Orlando Lutes: Renaissance Lutes

Renaissance Lutes

The renaissance repetoire for the lute undoubtably includes some of the best loved music the lute has to offer. Many people discover the lute through adaptations for the guitar, or via the many excellent recordings that are now available.

Although almost all renaissance lute music can be played on a seven or eight course instrument, it is generally considered that the six course instrument is distinct and best suited to the earlier repetoire.

Orlando Lutes offers two instruments, designed to capture the heart of historic renaissance lute design, providing a classical sound and feel under the fingers.

We focus on the sound quality and playability, and keep the price affordable by not using too much exotic materials, excessive decoration or a plethora of options.

Materials and construction

All our instruments are of our own design, constructed along traditional lines, informed by historical models such as Venere, Hieber and Gerle. Important material choices are:

  • Each soundboard is made of alpine spruce (picea abies) individually thicknessed and voiced.
  • Bridge made of pear or plum
  • Fingerboard of ebony or box
  • Only natural glue (hide glue) is used in our instruments
  • Normally we string our instruments in Nylgut, although nylon or gut can also be chosen as an option

As an alternative to ebony, less threatened tropical hardwoods are available - such as Curacao de Negro, which is a striking alternative for use on fingerboards.

Six course lute

Our six course lute would be an ideal instrument for playing the early Italian or German repetoire, such as Milano or Neusidler. Normally this instrument would be octave-strung in the 5th and 6th courses, and optionally the 4th course.

Available as string length 60cm G or 63cm F

Seven or eight course lute

Our seven or eight course lute is a more flexible instrument and would be ideally suited to playing the later repetoire, including much of Dowland and his English contemporaries. You can also play earlier repetoire on this instrument if desired.

Available octave strung or in unisons.

Available as string length 60cm G or 63cm F/F#


Nine or ten course lute

Based on the same mold used for the 63cm lutes in F#, I offer a 9 or 10 course lute. This has a string length of 67cm due to the 9 frets on the fingerboard. Please contact me to discuss details.


Photos of some recently delivered renaissance lute are in the gallery.


Our prices do not include a case, however we are pleased to offer an affordable case to protect your lute. Alternatively, the Kingham MTM cases are more expensive but highly recommended. We will not ship a lute without a case, but you can collect it in person.


Renaissance lutes are the lutes I'm best known for. Particular attention is paid during construction to ensure good tone quality and the perfect setup.

Feel free to get in touch if you have any specific or custom requirements.

My standard, most requested models are listed below, other models are available on discussion. The actual price will depend on the extent of decorative details and use of exotic timbers etc.

Type Detail Price

6 course renaissance lute

Model after Hieber, in G (60cm).

from £2400

7 or 8 course renaissance lute

Model after Hieber, in G (60cm),
or after Venere in F# (63cm).

from £2500

Prices do not include shipping or case.


The following additional options can be chosen. Feel free to get in touch to discuss your requirements:

  • Gut strings
  • Oil varnish
  • Highly decorated/historic rose
  • Ebony detailing (bridge cap, soundboad edging, fingerboard points/beards)