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What is a lockbar?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:06 am
by Bob Lewis
References to lockbars mean one or more dedicated chord bars on an instrument tuned for two or more keys. The bar engages by some detente mechanism to hold it down on the felt so that only notes for one key can sound, i.e. strings belonging to only neighboring keys are damped. This allows flowing runs to be picked without always having a bar down. More notes can be played and faster. There would be fewer chord changes, probably by half. The remaining diatonic scale is not as discordant, so missing a string and getting another is not the disaster it might have been on a chromatic arrangement.

Lockbars can be used on a chromatic or a diatonic.

An "Orthey bar" is related in that it serves a s a lockbar but is a loose bar that engages on the outside of a handmade chord bar assembly (wooden). It usually is involved with a larger chord set, often 21 bar chromatic, serving the diatonic picking style known as "open noting" without actually being diatonic or dedicated to it.