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The Lute Saga

In December, 2007, I was watching the History Channel, like I often did at the time. I’m not sure what show was on, but the episode was, I think, about ancient instruments and early music.

This sparked a wikipedia session, where I looked up the origins of my own favorite instrument, the guitar. I found out about one of the guitar’s cousins, the Lute. I wondered if people still played it, and looked it up on YouTube.

I immediately fell in love. I liked everything about it. I loved the music, I loved the idea that it was an instrument that people played for hundreds of years. I loved the way the intrument itself looked. I loved to listen to it and close my eyes, and to be transported to that time in the past. Maybe people dancing at a masquerade ball to the music (though, I don’t know if that ever happened, or could have happened, being that the lute is a very quiet instrument).

Anyway, the point is, I was hooked right away. I started trying to find out how I could get one. Not an easy task, as only a small group of people play them these days, and an even smaller group make them. In general, you have to get on a luthier’s waiting list, pay him a bunch of money, and hopefully you’ll get a lute at some point.

After looking around some, I found a lute player that lived here in Salt Lake City, and called him up. I went and visited him, and saw some real life Baroque Lutes in person.

Eventually I picked a luthier to make me one, payed the deposit, and got on his waiting list. After two years of waiting, I got an email from him saying that he had injured his hand, and would no longer be making lutes. He sent back my deposit, and I was back at square one.

I looked around some more for a while, on and off. I never did get on another waiting list. Lots of other things were going on in my life (having a kid, moving to and from Seattle, etc).

In December last year, 4 years after I had originally decided I needed a lute, I found a luthier that was making the type of lute I wanted (a 13 course Baroque Lute), and didn’t have a buyer for it yet. I jumped on board, and sent him the deposit.

This brings us to right now. As of today, I’ve completely paid for the expensive instrument, he’s done making it, and it’s just waiting in his workshop in New Zealand for the case to come in so he can ship it to me.

I’m sure there’ll be more Lute posts in the future, but for now, here’s a picture he sent to me:

Filed under: Music
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