Improving a bargain Pakistani lute

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How to Improve a Bargain Lute 1) change the strings: the strings that come with the lute are all nylon, and the gauges aren't right. They aren't tied on correctly, so they'll tend to slip if you try to bring them up to tune. Also, the 4th course strings are much thicker than is practical, and they'll break before they get near tune. I recommend you get a whole new set of Nylgut strings (synthetic gut strings -- they sound like gut, but are reliable like nylon) from www.aquilausa.com my lower strings are Nylgut wound with copper, rather than real gut.

Here is a photograph of my lute's Nylgut strings. Note how the unwound strings are opaque white, which the copper-wound ones are copper-colored. Aquila USA recommended Nylgut string gauges for this lute (measurements in hundredths mm) 1 - 42 Nylgut 2h - 54 Nylgut 2l - 54 Nylgut 3h - 68 Nylgut 3l - 68 Nylgut 4h - 85 Nylgut 4l - 85 Nylgut 5h - 112D Type D, Multifilament Nylgut wound with copper wire 5l - 112D Type D, Multifilament Nylgut wound with copper wire 6h - 73 Nylgut 6l - 145D Type D, Multifilament Nylgut wound with copper wire 7h - 82 Nylgut 7l - 165D Type D, Multifilament Nylgut wound with copper wire 8h - 97 Nylgut 8l - 195D Type D, Multifilament Nylgut wound with copper wire

2) change the frets: the frets are made of nylon, which is bad: they need to be made of

http://john.redmood.com/improvebargainlute.html

09/08/2011

Here is what my newly tied-on gut frets look like. can handle sympathetic ringing strings (which occurs on the lute).redmood. helped me learn how to tie frets on. as it does a good job with soft signals. 75. 90. Here is a page about tying on new frets. and a clip-on pickup. you will notice that this correct position is way off (about 1/2") from the position that the frets came in when they were shipped to you. 95. 80.com/improvebargainlute.html 09/08/2011 . 95. 100. such as the one tuner and pickup sold by www. http://john. 90. This is one major reason the instrument was initially unplayable: the intonation was completely out of whack.aquilausa. 3) Buy a tuner and pickup Invest in an electronic tuner. After you tune the open strings of your lute.Improving a bargain Pakistani lute Pagina 2 di 9 fret gut. When you find the right place for each fret. Buy a set of fret gut from www. 70. and he recommended these fret gut gauges (hundredths of mm): 110. use the guitar tuner to find the right placement for each fret (by fretting each note and making sure it's in tune. 75. 80. is fairly inexpensive (about $30) and the needle doesn't "jitter" like analog tuners do. 95. a friend of mine and the Bay Area lute evangelist. I like the Korg CA-20 digital tuner. 85. Michael Peterson .com. 90.com and find somebody to show you how to tie on frets. Aquila USA sent me this package of recommended fret gut gauges (hundredths of mm): 100.mid-east. so they're always moving out of place (which makes it very hard to play in tune). The nylon frets don't want to stay put. 85.

html 09/08/2011 . and the edges of the nut went over the sides of the next. and rub a little bath soap around the peg.Improving a bargain Pakistani lute Pagina 3 di 9 I own a "Signal Flex SF-30" clip-on pickup. as well as at the Boulder Early Music Shop.com/improvebargainlute. and for a better string height. when listened on headphones. so I don't recommend using it for anything but tuning.redmood. The clip-on pickup's sound. Instead of soap. is not very good. The string height was quick a bit higher than it needed to be. and on the bridge it produces a fairly strong signal that the tuner can use fairly well. Luckily. However. Reinsert the tuning peg and turn it so that the soap rubs into the peg box. It is very inexpensive (about $15) clips onto my Pakistani lute's bridge. so I removed mine and sanded it down to be flush with the sides of the neck. "Peg dope" which is sold at violin stores. with most lutes you clip the pickup on a tuning peg. and the signal is noticeably weaker there. though many pros use soap). the nut comes out when the strings are slack. you can use "Peg dope" (which is the "right" way to do it. 4) sand the nut down: the nut on the mid-east lute is fairly roughly made. which I originally bought to tune my lute with. where the peg will meet the peg-box. Take each peg out. Here is what the nut looks like on the neck now that it has been sanded to be even with the next. 5) soap the tuning pegs: the tuning pegs are stiff and uneven in movement. http://john.

You can use it as a guide. who's made some more modifications to it.. This is purely for decoration. and then use files to shape it correctly. sent me a description of the modifications he made to his Pakistani lute. He also put a thin alll-back wood laminate on the back of the tuning head. so you see where the strings should go. Redo the nut by obtaining a nut blank from a lute or guitar builder. Fernando Kurka. . which tends to cause sticking while tuning. When it arrived the http://john. 1) Leveled the fingerboard. along with many photographs. Removing a lot of the wood from the bridge helped remove stuffness on the top and has improved the tone. Above is a scan of a paper-trace of the nut from the Thomson lute. I've given my Pakistani lute to my former lute teacher Dan Winheld. and less on the lower 4 courses -. use a very small round file to put a groove in. 6) redo the nut.Improving a bargain Pakistani lute Pagina 4 di 9 A photograph of Hill brand peg dope.. I used my teacher's Paul Thomson's nut as a guide. He's used a small wood chisel and taken a lot of wood off the bridge off the rear of the bridge.html 09/08/2011 .com/improvebargainlute. as well as buzzing. as well as tapering the ends. then when you're happy with the string position.this makes it easier to play the faster more demanding passages.redmood. . a reader of this page.. The nut that comes with this lute large gutters for the strings. Notch the string positions using an X-acto knife to initially set the positions.. Thomson's lutes put more space between the first 4 courses.

com/improvebargainlute. added some decoration. 4) Cleaned up the rosette.Improving a bargain Pakistani lute Pagina 5 di 9 fingerboard was uneven.ÿÿÿ(I'm pretty sure that they used synthetic glue. also the wood frets. I tell myself that I replaced the fingerboard because it wasn't all that good. I just didn't have a wide enough strip of anything.redmood. Actually. One of my favorite flea market finds is a guitar in need of work. frets. which allowed me to judge the depth of the cut. I'm a collector of useful bits of wood. and strings. dark with a very longs straight grain. http://john. some time in the future.html 09/08/2011 .) 3) Replaced the nut. I'll find out when I replace the fingerboard. The lute is glued using hide glue. Initially. I eventually replaced the fretboard as pictured below (notice the "beards" where the fretboard meets the body) New fretboard 2) Thinned the soundboard. I left it on the instrument. and strengthened it by soaking it with crazy glue. and finished it with sanding paper. Fretboard after leveling The outer edges are rosewood and the inner piece is a wood that the Venezuelan indians use for making bows. I used a scraper. I used an electric sander with a large flat sanding surface. I just didn't like the looks of it.I'm a frustrated luthier. but. to tell you the truth.

soaked these in crazy glue. Although some lutes have strings that wind outside. so I used some gaffer's tape to cover this. etc. Works.redmood. but still pliable. and forced these into the holes while the glue was dry. Pegbox 8) Got rid of that weird golden trim on the case. http://john. 6) Drilled new holes in the pegs so that the strings would have room to wind towards the side of the pegbox. Cleaned up case 9) There's a seam under the golden tape.com/improvebargainlute. these usually have a little extension for the peg. and painted the case black. 10) Fitted a little cigar case as a drawer to put strings. managing to get a tight fit (a bit of talcum prevents the glue from sticking). sealed the edges with glue.html 09/08/2011 .Improving a bargain Pakistani lute Pagina 6 di 9 Cleaned up up rose 5) Reshaped the tuning pegs a bit. 7) I shaped the pegbox a bit so that the outer strings have room to get into the pegbox. They where rather badly turned. This was a bit make-shift: I wound sewing thread around the areas where wood met wood.

13) Refinished the lute. Let me describe the process. The galvanized sheet was a piece large enough to cover the width of the belly/top and about half its length. The sheet metal made it easy to saw-remove the bridge (and cut its height some at the same time) without http://john.html 09/08/2011 . 12) Installed corner reinforcements on the case.com/improvebargainlute. In the future. I used shellac. This is a thin saw with different sized teeth on either edge of the blade and with no ridged support. I also got some tin shears and an inexpensive jointers saw. and drilled an starting hole and snipped the slot out. I drew a square-ish slot.Improving a bargain Pakistani lute Pagina 7 di 9 Small box inside the case 11) Put in some elastic on the interior of the top of the case to hold music. With the strings removed I then placed the sheet on the belly of the lute and using the jointers saw I removed the bridge I then shaped the bridge in the fashion of historical lutes and reglued it to the belly. There is a further modification that I found extremely helpful in making these lute playable. First I went out and bought some flat galvanized sheet . I found I could improve the action of the strings and the look of the bridge with a little work.redmood.. (slightly larger than the size of the current bridge). Full picture of the final product .the type you would use to make heat ducting. I plan to replace the fingerboard..

Note the lowered profile and shape. . Strings above rose.html 09/08/2011 . Note the close height of the strings to the rose. Rear side of the new bridge.redmood. But the results were wonderful. The other lute's action was still too high after lowering the bridge so I had to steam off the end pieces and the back end of the belly and remove material from the bowl and re-glue. The end of the newly shaped bridge. Stringing up resulted in a much better look and action.Improving a bargain Pakistani lute Pagina 8 di 9 damaging the soundboard surface. And there were differences in both.com/improvebargainlute. I have done this to two of these cheap P-Lutes one I made into a seven course by modifying the peg box and neck bowl width. String side of the new bridge.. This I do not recommend that "just anyone" do. rather than steaming off the top I cut a slot in the side rib and did the repair through the hole.. It was the cheap way to go. I don't have a shop or proper luthier tools and did all my work in a studio apartment. The seven course came out with great action but the original manufacturer did not glue the sound bars completely around the middle of the belly and so It developed a nasty buzz when the top vibrated. http://john.

lute pickup FAQ: inside or outside the lute? . .The Lute Beginner web home page .redmood.Lute beginner music and exercises: free tablature downloads to learn by.Lute related web sites http://john.com/improvebargainlute. .how to replace your lute frets: directions on tying new gut frets.html 09/08/2011 .Improving a bargain Pakistani lute Pagina 9 di 9 Other Lute pages at this site: .