Seven-course Maple lute after Frei by Clive Titmuss, 2020

Seven-course Maple lute after Frei by Clive Titmuss, 2020

String length 615 mm.  Quilted maple back with dark fillets, Engelmann Spruce belly with Fussen gothic rose.  Rosewood binding, fingerboard pegbox trim and veneered neck.  Plum pegs, buttons and pegbox.  Elder-wood bridge with ebony veneer.  Gaboon Ebony nut.  Comes with a lined, heavy-duty case with locking hardware.

Luthier’s Notes:  This lute is not a typical six-course with an added string, but seems designed by Frei for seven courses. In the last quarter of the 1500’s, Mannerist elongation became common in art, and the design of lutes followed these trends.  The basic soundness and adaptability attracted 18th century re-builders, and these lutes were later converted into multi-course instruments, as we now see them. I added a further 15 mm to the string length to increase the bass response. It may be played up to a semitone above or a tone below A 415.  It would suit a player who want an instrument that supports some of the most serious and reflective music of the Elizabethan and Tudor composers.

Building up the pegbox and pegs from the same material (plum) makes it more weather-stable. Tuning is much easier with the use of a peg wrench.  The included wrench is custom made, turned from spalted holly, lined with buckskin and fits each peg perfectly.

A sandpaperless texture and minimal finish, with modern, ultra-stable carbon-fibre stringing completes the lute. The plum and spruce, yew and maple are Canadian woods. The Rosewood is from India, and the nuts are made from the sharps of an 18th C. square piano. These instruments are robustly built, and overall my lutes have an earthy quality that I feel is in keeping with the early makers—visible knife marks on carved portions, such as the bridge, and no varnish.

Of the two lutes, the maple lute has a sweeter sound, while the yew is drier and more penetrating. The yew lute has a slightly higher action, just above 4 mm at the body joint. One of the plusses with Englemann is the maturity of sound even when the instrument is new.  Ground shipping in the Continental US is around $150-200 US, takes 5-7 business days. International shipping available, about 12 kg when packed.

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All instruments built by Clive Titmuss come with custom-fitted cases.
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