridge Performance Masterclass with Alon Sariel

12-18 August 2011

Masterclass and Performance in England, for violin, cello, piano, flute and mandolin.

The masterclasses take place in a friendly environment in the idyllic setting of Cambridge University. Participants have lodging at Sidney Sussex College and masterclasses a short walk away in Michaelhouse, a magnificent 14th century chapel in the centre of town. After the opening faculty concert, participants have the option to expand on their preparation and perform solo works and chamber pieces in public concerts which take place on most evenings, again in Michaelhouse. Cambridge itself is a major tourist attraction, just 50 minutes from the centre of London, and close to the historic towns of Colchester and King’s Lynn.

All mandolin classes will take place in the afternoon from 2pm to 6pm with a convenient break for tea/coffee. In the morning, participants are free to practice, prepare for concert performances, or visit the morning classes of the other instruments. Visiting the historic areas of Cambridge is also recommended.
The classes will be taught exclusively by the Cambridge Performance Masterclass visiting mandolin pedagogue Alon Sariel.

You can find many videos with Alon Sariel on youtube, I have collected my favorite videos in the following playlist:

Playlist Alon Sariel

Additional Informationen

An email from Alon Sariel with detailed information about this masterclass can be found on the following page: http://www.mandoisland.com/?page_id=3259

About the Masterclass in Cambridge: http://www.cpmcuk.org/

Interview with Alon Sariel by Barry Gambles, December, 2007: http://www.mandolin.org.uk/interviews/sariel.php

youtube channel Alon Sariel: http://www.youtube.com/user/AlonSariel

myspace page of Alon Sariel: http://www.myspace.com/alonsariel

aa mandolin guitar

Russell Brand – Losing my Religion – BBC Radio…

This is a video, that every mandolin player should have seen. Russell Brand, famous British actor and husband of Katy Perry, has made this video for the BBC some time ago.

He plays the famous Losing my Religion by R.E.M. an a mandolin that he finds laying around in a floor – but in the end all the strings break….

Russell Brand – Losing my religion – BBC Radio 2 advert

In the next video Russell Brand tells more about the making of this video, especially how difficult it was to get the 8 strings all break at the same time.

Russell Brand – Radio 2 Advert – The Real Story…..

Here is a live video of Losing my Religion as played by R.E.M. – this is one of the most popular rock songs with a mandolin:

R.E.M. Losing My Religion

R.E.M. ao vivo, no Canadá. R.E.M. live in Canada.