18th-Century Wire-Strung ‘Guittar’

Rob Guittar bw 320x320

On this page I will assemble mp3 recordings and videos of music from the publications and manuscripts I have located (mainly) in Scotland. At the foot of the page there are also links to free scores and sites of interest, as well as a LOT of information about the publications and manuscripts.

You can read more about the Guittar on my cittern page (some argue it is a cittern) but I will be moving some of that info to here in the future.

Please do not write to me asking for scores. I will upload to this page for free all those copies I have permission to share.



Twelve Divertimentis for the Guittar – by James Oswald, 1759


“A Select Collection of
Lessons, Airs, Marches, Minuets,
Reels, Jiggs & With the most favourite Songs, for the Guittar
By Robert Ross, Edinburgh” c.1765

[There are no instructions in my copy, just the cover, then straight into the tunes. There are 56 pages, half solos, half songs.]


Complete Robert Bremner Instructions, Edinburgh 1758.

guittback guittheid



Jack Lattin, The East Nook Of Fife, Comely Garden Reel
– from Jean Kirkpatrick MS

Roslin Castle, Maggie Lauder, Oer Bogie
– from Jean Kirkpatrick MS

Carrick Fergus, The Parson And His Boots, St Patrick’s Day In The Morning
– from Jean Kirkpatrick MS

Lochaber – from Robert Bremner’s Instructions, Edinburgh 1758

I Love My Love In Secret – from the Nisbet House Manuscript

Tweed Side and Birks of Envermay from Robert Bremner’s Instructions, Edinburgh 1758

Fishers Minuet – Robert Ross’ Select Collection

Giordanis’ Minuet – Robert Ross’ Select Collection

Minuet – Robert Ross’ Select Collection

Air by Mr Rush – Robert Ross’ Select Collection

I Love My Love In Secret – Nisbet ms

Divertimento No.4 – James Oswald

Three Pieces from Robert Bremner’s Instructions

Complete Twelve Divertimentis for the Guittar by James Oswald (video lasts for 1 hour)


[more links to follow]

Free Scores:

Twelve Divertimentis for Guittar (PDF) and Newly Engraved [Internet Link] by James Oswald
Instructions for the Guitar (PDF) by Robert Bremner
18 Divertimentos for Two Guitars or Mandelins (internet Link) by James Oswald
18 Duettinos for Two Guittars (Internet Link) by William Bates



James Oswald

Robert Bremner

William Wilson

Robert Ross


Jean Kirkpatrick

Blair Castle

Guittar in G

There existed a larger guittar, tuned to a G Major chord. Info and videos HERE.

Guitar Links HERE

Guittar Scores HERE



13 thoughts on “18th-Century Wire-Strung ‘Guittar’”

  1. Hello Rob, I’ve been forced to change the hosting links for the Oswald and Bates music that you are linking to here. The old ones still work, but not for long. Here are the new links:
    Oswald 12: http://www.mandotopia.com/oswald/oswald12.htm
    Oswald 18: http://www.mandotopia.com/oswald/oswald18.htm
    Bates 18: http://www.mandotopia.com/bates/bates18home.htm

    Cheers, John Goodin

  2. Rob, things are good here in northeast Iowa. It looks like you are staying pretty busy yourself! – John

  3. Dear Rob! I Love your work in every way, very inspiring!

    Do you know how to obtain an english (or scottish) guittar? Im a classical guitarist/ folkmusician who plays with a cembalist on occasion, so the geminiani/ giordani repertory is obviously of great interest, but it just doesn’t work on a regular guitar. Any help world be appreciated!

    Best wishes from sweden!
    Fredrik Mårtensson

  4. Your website is a great resource and your playing is an inspiration! Thanks to the links provided, i’ve been working up versions on the charango—-so far, the music fits almost perfectly on that instrument…great fun! (After all, that’s what ‘divertimentis’ means 🙂

  5. Mr. MacKillop; I have an English Guittar and am trying to learn. I do not yet read music, and so am starting by playing by ear. I so enjoy listening to a skilled musician play this wonderful early instruments and these compositions–and for your willingness to share what you have learned. Would it be possible to post a simple video showing how this instrument should sound,– string by string, and in the whole — when tuned, so that I may at least start with a rudimentary understanding of the proper sound? That would be so very helpful, for a beginner…. Best regards, and thanks again for what you share.

  6. jaycee14513 said:

    Hi Rob, hope you’re doing well! I was wondering if you thought I could use a Portuguese guitar in place of an English guittar. I don’t know where to find an English guittar and I’d love to explore some of this repertoire. Thanks!

Leave a Reply to Rob MacKillop Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s