minstrel: Hmmmmmmm--a period looking guitar?

John LaTorre jlatorre at midtown.net
Mon Mar 13 11:25:13 PST 2000

Siandra Hoepfner wrote:

>   So what kind of guitar (or guitar-esque
> instrument) would you suggest for a Lady who wants to
> have great fun and continue learning in a challenging
> SCA environment?

Well, I played Musicmaker Kits's "Renaissance Guitar"  (a lutish-looking guitar
costing $225 for the kit, $495 finished, last time I looked) and wasn't very
impressed with the tone quality. I also built their "flat-back lute" ($350 kit,
$695 finished) and had some soundboard problems which I solved by completely
rebuilding the soundboard and bracing. In its old configuration with the plywood
soundboard and minimal bracing, the tone was acceptable; with a spruce soundboard
and historically correct bracing is much improved. The kits themselves aren't
particularly hard to make, if you have rudimentary wood-shop experience. For more
information on these instruments, contact


You can also get lutes and such from Lark in the Morning, but a fellow I talked
with who did so didn't feel that he got much instrument for the money.

> Second, a
> Lute is probably out (alas--so gorgeous!) because of
> its complexity (I'm trying to be realistic here--I
> want to have fun playing "in period", but not devote
> my entire existance to the intricacies of a difficult
> instrument.)

You can always remove one string and retune it as a "12 string" guitar. It also
gives you some of that "open, rich sound" you seek. That's what I've done, and no
musical instrument Nazi has yet appeared out of the woodwork to flog me. Someday I
might re-string it as a lute and really learn it in that mode, but not today.


John LaTorre (Johann von Drachenfels)

"Always do right. It will gratify some people & astonish the rest."
--Mark Twain

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