Early Guitars and Vihuela

A network for historic guitars and vihuelas

In late April Ning announced that free Ning Networks -- such as our Early Guitar and Vihuela network -- would be phased out and that Ning would instead concentrate their business on paying networks. This change will happen in July and will also affect the Lute and Cittern Ning networks, to which some of us also belong.

The Early Guitar and Vihuela network currently has over 350 members. At that membership level Ning will be offering two paid options -- one at $200 per year (Ning Plus) and one at $500 per year (Ning Pro). The way I read their language, that price would raise in subsequent years to perhaps $240/$600. More details on these two options can be viewed at:


The EGV administrators have been in contact with the Lute and Cittern groups and we have been considering a few options:

1) Keep the EGV network on Ning and subscribe at the Pro level for $50 per month. This level keeps the current functionality and allows video and music uploads.

Assuming that half of the membership were interested in a paid network, the fee (at this time) would be about $3.50 each. This could perhaps be paid through PayPal.

The Lute network creator, Danny Shoskes, has also suggested the idea of combining networks so we wouldn’t have to pay 3 different fees.

2) Keep the EGV network on Ning and subscribe at the lower Plus level for $20 per month. This lower level would continue access to current videos, but not allow further uploads.

3) Move to a different, free service.

Already mentioned within our discussions has been Spruz, Webs.com, and Grou.ps. I have started a test page on Grou.ps myself to look at their features. If anyone wishes to explore the grou.ps option you may go to:


The test site for the Lute network can be found at:

Administrators from the 3 networks are still sorting through capabilities and shortcomings. Please note that these test pages may be only temporary.

I think there is an advantage to keeping all three groups on the same network. I also like the idea of a free service.

Please feel free to add your comments and thoughts in the “Network Changes” forum.

-- Rocky

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I would also give my vote to a free service. Grou.ps looks ok to me.
Jean-Marie Poirier
I agree with Jean-Marie Poirier.
I think the free service is better. Maybe create this same group on facebook would be a solution.
My vote also goes to grou.ps. It seems fine and if ning wants to go all corporate and charge when there are so many examples of free social networking sites that exist by virtue of advertising revenue, then let them survive if they can.
I think the Grou.ps site looks as though it will do all that the present site does and I am in favor of the move. However, if this doesn't work out, I would still be willing to pay a fee for the valuable work done on the present ning site. I have reservations about combining with the Lute and Cittern groups (although I'm a member of the latter) because of the possibility of "overload" of confusing information as a result. The guitar interests are considerably wide already and have been served quite well here up to the present. Whatever the outcome, you can count on me to be supportive.

James Tyler
I believe in free service, too. However, there have been very valuable discussions in the forum section. If the threads is the forum section can be migrated to the grou.ps site, I am all for the move. However, if moving to the new site means losing the whole thing, I would be willing to pay a small fee.
I think Juan Pablo has a good point - do we know if we can migrate whole discussion threads?
Ning will allow you to download the entire site. You have to apply by mail and once it is done, the site will be removed from Ning after 30 days. Grou.ps says they will have a script to import this file. I think the only content that will fail are embedded videos from Vimeo.
I thought the vimeo videos were only a one-line link. Now I see another thing that should be interested in moving.

How about other great content like the audios and pdf's. I wouldn't like losing those either.
I'm not clear on what combining with other groups would mean. Would we have sub-groups where we can still maintain separate focus? If so, then I see no reason not to join forces.

Please do not use Facebook. I hope to die without ever joining Facebook. It is the dark side of social networking. Note the recent privacy issues that have surfaced. I will not join if it's on Facebook. (Maybe that will convince you to use Facebook after all???)

Finally, I have nothing against paying $3.50 USD a year for this service. In NY that's one cup of drinkable coffee. I certainly hope Ning handles the administration of that nightmare. I would oppose it if Rocky or some other administrator had to manage it. That said, there are advantages to paying. You can get more assurances of longevity -- will Spruz or some other site still be gratis next year? You also have a right to complain about service. We get more space for hosting video and audio. We remove ads. (But heck, maybe we can get some people to fund the site by advertising! $20.00 a year for space on a special AD page, plus full membership to the site, for example. If we got 25 advertisers, we would have the site paid for. )

The only downside I see to paying Ning is this... Do we believe Ning will succeed in this restructuring? Or is this a sign that Ning will ultimately fail? I think that is far more important to consider than the question of whether or not to pay some pittance every year.

My 2 cents' worth of opinion...
I also echo Chris Despopoulos's comment. I definitely value the information provided here, as I do MIMF (Musical Instrument Makers Forum, which works on a voluntary subscription) I also would not be opposed to a small fee to maintain the information here, but would prefer, and trust a free community that operates on more of a Google model. That was why I made the "survive if they can" comment about ning. I also would notjoin facebook. Too creepy for me.
Ill give $3 a month. Aside from the hassle of moving you have to think about web search. Another sight might not be a s search friendly and without finding this sight I myself might not have bought a guitar.


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