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Lute Tuning

Gypsy 30 Jan 03 - 07:10 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 30 Jan 03 - 07:47 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 30 Jan 03 - 08:07 PM
Gypsy 30 Jan 03 - 11:49 PM
number 6 21 Sep 06 - 11:11 PM
jonm 22 Sep 06 - 03:37 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 22 Sep 06 - 07:16 AM
GUEST,Hope 10 Dec 09 - 04:48 AM
Jack Campin 10 Dec 09 - 09:39 AM
Dave the Gnome 10 Dec 09 - 01:26 PM
Stower 26 Jan 10 - 09:41 AM
GUEST,dave 29 Mar 10 - 03:57 PM
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Subject: Lute Tuning
From: Gypsy
Date: 30 Jan 03 - 07:10 PM

Well, lets try it this way. Have a friend enamoured of the handsome mando players 12 string, but wants to play at Ren Faire. Can you tune a Lute to a 12 String Guitar scale? Are the scale the same? Any ideas out there? Thanks all


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Subject: RE: Lute Tuning
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 30 Jan 03 - 07:47 PM

The Renaissance lute (which I used to play, badly) has a "G" tonality, but the tuning intervals are very similar to a guitar, with one exception: the G string is a semi-tone lower. So, using the standard "E" guitar tuning and beginning with the high treble E string and working down in pitch, lute tuning would be the equivalent to: E B F# (instead of G) D A E. On a seven-course lute (remember the highest string will usually be single, not doubled) that's: G D A F C G; and if you have an eight-course lute the next string down (if memory serves) is low D. (Baroque lutes are a different kettle of fish.)

There is a lot of lute music written in tablature, which is quite easy to read and is merely a fingering diagram so it requires no great knowledge of music theory. I mention this because it sounds GREAT on a steel-string acoustic guitar - to my ear the lower pitch and the metal ring of the strings is very exciting; and if you want lute-pitch, just capo to the 3rd fret - though what pitch "G" sounded at in those times is anybody's guess. So, tell your friend to go for it!


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Subject: RE: Lute Tuning
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 30 Jan 03 - 08:07 PM

Ooops, boo-boo: The above should read "on a SIX-course lute..." (not seven) and then "if you have a seven-course lute..." (not eight), though eight-course Renaissance lutes were very common.

It may say 7:47 in the header, but where I am (Ireland) it's the small hours of the morning. That's what I get for reading Mudcat when I ought to go to bed, like a normal person...


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Subject: RE: Lute Tuning
From: Gypsy
Date: 30 Jan 03 - 11:49 PM

Thanks ever so much! sent it on to him.


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Subject: RE: Lute Tuning
From: number 6
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 11:11 PM

Still .... I think they must be a bitch to tune.

Any more thoughts and experiences out there?

sIx


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Subject: RE: Lute Tuning
From: jonm
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 03:37 AM

Personally, I play a bit of lute music on six-string guitar. Adds a little sparkle compared to nylon strings and where a lot of lute music has open strings to give harp-like drones, these sound nicely like a brass-strung harp on guitar. Tuned EADF#BE, capo 3 gets you to lute tuning.

On 12 string? I would LOVE a unison-strung 12-string guitar, but I cannot get on with octave stringing on a 12 for anything other than chordal work, hence I prefer octave mandola to bouzouki.

Was the original question whether it's possible to play a lute like a guitar? That would give you a guitar which is playable at Ren faires. The answer is yes, however...

Standard 6-course lute tuning would be GCFADG, according to my book, and this could easily be retuned to GCFBbDG, i.e. standard guitar capo 3. You then just need to remember to modulate the key so if the song/tune is in G, you play the accompaniment in E and so on. Tuning down three semitones would give a sound like a shoebox with rubber bands on it, not enough tension.

There are also a number of travel guitars out there with odd-shaped bodies, some of which are not dissimilar to mediaeval instruments, which you could probably get away with from a distance. I've always fancied having a nylon-strung six-string made on a lute body for this purpose.

Hope this is what you wanted.


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Subject: RE: Lute Tuning
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 07:16 AM

For *much* more information read Matthew Spring's book "The Lute in Britain".

A bit more detail here: http://www.liuto.com/liuto.php?lang=English

The only reason I can think of for tuning a lute like a guitar would be if you were deliberately trying to persuade your listeners that lute music was boring and pointless. There's a guy who used to busk in Edinburgh High Street in a commedia dell'arte costume. He mimed playing a lute while playing recorded Spanish guitar music through a portable PA hidden under a rug. He probably fooled most passers-by, and it seems Renaissance Faires have a clientele which is on average even stupider.


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Subject: Mandolin/Lute
From: GUEST,Hope
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 04:48 AM

I have an antique Mandolin/Lute with the round gourd back. It has 12 strings and belonged to an aunt that was born i n1893.
I have searched the web but, cannot come up with a picture of it.
Does anyone know the value of it or where I could find out about it.
Thanks
Hope


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Subject: RE: Lute Tuning
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 09:39 AM

Better you post a picture of the instrument so we can see what it is.

Mandolins and lutes are totally different - a lute is twice the size of a mandolin, played in a different way and for different kinds of music. An instrument of the period you're talking about and with twelve strings is most likely to be a triple-course mandolin (four sets of three closely spaced wire strings), but we'd need more information to know.

You're in the wrong place for a monetary estimate, but if you want to know how to play it there'll be somebody here who plays something similar, whatever it turns out to be.


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Subject: RE: Lute Tuning
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 01:26 PM

Lute Tuning? Sounds like either a village in Oxfordshire or a 1930's country star.

:D (eG)


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Subject: RE: Lute Tuning
From: Stower
Date: 26 Jan 10 - 09:41 AM

I am a lute player. While the 'standard' lute nowadays is g' pitch, in the Renaissance there was a huge variety of lute sizes and therefore relative pitches.

Gypsy, if your friend is going to play lute music on a 12 string guitar, I would have thought the tension of courses on the guitar is going to make playing the fast runs on a lute pretty damn difficult. The tension on steel guitar strings is far greater than on gut lute strings. The 'thumb under' or 'thumb inside' right hand technique employed by lutenists enables great speed, but would not be possible on a 12 string guitar without some finger shredding and a subsequent trip to the hospital! Also, 12 strings guitar tend to quite 'clangy' whereas the lute has a sweet sound, so the 12 string guitar may jar tonally. So I'd suggest a 6 string guitar would be a better bet for those reasons.


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Subject: RE: Lute Tuning
From: GUEST,dave
Date: 29 Mar 10 - 03:57 PM

i have just purchased a 10string lute. i want to learn how to play it. but what would be the standard tuning for it?


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