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Bring Back The Music of the Renaissance With a Lovely Lute

The lute is possibly one of the most idiosyncratic instruments out there. A lot of lutenists transition from the plectrum picking style of playing the guitar. If you already play a stringed instrument and want to become a lutenist, the starting point would be the 6-course. All you have to do is select the right tuning on the pegbox and you'll be well on your way to playing various lute music manuscripts. If you're a beginner who doesn't play any instrument at all, the lute is still a fantastic starting point with so many music scores for you to practice on.

Selecting a Lute

If you're buying a lute for the very first time then you will ideally be looking for either a 6-course or an 8-course renaissance lute. The string length should also be around 60cm but when looking at a lute that is older than the 1980s you may find that it has various characteristics that are similar to the guitar. They have open backed boxes, spade-shaped pegs and very little taper. Newer lutes are known for being much tighter and sometimes smaller, with closed back boxes.

Strings and Spacings

The string band should be at around 40mm if you are selecting a 6-course lute. It should be at 47mm if you are choosing a 7-course lute and then 55mm if you are opting for an 8-course lute. On a lute that is 8-course or higher, the spacing will be compressed and this will affect the tuning. In terms of playability, all lutes, from the long scale length of the theorbo to the simple renaissance lute are suitable for playing music from the baroque period, and this is a very popular form of lute music. The lute society, archlute and baroque lute playing styles often use bass to bring out the sound of the lute. Official and authentic lutes have a very complex shape, yet the bass strings add another dimension that is just not present in other instruments.

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