Julian Bream on lutes (taken from Frets magazine 1981):


The stringing and tuning setup of lutes underwent considerable change during the lute's reign of nearly 300 years as the fovorite parlor instrument in Europe. Bream decided onhis setup primarily because it enabled him to play a breadth of different styles of lute music. He explains: "In England, the eight- and the nine-course lute became quite fashionable towards the end of the sixteenth century and the begining of the seventeenth century. The classical lute - the lute of the high Renaissance that Milano used - was a six course instrument. A seventh coarse , originally the low D, was added; but so much music, particularly continental lute music, requires the F on the seventh coarse. So I find that the seventh-course F and the eigth- course D, the instrument serves the needs of a broad range of lute music quite well."


"I would have liked to have a ninth-course. That was the lute Dowland used in the early seventeenth century. I think that would be ideal. Some people advocate ten courses, because for some of the English pieces, and indeed, the French pieces, you need a low C. But then I think the instrument gets a little cumbersome. Not cumbersome to play, necessarily; but the top strings pick up a lot of resonaces and overtones from the the bottom strings, and the treble tends to suffer against all those base strings".


Strings for lutes:
He basically uses a mixture but they are mainly La Bella strings. 


Renaissance Lute 7 course

Thomas Goff, 1951

David Rubio 1968  Lute  - 8 courses  (copy of 17th century lute with eight courses and 14 strings)
The lowest six courses are doubled and the highest two are single strings.
Variation from original period instruments:
-the string length is the same as Bream's guitar
-frets are metal, not gut
-built a little heavier to take the string tension.
-the higher frets on the body have been changed throughout the years as the instrument has been repaired.

From low to high tuning
DD-FF-GG-CC-FF-AA-D-G


-Lute used for the recording of the album Music of Spain, vol. 1 - Plays Milán & Narváez recorded in 1979

Lute -17th-century 10-course

Luc Breton (1987)

Additional picture of the lutes above

Renaissance Lute 8 course
David Rubio, 1968

Luc Breton lute - additional pictures

David Rubio 1967 Lute  - 8 courses  (copy of 17th century lute with eight courses and 14 strings)

The lowest six courses are doubled and the highest two are single strings.

Variation from original period instruments:

-the string length is the same as Bream's guitar

-frets are metal, not gut

-built a little heavier to take the string tension.

-the higher frets on the body have been changed throughout the years as the instrument has been repaired.


From low to high tuning

DD-FF-GG-CC-FF-AA-D-G


-Lute used for the recording of  the album Elizabethan Lute Songs (Julian Bream and Peter Pears) recorded in April 1969.
-Lute used for the recording of  the album The Wood So Wild  recorded in June 30 & July 1,2 1972.
-Lute used for the recording of  the album Concertos for Lute and Orchestra recorded in June 3, 1975.

-Lute used for the recording of  the album Lute Music of John Dowland recorded in April 23-25, 28, 29, 1976.



Luc Breton 1987  Lute - 10-courses  (modern copy of a 17th-century 10-course lute)
The lowest nine courses are doubled and the highest one is single strings.
Variation from original period instruments:
-the string length is the same as Bream's guitar
-frets are metal, not gut
-built a little heavier to take the string tension.
-the higher frets on the body have been changed throughout the years as the instrument has been repaired.

From low to high tuning
CC-DD-FF-GG-CC-FF-AA-DD-G-Lute used for the recording of the album Fantasies, Ayres and Dances recorded in September 2-4, 1987

-Lute used for the recording of the album Two Loves recorded in April 22 and September 20-22, 1988

Lutes:

Lutes owned by Julian Bream while a professional lutenist.

Thomas Goff 1951 Lute  - 7 courses  (copy of 16th century lute with seven courses and 12 strings)
The lowest five courses are doubled and the highest two are single strings.
Variation from original period instruments:
-frets are metal, not gut

From low to high tuning
DD-GG-CC-FF-AA-D-G


-Lute used for the recording of The Golden Age Singers' album Dowland: Ayres for Four Voices, Vol. 2  in 1956.

-Lute used for the recording of the Alfred Deller's album Monteverdi Il Ballo Delle Ingrate recorded in 1957

-Lute used for the recording of the album Elizabethan Lute Songs: vol. 1 of An Anthology of English Song in 1955

-Lute used for the recording of the album Julian Bream Plays Dowland recorded in 1956

-Lute used for the recording of the album A Recital of Lute Songs recorded in 1958

-Lute used for the recording of the album The Golden Age of English Lute Music recorded in 1960

-Lute used for the recording of the album An Evening of Elizabethan Music recorded in 1962

-Lute used for the recording of the album Rodrigo, Vivaldi, Britten recorded in 1963 (selection 4-13)

-Lute used for the recording of the album Julian Bream in Concert recorded in April 1963

-Lute used for the recording of the album Lute Music from the Royal Courts of Europe recorded in April-May 1966

-Lute used for the recording of the album Dances of Dowland recorded in 1967

-Lute used for the recording of the album Sonatas for Lute and Harpsichord recorded in 1969

Renaissance Lute 8 course
David Rubio, 1967

David Rubio lute 1967 - additional pictures

JulianBreamGuitar.com

Thomas Goff lute 1951 - additional pictures