Early Guitars and Vihuela

A network for historic guitars and vihuelas

Hi all. Being primarily interested in the romantic guitar, I began to stumble on information and videos of baroque pieces (played on regular guitar), then actual baroque guitar, and now vilhuela. I've played guitar for quite some time, and am a little embarrassed to have to admit that I knew nothing of these wonderful instruments. Up until now I've been happy watching and listening them being played, but I find myself quite interested in going further and having a try myself. Sadly, obviously baroque guitars and vihuelas do not grow on trees - the only way to purchase one seems to be to commission one. Before that ever happens though, I have been trying to find definitive descriptions of them ... there seem (particularly with the baroque guitar) so many variations on pitch and courses, that I am not sure where to begin. Is there a standard, or is the variety the appeal?

I think I'd love to find a festival or day of some kind in the UK where I could see with my own eyes, these wonderful instruments being played by you folk.

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Yes - I think you are right - free entry if you mind the stall for and hour or two.
Hi Spencer, if I were you I would become a member of the British Lute society: http://www.lutesoc.co.uk/pages/home-page. (Come to think of it, I am a member of that society). In spite of the name, there are players of the vihuela and baroque guitars there as well. On their website you can find teachers and players who live near you, and announcements of events. Most summer schools etc. where they teach lute, you would be welcome with a vihuela or a Baroque guitar too.
All of the info has been a great help and very interesting - thanks. It's only gotten me more interested, which is a bit of a problem, because neither are cheap instruments! I could rent one to see if I'd like to go any further, but I'll still be in the position of not being able to buy one as I haven't found any 'entry' level baroque guitars or vilhuelas.
An alternative is the lute, which does seem to be more readily supported in terms of the societies you've mentioned, and 'cheaper' models are easily available, which might not be fantastic instruments (for example www.thomann.de/gb/thomann_renaissance_laute.htm?feedid=4711 or there are several endorsed by the Lute Society on a well-known auction site...) but would suffice in terms of helping me decide whether to take it further and mortgage the house to get a nicer one :)
I apologise if I seem a little unfocused - in short, I am a classical guitarist who has unearthed these renaissance instruments over the past few months and is quite intrigued by them, without knowing much about them. Still with all your input I am finding out more!
Yes - you have put your finger on the problem. People usually take up the vihuela and baroque guitar to supplement their lute playing. They are specialist instruments with specialist repertoires. It's a pity that the Lute Soc doesn't have a baroque guitar for hire. But do be careful if you decide to buy a cheap lute - because some of them are not very good. Try and get an instrument on approval if you can.

Best wishes

Monica

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