Early guitars / vihuelas

Although I’m generally more interested in designing and making modern instruments, I do listen to a lot of early music, and I enjoy the sound and music of the vihuela and early guitars, so in 2016 I decided to start making some early guitar models.
There are already several luthiers making excellent copies of historical instruments, and that isn’t an area that I’m currently interested in working in. My intention is to make high quality players instruments, which are “functionally authentic” in terms of their basic size, shape and sound, but built in a simple and semi-modern way and affordably priced. Aimed at musicians who want to play the renaissance and baroque vihuela and guitar repertoire, but are more interested in having something nicely playable than a 100% authentic replica of a historical instrument.
This is a new area for me, so these are still the early stages of design development, and testing out some basic ideas.

2017 5-course guitar

Trying out some ideas for possible 5-course guitar models: this one has a semi-modernised playing setup, with fixed frets, a bridge with a saddle, and Wittner geared pegs for easier accurate tuning. Otherwise, the design is mostly based on a 17th century guitar. The idea was to make a 5-course guitar which sounds fairly authentic, but which feels more familiar to a modern guitarist: no tied frets on the back of the neck, modern intonation, and geared tuners rather than friction pegs.

top: European spruce
back/sides: black walnut and Rocklite
neck: Douglas fir
fingerboard: Rocklite
tuners: Wittner finetune pegs
finish: shellac

string length: 660mm
neck width at nut: 47mm

2016 5-course guitar

A fun-sized and semi-baroque 5-course guitar.

Top: Sitka spruce
Back/sides: Sapelli (FSC)
Neck: cedrela (FSC)
Fingerboard: Blackwood Tek

string length – 560mm

2016 6-course vihuela

A simple 6-course vihuela. Designed for G tuning, but could also work at E or F

Top: European spruce
Back/sides: English walnut
Neck: cedrela (FSC)
Fingerboard/bridge: plum
Pegs: boxwood

string length – 620mm

2016 4-course guitar

soundboard – european spruce
back/sides – cypress
neck – beech
fingerboard/bridge/binding – plum
pegs/endpin/frets – boxwood

string length – 480mm