Lute strings?

Discussion of all aspects of early instruments, lutes, theorbos, vihuelas, Renaissance guitars and Baroque guitars.
kr236rk

Lute strings?

Post by kr236rk » Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:32 pm

Hi,

Can anyone kindly tell me what nylon (classical) string gauges could be used for a six course lute please, and the individual string tunings?

Thanks

Scot Tremblay
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Re: Lute strings?

Post by Scot Tremblay » Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:42 pm

Hello kr236rk. I'm not quite sure what you are asking.... First off, Classical guitar strings should not be used on most lutes so don't bother trying to sort out which will work. Some will some won't so it's best not to even bother. And there are a few variables one needs to take into consideration when getting lute strings...string length, pitch, weight of pull on the instrument per string/course...

Here is a string calculator for Gamut Strings. They deal in high quality strings, nylon and gut. Just plug in the pitch you wish to tune to (if 62 - 64cm string length it's probably best to tune the instrument to F or F# ca. 415 and if shorter it can be tuned up to G 440 ) and the string length. The calculator will give you the information you need. Another thing you can do is email Gamut with your specs and they will set you up. Great people, very helpful.

http://www.gamutstrings.com/calculators/calculator.htm
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

kr236rk

Re: Lute strings?

Post by kr236rk » Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:47 pm

Many thanks Scot,

Useful information. For the record though, what are the string tunings for a six course lute?

Best regards -

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pogmoor
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Re: Lute strings?

Post by pogmoor » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:25 pm

I think the string calculator Scot mentions answers your question.
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Paul Fischer (1995) and Lester Backshall (2008)
Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014), Ramirez Guitarra del Tiempo (2017)

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

Re: Lute strings?

Post by Scot Tremblay » Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:41 pm

Tea break from the shop so I'll answer your question...

Generally speaking we don't really know what pitch they tuned the lute at, all reliable recordings have been lost, too many wars and such :wink:. The concept of pitch was much more arbitrary than it is today so...Probably G is the best reference point taking into consideration the string length as I mentioned above. And to reiterate, the longer the string length the lower the pitch and conversely the shorter the string length the higher the pitch.

1 - g, single string usually. If you see a Vihuela (Spanish instruments like guitar, tuned same as lute) often double/unison
2 - d, double/unison
3 - a, double/unison
4 - F/f, double/octaves. Very occasionally this course can be F double/unison. Most players by far use the octave here as well.
5 - C/c, double/octaves
6 - G/g, double/ octaves

Unlike the modern 12 string guitar which usually has the octave string on the top of the octave (towards the player) the lute has the octave on the bottom (away from the player).
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

kr236rk

Re: Lute strings?

Post by kr236rk » Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:05 pm

That's great - thanks :)

Found a picture of a six course so wondered what the tunings were:-

http://www.lutesandguitars.co.uk/images/MI54%206c2.jpg

from

http://www.lutesandguitars.co.uk/htm/cat01.htm

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