Early Guitars and Vihuela

A network for historic guitars and vihuelas

I am wonder if I would be able to make vihuela by myself... Do you know where can I get some "plan" of it?


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The only one I know of is in the Paris museum. I think I'm safe in saying that it's not for beginners. . .
How much woodworking have you done? How many tools do you have? How much are you willing to invest in tools and time? There may be some workshops to build a classical guitar, you could augment that to build a 'vihuela', that would be the best bet. Probably about $3 grand US, but it would be done right.Tools would run about the same, depending on what you have, and what you can make, and how good you are at figuring things out, etc... I am building a baroque guitar right now, its not too bad, but its a learning curve to be sure and the tools...my god.... You can google guitar building on youtube and see acoustic guitars being built, to get some idea. There are shortcuts here and there, but you have to figure them out.
there is a lot of information on the net, it's not long before you know how it's built, when I had done this I made a drawing of what I was going to do..it wasn't a posh drawing. but one I could use to work out the sizes.
the thing you really need to spend money on is the sound board.(my body is built of 2mm plywood) saves a lot of planeing. you can build one using hand tools, it's what they did when they made the first one's,
go ahead and make one. you will enjoy it.

Carlos Gonzalez is the director of the annual Semana de Musica Antigua in Gijon, Spain. It's every July, and each year he offers an instrument building workshop. I think with materials and everything you come away with an instrument for 500 to 800 euros. You have two weeks of access to a shop, comrades, and advice from a renown luthier/violero. That's usually enough time to construct the instrument and begin the finish. This last year the workshop was on baroque guitars and renaissance lutes. (I think that was it...) I know he has taught vihuelas in the past.

Carlos is at http://www.luthier.org/

Of course, I'm a biased party -- I own an instrument made by Carlos, and I try to attend the festival often.
The festival link is http://www.musicaantiguagijon.com/2009/index.html
Thanks it seems good :)
Hi Petr,

If I would have the opportunity to start an instrument in Carlos Gonzales's workshop I wouldn't hesitate a second. In case you have not I'share some of my experiences:

After some discussion with Sebastián Núñez (Luthier in Utrecht/The Netherlands) I decided to make a vihuela in the same way as my 4c guitar. It is carved from one (large, thick...) piece of maple. Because there aren't a lot of surviving instruments nor historical drawings he suggested to me to design my own to my own liking.
Obviously you need a lot of wood to construct a vihuela like this but there are advantages: No need for tools and experience for the bending of the sides, much freedom to create the shape of instrument you would like.
The resulting instrument is rather heavy for a vihuela but definitely works as a vihuela.
The vihuela-pieces on 'My Page' are played on this instrument. (by a beginner, mind!)

When I started on the instrument I alreade had some experience in handling the woodworking tools. During the buildingproces I had some help from a lutier/friend nearby.

The design of my vihuela is loosely inspired by the drawing on Milan's Il Maestro.
Apart from the bandsaw to saw the basic form from the log of maple and an electric drill to remove as much of the inside as possible I only used tools like planes, knives, chisels, scrapers etc.

My 'plan' of the instrument was simply a drawing of the contours of the instument with some added details (transverse bars on the top, thicknes of the sides etc.)

Details of the instrument (and others) can be found at guitarra-renacentista.blogspot.com
I wrote the entries about the vihuela in Dutch. The google translation is poor but might be fun:
Are you still looking for plans?
I will be happy to share with you what I find along the way in my research. I am currently researching for an authentic replication build.

Me two.

The cite de la musique has unabeled downloading the photo's of the Chambure Vihuela. :-(

Lucky enough I've downloaded them earlier
I am also looking for a good Vihuela plan, can any one help?
I built a vihuela from Scott Tremblay's GAL plan of an 1816 salon guitar. It has a 60cm string length, the back and sides are EI rosewood, the top is Engleman spruce, the neck is Sapelle. The sound is quite delicate and nice despite the fact that the top is braced more or less like a lute, which I see from the photos Ian posted, may be overkill, not that lutes are overbraced by today's standards. Unless other braces fell off, the photos only show two transverse braces on either side of the soundhole.
Waling, thank you for your blog. You have done a really nice job on the instruments you have built and your documentation of the process is very helpful for the rest of us. For what it's worth, I documented the building of my vihuela here:

Maybe a little help to draw an outline...


The Dias and 1602 Koch guitar and Chambure vihuela are quite similar in the style of their outline.

Wow, time does get away when life strikes.

Back on my feet and returning to the shop finally :)

I am catching up today and find here the drawing posted by Jan van Cappelle and think that might work actually for a plan to convert. I will not or can not do this with out knowing/ referring to the source of the drawing posted.I honor the rights aspects of others, so is there a contact for this drawing?

Otherwise I will go forth with designing what I can from what I acquire in knowledge.

It is good to be back in the shop, ahhhhhh




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