Attack of the 27 String Guitar

As the saying goes, sometimes 6 strings just isn’t enough. And sometimes 26 strings isn’t enough either.

Enter Keith Medley, a Kentucky native and Nashville sideman, who’s been building guitars almost as long as he’s been playing them. When he got off the road in the late 80s, he dedicated himself to building custom guitars, first for one of the large manufacturers, and eventually for his own company, Medley Guitars.

His crowning achievement to date is a 27-string guitar, built in his home shop, from a design he drew in the late 70s. As Keith puts it:

“I build guitars for no other reason than to make music. The music I hear is more than what can be played on six strings, so after many detailed sketches and long nights of contemplation I came up with a unique 27-string instrument.”

Check out the video of Keith and the 27-string guitar below. And if you like what you see, and want to see more, please consider donating a few bucks to the documentary film in progress about Keith and the instrument.

Watching the video, several things are evident. The guitar has incredible tone from top to bottom; Keith has the perfect combination of fingerpicking, left-hand legato technique with hammers and pulls, and bends and slides to get the most out of the instrument; and he has a very refined sense of composition that really complements the sound of the guitar.

So the only remaining question is: how long does it take to tune that thing …?

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