Because there is such a variety of different types of lute, strings are sold in individual sizes and materials, rather than in ready-made sets.
This schedule gives suggested stringing for an 8 course G lute at A440 hz (modern pitch) with a string length of around 59cm, of the type sold by the Early Music Shop. Diameters of plain nylon and carbon strings are in millimetres.
- 1st course g': 1 x 0.450 nylon
- 2nd course d': 2 x 0.525 nylon
- 3rd course a: 2 x 0.520 fluorocarbon
- 4th course f: 2 x Pyramid 906
- 5th course c: 2 x Pyramid 10095
- 6th course G: 2 x Pyramid 1016 for unison tuning, or 1 x Pyramid 1016 bass and 1 x 0.570 fluorocarbon octave
- 7th course F: 1 x Pyramid 1020 bass, 1 x Pyramid 905 octave
- 8th course D: 1 x Pyramid 1026 bass, 1 x Pyramid 9075 octave
For a 7 course lute use the same strings for courses 1 - 6, and select either F or D for the 7th course. D is usually preferred.
Luthiers and string manufacturers will happily advise on stringing schedules for lutes of different string length or at different pitches.
Pyramid, www.pyramid-saiten.de, is a commercial brand suggested here because these strings seem to the compiler of this schedule to work well with many EMS lutes; other well-known string makers include
Further (often extensive) information can be found on these websites.
Strings may be ordered directly from manufacturers or from luthiers. The following makers, listed in the register of makers on the Lute Society website, at www.lutesoc.co.uk, regularly supply strings: Bridgewood and Neitzert, Stephen Gottlieb, Martin Haycock, Martin Shepherd, Daniel Larson (USA), Ars Antiqua, (Spain) Wolfgang Fruh (France), John Stickney (USA) Olav Chris Henriksen (USA). Other lute string manufacturers and suppliers should contact us if they wish to be added to these lists. Inclusion here does not necessarily imply endorsement by The Lute Society.
This schedule is intended as a starting point. More experienced players experiment with other options, such as carbon strings on the fourth and fifth courses; gut stringing, and 'loaded' or impregnated gut strings for the bottom courses.