Although similar in appearance to the 5 course Baroque, the 4 course Renaissance guitar was a distinctively separate instrument enjoying its own repertoire ~ written for most notably by the likes of Giullaume Morlaye and Adrian Le Roy. An instrument favoured in Italy from the end of the 15th century, the viola da mano has the appearance of a small guitar and is tuned the same as a lute. In the absence of surviving examples, I have designed this instrument from the contemporary iconography and literary descriptions which are extant. Very similar to viola da mano in form and tuning, vihuela was the name favoured by the Spanish for this instrument. Evidence suggests that perhaps the main difference was a flat peghead with tuning pegs inserted from the back ~ instead of laterally into a hollowed out pegbox, which was the Italian style of the viola da mano. However, both names refer essentially to the same instrument ~ being generic terms for all stringed instruments in their respective languages.

5 course guitars developed from instruments chiefly made popular by the Spanish, who always seem to have favoured guitars over lutes, from around 1550 onwards. After 1600 these instruments appear to have gained wider appeal across Europe. The majority of surviving originals are by French and Italian makers.

Renaissance 4 Course Based primarily on the late 16th century Diaz instrument in the Royal College of Music, London. The original has a vaulted back.
String length: 56cm for a pitch of a' (g,c,e',a') ~ Juan Bermudo's tuning of 1555.
flat back ~ from £2000
vaulted back ~ from £2400
Viola da Mano/
6 Course Based on iconographical sources. String length 60cm
Click on pictures for more information
.......flat back ~ from £2550
vaulted back ~ from £3000
Baroque 5 Course After Stradivari. String length 65cm. Incorporating features of two Stradivari instruments in the Ashmolean museum, Oxford and the Shrine to Music museum, Vermillion USA.
flat back ~ from
After Jean Voboam, Paris, c.1680
flat back ~ from
After Matteo Sellas, Venice, 1614. String length 68cm.
vaulted back ~ from
The above instruments are all offered with sound hole decoration (rose) as standard.

Cases are available on request and prices will vary according to instrument.