Orlando Lutes: Eric Mcleod Lute Refurbishment

Refurbishment of 8 course lute by Eric Mcleod

This 8 course renaissance lute had been donated to The Lute Society for their hire fleet. This instrument had been built in the 1980s and needed considerable refurbishment to bring it up to a playable condition. Problems to be fixed included:

  • Replacement of fixed frets with gut frets
  • Neck reshaping to have a better left hand spacing
  • New soundboard with correct thicknessing and tuning to greatly improve its sound
  • New pegs and pegbox to fit reshaped neck
  • Setting the action for playability and comfort
  • Replacement of heavy bridge with correct lightweight design

Refurbishment photos

Here are some photos detailing the refurbishment process.

Original Lute, showing wide neck and overall construction

Fixed frets and fingerboard

Heavy Bridge

From front

Original heavy looking pegbox, with a couple of odd man out pegs

Original rose, cut in thick cedar soundboard

The original soundboard was attached with synthetic glue and lots of guitar style reinforcement so removal was tricky. Anyway it was not going to be kept!

Underside of original soundboard showing heavy barring

Original rosewood fingerboard removed, and neck trimmed to a better shape

A new soundboard was made of alpine spruce (picea abies). The soundboard was thicknessed and tuned according to historical principles.

New pegbox made from sycamore and mahogany to match the neck and ribs

Pegbox attached prior to fitting the new soundboard and ebony fingerboard

New ebony fingerboard - fitting the "beards" into the soundboard

New pegs, showing different stages of turning and finishing

Pegs fitted with new strings and nut

New bridge - a correct lightweight historic design, carved in plumwood

New gut frets and body frets in ebony

The French Polish on the back of the instrument was freshened up to bring out the natural beauty of the wood.

Closeup of the new rose

Final instrument ready to be loved and played. It now has a dark resonant sound with plenty of character.

In its new case, ready to go back to The Lute Society

Contact us if you have a lute that needs refurbishing or some TLC.