Dear kertsopoulos, I'm sorry if my earlier post sounded a bit terse (as it does to me re-reading it). I was in a hurry. I had to make my wife's evening meal, getting it ready for her return from work. Modern times
In short, I didn't mean to appear rude, and apologise if I came over that way.
I'm still a little unsure how you know things were different, especially when you say they were secret. As for tradition, gut strings were made continuously until recent times, and gut guitar trebles have survived from the early 20th century. They do not seem very different (I'm told) to what is being produced today. There are real problems, though, over gut strings in the bass registers of lutes, and Mimmo Perufo is doing his best to uncover what techniques were used in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. But those strings were not used by guitarists, so need not concern us here.
But your general point, that gut strings were bright, has some truth to it. But I'd like to say warm and bright at the same time. Of course, the guitar and the player make a significant contribution to the overall sound. All the modern gut strings I have played have had differences in touch and sound, so it's difficult for us to talk about one gut string, as if they were all the same. It's the same as with nylon strings - some are brighter, some mellower.
Dear Rob, thanks so much for your kind answer, please do not apologise for your important comment, which in no way I took it as a bit terse. It was a pleasure for me to read your views and as I already wrote to you I respect very much your musicianship and your views. In regard to your unsure thought concerning how I know that things were different especially when I say they were secret, I would like to note the following:
A historical example of this issue is the lute society of the “Tieffenbrucker” (Italy) in the renaissance, which had as a goal, along with the guarding of the important secrets of the trade, the economic blockade of every new luthier, who was not an approved member of the society. By many references Tieffenbrucker is today defined as a large multigenerational family of luthiers originally from Bavaria active in Venice and Padua, Italy. However, to actually define them specifically they were united members of a closed society of luthiers, so a lute made by Wendelin Tieffenbrucker was meaning at the time that the name of the luthier is Wendelin and the Tieffenbrucker is the validation that Wendelin is a valid member of the Tieffenbrucker society. Also, by being so famous in their work the "Tieffenbrucker" was an honorable title of vey high stature for someone to possess.
Their united activity between around 1480 and 1640 (with their influence carrying on until around 1750) was expressed with the sale and circulation of wood strictly to the members of the society, since the society held strong influences within the wholesale traders of wood and material. Also, by being Bavarians in origin they had a well-established connection and influence between the string producers of Venice Catline gut and the Munich gut producers. Their practices were very famous for their excellence in instrument production, which however these practices were never exposed to any writings either in instrument making or string making, meaning that they were never communicated to the outside world. Their way of working is only one example of the secrecy involved at the period, concerning the correct and successful methods that could have been communicated to the outside world but were never communicated. The complete lack of essential information on gut stringing practices between the 15th and 18th centuries is well defined also by Mimmo Peruffo in his important work “The lute in its historical reality” pages 8 to 10 and this work having a wealth of information can be found online at: http://ricerche.aquilacorde.com/wp-cont ... uto-en.pdf
Why so much lack of info. as Mimmo Peruffo correctly points out? Why so much secrecy from the people who were masters of the game and could actually teach the outside world all the successful ways and methods of lute and string construction? The facts are facts and historical answers are very complicated and cannot be answered in a few paragraphs. However, secrecy on stringing practices of the "lute era" has been a historical fact on the subject as many analysts along with Mr. Peruffo have pointed out in the bibliography. This secrecy imposed on the 19th century makers to take from the begining the constructional procedure because the tradition was not passed on, the lute just died and along with it many string constructors of the 18th century closed shops, Napoleon and the French were giving war to Europe and many other historical factors imposed the closing of the "lute era" which took to its silence all that had not been said or written but however, were successful practices. Wishing you the best, Yorgos