Early guitar family instruments
On this page I have set out brief descriptions of some of the designs I use for the instruments I make.
This is not a comprehensive list of the instruments in my repertoire, but a selection of some of those more commonly asked about. I have given examples of suitable materials, but these are only suggestions and I am happy to discuss alternatives. If more details are required for instruments not covered here, please ask.
Photos of most of the instrument types mentioned here are in the gallery. Links are at the top and bottom of the page.
Lute notes...

4 course renaissance guitar

String length 53cm.
There is little physical evidence to go on when making these instruments. My model is based partly on a small guitar by Diaz (Royal College of Music, London) and partly on engravings found in books of tablature for the instrument. It has a slightly vaulted back of 7 ribs and a pearwood and parchment rose. I also offer a flat backed version. Cherry, walnut and cypress are good materials for the backs of these instruments.

5 course baroque guitar

French school. String length 69cm.
This model is based on instruments by Alex ‘Le Jeune’ Voboam c.1675. The originals are distinctively decorated with ebony and ivory edging and rose inlay. I use bone instead of ivory in my instruments. The back is flat and is in five pieces, with stripes. These guitars can be made with ebony sides and yew or cedar backs. I also offer a plain version which can be built in cherry, with little or no decoration.

Italian school. String length 70cm.
This model is based on the work of Matteo Sellas; principally an instrument from 1614. It has a vaulted multi-ribbed back of yew. I usually make a pearwood and parchment rose but an alternative stepped type parchment rose is possible. Additional soundboard decoration, of the type found on original instruments of the period, is available.

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oliver@wadsworth-lutes.co.uk