2handband wrote:... I just wish there was a place where I could spend some serious time with the lute. One thing... a lot of you are talking as if you feel the lute isn't really a very good or practical instrument, and the only reason to use one is historical authenticity. Anyone wanna comment further on that?
As for your first point, indeed, it is difficult (or nearly impossible, depending on where you live) to find a lute that one can just try out. If you really want one, you pretty much have to buy one, and hope you love it!
As for your second point, not at all! I do not "use" a lute, I play
it! Once you get to know it, it is just an instrument that you pick up, tune, and play (and enjoy!). Most of the time, I don't even think about its gut frets, and as for tuning, it really isn't that big a deal (even though others make it sound like it is! Maybe for them it is/was -- we're all different!).
Incidentally, please bear in mind that people who have given up on the lute because of idiosyncrasies that they can't stand will of course tell you that it isn't worth the trouble, whereas those of us who love our lutes will say: Go for it!