Building a Theorbo

Discussion of all aspects of early instruments, lutes, theorbos, vihuelas, Renaissance guitars and Baroque guitars.
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LarryATahoe
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Building a Theorbo

Postby LarryATahoe » Tue Sep 20, 2016 8:34 pm

Thinking of building a theorbo for a lark. Any plans out there?

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Michael.N.
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Re: Building a Theorbo

Postby Michael.N. » Tue Sep 20, 2016 8:54 pm

http://homepages.ed.ac.uk/am/iwd.html#Lutes

The only ones that I know of. Note that these are museum plans, so may not give certain construction details.
Ambitious project!
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simonm
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Re: Building a Theorbo

Postby simonm » Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:02 pm

Michael.N. wrote:...
Ambitious project!


Indeed. Lutes are not exactly simply to build. A Theorbo is in another league. I don't know what it would take to persuade me to buy try one. Good luck with it - it will certainly keep you busy for a while.

MessyTendon
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Re: Building a Theorbo

Postby MessyTendon » Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:19 pm

You would be far better off buying an already built one from an established builder even it costs you a premium. It might be more practical to buy or make an extended range guitar.

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martinardo
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Re: Building a Theorbo

Postby martinardo » Tue Sep 20, 2016 10:33 pm

Perhaps it might be an idea, before you go any further, to check the height of your ceilings.

;)
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Chris Sobel
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Re: Building a Theorbo

Postby Chris Sobel » Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:15 am

http://www.lutesociety.org/pages/catalogue#m

I bought their theorbo plan about 2 years ago. It is fairly detailed. I can barely fit the plan in my shop, let alone the real thing...

Best,

Chris
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Michael.N.
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Re: Building a Theorbo

Postby Michael.N. » Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:57 am

Bach on theorbo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQeYt8oKo_w

Bass man, bass. 8) or bed springs as my friend once cruelly referred to it.

If you've never made a lute before you might be advised to get the Van Edwards CD course on baroque lute making. Of course it's not a theorbo but a great many of the constructional aspects are extremely similar. You can also build a baroque lute too, twice the ambition, twice the fun!
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LarryATahoe
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Re: Building a Theorbo

Postby LarryATahoe » Wed Sep 21, 2016 8:48 pm

Perhaps I will wait for a theorbo from Le Luth Dore at a reasonable price point. Their lutes seem well made for the price.

simonm
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Re: Building a Theorbo

Postby simonm » Wed Sep 21, 2016 10:00 pm

LarryATahoe wrote:Perhaps I will wait for a theorbo from Le Luth Dore at a reasonable price point. Their lutes seem well made for the price.


What a terrible website -- takes ages to load. I lost patience. If you want to buy a lute, look at the used market and the small ads on various lute society web pages and/or contact them and ask if they have some contacts. Some Lute societies also rent or facilitate the rental of instruments. While it looks like there is slight renewal of interest in lutes again, the number of unplayed lutes out there must be pretty amazing. The catch is locating them. For 2k-3k you should be able to find a very good used instrument. Low humidity and lutes don't go together very well as the tops are extremely thin and many very flat.

If your original idea about building was to get a cheaper lute, forget it totally, just buy. You would spend 5-10 years learning how to build before you got one that would satisfy you completely and most likely more money than a new built from whoever the current best lute builder is. Hobby builders like myself will spend 5 years and S10,000+, 2,000+ hours to create a guitar that is worth $3,500. Building you own is never a "cheap" way to get a good guitar as a player. In some ways playing and making are incompatible. You only have so much time.

Lovemyguitar
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Re: Building a Theorbo

Postby Lovemyguitar » Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:47 am

LarryATahoe wrote:Perhaps I will wait for a theorbo from Le Luth Dore at a reasonable price point. Their lutes seem well made for the price.

May I ask, why you want to build/buy a theorbo? Is it primarily for the fun/challenge of building one, or do you primarily want to play it? You may wish to check out the Dartmouth lutes-for-sale website, if you plan to buy one: there are always some good second-hand instruments there (I got my lute from there).

simonm wrote:...Low humidity and lutes don't go together very well as the tops are extremely thin and many very flat...

I have a lute, and live in a very dry climate. I simply use humidifiers in my cases/rooms. It has never been an issue for me, for any instrument.
Last edited by Lovemyguitar on Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

Lovemyguitar
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Re: Building a Theorbo

Postby Lovemyguitar » Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:51 am

[Duplicate]

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LarryATahoe
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Re: Building a Theorbo

Postby LarryATahoe » Fri Sep 23, 2016 10:56 pm

Good Theorbos appear to be in the 4-6000 Euro range. I'm not paying that much for one. If I built one myself it would still probably be better than one of those EMS theorbos. Maybe I'll invent some modern combination of gutbucket bass and chitarrone. I can dream, can't I? Theorbos are interesting because they are so bizarre yet at the same time strangely affecting and evocative of a different time. It would be fun to learn to do continuo accompaniment with a theorbo.

Lovemyguitar
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Re: Building a Theorbo

Postby Lovemyguitar » Sat Sep 24, 2016 2:16 am

True, even a used theorbo will not be cheap -- the supply and demand is so minimal. And then you have to find to someone to accompany. Whatever you end up doing, enjoy! Cheers!

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LarryATahoe
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Re: Building a Theorbo

Postby LarryATahoe » Sat Sep 24, 2016 3:56 am

I already have opportunities to accompany pro and semi-pro groups with theorbo, just no theorbo. I don't want to learn baroque lute. I am fond of Renaissance lute. Theorbo is nice because you can play it without double courses and keep guitar nails. I suppose I will buy one eventually when budget allows. I used to complain about lugging around a cello when I played with orchestras. Imagine lugging around a theorbo!

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Michael.N.
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Re: Building a Theorbo

Postby Michael.N. » Mon Sep 26, 2016 6:20 pm

You need one of David Van Edwards 'folding theorbo's', brilliant concept!

http://www.vanedwards.co.uk/40a.htm
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