12 string bass lute (theorbo) probably German.

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Evan
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12 string bass lute (theorbo) probably German.

Post by Evan » Sat Mar 02, 2019 6:25 am

I was browsing a local "for sale" site when I came across a theorbo/bass lute. Fast forward a couple of hours and it is now in my house. The guy selling it didn't really know too much about it. He said he had owned it for about 20 years. It is in very good condition considering it may be over 100 years old. No marking to indicate who made it or when. Also precious little that I can find online. It needs new strings, which I believe are f,g,a,b,c,d, and then standard guitar tuning for the six strings on the fret board. Does anyone have any knowledge or info on this style of lute? Thanks
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Evan
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Re: 12 string bass lute (theorbo) probably German.

Post by Evan » Sat Mar 02, 2019 6:43 am

This is a very similar instrument demonstrated on youtube



And these are the strings I found, though t h o m a n n want to charge 48 Euro for shipping to Australia, which is of course not acceptable.

https://www.t h o m a n n.de/gb/pyramid_bass_lute_strings.htm

Mariner
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Re: 12 string bass lute (theorbo) probably German.

Post by Mariner » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:17 pm

I have fallen in love with the Theorbo after hearing and seeing L'Arpeggiata and Christina Pluhar. Just wish I had found out about them fifty years ago.
OP if it is not asking too much what did you pay for it?

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pogmoor
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Re: 12 string bass lute (theorbo) probably German.

Post by pogmoor » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:13 pm

I'm not sure it's correct to call it a theorbo. It looks like a Wandervogel 10-string Bass Lute-Guitar - like this one:



Until recent times I don't think theorbos were used after the 18th century. They look more like this:



They were lightly built like lutes, they had gut frets and re-entrant tuning.

Here's a video that explains theorbos :lol:

Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Lester Backshall (2008), Ramirez (Guitarra del Tiempo 2017),
Yamaha (SLG 130NW silent classical guitar 2014).

RobMacKillop
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Re: 12 string bass lute (theorbo) probably German.

Post by RobMacKillop » Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:07 pm

Theorbo is indeed the name of a baroque instrument, but it also refers to an instrument with a second neck. So we get theorboed lutes, theorboed citterns, and theorboed guitars.

I am not a fan of these Wandervogel instruments. Compared to a real lute, they are extremely crude. With steel strings, they stem more from the 18th-century cittern than the Italian theorbo. There was a wire-strung baroque theorbo, but again that would be more akin to the cittern family.

Suffice to say, this is not a cheap way to get into baroque theorbo music.

Evan
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Re: 12 string bass lute (theorbo) probably German.

Post by Evan » Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:07 pm

Thanks for the replies. I was aware that it wasn't a baroque theorbo, and the relatively low price ($350AUD) also reflected this. I bought it more as a curiosity, and expect to enjoy picking it up from time to time. I have ordered strings for it which are nylon, as are the remnants on the 20+ year old set that are on it now, though the rollers are metal which does point to a past time when steel strings were on it.

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Re: 12 string bass lute (theorbo) probably German.

Post by pogmoor » Tue Mar 19, 2019 11:46 am

RobMacKillop wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:07 pm
Theorbo is indeed the name of a baroque instrument, but it also refers to an instrument with a second neck. So we get theorboed lutes, theorboed citterns, and theorboed guitars...
I notice Thomas Robinson published a few pieces for the theorboed cittern in New Citharen Lessons (London, 1609). He refers to it as the archcittern and I found a couple of examples in museum collections illustrated here: https://www.mfa.org/collections/object/ ... yron-50286 and here: https://www.mfa.org/collections/object/ ... yron-50286.
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Lester Backshall (2008), Ramirez (Guitarra del Tiempo 2017),
Yamaha (SLG 130NW silent classical guitar 2014).

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Re: 12 string bass lute (theorbo) probably German.

Post by RobMacKillop » Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:05 pm

Exactly, Eric!

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Re: 12 string bass lute (theorbo) probably German.

Post by simonm » Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:34 pm

RobMacKillop wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:07 pm
....
I am not a fan of these Wandervogel instruments. Compared to a real lute, they are extremely crude.
...
Back in another millennium when I made my first instrument at a course in Germany some people where of the opinion that the Wandervogel lutes were a good shortcut to building HurdyGurdies. Chop the neck off: make a hole in the top to fit the wheel: build the box for the keys:done. :-)

I met a lady in Germany about 2 years ago who had a whole bunch of lutes including a couple of theorbos belonging to here then recently deceased husband. They were build by well known Germany luthiers. I don't know what she eventually did with them. I do know who eventually bought the Romanillos she also had - not me.

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Re: 12 string bass lute (theorbo) probably German.

Post by RobMacKillop » Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:35 pm

:-)

Evan
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Re: 12 string bass lute (theorbo) probably German.

Post by Evan » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:37 am

IMG20190408182924.jpg
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gilles T
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Re: 12 string bass lute (theorbo) probably German.

Post by gilles T » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:23 pm

Hello Evan,

Congrats, if it sounds as good as it looks, you will enjoy hours of fine music — at least this is what I wish you.
I once had a 6 strings guitar/lute in good shape (rare!) which sounded gorgeous, especially the wound strings which would ring forever...

I'm curious to know how you deal with the scalloped fretboard ; it seems to me quite a tricky feature to keep a clean intonation but I actually never played one, so keep us posted please !

Regards,
Gilles

Evan
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Re: 12 string bass lute (theorbo) probably German.

Post by Evan » Thu Apr 11, 2019 9:14 am

Thanks Gilles, It's fun and challenging to play in the first 9 frets or so. Beyond that it does have some tuning issues, but more from the high action than the scalloped frets. The low theorbo strings sound great, and I have started incorporating them in Canarios (Gaspar Sanz).

I have a six string guitar lute too, and I bought lute strings to put on it. I has had some ball end nylons on it for around a year that have been pretty unsatisfactory. Will do that this weekend.

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