Arthur Robb - Luthier
Email art@art-robb.co.uk    Telephone 0044 (0)1666 822945    Mobile 07984 892570
www.art-robb.co.uk

Musical Instrument Price List

to January 2015


Prices for lutes are in UK pounds and include
an excellent quality Kingham mTm case.

Click on any picture to see a larger version.

Lute

A new owner took this
photo of myself and the ten
course lute I made for him in 2003.


   

Twenty-first century lutes are for musicians who wish to play lute music composed from c. 1300 to 1680. Experienced lute players are very particular about using instruments appropriate for a period of music. Since lutes and lute music were around for such a long time, there is a long and changing history of lute making resulting in a wide variety of types of lutes. I have come to specialise in the lutes of the late Renaissance, but I make many other instruments as well. My lutes are based upon existing old instruments, paintings and contemporary evidence.

All my lutes have Swiss pine soundboards and English fruitwood pegs.

Renaissance Lutes - Elegant and Simple - no Decoration - 13 Ribs

6 courses£3140 Lute Lute Lute Lute
7 courses£3175
8 courses£3205
10 courses£3365

To keep cost to a minimum, these lutes have a slightly simplified rose, an oiled finish, no points where the soundboard meets the figerboard, which is English walnut. I chose the materials, using what is available in the workshop, usually English sycamore or cherry. None of these choices will effect the quality of the sound and the lute is very environmentally friendly.

For a varnished finish add £300.

Renaissance Lutes - With Decoration - 13 Ribs

7 courses£3560 Lute Lute Lute Lute
8 courses£3620
10 courses£3755
  

Body of cherry, ash, sycamore, or contrasting sycamore and cherry with a small amount of decoration, lines between ribs, points where the soundboard meets the fingerboard, and a choice of more ornate roses. This design and level of decoration is typical of many old Renaissance lutes.

Renaissance Lutes - 25 Ribs - With Decoration

7 courses£3950 Lute Lute Lute
8 courses £4000
10 courses £4140
  

Two lute bodies made from 25 contrasting pieces of English cherry - light and dark lines between ribs. The neck, made of pine, is veneered with cherry that was used in the body. Again some decoration.

Renaissance Lutes - 35 Ribs - With More Decoration

7 courses£4500 Lute Lute Lute
8 courses£4555
10 courses£4690
  

This lute has 35 yew ribs, Indian rosewood for veneers and fingerboard with darkened plum pegs. The soundboard has a veneered edge and there is an inlaid heart. The back of the neck and pegbox are inlaid with boxwood lines and the pegbox is veneered with indian rosewood and edged with boxwood. The pear bridge is ebonized.

Ten Course Lutes

Ten course lutes are probably more popular today than they were in the 17th century. Two compromises are often made. The first is to increase the string length to about 630mm allowing longer bass strings which have a better tone. This also lowers the pitch of the top string to f'.

The second is to make the neck a bit narrower so that some of the bass strings do not have the fingerboard beneath them. This does not matter as these bass strings are never fretted. The picture on the right illustrates this.

Lute

Baroque Lutes

11 courses Simple£3860
11 courses Decorated£4185

Baroque Lutes with more courses, viheula, early guitars can all be made as custom made instruments.

Custom Made Instruments - examples are shown on the Custom Made Instruments Webpage

I have made many types of musical instrument, classical, electric and steel string guitars, Appalachian dulcimer, octave mandola, psalteries, hammered dulcimer, santur (Persian Hammered dulcimer), Aeolian Harp and more that I can't remember. Prices for these projects vary, but a few guide prices (without cases) are below.

Aeolian harp from £625
Octave Mandola from £1750
Appalchian dulcimer £750, includes excellent quality planetary geared tuning machines.
Custom Acoustic Guitars, from £3500

Recordings

The Right Honourable Ferdinando, Earl of Derby, His Galliard by John Dowland and played by Frances Lickerish on a lute I made in 2006.

Crux Catalyst A modern lute piece written and performed by Antony Lamb and Lief Keane in 1998 and played on a lute I made in 1993. The piece is 11 minutes long and full of electronic trickery, but the only instrument heard is my lute.

General Information

I have been making lutes since 1974 and I like to make them as if I were in the lute making environment of the 16th to 18th centuries. I use good quality materials, hide glue and have studied the old instruments. I do not copy exisiting old lutes but attempt to build instruments which might well have existed and are useful to modern players.

Lute Planing lute ribs Photo by Tim Motion for an article in Country Living magazine - 1990

Lutes, and any other instrument, from my workshop can be made entirely to customers specification. One of the pleasures of having a musical instrument made this way is that many choices are left to the player - tone, woods used, string length, string tension, use of gut or nylon strings, width of the nut, rose design, decoration. The most useful instruments originate from a working partnership between the player and maker.

Soundboards (tops) are made from best quality 'Swiss Pine' (Picea abies). In my opinion, this is the only wood which works for lutes. The tree grows all over Europe, but only in certain localities can it be harvested for musical instrument making. Plantations in the Alps have been in existence for centuries and it is reported that these plantations are being well managed.

For the remainder of the lute, I use native English timber; sycamore, maple, cherry, walnut, ash, apple, pear, plum etc. They are all beautiful woods, relatively inexpensive and locally available. I air dry these woods myself, exactly as the old lute makers would have done.

I don't use much exotic timber (tropical hardwoods). I do not intend to buy any ebony until the source of the timber can be shown to be acceptable by the Forest Stewardship Council. I have enough ebony for three or four fingerboards and will reserve this for professionals. I have more rosewood, enough for quite a few fingerboards and one baroque lute. It seems that rosewood is more scarce than endangered and good Indian rosewood is still available from Indian government auctions. There is no ivory, whalebone or Brazilian rosewood in my instruments, though I did recently use some very old ivory (obtained from a harpsichord restorer) for restoring an English Guittar.

Some of my recent lutes have had a finger boards of Irish bog oak, very black, very hard and nearly 10,000 years old.

In short, my instruments are authentically and responsibly constructed, and very playable.

If you are interested in purchasing one of my lutes, please email or phone:


Email art@art-robb.co.uk
Phone 0044-(0)1666-822945
Mobile 07984 892570

At the moment the waiting list is about fourteen months and I ask a non-refundable deposit of about 15% to confirm an order.