On Mon, 29 Sep 2003 09:13:19 +0000 (UTC), David Kilpatrick
Post by David Kilpatrick Post by Tony Morris Post by David Schramm
For Sale: Julian Bream's 1967 Jose Rubio 8 course Renaissance Lute #127.
This is the lute found in the book by Tony Palmer, "Life on the Road." pp.
Appraised at $20,000
Is that all?
I don't know the going rate for lutes, but it sure seems to me that
such an important and historical instrument like that should be worth
at least twice that- or even around $50,000 or more. Sounds like a
real deal for someone.
1967, no matter what maker - new lute luthiery lacked some of the
knowledge which has transformed lutes since. Or so lute players tell me.
Expectations have changed and the target sound for a ren lute is now
not the same as then. I have no idea why - maybe non-invasive
investigative techniques have told builders a lot more about museum
pieces. Or maybe more lutes have been built and they have learned a lot.
In 1967, there were some emerging luthiers using the older principles
of construction quite successfully. Most were affiliated with the
early musicke groups rather than the classical guitar groups. Arnold
Dolmetsch began to make copies of early instruments (viols, recorders,
lutes) in the early part of the 20th century. He used to play a
vintage Harton lute in his own music making and many others wanted him
to make copies.
Much of the actual knowledge of historical construction came from
museum curators and the reconstruction the did of the old museum
examples that were in pieces in their shops. The made and recorded
measurements and plans, etc. Friedmann Hellwig was one of those that
made such plans and shared them with others in the early '60s.
Makers such as Van der Waals, Van der Geest, Zanetti, Barber,
Gottlieb, and Lowe stated making high quality lutes based on those
early researches. After X-rays became available, existing lutes that
were not in pieces could be examined and measurements taken. Detailed
plans were made available for relatively little cost through the
various luthier societies.
Robert Lundberg's book on historical lute construction is a good place
to learn more on those early efforts.
The 'guitar based' lutes by Hauser I, Papazian, and a host of East and
West German makers were comparatively heavy in construction and very
guitar like in their sound. I played some of those things and they
were really clunkers even with a guitar technique. The Hauser was an
absolute tank and sounded like a bathtub with strings. The Papazian
was prettier, but sounded the same.
The Rubio examples were much better, but they were still not the light
and fragile lutes being made today after the historical models. I
have an 8ch Rubio from 1965 (#111) and an 8ch Kazuo Satoh (one of
Rubio's apprentices) from 10 years later and the difference is
Rubio evidently had some ideas about why the lute players were
demanding lighter and more historical instruments. He contended that
the early musicke crowd had in it many players that had little or no
classical guitar background and therefore had not developed the hand
strength to handle the heavier lutes. It's an interesting theory,
but not "fact based" as they say.
Post by David Kilpatrick
Considering that real historic lutes etc are worth much less then they
should be - you can pick up instruments from the reign of George 1 for
about $500 in Britain, if you're after some types of cittern - $20,000
sounds like a price for a good working instrument with some modern
Peculiar situation, lutes. Most modern, well made, concert/recording
quality lutes I've been offered (and never said yes to!) are around
$2,000-5,000 ex-owner private sale. Yet many lesser bits of steel string
guitar luthiery are twice that, let alone classical guitar luthiery. And
the lute must be far more time consuming and difficult to construct.
True, true. I still don't understand that difference.