New lute day!

All instruments that aren't guitars (or bass guitars).
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mbene085
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New lute day!

Post by mbene085 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:20 pm

So, I recently took delivery of an instrument I'm really excited about. Don't think I've seen one on the board, ever.

Anyone want to take a stab at a guess?
Last edited by mbene085 on Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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mackerelmint
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Re: New [guess what?] day!

Post by mackerelmint » Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:02 pm

A Zither? Pipa? Vihuela? Contrabassoon?

Gotta be a contrabassoon.
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Re: New [guess what?] day!

Post by andy_tchp » Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:16 pm

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"I don't know why we asked him to join the band 'cause the rest of us don't like country music all that much; we just like Graham Lee."
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Re: New [guess what?] day!

Post by mbene085 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:35 pm

andy_tchp wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:16 pm
Image
Not quite, though you did post its grandpappy...

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Re: New [guess what?] day!

Post by mackerelmint » Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:54 pm

Little known fact, the oud is the grandpappy of the contrabassoon.

In all seriousness, I'm lost. I even studied the evolution of guitars and their family tree, and I dunno what comes after an oud. Bouzouki? A balalaika? A bundle of bouncy boobs?
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Re: New [guess what?] day!

Post by mbene085 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:04 pm

mackerelmint wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:54 pm
Little known fact, the oud is the grandpappy of the contrabassoon.

In all seriousness, I'm lost. I even studied the evolution of guitars and their family tree, and I dunno what comes after an oud. Bouzouki? A balalaika? A bundle of bouncy boobs?
In the medieval era, Christians brought ouds back to Europe from the Crusades, and the first thing they did to adapt it to European music was to tie on some frets, but leave the shape unaltered.

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Re: New [guess what?] day!

Post by mackerelmint » Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:04 pm

mbene085 wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:04 pm
mackerelmint wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:54 pm
Little known fact, the oud is the grandpappy of the contrabassoon.

In all seriousness, I'm lost. I even studied the evolution of guitars and their family tree, and I dunno what comes after an oud. Bouzouki? A balalaika? A bundle of bouncy boobs?
In the medieval era, Christians brought ouds back to Europe from the Crusades, and the first thing they did to adapt it to European music was to tie on some frets, but leave the shape unaltered.
Oh yeah. Clearly I paid close attention. ;D

Well, happy new lute day.
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Re: New [guess what?] day!

Post by mbene085 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:31 pm

mackerelmint wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:04 pm
Oh yeah. Clearly I paid close attention. ;D

Well, happy new lute day.
Thanks!

This is a 13-course (24-string) Baroque lute.

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The Medieval lute started out with 5 courses, then started slowly growing and accumulating courses throughout the Renaissance, steadily going from 6 in the early Renaissance to 10 by its end (all added on to the bass side).

The French kicked off the Baroque variant by expanding it to 11, and changing the tuning scheme completely from fourths and one third (not unlike a guitar) to a D minor chord (f-d-a-f-d-a for the first six courses, then a descending diatonic scale).

In Germany, they then took the French Baroque lute and added a couple more bass courses, giving you the instrument we've got here - 13 courses in D minor with a descending scale down all the way to A1 from there. The lowest courses needed a longer scale length, so they added a "bass rider", which is a protrustion from the headstock that gives courses 12 and 13 an extra 8cm in this case:

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The German variant can play both the German and French repertoires, with German composers being the best-reputed. Silvius Leopold Weiss being the apex. Bach was of course German as well, but the nature of his lute suites are hotly debated. Some scholars maintain that all of them were written for the lautenwerck, which was a gut-strung, bowl-shaped lute-harpsichord, of which Bach owned two, while others think they were written for the lute. The puzzle is that a few of them are virtually impossible to actually play on the contemporary German instrument of the time, but that's a whole other post!

Point is, I decided that, since Baroque lute music was my favourite repertoire to play on classical guitar, I wanted to finally learn to play it on the original instrument itself. I've been reconnecting with my classical guitar roots and the upcoming "winter of our discontent" seemed like a good opportunity to do so.

This particular lute was built by a Turkish luthier family by the name of Sandi (Saadetin and Bahadir being the father-son team). Very few people build lutes, and Baroque lutes in particular tend to run in the $6k-$10k USD price range, which is not a reasonable gamble on an instrument that I don't actually know how to play. The Sandis build a serviceable instrument for the price of a MIM offset, so I took the plunge.

It sounds great, but needs a little bit of setup work, as well as an endpin - Baroque lutes are downright impossible to hold without a "lute strap" that connects to the pegbox and endpin and is then tucked under you and you sit, so that it doesn't require propping up or stabilization in playing position.

I'm taking it to my local folk instrument repair guy tomorrow to have the endpin added, and have some strings in the mail - it came with a slightly weird choice of very thin wound 4th course strings that both snapped within an hour of being tuned to pitch, when a thicker plain string does the job well and is much stronger. The strings are from La Bella and are nice quality rectified nylon with silverwound basses, so I'm not changing them just yet (a set of strings can run from $75 to $200+ USD depending on materials).

It'll be a couple of weeks before I have it ready to rock, but I'm really looking forward to this.

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Re: New lute day!

Post by mackerelmint » Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:08 pm

^^^

Very, very cool. I hope you record yourself when you've gotten to grips with your new lute. baroque lute really is neat stuff to listen to.

I wish I'd inherited my father's charango, he had a very cool one made of an armadillo and he used to play it a lot. It went to his second wife, though. I'll get one some day.
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Re: New lute day!

Post by Flurko » Wed Sep 23, 2020 1:13 am

I thought I knew some stuff about instrument history, but I'd never heard of the Lautenwerck before, very interesting !

This lute looks great, glad to learn some are affordable ! One of my good friends has a theorbo player in his band, one of the most fascinating instruments I've ever seen.

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Re: New lute day!

Post by Shadoweclipse13 » Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:26 am

I will second the love of history and also second the request for some recordings of it when you get used to it. That is a beautiful instrument :? :?
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Re: New lute day!

Post by Larry Mal » Wed Sep 23, 2020 4:45 am

Looks great, Mike. I don't think I've actually seen pictures of it yet!

Looks like the Sandis did a great job with it, you were right, the bowl is very stunning.

Makes me really want to get one of their ouds very soon.
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Re: New lute day!

Post by DeathJag » Wed Sep 23, 2020 6:43 am

Wow what an instrument! Congrats. I’ve always wanted to play the harpsichord but that is not in the cards for me this life.

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Re: New lute day!

Post by mbene085 » Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:02 am

mackerelmint wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:08 pm
^^^

Very, very cool. I hope you record yourself when you've gotten to grips with your new lute. baroque lute really is neat stuff to listen to.

I wish I'd inherited my father's charango, he had a very cool one made of an armadillo and he used to play it a lot. It went to his second wife, though. I'll get one some day.
Thanks! Recordings will be...a long way off. I studied classical guitar to a rather high level, and this instrument is...humbling, to say the least. The right hand technique is wildly different, and the thumb is more or less responsible for 8 or 9 courses, which feels ludicrous after 25 years of only having to deal with 3!

There's an old armadillo-shell charango for sale for $200 CAD near me. It pops up every time I search for lutes. I kinda prefer the look of the wood ones though!
Flurko wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 1:13 am
I thought I knew some stuff about instrument history, but I'd never heard of the Lautenwerck before, very interesting !

This lute looks great, glad to learn some are affordable ! One of my good friends has a theorbo player in his band, one of the most fascinating instruments I've ever seen.
Oh god, I want a theorbo something fierce, but those are like $10-$15k instruments. I've got a scheme in the works for the Sandis to build me its cousin, the Lesser French Theorbo, which can be tuned the same thanks to modern strings, but they won't be able to get started on it until later this year.

The Lautenwerck is a crazy instrument and none survived. It's responsible for one of the greatest debates in Baroque music, the nature of Bach's lute suites. The earliest suites have a more keyboard-like texture that is ill-suited to the lute, but they actually predate the invention of the Lautenwerck. It's more likely that Bach just wasn't familiar with lutes at first and wrote a suite that is difficult to play on one, then became more familiar, and acquired his two Lautenwercks simply because he enjoyed playing them.
Shadoweclipse13 wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:26 am
I will second the love of history and also second the request for some recordings of it when you get used to it. That is a beautiful instrument :? :?
I certainly hope I'll get there, but I've heard that it takes guitar players a couple of years to reliably hit every bass note in a piece, the thumb just has so much territory to cover with accuracy.
Larry Mal wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 4:45 am
Looks great, Mike. I don't think I've actually seen pictures of it yet!

Looks like the Sandis did a great job with it, you were right, the bowl is very stunning.

Makes me really want to get one of their ouds very soon.
It certainly has some photogenic angles. There are some spots where an apprentice was clearly trusted with a task and did a messy job, but the overall instrument is of high quality and the bowl and neck are beautiful.
DeathJag wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 6:43 am
Wow what an instrument! Congrats. I’ve always wanted to play the harpsichord but that is not in the cards for me this life.
Never say never! I didn't think I'd ever have time for the lute, then the world went nuts and I was told to figure out ways to spend more time indoors.

Harpsichords are fundamentally standard keyboard instruments. If you can get yourself a cheap keyboard and practice on it, you'll be ready for an acoustic or electric harpsichord some day if it becomes possible (and yes, there are "electric harpsichords" which are distinct from a keyboard with a harpsichord tone).

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Re: New lute day!

Post by Shadoweclipse13 » Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:19 pm

mbene085 wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:02 am
Shadoweclipse13 wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:26 am
I will second the love of history and also second the request for some recordings of it when you get used to it. That is a beautiful instrument :? :?
I certainly hope I'll get there, but I've heard that it takes guitar players a couple of years to reliably hit every bass note in a piece, the thumb just has so much territory to cover with accuracy.
Good luck! That sounds very challenging. I almost never use my thumb on guitar, between the fact that the songs I play don't need it, and my fingers are all pretty short. Hitting the lowest string would be challenging enough for me, but needing to use it for multiple notes sounds nuts. Still, a cool as hell instrument. Even if you didn't play it (which would be a shame to not try), it would be cool to have!
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