"Nøkken", "Nácken" and "Doolish" - Ladder braced Tenor guitars











Nøkken and Nácken were named by my daughter Suzanna after the shape-shifting Scandanavian Water Spirits who played enchanted songs on the violin. If properly approached, they will teach a musician to play so adeptly "that the trees dance and waterfalls stop at his music." Not exactly a violin, but very similar tuning - GDAE or GDAD. Based on a Martin size 5 body shape with a tenor banjo scale-length, these ladder braced instruments make great session instruments for both melody and chordal accompaniment and have great volume and projection to cut through. Nøkken is an all hardwood model while Nácken has a spruce top. There are a number of wood choices for these instruments - Nøkken shown here is a Khaya body with sycamore neck, and Nácken shown here is a Sitka spruce top with African walnut body and neck and here's a recording of me playing my arrangement of "Botany Bay" in GDAD on this instrument.


Doolish was designed in conjunction with Bill Briscome and is a six string tenor guitar - a high top string has been added and the third string doubled as an octave pair. This is a really versatile session instrument for both melody and chords and the octave string adds that twelve string flavour to the sound. Depending on string gauges a number of different tunings can be used - ADGgBE, GDAaDg, ADGgBD, GCGgCg etc. The model shown here was made for Bill and has Douglas Fir top with African Walnut back and sides. You can listen to a soundclip of my composition "Doolish" played on this instrument in GDAaDg tuning.