Guitarist Brin Addison uploaded this video this past June, in which he performs a beautiful rendition of Ludwig Van Beethoven's “Moonlight Sonata” on a 1940s Hubert Heerbeck harp guitar. Also known as a Schrammel- or contraguitar, the instrument was developed in Vienna in the 19th century and features six strings in standard tuning and nine sub-bass strings tuned chromatically, low to high, from G to D#.
For his performance of “Moonlight Sonata”—or as it’s formally known, Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor “Quasi una fantasia,” Op. 27, No. 2—Addison tuned the bass strings, low to high, E F F# G G# A D C D. The guitarist says he finds this tuning “more useful as it allows me to play down to an octave below the 6E of the regular fretted neck.”
Addison, who lives in Brussels and performs with the rock power-trio Guilt Monkey, says that while the piece was challenging to learn, “I feel the sub-bass strings bring it closer to the piano’s voice. Classical guitar has very little sustain, something which is needed in this sonata, however the bass notes sustain quite well which adds to the effect of playing piano without dampers.”