In the 16th century, the Spanish musicians developed a unique form of guitar for playing polyphonic music resulting in a six-course waisted instrument played with a bow, a quill, or the fingers. The type that seems to have been most common, or at least the form that suits the surviving music, is the vihuela intended for playing with the fingers.
Three historical examples survive for us to examine, but none of these are common forms that are represented in the iconography of the period.
Therefore, I have chosen to base this design reconstruction on paintings and illustrations of vihuelas of the 16th century. Some constructional details from the few surviving vihuelas have are included in the model, as well as features found in early Italian guitars.
Our version of the Spanish vihuela has six double courses, (the first course is most commonly strung with a single string these days), with a flat, figured maple back and sides and a mahogany neck and head. The front is an AAA Engelmann spruce that is at least twelve years old with a three-layer wooden inset rose. The fingerboard and head plate are made of ebony along with ebony edge binding around the front. You have a choice of either ebony or boxwood for the pegs as well as an option for mechanical PegHeds, if you would like to use those. The strings that come standard on the instrument are synthetic, nylon, fluorocarbon with a wound nylon G-6 course, and there is an option for a set of gut strings. The gut string set includes unison double courses for all string positions.
Basic instrument features:
- Back: Figured mape
- Sides: Figured maple
- Front: AAA Englemann spruce with inset rosette
- Neck: Mahogany
- Fingerboard: Ebony with points
- Head: mahogany with ebony head plate
- Pegs: Ebony
- Strap button: Ebony
- Strings: Nylon
- Nut: Bone
You can order the instrument package here in the web store. We do require a 30% deposit on instruments, and when you put the instrument in the shopping cart this 30% will be calculated for checkout. When we get the order in the office, we will be in contact with you with the specifics about when the instrument will be delivered. Instruments currently take eight to ten months for delivery.
Instrument package includes:
- One year membership in the Lute Society of America
- One year warranty
Shipping will be added on to the price of the instrument and calculated for the transit between Duluth, MN and your location. Packing and insurance will be added to the shipping charge.
Please see the Terms of Sale/Shipping page for more information about deposits, warranties and shipping..
2 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews
I have only had the instrument for a week - but what a week! The instrument settled quickly following it's journey from the USA to England and retains it's tuning brilliantly. The gut strings are good quality and the intonation excellent. The build quality is excellent. It's a big learning curve for me approaching the vihuela as a guitarist but very rewarding. I will make some recordings as soon as I feel settled!
It's a little hard to review something in advance, but I'm sure it will be great when it arrives.