Early Guitars and Vihuela

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I am considering purchasing a replica of a Lacote. I was talking to Luthier today about adding an end pin or button in order to be able to stand with the guitar. He said he was concerned that standing with a strap attached to the neck could eventually do some damage to the instrument. He suggested adding a button to the end block and heel of the guitar instead and not attaching a strap to the headstock.

I have seen many videos of people standing with romantic guitars and thought it was common practice and therefore safe - thoughts?

I am also thinking that using the two button method might position the guitar too far to my right - thoughts?

thanks in advance

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I elected to have the two buttons installed on my Panormo so I would at least have the option of going either way. As it turned out, I've been using a Dynarette for the last year and still haven't gotten around to getting a strap. I see the Duo Sonare uses the two button strap method and it looks like it works out quite well:


Hello Mike

Actually, many Panormos and other 19th (and 18th century) century guitars have a strap button near the heel, only not attached to the heel but to the central/upper part of the soundbox (where there is a block inside). Here is an image:

This is the setup that some believe was used to attach a short chord/strap which allowed the guitar to hang off large buttons on the players frock coat. I have tried it on my 19th century reproduction frock coat and it does work...however it does feel quite odd. 

There are other theories concerning this button arrangement, including attachment points for the Aguado like tripodium, attachment points for a second strap which went around the body to stabilize the guitar and others less likely...I'm not exacxtly sure which is correct or not, maybe all, maybe none.

Hi Scot, where does the 'button-theory' stem from? I knew people think that of lute straps, but guitars...? 

I'm not really sure. I read about it years back and then came across references to it again recently. 

You can see this kind of button arrangement on Baroque guitars as well. Some think that it keeps the back off the table when the instrument is laid back down on a table but this only works for flat backed instrument and not very well at that. It certainly doesn't work well on the archback baroque guitars where it is most prevelent so I think we can all but discount that theory.

My personal opinion is that it is for attaching a strap of some kind. But until someone can produce an original strap or a clear contemporary drawing of one it's only speculation.

On baroque guitars the back buttons are small and seem to be for a gut line between them, possibly with subsidiary loops, which could be hung from coat buttons. A 17th c. lute in the ex-V&A collection has such a loop (and it was present when photographed for the 1968 catalogue so is probably an accurate replacement or original).  Many (most?) flat-back and some arched-back baroque guitars have or have had back buttons, sometimes end buttons as well.  Almost all have a small eleventh hole in the peg-plate where a strap could be attached or the instrument hung from a wall.  Or the spare peg-hole on a ten-peg, nine-string instrument could be used (and/or for a bundle of ribbons).  The gut string between back buttons could only really be used by a male guitarist.  A strap between end button and peg head could be used by both sexes.  A painting by Boucher seems to show both methods.  Interestingly, the Mademoiselle de Nantes Voboam guitar in Paris has no end button so is unlikely to have been played by Mademoiselle.



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