Help identifying a lute

Discussion of all aspects of early instruments, lutes, theorbos, vihuelas, Renaissance guitars and Baroque guitars.
bullpuppy
Posts: 187
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:29 pm

Help identifying a lute

Post by bullpuppy » Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:34 pm

I was asked help identify the maker of a lute picked up at a flea market in europe 25 years ago. This is not my forte but perhaps someone my be able to identify it.

Thanks in advance for any help.
IMG_1312.JPG
IMG_1310.JPG
IMG_1311.JPG
IMG_1312.JPG
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Scot Tremblay
Luthier
Posts: 4217
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:18 pm
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Re: Help identifying a lute

Post by Scot Tremblay » Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:29 pm

These instruments were made in various German locations from the second half of the 19th century until well into the first half of the 20th. They are often associated with the Wandervogel movement, a German youth movement with a kind of "Back to Nature, reject societal restrictions" ideology. This movement was from about 1896 onward into of the first half of the 20th century. More info here: http://histclo.com/youth/youth/org/nat/ger/wander.htm

These instruments are not really lutes and not really guitars but a kind of hybrid. Usually they are not very good sounding although there are exceptions. As to who made it...that might be impossible to find out unless there is some label inside or identifying markings. Most were made in the instruments factories in town dedicated to musical instrument building, like Markneukirchen (probably the most famous location), Erlbach, Mittenwald and many others.
Scot Tremblay Guitars

"One picture is worth a thousand words. So, for me, one good note put where it should be put, will say what it will take some people many notes to say. ~B.B. King, 1986

bullpuppy
Posts: 187
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:29 pm

Re: Help identifying a lute

Post by bullpuppy » Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:38 pm

Thanks so much! I was thinking of restoring it if I could get it cheap. Just as a fun project

Scot Tremblay
Luthier
Posts: 4217
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:18 pm
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Re: Help identifying a lute

Post by Scot Tremblay » Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:51 pm

You might have a good one. A local folk/jazz musician found one in a pawn shop some years back. After restoration it is a fine sounding instrument which he plays quite a lot in his concerts and recordings...so you never know. It would be worth having it at least checked out by a professional repair person.
Scot Tremblay Guitars

"One picture is worth a thousand words. So, for me, one good note put where it should be put, will say what it will take some people many notes to say. ~B.B. King, 1986

User avatar
Azalais
Posts: 56
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:50 pm
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Help identifying a lute

Post by Azalais » Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:00 pm

Scot gave you great info. I saw one of these listed on e - b a y many years ago. It had a hole where the strap button might have been so it could be support on a stand while play (They are VERY heavy, unlike a "real" lute). You might also try the search term <lute-guitar>?
(US) (FR) (ES) (IT) "... when you walk alone, you walk as you please..." Burwell Lute Tutor (c1670).

simonm
Amateur luthier
Posts: 6214
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:22 am
Location: Germany, Kronberg (near Frankfurt).

Re: Help identifying a lute

Post by simonm » Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:24 pm

Many years ago when I was interested a building a hurdy-gurdy a Germany builder suggested looking for one of these lute guitars and simply cutting off the next and using that as the starting point. As Scot said they were done in vast quantities and a lot were apparently not very good. They turn up regularly on the Germany version of the auction site. There are probably a dozen right now. Do a search on the bay for "sehr schöne alte Laute - sehr schön verziert". Looks very like yours apart from one extra bit of decoration.

gilles T
Posts: 152
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 4:11 pm
Location: Paris, France

Re: Help identifying a lute

Post by gilles T » Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:43 pm

Hello,

Many informed insights were already provided. This could be one "Goldkland" instrument, or another german lute-guitar heavily produced during the 1910-1930 period. Most of them didn't stand the trial of times : cracks in the bowl or on the soundboard are average issues, when it's not a curved neck that makes the instument impossible to play above the fifth fret.
But sometimes you can stumble upon a guitar-lute that have been well preserved and/or carefully repaired.
Years ago, I took the risk to purchase one on the auction site and I have been lucky to get a really gorgeous instrument, that plays well on to the highest fret and really sounds like a single-strung lute.
I'm aware I was very lucky to find such a good luck, because the average guitar-lutes are often in poor condition.

GT

Scot Tremblay
Luthier
Posts: 4217
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:18 pm
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Re: Help identifying a lute

Post by Scot Tremblay » Mon Jan 11, 2016 11:14 pm

gilles T wrote:This could be one "Goldkland" instrument, or another german lute-guitar heavily produced during the 1910-1930 period....
I have not seen all the different makes and models of this instrument so I'm not sure if my information is correct but I believe the "Goldkland" made instruments always have the name branded on the soundboard near the end. If you have that then that will provide the answer.

There were many varieties of these lute-guitars, six strings, 8, 10 and more: Lute back, flat back, partially arched backs...and many with intricate beautifully carved roses. Plenty to keep a collector busy should one want to collect such instruments...and you might get a few playable ones along the way :wink:
Scot Tremblay Guitars

"One picture is worth a thousand words. So, for me, one good note put where it should be put, will say what it will take some people many notes to say. ~B.B. King, 1986

bullpuppy
Posts: 187
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:29 pm

Re: Help identifying a lute

Post by bullpuppy » Tue Jan 12, 2016 3:27 am

Thanks for all the good info.
This one does have a cracked back and six strings. I'm going to look at it tomorrow and bring my inspection scope to look inside. It appears to have nylon strings on it currently. I'm not sure what the tuning will be.

What would a run of the mill factory one fetch?

es335
Posts: 1164
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2007 2:12 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Help identifying a lute

Post by es335 » Thu Jan 14, 2016 7:54 am

bullpuppy wrote:...What would a run of the mill factory one fetch?
Depends very much on the location. At the origin in Germany a "Gitarrenlaute" of this condition would not fetch more than 100€ probably even (much?) less. Don't know the price level in other locations. Last year I was lucky to find a luthier made one at the bay in original condition, label and dust bunny inside and without cracks from 1928 for about 80€ which was quite a good buy but not exceptional. But prices might have gone up a bit meanwhile?!

As the name "Gitarrenlaute" indicates she is tuned like a modern CG. Gut or steel strings have been originally used with these instruments and recent sets are available with Nylon resp. steel strings from Pyramis and Thomastik for instance! Mine is strung with wound Nylon trebles from Savarez which seems to be good compromise.

Besides cracks in the bowl and/or the top a steep neck angle is the most common problem with these guitar-lutes, which causes a high action and makes them quite uncomfortable to play. Another thing to mention is the design of the fingerboard. Some are flat with normal fret wires and some are scalloped with the fret wires hardly protruding. The latter needs at least some time of familiarization.

Return to “Lutes, Baroque and Renaissance Guitars, etc.”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot] and 1 guest