The Lute Online Resources Portal (LORP): Lute Strings and Other Supplies

 

LUTE STRINGS AND OTHER SUPPLIES

Scroll down this page for sections on LUTE STRINGS, LUTE STRING DEALERS, LUTE STRING MANUFACTURERS, LUTE CASES, STRAPS, TUNING METERS, LUTE BUILDING SUPPLIES

LUTE STRINGS

To choose strings for your lute, you need to know (a) the vibrating string length, that is from the bridge to the fretnut, (b) the key of the lute, (named after the top string), and the tuning scheme (renaissance or baroque), (c) the pitch standard (typically modern pitch, A = 440 Hz, or so-called baroque pitch, a semitone lower at A=415 Hz), and (d) how heavily strung the lute should be (thin strings a low tension, or fatter strings at a slightly higher tension can produce the same note); but lutes cannot be very heavily strung because the structure is too fragile for high tension stringing. Ask a lute maker or string dealer if in doubt.

Then there is the choice of string materials: historical stringing is in gut (though silk strings were sometimes used); modern options (cheaper, in some ways more practical and much more commonly used today) are various types of nylon, fluorocarbon or other polymers on the treble and middle courses, and metal-wound strings, of fine wire wound on a nylon floss. On the bass side. If in doubt contact one of the lute teachers or lute makers for advice.

Online general advice and discussion

On Martin Shepherd’s site: www.luteshop.co.uk/Strings.html
Historical lute stringing has been debated at length in Fomrhi Quarterly, fomrhi.org/pages/communications; several of the Lute String Manufacturers sites below have helpful discussions of historical stringing.
David van Ooijen's page, Gut stings, a work in progress: home.kpn.nl/ooije006/david/writings/gut2_p.html
Films of gut string making can be found on Youtube.

Online string calculators

And online lute string calculator can be found at Lute string calculators can be found on the websites of
Arto Wikla, www.cs.helsinki.fi/u/wikla/mus/Calcs/wwwscalc.html
Paul Beier, www.musico.it/lute_software/bsfc/index.html
Hendrik Hassenfuss, MSC online string calculator: calc.lauten.com/calc/strcal.htm
Oliver Wadsworth www.wadsworth-lutes.co.uk/software.htm
Benjamin Stehr string and fret calculator: calc.lauten.com/calc/faq.html
Wayne Cripps string calculator www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~wbc/string/string.html

LUTE STRING DEALERS

Most lute string dealers also have online calculators – or you can simply contact them directly for advice of course.

Cuerdas Pulsadas: www.lutestrings.com or www.cuerdaspulsadas.es/
Matthias Wagner’s Music Strings online shop: music-strings.de/index.php?s=3&lang=eng
Wolfgang Fruh, Le Point d’accroche: lepointdaccroche.com/
The Early Music Shop: www.earlymusicshop.com/Browse.aspx/en-GB/store24_arrangement166/1/
Bridgewood and Neitzert: www.londonviolins.com/Accessories/accessories.html
Martin Haycock: www.martinhaycock.co.uk/
Martin Shepherd: www.luteshop.co.uk/Other_services.html
Ars Antiqva: www.ars-antiqva.com/contents/es/d5_cuerdas-instrumentos-musicales.html
Olav Chris Henriksen: e:

LUTE STRING MANUFACTURERS

Most of these will supply directly to customers if you know what you want and choose not to go through a dealer or retail stockist:

Aquila Corde: www.aquilacorde.com/
Baldock (Kathedrale and Antiquus strings): www.baldock.de/
Damian Dlugolecki: www.damianstrings.com/
Gamut Strings: gamutmusic.squarespace.com/
Kuerschner: www.kuerschner-saiten.de/
La Bella: www.labella.com/category/products/early-instruments/lutes/
Northern Renaissance Instruments (NRI): www.nrinstruments.demon.co.uk/
George Stoppani, Real Guts Company: www.stoppani.co.uk/Real_Gut_Strings.htm
Savarez: www.savarez.fr/anglais/instanci-pince.html
Pyramid: www.pyramidstrings.com/st-history.html

LUTE FRETS

These can be made of nylon, but more generally of gut, tied around the neck of the lute, they can be single or double; lute string suppliers and dealers will generally supply material for frets too. The gauge required will relate to the height of the nut and of the bridge, and other dimensions of the instrument. Ideally lutes should be supplied with a schedule of fret and string gauges which you should keep in the case, or in a safe place. If in doubt, lute makers should be able to advise.
For advice on tying on frets,and setting the frets to produce specific temperaments, see Frequently asked questions page

LUTE CASES

Kingham MTM Cases, UK: kingham.merion.co.uk/
Pierre Rousseau, Paris: valipier.perso.neuf.fr/index.html
Viktor Vorko, Paris: www.victorvorko.fr/
Alan Stevenson, UK: www.stevensoncases.co.uk/othercases.htm
RCH Cases, Italy: www.rchcases.it/pricelist.htm
Orlando Lutes, UK: www.orlando-lutes.com/pages/cases
Rouillard Cases, (aluminium flight cases): www.rouillardcases.com/
Estuches Manzano, Spain: www.facebook.com/pages/Estuches-a-medida-para-instrumentos-musicales/783324178346179 email:
Colorado Case Company, US, will make bespoke cases: www.coloradocase.com/
Bag Luther, Spain, soft cases:
Gizeta, bespoke cases: www.gizetaproduzioni.com/custodie-per-strumenti-musicali.html

The Lute Society publishes a CD ROM, ‘Make your own lightweight lute case’ by David van Edwards, not as sturdy as a professionally made bespoke case, but acceptable for casual everyday use, at: www.lutesociety.org/pages/catalogue#m

Essay on a do-it-yourself lute case by Donna Curry: www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~lsa/publications/Curry/CurryCases.pdf

LUTE STRAPS

Historical images of lute straps can be found on David van Edwards' site www.vanedwards.co.uk/straps.htm and on EB Straps site: ebstraps.com/straps-through-paintings/
Lute Duo clip on use of a lute strap: youtu.be/C03fsBh5IUg
EB Straps: ebstraps.com/
Dieter Schossig: www.schossig-lautenbau.de/zubehoer2.html
Sylvie Simon: e:
Jose Antonio Ahumada, www.bandoulieres.com

LUTE PEGS

Lute pegs with concealed internal gearing, from Pegheds: www.pegheds.com/

TABLATURE PAPER

At the Lute Society website: www.lutesoc.co.uk/pages/blank-tab-manuscript

TUNING METERS

Violab Pitchman: www.srinstruments.com/sort/violab.php
Peterson VSAM II virtual strobe tuner: www.petersontuners.com/
Korg: www.korg.com/us/products/tuners/
Seiko: electronics.seiko.co.uk/index.php/metronomesandtuners/tuners.html

There are now applications and software turn your computer or hand-held device into a tuning meter:

Chromatia tuner software, download to your computer to use it as a tuning meter: www.fmjsoft.com/chromatia.html#main

LUTE BUILDING SUPPLIES: tonewoods, glue, etc

A search for 'tonewood suppliers' with a normal search engine gives a good list of options.

United Kingdom

David van Edwards's suggested list of tonewood and other lutherie materials suppliers: www.vanedwards.co.uk/suppliers.htm

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