Early Guitars and Vihuela

A network for historic guitars and vihuelas

To my stable of lutes and baroque guitar I've finally added a Romantic Guitar. Lovely Stauffer Legnani model by Scot Tremblay. Really just for fun, to recapture my lost classical guitar youth and ideally as an accompaniment instrument for singers. 

I'm interested in the experiences of any lutenists who have made the jump. Obviously I'm sticking with no nails and gut. My first decision is strap vs footstool. I use a strap on all my lutes and it seems more comfortable that way on the guitar but the footstool position does put my right hand in a more classical guitar shape naturally. 

Secondly I have to figure out hand position. Even on baroque lute I play a modified thumb under with rest stroke because in a thumb out position the plucking surface on my finger pads hits a very dried out area (from washing my hands 200 times a day) and the sound is just not pleasing. I find with this technique I'm getting a strong sound from the bass that seems to me to be balanced with the treble string sound a volume. I'm less concerned with historical accuracy than with getting a pleasing sound.

I've just posted a video to show my initial experiment: http://earlyguitar.ning.com/video/etude-1-op-35-andante-by-fernando...

All comments welcome.

Thanks

Danny

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Hello Danny,

I have no opinion on strap vs footstool (I use a footstool for guitars and small lutes, strap for theorbo).

As to right hand technique, if I were you I would check a few historical guitar methods (Sor mostly) to see what they recommend. The main thing to remember is that there is no standard RH technique for the whole 19th century, for every country and style, so doing what sounds good is a reasonable approach :-)

Hi Daniel,

congrats to your new instrument!

I'm not a lutenist coming to guitar, but going to be a guitarist coming to a vihuela in two weeks :-) Anyway, I've used footstool a lot in the far past. Tried a guitar support for several years then and a strap in the end. I'm with the strap, even on modern classical guitar. I don't think there could be anything better for the ergonomics, hence spine, ease of playing etc. My both thumbs are up to anyone at least willing to try the strap. I don't recommend the footstool.

To the hand position. I totally agree to be "less concerned with historical accuracy than with getting a pleasing sound". In your video I see the pinky used as a point of reference. I do not use this technique and recommend using PH-thumb as a reference.

My video of this study is here: http://earlyguitar.ning.com/video/fernando-sor-24-studies-op-35-no-...

All the best,

Marek

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