The Tritare: A guitar with Y-shaped strings

Yesterday morning, at the Acoustical Society of America's 151st meeting in Providence, RI, Sophie Léger of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Université de Moncton, Canada, will be presenting a paper on "A New Family of Stringed Musical Instruments". She's one of the inventors of the Tritare, which has triple-ended strings - one string goes up the fretted neck, and the other two resonantes on the second, and third, fretless necks (which the guitar is standing on in this picture). Obviously, the interesting bit is the sound, and this page contains several samples, which are amazing. Presumably they're uneffected, but sound alternately like bells or reverb-covered 'Paris Texas' slide guitar. They're trying to market the Tritare as a product - there's a homepage at, and here is a report from the launch, in 2003 - but meanwhile, they're experimenting with networks of strings, which at the moment are more at the clanking and atonal end of things. (Thanks, Jeff)

The third string goes through the body and resonates on a fretless neck seemingly identical to the second one. It can be ssen in the picture (bigger version.
It sounds like Sonic Youth's "Confussion Is Sex" album :-)
Thanks, Simon. Fixed the story.
I'm trying to imagine in what position a person must stand to play this thing. It must be rather unconfortable. Sitting down and playing it like an acoustic guitar is out of question, because your arm would damp the Y necks. Maybe as a slide guitar? I don't know. And I want to stop thinking about it. But I can't!

I live in Providence and didn't find out about this until your article.

And Now I have to go to work instead of this.


That's the way this town is. Every academic thing you find out about it only the day it's happening unless you are in that specific department.

It kind of sounds like a out of tune guitar with a pony chorus and badly calibrated reel 2 reel tape flutter built in??

I'm more intrigued by the bottom grid-network that they show. If you tune it properly you could have a semitone per string segment.
Credit-hog, much?

This seems awfully similar to an instrument that Hans Reichel designed and was using at least as early as the 80's (he had the cover feature and a SoundPage flexidisc in an issue of Guitar Player magazine).

Sure, the 3rd string is a new wrinkle, but having the string fretted and playable on both sides of the string was a major feature of Reichel's quite lovely 'guitar.'
Yes, this DOES seem very similar to some of Hans Reichel's instruments. This "y" shaped string is a significant difference, though, and seems to be much of what the Triare people are working on. I am very interested in the idea. I'll have to look at more of the research they have done on these multi-part strings.

For those of you who don't know his work, I HIGHLY recommend the music of Hans Reichel. He is an AMAZING inventor and makes music of stunning beauty. Personally, I prefer his guitar/stringed instrument work, but many feel his invention the Daxophone is even more interesting.

You might want to check out
It's an ODD site, and is a little confusing to get around on, but it's fun. A bit like a flash game...but educational about Hans and his inventions and his music. If I didn't already KNOW his guitars, I might find the site a little more baffling..... just go check it out. More importantly, check out his music.

It doesn't seem to have a bridge as such. It must be a tuning nightmare, as any slight change in the tuning on on neck would affect the others.
sounds like a dx series guitar patch
Interesting instrument.
I imagine with some experimentation you could get some very unique sounds.
I have created similar sounds by attatching a tiny lead ball at harmonic points on guitar strings. You can do it with bits of bluetack too, though it does not work quite as well as they fall off quite quick.

The problem is that it's hard to go much beyond open tunings or change key without everthing sounding like it's going through a ring mod. (Not that there's anything wrong with that :)

Listening to the tritare recordings they don't change key either, mostly soloing over a drone. I wish they didn't put that reverb+chorus+slapback echo on recordings.
Sounds like the crap put out by Brandford Reed and his Pencilina, not that's a bad thing. Check out
the recording of the song seems to clearly have delay on it
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