minstrel: My new EMS lute

Jason Benson agent036 at astromonkey.net
Mon Nov 17 14:16:43 PST 2008

I had a little money saved up and I've wanted a lute for years. It's been a 
driving need for a long time. So I finally have the chance to order one but 
the only one I can afford is one of the EMS lutes made in pakistan. I've 
heard some real horror stories about these lutes, but I've also heards some 
good things about them more recently. The quality of eastern merchandice has 
been generally increasing for the last several years so I figured their 
lutes might be the same way. So I took a chance and ordered one.

When the lute finally arrived I was filled with elation and terror. Opening 
the box I find the case is very nice, and the lute inside in pristine 
condition despite it's long journey. Examining the wood work it looks pretty 
sound and I'm surprised at how light it is compared to my Oud. The nut is 
farely well shaped, and the rosesste is beautiful if slightly rustic (it is 
after all the student model). I was very worried about the frets. As I had 
heard, they were nylon rather than gut, as where the strings, but I tunned 
it up and gave it a go.

It plays wonderfully. After several weeks of playing it I can report that 
the nylon frets are staying in place quite well. When they wear out I'll 
replace them with gut but I'm surprised how well they are working. The pegs, 
which are well shaped, are staying in tune quite nicely with very little peg 
dope required. The strings aren't great but they are working quite well, no 
buzz and the tone is alright if not perfect. Some folks have advised people 
not to get a cheap lute saying that a comparably priced classical guitar 
will sound much better. I do not agree. My lute is sheer joy to play and is 
really a dramatically different experience from my classical guitar. Also, 
I'm a reinactor and guitars just aren't right for a renaissance minstrel.

I hope this helps any aspring lute players.
-Cedric the Minstrel 

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