Lute Kit - How difficult?

Discussion of all aspects of early instruments, lutes, theorbos, vihuelas, Renaissance guitars and Baroque guitars.
Madcap

Lute Kit - How difficult?

Post by Madcap » Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:06 pm

Hi,

I hope I have posted this in the right section.

I am playing classical guitar on my spare time, mostly Bach and renaissance. Earlier today I was in a music shop in my town, and had a look and tried the lute they had for sale.
The problem is that im not going to play alot on it, Im only playing as a hobby. But I find the Lutes so beautiful, and since im interessted and fascinated by history and classical music
in general, I would love to have lute at home to play and to give a nice look to my room.

The lutes are expensive, and I cant afford 2500£ + for a hobby thing. But the store recommended me a Lute Kit from Early Music Shop.com, which have a fair price. My question is:
Is it worth it? And how difficult is it to build? It doesnt have to sound great, or be any fancy. Just a nice looking lute, and possible to play on.

http://www.earlymusicshop.com/product.a ... e-lute-kit

Any advice, hints or tips would be very appreciated :)

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Michael.N.
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Re: Lute Kit - How difficult?

Post by Michael.N. » Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:18 pm

That looks like the EMS Lute but in pieces :D They are made in India but are heavily built. Being a frequent visitor to the EMS I've seen dozens of them.
Try to find a used 'student Lute' from one of the known makers. It will be a much better Lute.
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Doug Ingram
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Re: Lute Kit - How difficult?

Post by Doug Ingram » Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:32 pm

While you're searching for an instrument, you get get started with these great videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HA2z5EWQblM
This one is about getting started with guitar and re-tuning it, and adjusting some technique.

Click on his other videos for more great tutorials.

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Lute Kit - How difficult?

Post by rojarosguitar » Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:21 pm

Madcap wrote:Hi,

... But the store recommended me a Lute Kit from Early Music Shop.com, which have a fair price. My question is:
Is it worth it? And how difficult is it to build? It doesnt have to sound great, or be any fancy. Just a nice looking lute, and possible to play on.

http://www.earlymusicshop.com/product.a ... e-lute-kit

Any advice, hints or tips would be very appreciated :)
Where are you based?
I'm just having an eight courses renaissance lute of Pakistan or India making (I'm not sure, which country) on the infamous auction site for much less than what you would have to pay for the diy set. It's quite OK for what it is, but I just don't play it, not enough time. It has even decent strings on it, which is already almost the half of it's price...

If you PM me your mail adress I can provide you with more information ...

best wishes
Robert
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

simonm
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Re: Lute Kit - How difficult?

Post by simonm » Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:16 pm

If you look at website you gave you will see that a similar finished lute is on sale for 620 pounds vs 380 for the kit. The kit looks easy enough to finish in a basic kind of way. I assume this is a middle east kit (Pakistan is often mentioned in the connection of cheap lutes).

Building the bowl well takes quite a bit of skill and this is done, so that is one element. Then comes thinning the top. A lute top built by a pro might be as little as 0.9mm in the middle and around the edges it might be as little as 1.1mm -1.3mm. You have to glue the bridge on accurately before you put the top an as there is no access inside after you have the top on. I suspect the idea with the kit is you glue on a 2mm-2.5mm "plank" so the sound will be mediocre. The rosette is not carved but they offer this as an option. Doing a rosette on a lute is delicate fiddly work that requires either immense patience or great skill and some very sharp very small chisels. As a beginner reckon with 20-30 hours for a nice rosette and stress because the top is 1mm or less in that area. Easy to right through it.

So in short I agree with Michael N. Look for a used lute. Lute is not as popular as it was about 25-35 years ago so there are probably some used excellent instruments sitting around doing nothing that cost a lot back in their day. Keep an eye on the market for a while.

As a matter of interest have you checked out the price of lute strings? Apparently centuries ago the joke about lute players was that they spent half their time tuning the lute and the other half working to pay for the strings. :D

John Underhill

Re: Lute Kit - How difficult?

Post by John Underhill » Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:25 pm

simonm wrote: Apparently centuries ago the joke about lute players was that they spent half their time tuning the lute and the other half working to pay for the strings. :D
Or altenatively, half their time tuning the lute and the other half playing out of tune..... :)

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Michael.N.
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Re: Lute Kit - How difficult?

Post by Michael.N. » Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:52 pm

Scandalous.
Historicalguitars.

GuitarVlog

Re: Lute Kit - How difficult?

Post by GuitarVlog » Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:52 pm

Here's one luthier's assessment of the EMS Pakistan-made lutes which I assume will also apply to the kits.

In a nutshell, they've improved and they can work but you'll need to have a luthier invest a bit of work into them or put up with factors that might make them difficult to play.

http://www.blackbirdstringarts.com/2011 ... oi-polloi/

Harry Jess
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Re: Lute Kit - How difficult?

Post by Harry Jess » Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:32 am

I have a student lute from Bristol Guitar Centre that I bought back in 1978. It's a custom made student lute made by Alan Clark. Anyone who knows something of this luthier? As far as I know also single strings lutes existed. Would it be an idea to start with single strings to get aquainted with the instrument and to avoid the tuning problems? I mean to begin with, and then you can add more strings?

GuitarVlog

Re: Lute Kit - How difficult?

Post by GuitarVlog » Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:46 am

I just remembered this: http://www.jminstruments.com/instruments.aspx

The gentleman will build you a student lute for 1,167£ if you find that affordable by a stretch. Click on Instruments > Student Lutes > Renaissance lute based on a lute after Hans Frei (Vienna C34 )

He plays a number of his lutes on his YouTube channel here: http://www.youtube.com/user/jamarriage/videos?view=0

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Michael.N.
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Re: Lute Kit - How difficult?

Post by Michael.N. » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:05 am

Harry Jess wrote:I have a student lute from Bristol Guitar Centre that I bought back in 1978. It's a custom made student lute made by Alan Clark. Anyone who knows something of this luthier? As far as I know also single strings lutes existed. Would it be an idea to start with single strings to get aquainted with the instrument and to avoid the tuning problems? I mean to begin with, and then you can add more strings?
Doesn't make any sense Harry. I suppose we could remove the strings on a Guitar to avoid tuning that. Just put the courses on. Doubled strings are EASY to tune. They are easy because they are either unisons or octaves. It is MUCH more difficult to tune single strings to intervals.
Historicalguitars.

Harry Jess
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Re: Lute Kit - How difficult?

Post by Harry Jess » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:34 pm

Thank you, Michael, for your answer. BTW, do you know anything about Alan Clark? I have never been able to obtain any information on this luthier. My 35-year-old lute is still a marvel to look at and listen to despite it being a student lute.

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Michael.N.
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Re: Lute Kit - How difficult?

Post by Michael.N. » Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:52 pm

I'm afraid not. I've certainly come across his name in connection with Lutes. Probably through the Early Music shop, which I first visited around 1977.
Historicalguitars.

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Lute Kit - How difficult?

Post by rojarosguitar » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:01 pm

The same Pakistan made lute I'm still offering for 199 euro plus shipping has been raised on the imfamous auction platform to the ridculous price of 2.299 euro LOL...
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Lute Kit - How difficult?

Post by rojarosguitar » Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:55 pm

If somebody is interested in this lute, I have it on the German branch of the electronic auction site, if you look for "Renaissance-Laute achtchörig" ... Auction 151010018578 ...
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

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