Stephen Barber & Sandi Harris, Lutemakers
Catalogue and Price List 2017
Thirteen course lutes
The majority of the following instruments are of the German Theorbo-lute type, with an elongated, 'swan-neck' type of pegbox, with eight stopped courses on the fingerboard and five diapason courses. Some players prefer the bent-back pegbox (knickhals) with bass rider, such as the Yale Schelle or the J.C. Hoffmann in the Brussels collection (a copy of which is available to special order). Either type of pegbox and stringing configuration can be ordered from the following list of models, with the exception of the 1734 Johannes Jauck model (No.6) which we only offer as a triple-pegbox lute.
Above: two thirteen-course baroque lutes made in July 2007; the one in the foreground has a stopped string length of 700mm, and a 15-rib back made from figured maple, which has been varnished with a tinted oil varnish; it is based upon instruments by Johannes Jauck, c. 1734. The instrument behind it is based upon the 1744 original by Sebastian Schelle, and its 11-rib back is made from rosewood, with holly spacers between the ribs; its stopped string length is 730mm. Some perspective distortion has been produced by the 3570mm Nikkor zoom lens used to shoot this image, as the bodies of the two lutes are in reality very similar in size.
Dalbergia (rosewood) species ban (USA only)
On 2nd January 2017, the United States government, acting in conjunction with CITES, introduced legislation which severely restricted the import into the US of newly-manufactured items made from or having any component parts made from any and all Dalbergia species timbers. Older or pre-existing items made from or containing rosewoods faced similar restrictions, and the legislation is likely to become tougher in the near future, with a wider scope; for example, an export permit is currently required to transport a classical guitar made from Brazilian rosewood across an international border.
The intended targets are dalbergia nigra / Brazilian Rosewood and dalbergia latifolia /Indian Rosewood, although other Dalbergia timbers which are in common use such as Kingwood (d.caerensis), African Blackwood (d. melanoxylon) and Tulipwood (d. frutescens) are included; but all lesser-known rosewoods of the dalbergia genus are included.
However, there is a solution: back in 2015, knowing the ban was imminent, for US customers we began using Santos Rosewood (machaerium scleroxylon) also known as Bolivian Rosewood, which is currently not on a CITES endangered or banned list; its tonal and physical qualities (density and elasticity and so on) are – in our experience – the equal of 'real' rosewoods, and visually – because there is such a variety of colour and pattern available in this timber – it's relatively easy to match its grain with the rosewoods.
In the following descriptions of available models, 'rosewood' should be taken to mean Santos Rosewood, machaerium scleroxylon.
Only some 13-course baroque lute models are affected by the ban; at the moment, ebony, snakewood and pernambuco (used for neck veneers, decorative veneers and details, tuning pegs) are okay. We offer all the models below in Temperate Zone and European hardwoods such as various ashes and maples, pear, plumwood, poplar, walnut and yew, all of which were used on the original lutes historically, and which are not banned.
Below is a 13c Schelle model made from Santos rosewood, chosen to resemble rio rosewood:
Tuning pegs made from pernambuco / Brazilwood (caesalpinia echinata / paubrasilia echinata).
We have, since the late 1970's, used pernambuco (known also by its original name of Brazilwood) for tuning pegs on some lutes. Pernambuco lumber is banned, but turned tuning pegs are exempt – they perforce comply with the legislation definition of 'manufactured'. This exemption embraces pegs, because they are machined and shaped, and thus fall within the definition of 'manufactured'.
Old pre-CITES material – which is what our stocks are, having been sold to us as old stock by W.E. Hill & Sons (Bond Street, London violin dealers and bow-makers; then Centuries-established, but now sadly defunct) in 1975 – is OK. The lute above is fitted with pernambuco pegs, which have bone pips.
Several of the instruments offered here (and on the Gallichon/mandora, colascione page) are copies of originals made by Sebastian Schelle, the distinguished Nürnberg lutemaker. We have made a special study of his surviving lutes, the first of which we measured and copied back in 1986; we have since measured all of the Schelle lutes which are known to exist.
The composite image above shows (top) the 13-course swan-necked baroque lute MI46 being measured in 1996 in the instrument restoration laboratory of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg, using our specially-developed machine. Its label is shown here, bearing the phrase Hummels Erben successor to Hummel (see text following No. 1 below).
The X-ray image above shows the bottom of the body of the Schelle lute seen in the colour image above this one; the ivory lines between its rosewood ribs are clearly seen here, along with the outline of the external capping-strip and the internal spruce strip which reinforces the rib joints inside. The image was taken by Klaus Martius, and we are very grateful to him for making it available; it's interesting that the rib resolutions are a little uneven, and that the ivory fillets do not fully extend the length of each rib joint. Schelle presumably saw no need for this, or used ivory which was not quite long enough.
Many older Bologna and Venetian lutes passed through the Schelle workshop in Nürnberg in the early eighteenth Century for repair and/or conversion, for example the famous Laux Maler lute MI54 (which was set-up as a 13-course swan-necked lute when it was acquired by the GNM).
Our fascination with and enthusiasm for the work of Sebastian Schelle received a flattering endorsement when the exhibition to launch the book Leopold Widhalm, und der Nürnberger Lauten-und Geigenbau im 18. Jahrhundert was being put together in late 1995: one of our copies of the MI46 Laux Maler lute (a 6-course version, made in Hungarian ash like the original) was selected as the example to represent in the exhibition the approach of modern-day lutemakers to responding to and copying old lutes; it was the only modern lute in the exhibition. A copy of the 1755 Widhalm 13-course (MIR903) which we had been working on was not, unfortunately, also available for inclusion in the exhibition, which ran from March 28th to June 30th 1996. at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg.
Thirteen-course baroque lute after Sebastian Schelle, 1744; birds-eye maple striped with plum; the rose design used here is from the 1726 Schelle lute in the Yale collection, New Haven, Boston. The original Yale Schelle is made from figured maple and plum (or Zwetschge, as it is known in Germany).
Our championing of these models has encouraged many modern players (and makers) to consider Schelle as an alternative to the ubiquitous (and rather deep-bodied, and therefore for many people uncomfortable to hold and play) Hoffmann models which most modern lutemakers starting off seem to offer.
We have for some time now been researching extant triple-pegbox baroque lutes by the Graz lutemaker (and contemporary of Sebastian Schelle) Johannes Jauck, and will be building a version of his 1734 13-course instrument - having measured and photographed in the KHM Vienna - during 2005. For further details, see No. 6 below.
We are grateful to our friend and colleague Klaus Martius of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg, for his researches into Schelle and Widhalm and the Nürnberg school.
1. After Sebastian Schelle, Nürnberg 1744 (Nürnberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum MI46)
11 ribs in rosewood with holly spacers; birds-eye maple; birds-eye maple / plum (see image above); birds-eye maple / rosewood; or flamed maple / rosewood; pegbox in maple, its front and rear surfaces veneered with ebony, with the sides stained black (the sides can also be veneered with snakewood, or in the same timber as the lute's back); ebony pegs with bone pips.
German swan-necked, theorbo-lute type.
(Also available with shorter fingerboard mensur, from 700mm - 730mm to accomodate players who prefer a shorter scale, and as a bassrider type).
£5600 (bass rider-type / £6200 swan-necked type)
This lute was made towards the end of Schelle's working life, possibly in collaboraton with his daughter Barbara Sybylle Schelle, and Leopold Widhalm (who she married), and it seems to be in original condition. The design of its inlaid fingerboard (ebony motifs set into an ivory ground) is identical to that of the Widhalm lute (MIR903, below) - but the latter is its 'inverse' - having ivory set into ebony; interestingly, distinctive veining marks noticeable in the ivory of both fingerboards (which line up when the two patterns are compared and superimposed) show that the ivory panels from both lutes were cut from the same sheet. This is illustrated by colour plates on pages 164 and 166 of Leopold Widhalm, und der Nürnberger Lauten-und Geigenbau im 18. Jahrhundert, 1996 by Klaus Martius (published by Verlag Erwin Bochinsky GmbH & Co KG, ISBN 3-923639-08-2).
The soundboards of both this Schelle and the Widhalm are haselfichte, a strikingly-figured variety of European spruce (picea abies) from the Bayerischer Wald. This particular type of spruce occurs on most of the surviving instruments from the Schelle workshop, and we have managed to obtain regular supplies of it from the same source, the Bayerischer Wald.
Ernst Gottlieb Baron, writing in Historisch, Theoretisch und Practische Untersuchung des Instruments der Lauten, 1727, tells us that Schelle's instruments are:
"of moderate size, built for almost everyone's hand, have a beautiful and accurate proportion in body and string arrangement, are shallow, wide-ribbed, oblong, and project the tone far into the distance".
elegant lute more than confirms this description.
The two versions shown above have, respectively, ribs in dark rio rosewood striped with flamed maple (top left), and a more dramatically-figured piece of Santos rosewood the ribs cut in exact sequence from the same block lower left.
The left-handed version of the 1744 Schelle lute shown above was made in July 2004; its back is Macassar ebony striped with rosewood, with an inlaid white panel line to the rear of the neck, and snakewood fingerboard points, half-edgings and pegbox cheeks.
Optional decoration available:
Swan-necked Schelle and Widhalm models are also available with the two rear panels of the upper pegbox carved and pierced, at £1200 extra. and an ebony fingerboard inlaid with three filigree panels of bone or mammoth ivory, at £1800 extra. Inlaid white lines to the rear of the lower neck (which follow the fillets between the ribs of ebony and rosewood-backed models) can also be ordered, at £200. A snakewood central fingerboard panel surrounded by a narrow inlaid white line, with ebony borders is £400.
For ilustration of these options, please refer to the images following the entry for No.2 below, the Widhalm swan-necked lute.
Above: a bassrider 13c Schelle MI46 model (No.1 above) with a pierced and carved pegbox rear panel (in pearwood), its design based on the rear panels of the Widhalm swan-neck lute.
For illustration of these options, please refer to the images following the entry for No.2 below, th
The pegs of the bass-rider version shown above were left the natural, rich terracotta colour of the plumwood at the player's request; this instrument has a back made of 11 consecutively-sawn Santos rosewood ribs, and the bridge veneer is ebony, inlaid with bone lines. The bridge 'points' are also bone, as are the strap buttons on the back and the pips of the pegs.
A fairly recent version of this lute, airfreighted in November 2008 to Tyler Hawkins, who lives in Hay River, NW Territories, Canada, was built with a carved & pierced pegbox rear, and a ' dolphin' treble rider as extra, specified decoration, requested by Tyler. Tyler had reserved a forthcoming version of this lute from the 'Instruments Available For Sale Now' page of our website, in late 2007, and requested extra decorative elements. The instrument having been airfreighted to Cochrane, near Calgary (where it was sent by us to his parents-in-law, using their FedEx account) Tyler drove down from Hay River to collect it; upon his return home, he sent us this message:
"Dear Sandi and Stephen, I've just returned home from my trip to Cochrane; when I arrived at Betty and Richard's place, they escorted me into the dining room. There on the dining room table was the beautiful black case containing my new lute. It is an exquisite and unique wooden jewel. Sandi and Stephen, congratulations! You've really outdone yourselves with this instrument. Everything is to spec as we discussed. We're all in awe. Thank you so very much. Your time and creative energy is greatly appreciated.
Kind Regards, Tyler".
Sebastian Schelle, Barbara Sybilla Schelle and Leopold Widhalm.
Sebastian Schelle (1676 - 1744) was born in Biberach an der Riß (south of Ulm) and initially worked as a journeyman sometime before 1712 in the Nürnberg workshop of the violin maker Matthias Hummel (fl. 1678-1715); it seems likely that in his turn, Hummel had learnt the Füssen approach to violin making from his father also called Matthias in Augsburg, before coming to Nürnberg to set up his workshop in 1678.
Schelle was effectively the last of the Nürnberg lute and violin makers (Lauten und Geigenmacher in Nürnberg, Hummels Erben, as the labels state). He had taken over the workshop of Hummel, as testified by the phrase Hummels Erben meaning heir and successor.
Leopold Widhalm (1722 - 1776) was both a contemporary and a competitor of Leonhard Maussiell (1685 - 1760). A Catholic, Widhalm arrived in Protestant Nürnberg in 1745 the year following the death of Schelle from the area near Vienna known as the "Niederösterreichisches Horn". At this point, following the death of her father, Schelle's workshop was being run by his eldest daughter Barbara Sybilla; Widhalm married her the following year, but he had to endure a prolonged legal battle with Maussiell, who vigorously opposed Widhalm's taking-over of the workshop. During the dispute, Maussiell had seized Schelle's timber stocks.
Following this extended hostility, based partly on religious opposition, Widhalm finally managed to re-open his workshop in the Nürnberg suburb of Gostenhof (in Hauptstraße) just outside the city walls, to the south and west. This workshop went on to become the largest Nürnberg violin-making workshop, and indeed founded the most important Nürnberg violin-making dynasty, in which his sons Martin Leopold (1747 - 1806), Gallus Ignatius (1752 - 1822) and Veit Anton (1756 - 1780) took over from him; a grandson, Johann Martin Leopold (1799 - 1855, son of Gallus Ignatius) also followed in his footsteps. This workshop always used the 'company' name Leopold Widhalm, and this makes it difficult to determine who made what. After 1760, Leopold Widhalm stamped the instruments with LW, sometimes in combination with a German eagle between the two letters (the lute described below from 1755 by Widhalm does not carry such a brand). Leopold and Barbara Sybilla Widhalm worked alone in the workshop until c. 1765, and all of the instruments up to this date are characterised by perfect workmanship - the legacy of Sebastian Schelle thus continued. Barbara Sybilla died in 1781, and their youngest son Veit Anton moved to Regensburg, leaving his older brothers to take over the Nürnberg workshop of the Widhalms.
The instruments produced by the workshop founded by Schelle, and taken over by Widhalm, represented for over eighty years the pinnacle of lute and violin making in Nürnberg.
2. After Leopold Widhalm, Nürnberg 1755 (Nürnberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum MIR 903)
11 ribs in rosewood with holly spacers, birds-eye maple or figured
maple; ebony-veneered neck and fingerboard; pegbox in maple, stained
black; ebony pegs with bone pips. German Theorbo-lute type.
£5600 (bass rider-type / £6200 swan-necked type)
This instrument was restored in 1939 by Hans Jordan of Markneukirchen. Its inset rose is similar in some aspects of its design to that of another Schelle in Yale (below). Its proportions are similar to MI46 but with a deeper body. Leopold Widhalm married Schelle's eldest daughter Barbara Sybilla on the 14th of February 1746, and took over the workshop after Schelle's death. They subsequently fought for many years through the courts the wretched violin maker Maussiell for Schelle's timber stocks (referred to by Baron in his Historisch, Theoretisch und Practische Untersuchung des Instruments der Lauten of 1727) which he (Maussiell) had seized, before finally retrieving what Baron calls a " large stock of all sorts of rare, dry, and beautiful wood best suited for instruments."
It is thought that this instrument, although bearing the label of Leopold Widhalm, was probably actually started by Schelle, and completed after his death by Widhalm, probably working with his wife Barbara Sybilla Widhalm (n. Schelle); the fingerboard inlays of this lute and MI46 were cut from the same sheets of ebony and ivory. Contrary to a suggestion made on page 31 of the 1999 (Volume XXXII) of the Journal of the American Lute Society, this instrument is not a 'conversion' from anything else, it was clearly originally built in its present configuration. The same list includes the 1727 Paris Schelle CNSM E.633/C.218 (No. 5 below) as being a 'conversion'; we dispute this also, and for the same reason: a complete lack of evidence to support this assertion.
There are obvious similarities, both in design and decoration, between
this instrument and MI46.
The instrument shown above has a back from rosewood, and its pegbox is carved and pierced, following the design of that on the original Widhalm lute. Made for Taco Walstra, of Hilversum, in September 2005.
Optional decoration available:
Swan-necked Schelle and Widhalm models are also available with the two rear panels of the upper pegbox carved and pierced, at £1200 extra, and an ebony fingerboard inlaid with three filigree panels of bone or mammoth ivory, at £1800 extra. Inlaid white lines to the rear of the lower neck (which follow the fillets between the ribs of ebony and rosewood-backed models) can also be ordered, at £200. (see image below). A snakewood central fingerboard panel surrounded by a narrow inlaid white line, with ebony borders is £400.
The composite image above shows our interpretation of the carved panels of the Widhalm swan-necked lute (MIR 903)
Inlaid white lines to the rear of the lower neck (which follow the fillets between the ribs of ebony and rosewood-backed models see image above) can also be ordered, at £200. The pegs here are plumwood stained black.
3. After Sebastian Schelle, Nürnberg 1721 (Nürnberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum MIR 902)
11 ribs in Macassar ebony (as the original), black ebony or rosewood
with holly lines; ebony-veneered neck & fingerboard; ebony half-edging
to soundboard; ebony pegs with bone pips. German theorbo-lute type.
(£6200 swan-necked, as original; bass-rider version available at £5600)
This 'classic' Schelle swan-necked theorbo-lute has a rather 'dark' aspect visually, with its ebony back, neck and black-painted upper neck. It is one of the most elegant of the surviving Schelle lutes. Like many surviving lutes from this period in Germany, it has a delicate moulding decoratively added to it in this case, along the front edges of its pegbox, probably produced with a 'scratch-stock', a simple spokeshave type of moulding tool.
Also available as the original, with 10 white inlaid lines to the rear of the lower neck (which follow along the neck from the lines between the ribs)
A copy of the two inlaid arabesque panels - which the original has inlaid into the rear of its upper pegbox - is also available to special order, in mammoth ivory. On a recent trip to Nürnberg, we examined this instrument again (having first measured its back and photographed it in 1986) and it seemed to us that these two rear panels actually started off as one single, continuous panel from either an 11 or 13 course pegbox rear, which was simply cut in half and re-used on this lute's pegbox. Whatever its provenance, it seems likely that it was fitted during the instrument's playing life.
4. After Sebastian Schelle, Nürnberg 1726 (Yale University, Collection of Musical Instruments Nr. 260).
11 ribs in Santos rosewood striped with flamed maple (above), flamed maple / plum,
birds-eye / plum, and poplar / Santos rosewood; ebony-veneered neck & fingerboard;
ebony pegs with bone pips; bone edging to neck; black/white/black soundboard half-edging. Bass rider type.
This relatively small thirteen-course lute – probably intended for a player of smaller than average stature, or a child, who may have found the typical larger 13-course lutes with their longer string-lengths of 700mm and above uncomfortable and a challenge – has a very full voice, which will not disappoint the player who finds larger baroque lutes daunting. It is not alone in its proportions and size: the 1699 Andreas Berr lute survives as a 65cm 13-course lute (see No.7 below) its dimensions very similar to this 1726 Schelle – and the only other known Berr instrument is the usual in-excess-of-70cm size, and thus it seems the two makers, who were contemporaries – built for all sizes of player.
A beautiful example of Schelle's work, with many unique features, sadly it was indifferently restored in the 1970's, at which point it seems to have been polished to within an inch of its life; it nevertheless survives in apparently original condition, and has an interesting dolphin-shaped treble rider.
Our version shown here below with its larger sibling, the gorgeous MI46 of 1744:
The image above shows a version of the MI46 Schelle made using stylistic details taken from the 1726 instrument, including its distinctive striped back in plum and maple, and its beautiful rose design.
Schelle 'dolphin' treble rider
A copy of the 'dolphin' treble rider as shown below can be ordered as an extra, at £650.
This detail is also found on an instrument by Matteo Sellas, converted by the Schelle workshops in 1741, which is now in the collection of the Nationalmuseum, Budapest. This Sellas / Schelle lute also has a very elegant bass rider, similar to the Paris Schelle (No. 5, below) which we use as a model for bass rider versions of our Schelle lutes.
No, you're not seeing things, and this wasn't done in Photoshop either: the Schelle 'dolphin' treble rider shown here is on a left-handed 13-course we made in August 2004 to special order; the pegbox cheeks are veneered with snakewood, and the black-stained plumwood pegs have bone pips and finials (on the bass and treble riders).
Also available with carved & pierced leaf-trail design in pearwood to rear of pegbox as the original.
£POA: from £1400, depending upon the complexity and style of the design, and the material used (wood or mammoth ivory).
5. After Sebastian Schelle, Nürnberg 1727 (Paris, Cité de la Musique / CNSM E.633/C.218)
9 ribs in figured maple striped with figured walnut, or birds-eye maple
/ figured walnut; ebony-veneered neck, pegbox & fingerboard; ebony pegs
with bone pips; inset limewood rose, of floral design with tiny 'buds'
represented by bone pips (also available with rose cut into soundboard).
Bass rider type.
Ernst Gottlieb Baron, writing in 1721, refers to Schelle's large stock of " rare, dry and beautiful woods best suited for instruments ". This lute, in common with his other surviving instruments, confirms this statement, and demonstrates that Schelle was adventurous in his choice of materials, although he does not appear to have indulged in the sort of unrestrained decoration favoured by Joachim Tielke, for example, but rather relied upon the natural beauty of choice timbers and simple, elegant design.
instrument is also available with the dolphin-shaped treble rider, unique
to Schelle (see image above) which is available to special order
The instrument above has a back from figured walnut striped with figured maple, its maple pegbox cheeks colour-varnished to match the maple ribs.
We decided to place 5 little bone pips in the 5 holes in the rose design of the original - clearly there was something in these originally, but we do not know if bone, ivory, some sort of precious stone, coloured glass or even a contrasting timber was used; we chose these to echo the bone pips in the tuning pegs.
6. After Johannes Jauck, Graz 1734 (Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Gesselschaft der Musikfeinde 61, with due acknowledgment to the late Otto Biba, a true Feinde of instrument-makers)
ribs in figured maple, with a pale golden varnish; triple (white/black/white)
wooden fillets between the ribs and around the endclasp; single rose;
ebony-veneered neck & fingerboard; black-painted triple pegbox (ie,
the strings pass over three different nuts); pernambuco pegs with bone
£6200 (triple-pegbox, extended swan-neck type)
Having measured and photographed the original Jauck lute in Vienna in January 2004, we built two versions of it in 2007; one was an order, the other an 'on-spec' version, the latter is shown above. The 'on spec' version was sold from the 'For Sale' page of this website.
The lutenist who we built the ordered lute for, Rob Parisien, of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, sent us this email upon receiving his new instrument:
"YES!!! It is here! and I love it!
I am completely blown away by the construction and craftsmanship. What a work of art! Beautiful in every detail. You have easily surpassed my very high expectations. First of all, the lute plays very well, it is much easier to play than my current baroque lute. The action is perfect. I have tuned it up to 415 and it has the most beautiful delicate sound and overtones and that is only after the second day and the strings haven't yet settled down. If I push it I can make the long basses thunder I can feel it in my chest when I play. Exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much for making such a work of art. It is worth twice the price. Please take pride in the fact that you have made my life better by giving me such a work of art. Thank you for doing what you do. I am extremely grateful.
Sincerely, Rob Parisien".
This very interesting lute, one of the best-preserved of Jauck's known instruments, is clearly a 'player's lute'; it is without decoration, and seems to be in completely original condition. Jauck's violins are esteemed for their strikingly-executed scrolls, and his varnish is said to be similar to that of Matthias Alban, reddish in hue; interestingly, the varnish of this lute in Vienna is indeed a similar colour to that of the 1704 theorbo by Alban in the Nürnberg GNM collection (MIR908), but they are both a pale golden colour, which in no way could be described as 'red' ! It is not known if Jauck a Tyrolean originally, rather than one of the numerous lutemakers whose origins were in Füssen trained with or had any contact with Alban.
Its general body shape seems to have influences ranging from the KHM C34 Hans Frei (if it were fitted with 15 ribs rather than its original 11), the 1650 Koch chitarrone (which does have 15 ribs), the former KHM Magnus Tieffenbrucker AR969, and there are also echoes of the 1704 Alban theorbo mentioned above (GNM MIR908). Presumably like his contemporaries Schelle and Widhalm Jauck was aware of, and probably influenced by the earlier Bologna masters such as Frei and Maler, as indeed Koch and Alban perhaps were. In another apparent reference to earlier lutes, its beautifully-cut (single) rose is a version of the classic Tieffenbrucker 'knot', but with double 'tramlines' cut into its strands; it is erroneously described by Luttgendorf as having a triple rose, and many modern makers have built versions of this Vienna instrument and fitted it with a triple rose which in a sense is neither here nor there but the original does have a single rose.
The triple pegbox (one of our recent versions of it shown below) which distributes the 5 diapason courses between two nuts seems to have been a way of, on the one hand, producing a more even progression from the 8th to the 9th course (compared to the tonal 'jump' often produced by the more common swan-neck pegbox set-up) whilst simultaneously trying to avoid the twisting and distortion which the typical two-nut 'swan neck' pegbox can be prone to. Nicholas Baldock made strings specially for us for the first version of this very interesting instrument, taking into account these stepped diapasons. Variations of this style of pegbox exist on other instruments by and attributed to Jauck (active between 1719 and 1746), and on other lutes from this period.
Details of the very elegant triple pegbox of Jauck's design, here made from black-stained maple as the original, and fitted with plumwood pegs with bone pips.
Interestingly, the original instrument is fitted with fourteen frets there are 8 tied frets present (the 9th is missing, and looks to have been glued in place originally) and there are 5 fixed wooden frets, from 10-14. This very interesting lute has an 800mm stopped string length, but we have taken the liberty of scaling it down to allow easier playing of the more demanding repertoire, and to put it within reach literally of today's players; the very similar 1738 instrument by Johannes Jauck (in Budapest) has a body very close in size and proportion to his 1734 instrument, but with a fingerboard string length of 730mm, although is only 35mm shorter overall.
Detail photos taken during construction: these show the rose a version of the classic Tieffenbrucker knot, with double-incised 'tramlines' and the very pretty and elegant endclasp, with its typical late baroque detailing. The maple of the back of this example is very similar in grain to that of the original, and the triple wooden 'white-black-white lines (in holly / ebony / holly) between the ribs and around the edges of the endclasp.
7. After Andreas Berr, Vienna 1699 (Boston Museum of Fine Arts, USA; formerly Hever Castle)
11 ribs in rosewood, yew or birds-eye maple; ebony-veneered neck & fingerboard;
pegbox available with carved & pierced rear panel in black-stained pearwood
(original in ivory). Bass rider type.
This instrument, originally built as an eleven course, exists today as a bassrider thirteen-course; however, it works well in both configurations, and is a useful smaller model. The original instrument had a metal protective 'lace' around the edge of its soundboard (of the type known to have been often fitted to 17th Century lutes, but very rarely surviving today) of fine woven silver thread, at the time it was sold from the Hever collection; this unfortunately disappeared when it was restored in the early 1990's. Stephen was fortunately able to examine, measure and photograph the instrument in considerable detail when it was still in the UK, in an unrestored condition.
Please refer to the entry on Berr in the 11-course lutes section of this website for further information.
8. After Johann Christian Hoffmann, Leipzig 1725 (London, Horniman Museum)
9 ribs in figured maple or birds-eye maple with ebony spacers; ebony-veneered neck and fingerboard; pegbox carved from maple, stained black; ebony pegs. German theorbo-lute type.
length: 720mm (diapasons 980mm)
This lute recently came to light, having been hidden away in the reserve collection of the wonderful Horniman since the early 20th Century; it apparently was used as an artist's prop by a previous owner !
is very similar to the Martin Hoffmann (Nürnberg GNM MI245, enigmatically
dated 169. . .) and was probably built on the same mould; it is in apparently
9. After Johann Christian Hoffmann, Leipzig 1743 (Nürnberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum MIR904)
19 ribs in yew; ebony-veneered neck and fingerboard; pegbox carved in
maple, stained black; ebony pegs with bone pips. German Theorbo-lute
The back of this Hoffmann lute, like the identically-shaped example in Berlin (Nr.129), is a multi-ribbed shallow form, unlike most of the surviving instruments by this family, which tend to be deep and rather bulbous. Interestingly, the backs of neither the Nürnberg nor the Berlin instruments seem to have been as carefully-made as the more usual broad-ribbed lutes, and the ribs are not 'fluted' in the manner of earlier multi-ribbed lutes from Füssen, Padua and Venice.