Lute Advice

Hey Everyone,

To my complete and very joyful surprise, my wife and kids surprised me a few nights ago with the gift of a brand new instrument, an 8-course Renaissance lute. Since college, it has always been a dream of mine to play the lute. My question for all of you is: Where should I start? I am already somewhat familiar with the repertoire through the guitar, but I want to start off with correct lute technique, especially in the right hand. Lessons would be great, but that is just not a possibility right now. Is there a good book or series of videos anyone would recommend? A google search gives me a few things, but if any of you have walked this road from guitar to lute yourselves, I would really appreciate your advice.

25replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
    • martinTeam
    • LIVE
    • martin.3
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    Wow, that's fantastic, so happy for you!!! 🧙‍♂️ My first idea is to go to https://www.lutesociety.org/ or https://lutesocietyofamerica.org/ as there are a lot of resources already collected! Then - being the nerd that I am- I'd go for atraditional original manuscript like Robert Dowland's Varietie of Lute Lessons (1610) and see what the old masters were up do!

    Definitely keep us updated!!!

    Like 1
    • Martin Thanks, Martin. The Lute Society of America has a free 20-page lute beginners guide that seems very helpful. I'm not sure that I'll be quite up for deciphering something written in Elizabethan English, but maybe at some point once I figure out how to tune it, hold it, and pluck it!

      Like
    • Derek
    • Derek
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    You lucky person Eric that's fantastic. I've often toyed with the idea of buying one but I struggle to try to play all of the music I try to/want to play on the guitar. Keep us posted on your progress it might encourage me to take the plunge!

    Like 2
    • Derek Thanks Derek. It was so unexpected. I literally cried as I opened the box and saw what it was. I know I will struggle with finding time for both instruments. I just need to remind myself that it will take a while before I can play anything that sounds good, but many people are able to play more than one instrument. Still a bit overwhelming right now, though!

      Like 1
  • I just wanted to share some music on my new lute with the TB community. I promise not to abandon the guitar, but I'm having so much fun exploring this new world that I wanted to share a bit of my joy!

    Like 4
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips absolutely gorgeous!!! Thank you for sharing that with us! I hope that instrument will inspire you to many more videos! Here is the link to Robert Dowlands Variety of Lute Lessons which offers ideas on how to tune the instrument, some technical advice and a collection of beautiful pieces! I actually wrote an academic paper in musicology for my class on a comparison of different lute schools, I think Dowland's school was pretty thorough! 

      Like 1
    • Eric Phillips wow... amazing Eric!

      Like 1
    • Martin Thank you so much, Martin! You are a true gentleman and a scholar!

      Like 1
    • Blaise Laflamme Thanks, Blaise! I appreciate you listening. Do you think Koshkin Study #10 would sound good on the lute?

      Like 1
    • Eric Phillips haha... well... I think it would be even more challenging than on the guitar! 🤯

      Like 2
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Blaise Laflamme Eric Phillips Ta ta Ta ta Ta ta ta Ta ta ta Ta ta ta ta ...

      Like 2
    • Martin 😂... 4+3, 3+3+1, 4+3, 3+3+1... 😵🤯

      Like 1
      • Emmanull
      • Emma
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips beautiful Eric!!! It sounds beautiful 

      Like 1
    • Emma Thank you, Emma!

      Like
      • Derek
      • Derek
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips sounds great Eric. Looking forward to hearing some Dowland played on it

      Like 1
    • Derek Thanks, Derek!

      Like
    • Eric Phillips surprise! I found this just now. It’s so nice to hear!  Congratulations. What a wonderful present from your loved ones. Lucky you! And Valderrabano sounds great . 

      Like 1
    • joosje Thanks again, Joosje. I'm beginning to see that if I want to play the lute seriously, I'll probably have to take a bit of a break from guitar. If nothing else, I really do need to cut my nails off. I used to think the reason lutenists don't play with nails was just an issue of tone, but now I see it's also an issue of technique. The pairs of strings really make it imperative that the courses be struck entirely with the flesh, no nail at all.

      Like
      • David Krupka
      • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
      • David_Krupka
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips While it is true that proper lute technique is difficult to achieve with right hand nails, it is not the case that guitar technique requires them. That, at least, is the position I have come to. When I began with the lute, I shortened my nails, but didn't eliminate them altogether. Over the course of perhaps a year, I gradually reduced their length even further, until one day I realized it was time for the clippers! (Frankly, I don't miss the nuisance of looking after my nails!) I did at this point discontinue my classical guitar playing, although I strummed away at an old 'acoustic' from time to time. After a few years of playing mostly lute, my playing was interrupted altogether by injury. For various reasons, during a long (and ongoing) rehabilitation, I have found it far easier to manage a guitar than a lute. So these days I am mostly playing the former. But after a few years of playing 'thumb under', I have found it difficult to return to standard modern guitar technique. Instead, I employ a technique similar to the one recommended by Sor in his Method: pinky on the soundboard, no nails, and so on. Essentially lute technique! I do concentrate on 19th century repertoire, but for the most part I find my right hand manages adequately. (Fast i/m scale passages are a bit of a problem, but there aren't many of those in the repertoire I play!) Well, that's rather a long story, and I realize my own shaky playing is hardly an endorsement of this approach. But there are some very fine musicians who approach the guitar in a similar manner. If you haven't come across multi-instrumentalist Rob MacKillop, you should check out his channel on YouTube: 

      https://www.youtube.com/user/RobMacKillop

      Like
    • David Krupka
    • Amateur guitarist/lutenist
    • David_Krupka
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    Congratulations on acquiring your new 'toy', Eric! I started playing lute myself a few years back, and I've really enjoyed exploring areas of repertoire I never knew existed. Learning the proper right hand technique can be a real challenge, but luckily there are plenty of useful online resources for the autodidact. You should definitely check out Alex McCartney's online 'lute tutor' [https://www.lutetutor.com] Eduardo Eguez has recently produced a five hour video seriesi on renaissance lute technique. [https://educational.ensemble-la-chimera.com/course/renaissance-lute-technique] (A brief trailer can be views on Vimeo. [https://vimeo.com/538723886]) The Lute Society (the British one) has a lot of useful material on their website, including a beginner's series by Lynda Sayce that includes over forty short (but not really sequenced) 'lessons'. [https://www.lutesociety.org/pages/beginners] They also offer a reasonably priced package of eight volumes of student repertoire (only 50 GBP for members.) [https://www.lutesociety.org/pages/catalogue] Tree publications, a major publisher of lute music, has recently made its entire digitized catalogue of material available to the public, free of charge, in accordance with the wishes of the late founder, Albert Reyerman. This is an incredible resource. [https://www.lutesociety.org/pages/tree-edition-files] Finally, Sarge Gerbode (a retired American psychiatrist and lute enthusiast) curates a fantastic online collection of music for the lute with thousands of downloadable pdf files. [https://www.lutemusic.org] I hope you find some of this material useful - keep us posted on your progress!

    Like 2
    • David Krupka Wow, thanks David! I think there is enough there for a few lifetimes!

      Like 1
      • Mitch
      • Mitch.1
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      David Krupka Thank you for that.  
       

      Eric, it is beautiful. 

      Like 1
    • Mitch Thank you, Mitch. Now I need to get down to the business of learning how to play it!

      Like
  • That was great Eric Phillips . Beautiful instrument and piece. Can’t wait to see more 

    Like 1
    • Kevin Mudd Thanks, Kevin. I’m still in the “noodling” stage with it. Really learning it will be a true commitment.

      Like
Like Follow
  • 2 yrs agoLast active
  • 25Replies
  • 102Views
  • 9 Following

Home

View all topics