There are many varieties of ten-string guitar, including:
The extended-range classical guitar is a classical guitar with additional strings, normally extra bass strings past the bass E string, that are available on the fingerboard.
Many configurations have been produced, but the ten-string classical guitar received a particular boost in 1964, when Narciso Yepes performed the Concierto de Aranjuez with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, using a ten-string guitar invented by Yepes in collaboration with José Ramírez III, with a specific tuning designed to supply sympathetic string resonance to all twelve notes of the chromatic scale, in unison with any note played on the treble strings. This was significant for two reasons:
Unlike the harp guitar, the extended-range classical guitar has a single neck and allows all strings to be fretted.
While the six-string classical guitar remains the standard and most common instrument, since 1963 ten-string guitars in similar configuration to the original Ramírez have been adopted by many classical guitarists and produced by several first-class luthiers, using both Yepes' original tuning and others.
In January, 2009, Gadotti Guitars announced the 10 String Nylon King Electric, a solid body, nylon-stringed ten-string guitar, suitable for both Yepes and other tunings such as the Baroque.
A ten-string jazz guitar by Mike Shishkov, based on the ten-string extended-range classical guitar, was demonstrated at the 3rd International Ten String Guitar Festival in October 2008.
The baroque guitar is one of the earliest instruments considered a guitar, and the first to have significant surviving repertoire.
Surviving baroque guitars have (or originally had) nine or ten strings, in five courses.Stradivarius guitars (of which two, the Hill (1688) and Rawlins (1700) survive complete, plus a neck and several other fragments) all had ten strings in five courses.
The English guitar is a type of cittern that was particularly popular in Europe from around 1750-1850. The English guitar has a pear-shaped body, a flat base, and a short neck. Its distinguishing feature is that it has ten strings in six courses, of which the highest eight are paired in four courses (duplicated strings) with the two lowest strings in two separate courses. This is the same stringing as was later used for the B.C. Rich Bich 10 Guitar, although the traditional tuning for the English guitar is a repetitive open C tuning (C E GG cc ee gg).
The viola guitar is a guitar with ten light steel strings in five courses, played with the fingers rather than with a plectrum. It is particularly prevalent in the folk music of Brazil, where it's called "viola caipira" (country guitar) or simply "viola." The viola braguesa and viola amarantina are other types of ten-string Portuguese folk guitars, which are possibly predecessors of the Brazilian instrument.
The initial B.C. Rich Bich design is a six-course instrument, with four two-string courses. The top E and B strings are strung as unison pairs, and the G and D strings as pairs with a principal and octave string, in the manner of the top four courses of a twelve-string guitar. The A and lower E strings are single-string courses. This unusual stringing was said to obtain the brightness of the twelve-string guitar, while allowing higher levels of distortion before the sound became muddy.
The Bich had a conventional six-string headstock for the six principal strings. The four additional strings are tuned by machine heads positioned in the body, past the tailpiece, with a large angled notch allowing access to the tuners. This radical body shape also countered the common tendency of coursed electric guitars to be head-heavy due to the weight of the extra machine heads.
The design was moderately successful, but many players bought it for the body shape alone, and removed the extra strings. B.C. Rich eventually released six-string guitars with the Bich body shape. All Bich variants are hardtail guitars with through body necks and two humbucking pickups.
Close relatives of the guitar with ten strings include: