The Renaissance and Baroque Lutes

Frei - Swan neckIt might seem that I am on a plan drawing frenzy at the moment. That’s true, but I am also finishing up a lot of things I made in the past. Two years ago a couple of my students at the instrument making course where I teach, asked me whether I could learn them to make a baroque lute.



Normally it is recommended to start with a simple basic alto lute, and work your way up to the more advanced baroque lute. But the students wanted to make a baroque model specifically. For years I had the whish to make a basic baroque lute for the shop. So I started to design this set of plans, based on the Bolognese models by Hans Frei or Laux Male. These early 16th century lutes form the blueprint of what the lute would become in the next three centuries. Larger, elongated models to replace the smaller medieval lute, they would become known as the “pear” or “pearl” moulds.

Originally made as six or seven course renaissance lutes, in later ages the models by Frei and Maler were highly sought after. Lute players in the 17th and 18th century would pay high prizes for the “pittifull Old, Batter’d, Crack’d things” as Thomas Mace described them. To accommodate changes in music and fashion, players brought them to their local lute makers to have the necks and bridges replaced for wider, baroque style models. Lutes by Frei and Maler were copied by later makers and even falsified.

Man drawing a lute

I’m in good company: in 1525 Albrecht Dürer also drew a Bolognese lute…

I have made two sets of plans.

TenorThe first set is a reconstruction of the lutes as they were made by Frei.
Two different models:

  • 6-course Tenor Lute
  • 7-course Tenor Lute


The second set includes three different baroque models:Baroque

  • 11-course Baroque Lute
  • 13-course Baroque Lute
  • 13 Course Swan Neck Baroque Lute
    (sometimes called a Swan Neck Theorbo)

All these models can be made on the same bowl. So you can practically make the whole lute history with one single mould.

Both sets include 4 different rosette designs. They are suitable for both beginning and advanced makers.

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When you get the combined set there is a 5,- discount.

You can find these and other plans on

This entry was posted in Guitar Plans, History, Lute, Projects, Research, Uncategorized, Woodworking and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Renaissance and Baroque Lutes

  1. alexholdendotnet says:

    Can you explain what’s happening in the Albrecht Dürer picture?


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