Thank you, Rob, for the input. As I understand it, the EMS DIY kits are the same as their ready mades, so I thought I visit the shop in London to check them out. I'm not - and will hardly become - very hard core about early music. I play songs by C.M. Bellman, who was an eighteen century poet. But as he himself made use of earlier music, like J.H. Roman, I have come to think that a renaissance or baroque lute might add some to my interpretations. I will hardly use the instrument for solo playing. Only for accompaniment, so my requirements are rather modest. or, so I believe...RobMacKillop wrote: ↑Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:15 pmI played one which a student of mine made from an Early Music Shop kit. It was cheap-feeling, not a good sound, and the neck was too narrow for the number of courses, making it difficult to play. But that was ten years ago. Maybe they have better kits now.
Thank you for extensive and really helpful input. I cannot boast wood working experience of any degree, so from what you are telling me I gather that probably I'd do best trying to find a second hand lute - or perhaps buy a ready made from EMS. (Thinking about a trip to Cambridge in a few weeks time, anyway, so why not a detour to London to check out their lutes for my self.) Or mybe I just stay satisfied with the lute/guitar crossover I recently happened to lay hands on. Its six single strings makes playing easy enough as it doesn't require other but guitar playing technique. (It's preferably tuned a third up from the guitar, though, so I'll have to transpose and re arrange every piece. Maybe that will be enough...muirtan wrote: ↑Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:32 amHi Movitz
I was given a lute kit from EMS for a xmas present one year by my husband. He has basic woodworking skills, he makes wooden toys as a hobby, so he thought between us we could manage it. The bowl was already formed and he’d bought the kit with a precut rosette.
He thought some of the instructions were confusing and some were just wrong (in his opinion) but we got on with it up to the point o fixing the bridge. He looked at what needed doing and said the bridge isn’t going to hold but he went ahead and followed the instructions.
I varnished it after checking on line, and fitted the pegs. So far so good. I look at the frets and strings provided and wasn’t impressed, both nylon. I found details they gave of how to tie the frets confusing to say the least so I found a different way online. Part way through I realised I would run out of the fret material. I contacted them and they were less than helpful saying there was enough and use a different diameter one. In the end I used some old guitar strings (at this stage I just wanted to see what it sounded like and thought I could change it later). Then to string it, this I did but it was catching on the nut so used graphite to help. Didn’t sound too bad.
Two weeks later the bridge came away. Refixed and a couple of weeks later the same thing happened and little slivers of wood had come away from the soundboard. At this point I decided we needed help. My husband was all for using it as an ornament but it was an instrument and I wanted to play it. I contacted David van Edwards (I’d met him before and he is local to me) for advice / recommend someone. He recommended Luke Emmett who was brilliant. Took the lute to Luke, basically he said we had all the angles correct and height of string etc and the pegs were filed OK. He had to take the soundboard off to fix the bridge. He also noted at this time that the nut was wood and he’d change it for a bone nut as that would allow the strings to move more smoothly when tuning. He also said if he found any problems when to soundboard was removed he’d email me before going ahead with any work.
He emailed saying the wooden braces they had provided were too heavy and could he change them for a lighter weight wood. As this would involve removing them would I like him to then the soundboard some more. I gave him the go ahead for all his suggestions. In the end I had a lovely sounding lute. When I went for my first lute lesson the only thing mentioned about it was maybe in the future I may want the action lowered slightly but we’d see I how got on. So far no problem.
So cost wise I probably paid about 75% of the original price on the extra work. Possibly in total it came to about the same cost as buying one new but I have heard that some of the new ones are poorly set up and need re setting.
That’s my experience and hope it helps it was about 4 years ago.