Strings for Renaissance and Baroque Lute

String Gauge Converter

THE LUTE AND ITS GUT SETUP: OUR POINT OF VIEW (with the equivalent realized in synthetic material )

Our philosophy concerning gut stringings (but also their synthetic equivalents) for the lute family and 5 coursees guitars is simple: to reproduce, as far as possible, the typical sounds of historic instruments as they were in use.

This task has obviously its limitations, set both by our limited knowledge of ancient stringmaking technologies and by the fact that the lute (taking the 6 coursees as starting point) went through very different fashions and developments all along its long history.

Sill, within those limitations, research in the field of historic stringmaking made some important progress in recent years and, although we cannot claim we know exactly what the sound of the dolce strumento was like (a speculative point rather than a concrete one, anyway, since there must have been different opinions among lutenists in the past, too), we can fairly confidently define the acoustical region, common to all lutes, which was imposed by the stringmaking technologies of the past.

First of all, let us rule out the materials whose sound definitely cannot match the characteristic sound qualities of the lute:

  1. PVDF -Fluorocarbon (just called ‘Carbon’ from musicians) strings: much too bright in comparison with any type of gut string.
  2. Nylon: produces a somewhat duller and darker sound than gut.
  3. Nylgut: thin strings sound very close to gut, but does not quite compare by increasing diameters.
  4. Wound on Nylon multifilament: almost all the strings of this type are much too bright and possess too much sustain – the opposite of what revealed by research on 18th century wound strings, which were fundamental-heavy and needed octaves for brightness, and had limited sustain.

And then let’s consider some other parameters pertaining to the sound of the lute:

  1. Working string tension: today’s criteria, when working out lute stringings, rarely follow the idea of feel of equal stiffness on every coursees, like advocated by the ancients. The modern rule is, in general, to calculate the string diameters by applying the same tension, expressed in kilograms, to each string (this criterion is first described by Maugine & Maigne ‘Nouveau manuel complet du luthier’ in Paris, 1869) and completely ignores the variability of some typical factors, such as the different amount of reduction of the string diameters under working tension and how different strings of different manufacture and/or length feel under the fingers.
  2. Octave strings: the modern tendency is to apply a noticeably lower tension than on their respective fundamental strings (Virdung, 1511 seem to suggest that the diameter of the octave string should be half that of its fundamental).
  3. Trebles: when single strung, modern tendency is to apply too low a tension, giving an unbalanced feeling between the treble and the other coursees.
  4. Stringing criteria: the principle of grouping the strings into three well defined Sorts (like advocated in the old treatises, in Trebles, Meanes and Basses) is usually ignored. Thus, we often see strings of one Sort invading the field of another, thus altering the timbric and dynamic balance of the instrument (wound strings on the 4th coursees, wound long diapasons &c).

In conclusion: the acoustical qualities of today’s lutes are, in general, remarkably brighter and have more sustain in the bass and, because of the wound strings, also in the mid-register, thus failing to achieve the timbric and dynamic homogeneity we believe was typical of the past.

At the top end, trebles can be much brighter (PVDF or so called‘Carbon’) or duller (Nylon) than gut. We have created a new sound that doesn’t have very much in common with that of the past.
No criticism at all on this choice: the lute can well be played like this, too.

MP

Because of the wide variety of instruments in the Lute family, it is not possible for us to indicate standard diameters that will certainly suit your instrument. However, we would like to point out some settings that will probably work well if the instrument fits into the specified vibrating length and pitch indicated.

If you would like a specific suggestion, you can contact us by indicating:

  • Type of instrument and vibrating length or lengths
  • Intonation of the first string and reference pitch (for example: G 415 Hz)
  • Working Tension
  • Unison or octave disposition of courses.
  • Type of strings required (NNG, CD, D, etc.)

Notice: If you wish to use as bass strings Venice-type strings go here

Renaissance Lute

Vibrating length 60 ÷ 63 cm
Reference Pitch: 440 Hz
We offer both synthetic strings (type NNG) and gut strings (type HL).

1° Course

This course uses a single string, but we recommend an additional spare treble.

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
42NNG42NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.42 mm110 cm3.30 + VAT
42HL42HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.42 mm90 cm4.60 + VAT

2° Course

Recommended quantity: 2pcs

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
50NNG50NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.50 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
50HL50HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.50 mm120 cm5.00 + VAT

3° Course

Recommended quantity: 2pcs

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
64NNG64NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.64 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
64HL64HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.64 mm120 cm7.70 + VAT

4° Course

The fourth course can be:
Unison: 2 strings 79NNG
In octave:  46NNG + 79NNG

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
46NNG46NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.46 mm110 cm3.30 + VAT
79NNG79NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.79 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
46HL46HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.46 mm90 cm5.00 + VAT
79HL79HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.79 mm120 cm9.20 + VAT

5° Course

The fifth course can be:
Unison: 2 strings 100NNG
In octave:  54NNG + 100NNG or 54NNG + 100CD

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
54NNG54NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.54 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
100NNG100NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string1.00 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
54HL54HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.54 mm120 cm5.90 + VAT
100HL100HL - Oiled smooth gut string1.00 mm120 cm11.60 + VAT
100CD100CD - Loaded synthetic bass string1.00 mm120 cm7.50 + VAT

6° Course

The sixth course can be:
In octave: 73NNG + 140CD or 73NNG + 140D

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
73NNG73NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.73 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
140D140D - Wound string for lute1.40 mm equivalent gut105 cm3.20 + VAT
73HL73HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.73 mm120 cm7.70 + VAT
140CD140CD - Loaded synthetic bass string1.40 mm120 cm8.30 + VAT

7° Course

The seventh course can be:
In octave:  82NNG + 160CD or 82NNG + 160D

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
82NNG82NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.82 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
160D160D - Wound string for lute1.60 mm equivalent gut105 cm3.70 + VAT
82HL82HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.82 mm120 cm9.20 + VAT
160CD160CD - Loaded synthetic bass string1.60 mm120 cm8.30 + VAT

8° Course

The eighth course can be:
In octave:  88NNG + 175CD or 88NNG + 175D

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
88NNG88NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.88 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
175D175D - Wound string for lute1.75 mm equivalent gut105 cm3.70 + VAT
88HL88HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.88 mm120 cm9.20 + VAT
175CD175CD - Loaded synthetic bass string1.75 mm120 cm8.30 + VAT

9° Course

The ninth course can be:
In octave:  94NNG + 185CD or 94NNG + 185D

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
94NNG94NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.94 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
185D185D - Wound string for lute1.85 mm equivalent gut105 cm3.70 + VAT
94HL94HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.94 mm120 cm11.60 + VAT
185CD185CD - Loaded synthetic bass string1.85 mm120 cm8.90 + VAT

10° Course

The tenth course can be:
In octave:  104NNG + 200CD or 104NNG + 200D

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
104NNG104NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string1.04 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
200D200D - Wound string for lute2.00 mm equivalent gut105 cm3.40 + VAT
104HL104HL - Oiled smooth gut string1.04 mm120 cm11.60 + VAT
200CD200CD - Loaded synthetic bass string2.00 mm120 cm8.90 + VAT

11 and 13 course Baroque Lute without extended neck

Vibrating length 69 ÷ 73 cm
Reference Pitch: 415 Hz
We offer both synthetic strings (type NNG) and gut strings (type HL).

1° Course

This course uses a single string, but we recommend an additional spare treble.

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
42NNG42NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.42 mm110 cm3.30 + VAT
42HL42HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.42 mm90 cm4.60 + VAT

2° Course

This course uses a single string, consider whether to order an additional spare string.

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
52NNG52NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.52 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
52HL52HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.52 mm120 cm5.00 + VAT

3° Course

Recommended quantity: 2pcs

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
60NNG60NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.60 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
60HL60HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.60 mm120 cm6.20 + VAT

4° Course

Recommended quantity: 2pcs

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
73NNG73NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.73 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
73HL73HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.73 mm120 cm7.70 + VAT

5° Course

Recommended quantity: 2pcs

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
85NNG85NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.85 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
85HL85HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.85 mm120 cm9.20 + VAT

6° Course

The sixth course can be:
In octave: 56NNG + 120CD or 56NNG + 120D

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
56NNG56NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.56 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
120D120D - Wound string for lute1.20 mm equivalent gut105 cm3.20 + VAT
56HL56HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.56 mm120 cm5.90 + VAT
120CD120CD - Loaded synthetic bass string1.20 mm120 cm7.80 + VAT

7° Course

The seventh course can be:
In octave: 62NNG + 135CD or 62NNG + 132D

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
62NNG62NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.62 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
132D132D - Wound string for lute1.32 mm equivalent gut105 cm3.20 + VAT
62HL62HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.62 mm120 cm6.20 + VAT
135CD135CD - Loaded synthetic bass string1.35 mm120 cm7.80 + VAT

8° Course

The eighth course can be:
In octave: 68NNG + 150CD or 68NNG + 150D

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
68NNG68NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.68 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
150D150D - Wound string for lute1.5 mm equivalent gut105 cm3.20 + VAT
68HL68HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.68 mm120 cm7.70 + VAT
150CD150CD - Loaded synthetic bass string1.50 mm120 cm8.30 + VAT

9° Course

The ninth course can be:
In octave: 76NNG + 170CD or 76NNG + 170D

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
76NNG76NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.76 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
170D170D - Wound string for lute1.70 mm equivalent gut105 cm3.70 + VAT
76HL76HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.76 mm120 cm9.20 + VAT
170CD170CD - Loaded synthetic bass string1.70 mm120 cm8.30 + VAT

10° Course

The tenth course can be:
In octave:  82NNG + 180CD or 82NNG + 180D

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
82NNG82NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.82 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
180D180D - Wound string for lute1.80 mm equivalent gut105 cm3.70 + VAT
82HL82HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.82 mm120 cm9.20 + VAT
180CD180CD - Loaded synthetic bass string1.80 mm120 cm8.30 + VAT

11° Course

The eleventh course can be:
In octave: 91NNG + 200CD or 91NNG + 200D

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
91NNG91NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.91 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
200D200D - Wound string for lute2.00 mm equivalent gut105 cm3.40 + VAT
91HL91HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.91 mm120 cm11.60 + VAT
200CD200CD - Loaded synthetic bass string2.00 mm120 cm8.90 + VAT

12° Course

The twelfth course can be:
In octave: 94NNG + 200CD or 94NNG + 200D

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
94NNG94NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.94 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
200D200D - Wound string for lute2.00 mm equivalent gut105 cm3.40 + VAT
94HL94HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.94 mm120 cm11.60 + VAT
200CD200CD - Loaded synthetic bass string2.00 mm120 cm8.90 + VAT

13° Course

The thirteenth course can be:
In octave:  100NNG + 210CD or 100NNG + 210D

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
100NNG100NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string1.00 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
100HL100HL - Oiled smooth gut string1.00 mm120 cm11.60 + VAT
210D210D - Wound string for lute2.10 mm equivalent gut105 cm3.40 + VAT
210CD210CD - Loaded synthetic bass string2.10 mm120 cm8.90 + VAT

Baroque Lute - extended neck for basses

Vibrating length: 95 ÷ 105 cm
Reference Pitch: 415 Hz
We offer both synthetic strings (type NNG) and gut strings (type HL).

9° Course

The ninth course can be:
In octave:  58NNG + 120CD or 58NNG + 120D120

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
58HL58HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.58 mm120 cm5.90 + VAT
120D120120D120 - Wound string for lute1.20 mm equivalent gut120 cm3.90 + VAT
58NNG58NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.58 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
120CD120CD - Loaded synthetic bass string1.20 mm120 cm7.80 + VAT

10° Course

The tenth course can be:
In octave:  62NNG + 135CD or 22NNG + 132D120

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
62HL62HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.62 mm120 cm6.20 + VAT
132D120132D120 - Wound string for lute1.32 mm equivalent gut120 cm3.90 + VAT
62NNG62NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.62 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
135CD135CD - Loaded synthetic bass string1.35 mm120 cm7.80 + VAT

11° Course

The eleventh course can be:
In octave:  68NNG + 150CD or 68NNG + 150D120

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
68HL68HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.68 mm120 cm7.70 + VAT
150D120150D120 - Wound string for lute1.5 mm equivalent gut120 cm3.90 + VAT
68NNG68NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.68 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
150CD150CD - Loaded synthetic bass string1.50 mm120 cm8.30 + VAT

12° Course

The twelfth course can be:
In octave:  76NNG + 165CD or 76NNG + 165D120

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
76HL76HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.76 mm120 cm9.20 + VAT
165D120165D120 - Wound string for lute1.65 mm equivalent gut120 cm4.50 + VAT
76NNG76NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.76 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
165CD165CD - Loaded synthetic bass string1.65 mm120 cm8.30 + VAT

13° Course

The thirteenth course can be:
In octave:  82NNG + 175CD or 82NNG + 175D120

SKUNameGaugeLengthPriceBuy
82HL82HL - Oiled smooth gut string0.82 mm120 cm9.20 + VAT
175D120175D120 - Wound string for lute1.75 mm equivalent gut120 cm4.50 + VAT
82NNG82NNG - New Nylgut® synthetic string0.82 mm120 cm3.30 + VAT
175CD175CD - Loaded synthetic bass string1.75 mm120 cm8.30 + VAT