Lute strings

Discussion of all aspects of early instruments, lutes, theorbos, vihuelas, Renaissance guitars and Baroque guitars.
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emeraldvalley
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Lute strings

Postby emeraldvalley » Thu Feb 04, 2016 4:15 pm

I have a lute, which i haven't played for a very long time- and I cant remember what the tuning was on the bass strings. THe lute has 10 tuning pegs each on top and bottom. I can see the top 6 strings are single, while there are 4 separate bass strings( each of these doubled).
I remember tuning either like a guitar or with the 3rd string dropped down a half step for Dowland and other pieces, though i always wondered why some of Dowland does not require the dropped 3rd string.
Also would like to find a luthier in the NEw Jersey area who can repair it- as i am missing one of the wooden tuning pegs, and a source for finding the lute strings.
Thank you

Lovemyguitar
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Re: Lute strings

Postby Lovemyguitar » Thu Feb 04, 2016 5:21 pm

Hi. Can you post a photo of your lute? It would be very unusual to have the first 6 strings as singles -- normally just the first string is single. And, there should be an odd number of pegs: 10 on one side and 9 on the other would be normal for a 10-course lute. As for tuning, I doubt if your memory serves you well: a lute should not have ever been tuned like a guitar, nor would you have needed to adjust the third string for some Dowland pieces (that is a guitar thing). If your lute is a 10-course Renaissance lute, normal tuning would be (from single highest string): G, D, A, F, C, G, F, D#, D, C.

There are two places (online) where I have bought lute strings: Aquila usa, and strings by mail. If you contact Aquila and provide some information about your lute, they can help you determine what strings you need.

Emil Krasich
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Re: Lute strings

Postby Emil Krasich » Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:23 pm

Another great option for lute strings is Boston Catlines.
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Scot Tremblay
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Re: Lute strings

Postby Scot Tremblay » Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:57 pm

For strings:
Aquila USA and Gamut Music are two North american sources where I regularly get my lute strings. Gut strings, none better than Damian Dlugolecki (handmade and costly but superb).

Look here for some other sources, mostly in Europe...Savarez is good too.

http://www.lutesociety.org/pages/lute-stringing

I would second as LMG suggests above and get Aquila or Gamut to set up your set, first set at least. They usually just need string length, pitch and build (robust, medium, light). Lutes are usually considered to be tuned to G but this is just a generalization and not necessarily correct. So, the longer the string length the lower one should tune it...meaning if your lute has a string length of ca 640mm then it's better to tune to F or at most F# otherwise the first string gets too thin both in feel and sound making it difficult to get a good tone and keep the string from breaking too soon. Pros don't tune to G unless they have a short string length (under 600mm) instrument...just a hint.
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

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Valéry Sauvage
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Re: Lute strings

Postby Valéry Sauvage » Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:38 am

Lovemyguitar wrote:And, there should be an odd number of pegs: 10 on one side and 9 on the other would be normal for a 10-course lute.

Maybe it could be an eleven baroque lute, 9 doubles and two singles.
(so the tuning is very different) Look the lute page on wiki for tuning conventions.
Count Basie: I don't worry about virtuosity. I do what I like to do. If I'm a virtuoso, that's great. If not, I'm doing what I like to do.

Lovemyguitar
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Re: Lute strings

Postby Lovemyguitar » Fri Mar 25, 2016 3:27 pm

Valéry Sauvage wrote:
Lovemyguitar wrote:And, there should be an odd number of pegs: 10 on one side and 9 on the other would be normal for a 10-course lute.

Maybe it could be an eleven baroque lute, 9 doubles and two singles.
(so the tuning is very different) Look the lute page on wiki for tuning conventions.

I have talked with emeraldvalley privately about his lute, and we sorted it all out! It is a ten-course Renaissance lute. Cheers!

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Valéry Sauvage
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Re: Lute strings

Postby Valéry Sauvage » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:53 am

Lovemyguitar wrote:
Valéry Sauvage wrote:
Lovemyguitar wrote:And, there should be an odd number of pegs: 10 on one side and 9 on the other would be normal for a 10-course lute.

Maybe it could be an eleven baroque lute, 9 doubles and two singles.
(so the tuning is very different) Look the lute page on wiki for tuning conventions.

I have talked with emeraldvalley privately about his lute, and we sorted it all out! It is a ten-course Renaissance lute. Cheers!

so it should not have 20 pegs but 19... all renaissance lutes have a single chanterelle. Maybe Emeraldvalley had an eleven course baroque lute but use it as a renaissance one because of his own convenience...
Count Basie: I don't worry about virtuosity. I do what I like to do. If I'm a virtuoso, that's great. If not, I'm doing what I like to do.


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