The Bluesbox Collection

19th Century German Lute-Guitar (Gitarren)

I bought this instrument on eBay from a woman in Germany. Although it looks like a lute, it is, in fact, a lute-shaped guitar. Here is a close-up of the face. It has a solid spruce top, with celluloid binding. The decorative rosette is of my own design. I manufactured the "star shaped" outer portion using two different kinds of wood veneer (mozambique and stained maple), pinstriping tape and gold leaf rub down appliques, then sprayed the whole construct with 3 coats of lacquer. The central "celtic knot" rossette was purchased from Lark in the Morning's on line musical accesories store (it is available as an add-on to a lute kit). The staves that make up the bowl-shaped back are solid, flamed maple. The lute-guitar is extremely light weight and has a very mellow, classical guitar sound.

I have no information about the maker or the exact date of this instrument, but I am pretty sure that it was made in Germany and is well over 100 years old. There are a few clues, like this ornate "mustache" bridge, the hand carving on body and the front and back of the peg head (the wire loop was put on by me to make it easier to hang the guitar on a wall) and the real ivory fret markers, and ivory frets that extend onto the body all point to "old-world" craftsmanship.

According to my research, the lute guitar is an example of the evolution of musical instruments. It is a direct result of the transformation of the lute to the guitar at the end of the 18th century. It looks like a lute, except for the pegbox which is not bent back, and is strung and tuned like a guitar.

Elsewhere in this collection is a guitar which I decorated to replicate a baroque era instrument to use as part of my Rennaissance Faire costume. This instrument now replaces that one.

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