Build your own Renaissance Lute!

I have created a comprehensive course in CD-ROM form, for anyone who would like to make their own 6 or 7 course renaissance lute based on the Georg Gerle lute of c.1560.

Now with an added section showing you how to produce the revolutionary new lightweight case I have developed.

Review quote
Start of review in Classical Guitar, Nov 2003. Click here to read the whole review.

7 course lute after Gerle  7 course lute after Gerle

Rose after Gerle
Foam case

For more information about this case please click here.

This is a renaissance lute version of the successful baroque lute-making course which took place on the internet from April 1999 to April 2000.

This time the lute is based on an original lute made by Georg Gerle (Vienna SAM 31) probably sometime in the 1560's. 60cm string length, 6 courses [extendable to 7 in the course]; 11 ribs: the original is a 6 course lute in ivory with ebony strips between. The neck is inlaid with broad ebony stripes and is deeper than a semicircle in cross section, typical of early renaissance 6 course lutes. The pegbox has an inlaid ebony edging. Click here to visit the Kunsthistorisches Museum website and see the original with some informative text in German.

This is a suitable instrument for playing the music of John Dowland and earlier music and will, I hope, be of interest to guitarists who would like to try their hand at lute music but are put off by the cost of acquiring their own instrument.

The lute should take about a year to complete on the basis of spending about 3 hours a week on it. I’ve had over 20 years experience in teaching amateurs and fellow professionals to make lutes and other instruments and I believe it is an entirely possible undertaking, even for those with little woodworking experience. However it will require a certain level of commitment and determination.

Presentation box and CD-ROM

This is a completely revised and enlarged version of the successful course which took place on the internet from December 2001 to March 2003.

If you read German, there is a very nice review of this course by Hajo Dezelski in the latest issue of the German guitar magazine: Gitarre Aktuell GAK Nr. 82 (III/03)

  • CD-ROM containing 46 lessons covering the whole process of making the mould and then the lute in great detail, with hundreds of photographs and step by step instructions. Guides on sharpening planes, chisels and scrapers. Guides on making your own varnish and ultra-violet drying cabinet. Guides on turning and fitting pegs. Links to the whole world of lute resources on the web.

  • A set of full-sized printed plans, giving all the details of construction and designed for the amateur builder. These include all barring and front thicknesses, peg designs, decorative options, full mould design, rib templates and string spacings.

  • A set of three different full-sized rose designs from contemporary lutes of a similar type

  • An alternative sheet of full-sized mould plans for use with the half-inch material available in USA.

The CD is compatible with Mac and PC systems and is read by your own internet browser, Netscape or Internet Explorer. It requires no internet access to complete the course, although there are live links to the web for further reading.

Participants are encouraged to send pictures of their progress or their difficulties to be posted on the website, and to collaborate with each other via an email “correspondence list”

The costs of the materials and the few tools required will vary from country to country and according to their quality; but as a guide, I would estimate a total cost of about £120 for materials if you turn your own pegs or £160 if you buy the pegs. The material costs can easily be spread over the period of making, since you don't need anything other than the wood for the back at first.

Further details of materials and suppliers can be seen on the information pages below.

There are two different prices according to how you wish to pay

  1. A cheque, or bank draft in pounds sterling drawn on a bank in England:
    £80 including post and packing world-wide.
  2. Money transfer by Western Union (email me the code and I can pick it up as pounds in Norwich):
    £80 including post and packing world-wide.
  3. Secure credit card payment via PayPal
    £84 including post and packing world-wide and all transaction charges.
    Click on the button to be taken to their secure page where you can choose your currency.

    If this is a gift for someone, please just me with their name and I can include a version of the introductory letter that does not mention the price but instead says it is a gift from you.

If you wish to buy both the baroque and the renaissance courses at once, I can offer a 15% discount, which makes a total of £142.80 including post and packing world-wide and all transaction charges. Click on the button to be taken to the PayPal secure page where you can choose your currency.

If you want the package sent to a different address from your billing address, please contact me before paying via PayPal, otherwise I might send it off to the wrong address!


David Van Edwards

The Smokehouse, 6 Whitwell Road
Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 4HB


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