WHEN TWO GUITARS are playing at the same time, the music can sound muddy. One popular studio recording technique to “thicken” the guitar sound without causing this problem is to have one guitar play “high strung”. This entails replacing the normal strings with special octave strings (similar to those found on a 12-string guitar). Because the instruments are playing in different octaves, the overall sound is shimmering and full.

Personally, I find that restringing a spare guitar in this manner impractical. Alternatively, a similar effect can be achieved by placing a capo high up on the neck (around fifth to seventh fret), and then transposing the music to match the original key. Many of the hymns in this book are written in different keys for this very reason. To match the original key, just follow the instructions provided on where to place the capo.

For example, When I Survey (key of C) is written for a “high strung” guitar. Placing a capo on the seventh fret will transpose the hymn to the key of “G” (which is the original key).

When this “high strung” guitar is played simultaneously with the “normal strung” guitar, the result can be shimmering and beautiful. But as with all things in life, moderation is important, and using this trick with every song will quickly get old. During the worship services, the “high strung” guitar usually will come in on the second or third verse. And sometimes, especially during a cappella singing, it’s nice to have the “high strung” guitar as the only instrument playing.


When I Survey (key of G)

When I Survey (key of C)