Early Guitars and Vihuela

A network for historic guitars and vihuelas

Thirteen string guitar Weiss prelude in D minor

My first post, hope this qualifies as an early guitar....... kinda maybe?

Luthier Michael Thames playing a newly completed "Dresden guitar" Tuned in D minor baroque lute tuning.

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Comment by Franz Mechsner on October 9, 2011 at 20:20
After all, extremely beautiful! Thanks!
Comment by michael Thames on October 5, 2011 at 4:53

Hi Franz,

  Thanks for the kind words about the Dresden!

The Dresden in the video was brand new with new strings, we all know what that means.  On my old Dresden I had strings on it for 5 years ( the diapasons) and they mellowed out very nicely.  While I understand the problem, it's also a problem on baroque lutes as well, and some lute players I know rub Vaseline on the basses to dull them.  

Also, it was recorded on a Sony D50 and was quite close to the guitar, as you can see it the video.  There was no reverb or any editing.  

Some lute players are obsessed with dampening the basses and others are not, it depends what school you are from I guess.  In an interview I read of Robert Barto he seemed to think the ringing basses weren't that big of a deal, while Paul ODette dampens every bass note to the tee. 

I'm of the opinion they add character, and sustain which is a good thing in Weiss's music. You can develop a technique in which you dampen each bass note and many lutenist do this.  So I don't think it is a big deal for guitarists to do this as well. 

I personally never developed the technique to dampen the basses (I'm too lazy) and I'm really not a good guitarist either. That combined with new strings might have contributed to your observations.  

Concerning the Lutio Forte:  I really don't want the Dresden to sound like the Lute.  In the early years I did, but now I want it to sound like a guitar. My experience many years ago to try and turn guitarists onto the lute was not well taken.  It was completely foreign to them and they couldn't relate.

I'm not trying to convert lute players over to the Dresden, I'm trying to give guitarists the oppertunity to play Weiss, Bach and Baroque lute music the way it was written with all the original fingerings, and on an instrument that has the sustaining qualities of the baroque lute.  Thanks again for the kind words. 


All the best,


Comment by michael Thames on October 5, 2011 at 4:14
Hi Lars,  I names it after the Dresden MS by Weiss.  The London didn't sound as good....... ha ha
Comment by Lars Hedelius-Strikkertsen on September 30, 2011 at 20:26

Why is it called

a Dresden guitar

Comment by Franz Mechsner on September 30, 2011 at 18:53

Hi Michael, Congratulations to this creative and interesting instrument. I like the sound a lot and the possibility to play Weiss music as it has been written including the basses is is of course extremely attractive for guitarists and people who like the sound of a guitar with this pieces, and not only the lute sound. The basses sound however a little too powerfull and the resonances too strong - maybe it's the video? It's of course a matter of taste, but is it possible to dampen that background enormous background resonance? By the way, are there important differences to the liuto forte - apart from lut shape - which also comes from Dresden? 


Best regards


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