KALI:

12-STRING GUITAR WITH 2 ADDED SUB-BASSES

completed in autumn of 2000


Kali is an acoustic 14-string guitar, strung essentially like a standard 12-string but with the addition of two sub-bass strings. These added low strings run parallel to the neck on the bass side but are not over the fingerboard and therefore not fretted. They function very much like the sub-bass strings on a harp-guitar, and on Kali add a wonderful, piano-like bass to accompany and compliment the shimmer of the double courses of the main strings. I had already built an 18-string Sympitar (Zephyr) for Kali's owner, Marc Dorsa, and Zephyr's size and shape became a basic starting point for Kali's design, although you might not guess that from a casual glance. Marc allowed me a lot of freedom with the aesthetic details of Kali's design, and I had fun with her.

Kali's two sub-bass strings attach to a rather unusual elevated peghead extension, and at the bridge end extra large holes and bridge-pins allow for the use of acoustic bass guitar strings. The vibrating length on the sub-basses is about 32", and Marc tunes the lowest one down to the D below the Low E of a bass guitar.

 

The instrument has a rear access door located in the center of the back (as on my Sympitars) to facilitate any work that needs to be done inside the guitar, such as repairs or installation/adjustment of electronics.

Kali has a Sitka spruce top and back and sides of beautiful, flamed black acacia. The neck is California black walnut and is reinforced with two graphite composite bars and an adjustable truss rod. Fingerboard and bridge are ebony. The finish on the top is a lacquer-like waterborne polymer; the rest of the instrument has a natural oil-based finish, waxed and polished to a silky glow.

Kali has a big, shimmery sound that sparkles above the dark, piano-like ring of the sub-basses.

 

Marcs' wonderful album, "Twilights' Path", features beautiful, original music composed for and played on Kali as well as Zephyr, Marcs' 18-Sympitar. You can find out more about Marc, his music and how to get your own copy of Twilights' Path at twinsong.com.

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