Those German lute-guitars

Discussion of all aspects of early instruments, lutes, theorbos, vihuelas, Renaissance guitars and Baroque guitars.
soltirefa
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Re: Those German lute-guitars

Post by soltirefa » Fri Nov 28, 2014 11:44 pm

Michael.N. wrote:In some part that lack of over ringing may well be due to string type. Wound Gut or the Aquila synthetic D/DE type can sound pretty dull in comparison to modern silver plated Nylon types.
Maybe I'll try those strings on my 10-string to see if it does offer less over-ringing. Thanks for mentioning it.

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Charles Mokotoff
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Re: Those German lute-guitars

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:53 am

I am quite pleased with the sound of my heavy lute, made in 1977 by Manouk Papazian. If I had the luxury of tuning it in F (I am playing in ensembles so have to keep it at G) I am sure it would permit a thicker top string and be easier to tune, with less tension on the rollers:
http://youtu.be/SAaNcNaWPcI

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David Norton
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Re: Those German lute-guitars

Post by David Norton » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:15 pm

Nice recording Charles.

I think that for many of us "of a certain age", the heavy lute timbre was ingrained in our ears early on as being the correct sound.

Here's a VERY interesting paper (36 pages downloaded) about the various types of modern-day vihuelas, starting with the instrument built in guitar-style by Francisco Simplicio for Pujol, to the lute-influenced designs of the 1980s-90s, to the more recent builds which are divergent from the "vihuela shaped lute" models.

http://www.academia.edu/5804888/The_Cha ... he_Vihuela
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Scot Tremblay
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Re: Those German lute-guitars

Post by Scot Tremblay » Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:30 pm

Thanks for posting that, David. I always enjoy John Griffiths papers.
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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sxedio
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Re: Those German lute-guitars

Post by sxedio » Sat Apr 23, 2016 9:58 am

There are older german editions of music explicitly for these lutes, or for either lute or guitar, an example from IGRA http://digital-library.csun.edu/cdm/ref ... res/id/698
(Gr) (En) (very little Fr)

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kertsopoulos
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Re: Those German lute-guitars

Post by kertsopoulos » Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:15 pm

On a scalloped fingerboard the fingers never touch the fingerboard but only the string, behind the fret. On a normal fingerboard the string is pressed on the fingerboard by the finger and the finger touches the fingerboard, transmitting the heat of the human body to the colder environment of the fingerboard. The denser the fingerboard wood the faster is the transmittance of the heat from the finger to the fingerboard, hence an ebony fingerboard which is denser (and also colder) than a rosewood fingerboard will have a more immediate effect of the phenomenon. This transmittance of heat from the finger to the fingerboard added to the effect of touhing, which by itself cancels out topical vibrations on the surface of the fingerboard at the touching point of the finger, serves to give an extra warmth to the timbre of the sound, cancelling however many harmonics that would have given the sound an extra brilliance and a very full attack on the sound. So, on a normal fingerboard by the above function we gain warmth to the timbre of the sound and we lose on brilliance and attack. Contrary then to this function, on a scalloped fingerboard, since our fingers never touch the fingerboard, we gain brilliance on the sound and a very good attack on the sound, however we lose on the warmth of the timbre of the sound. In both cases and in each one seperately, one wins something and loses on something else. Once you know these details you can arrange as a luthier and as a guitarist all your other factors accordingly to get the desirable balance for your specific needs. Nice topic, keep well, Yorgos.

Butterfingers
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Re: Those German lute-guitars

Post by Butterfingers » Thu Oct 27, 2016 7:35 pm

Hi. I recently registered on this board since i have a ton of questions. Now, I'm an amateur so pardon my limited knowledge.

Anyway, one of my questions has to do with this topic since i recently got a hold of one of these wandervogel lutes. That's what it looks like to me at least (after some googling). First question: Is there a surefire way of determining whether an old (plucked) instrument is meant for steel or nylon strings? Second: If one is made for steel strings, what are the ramifications of using nylon on it?

Lovemyguitar
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Re: Those German lute-guitars

Post by Lovemyguitar » Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:51 am

Butterfingers wrote:...one of my questions has to do with this topic since i recently got a hold of one of these wandervogel lutes. That's what it looks like to me at least (after some googling). First question: Is there a surefire way of determining whether an old (plucked) instrument is meant for steel or nylon strings? Second: If one is made for steel strings, what are the ramifications of using nylon on it?
Putting nylon strings on it should be fine, regardless of what it originally had. The main thing is to never put steel strings on an instrument if it was built for nylon (or gut), because the increased string tension of steel strings could destroy it. If your wandervogel lute is very old, it may well have had gut strings originally (nylon strings weren't invented until the mid 1940s).

Butterfingers
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Re: Those German lute-guitars

Post by Butterfingers » Thu Nov 03, 2016 10:11 am

Thanks for the reply. I have no idea how old mine is. Don't know if there are any signs to look for in that regard either? One thing's for sure, it needs some work. Some glue here and there between the back "plates", bridge repair (replacement more likely), neck sanding etc.

A.Arcese
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Re: Those German lute-guitars

Post by A.Arcese » Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:19 pm

Pardon me for resurrecting this thread.

I have a lute-guitar, a 100-year-old one that I just had a little restoration work done on. Technically it belongs to my husband, whose grandmother played it (and zither) in Germany as part of the Wandervogel movement. It has a lovely plunky sound. The scalloped frets are not very forgiving.

In this thread, the subject of strings came up. I'm still trying to figure out what strings will sound best. I have it strung with Aquila romantic-guitar strings, tuned below A=440. I think the trebles sound okay, but the basses get an intermittent twangy, zingy sound that they would not on a guitar. I don't fully understand the physics of this bowlback instrument, but today I had the soundboard turned toward my face and plucked a treble string, and the intensity of sound made my tooth hurt (!) even though the instrument is not overall terribly loud. There's nothing wrong with my tooth afaik. :)

I might try gut strings on the trebles rather than Nylgut. But I have no clue about the basses. I noticed that a certain European seller carries a set of lute-guitar strings, but I see no specs so I don't know how they differ from other strings. I could just order them and find out what's in the package, I suppose.

I also don't know if all these German lute-guitars would have been built with the same strings in mind. I've seen some described as even older than this one. I've also found examples that are dated up through the 1940s and 1950s. And then there are the Roosebecks made today.

Would love to hear any further string suggestions, if you have them, based on the concerns I'm describing.

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eno
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Re: Those German lute-guitars

Post by eno » Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:58 pm

I also have one of those German lute guitars. I actually had two and sold one. It's in a pretty good shape and looks and sounds beautiful. I use Luthier strings, they are kind of similar to nylgut with a milky look and hazy sound so it sounds kinda like lute. One common problem for those lutes is crazy high action which makes them basically non-playable for me, so I'm keeping it as a room decoration for now. I guess fixing the action problem would need a neck reset which might be tricky. May be I will get it to a luthier when I have time.
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es335
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Re: Those German lute-guitars

Post by es335 » Wed Sep 27, 2017 5:42 pm

A.Arcese wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:19 pm
... Ialso don't know if all these German lute-guitars would have been built with the same strings in mind. I've seen some described as even older than this one. I've also found examples that are dated up through the 1940s and 1950s. And then there are the Roosebecks made today.

Would love to hear any further string suggestions, if you have them, based on the concerns I'm describing.
Please keep in mind, that most of the Wandervogel lute guitars were designed for steel strings because Nylon wasn’t available before 1944 and gut not well applicable for these instruments which were regularly used outdoor.

A befriended luthier, who does a lot of German lute restorations recommended Martin Silk & Steel or Thomastik S rope core for instance.

Pyramid offers a speciality Nylon set for these instruments and the Savarez set with plastic wound trebles worked quite well on my German lute. :wink:

BTW the scalloped fretboards were applied to ease glissando playing. Try it and you will agree immediately. :D

A.Arcese
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Re: Those German lute-guitars

Post by A.Arcese » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:16 am

Thank you for your thoughts. The particular Gitarrenlaute I have would not do well nor (likely) sound good with steel strings. I think they would destroy it, actually.

Photos of my husband's grandmother playing the Gitarrenlaute exist. When I'm next visiting the family home, I'll look at them carefully to see if string type is apparent.

gilles T
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Re: Those German lute-guitars

Post by gilles T » Thu Sep 28, 2017 7:30 pm

Hello,

I once had one of these german lutes purchased on the net. Luckily, the instrument was in great shape, with a reasonable action and a surprisingly top-notch intonation all along the fretboard (not scalloped).

I had very good results with Aquila nylgut tuned at A= 415 and there was a huge amount of bass, perhaps because the saddle was made in copper.

For your instrument, and the lack of basses, my advice would be to select any treble strings that sound and feel good for the three top strings. And for the the three wound strings, you might find what you need with Alliance KF, specially designed for early period instruments. Alliance KF wound strings come either in copper or silver, in just about every gauge and every length you can think of.

You can use a string calculator, such as this one : https://www.cs.helsinki.fi/u/wikla/mus/ ... scalc.html

And/or ask a luthier to help you. I second your opinion regarding metal strings : althought these instruments were indeed stringed with metal, they are too lightly built to stand so much tension, that's why most of them are plagued with a wrapped neck.

Good luck, keep us posted.
regards,
Gilles

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