Instruments For Sale:
Lutes and Guitars made by Clive Titmuss
The vihuela is an ideal instrument for anyone interested in expanding into the early literature of the guitar. All of the vihuela literature and any six-course lute music may be played on it. Its ergonomics and ease of playing in higher positions make it an excellent alternative to the lute. It has a large and fascinating repertoire of intricate and expressive Spanish and Italian music.
I have refined this design over more than twenty instruments. It makes for an instrument which is ideal for the guitarist who is attracted to the Renaissance literature, but may have reservations about the complications of the lute. All of the vihuela literature and any six-course lute music may be played on it. In some respects, such as the ergonomics and intonation of playing in higher positions, I feel it's clearly superior to the lute.
The sides and backs are steamed Swiss pearwood, a stable timber which may be planed thinly. The pegs are plum-wood, recommended by Thomas Mace in Musick's Monument as the best material for pegs. Plum polishes beautifully and retains its round shape in humid and dry weather. It's just soft enough to fit the peg hole perfectly. The pegs have a small diameter, assisting in tuning sensitivity. The stringing is entirely carbon fibre, which contributes greatly to the the tuning stablility and intonation.
The head is German-jointed to the neck (with a triangular projection seen in the photo detail) allowing the neck to be thinner, and the head to be thicker, thus improving the peg torque. This joint is difficult to execute, but worth the effort because of its superior strength. The quarter-sawn walnut heads are veneered in Koa and inlaid with tiles. The soundboards are either stunning old-growth Port Orford cedar (cypress), or spruce. I have left the tops rather thicker than a lute belly, partly because of the inlays, and partly because they have very few bars. This results in an extroverted sound, which is typical of the guitar.
The soundboards have parquetry ebony/hornbeam/pear tiles, with accents of abalone and rosewood around the bridge. Three larger tiles on the upper bouts and in front of the bridge are a Maltese Cross design. The fingerboards are macassar ebony, quarter-sawn to reveal the coloured grain which matches the pearwood body.
A new feature is a tatted rose by Susan Adams. Tatting is a beautiful form of fine-gauge needle lace. Fine lace was a long-standing tradition in the Iberian peninsula. The rose is stiffened with glue sizing, lashed to a ring and installed below the sound hole. The rosette is surrounded with ebony and holly tile inlays that reflect the points of the compass, a reference to the age of exploration.
The vihuela's stability and robust construction make it an excellent and lively instrument; the decorative elements make it a desirable and distinguished object.
It comes with a baltic birch fitted, lined, painted and varnished case with brass locking hardware.
Dimensions: all dimensions are approximate
Sounding String Length: 630 mm (with 2 mm compensation for the string knot in the bass)
Neck width at head nut: 55 mm (about 4.5 mm avg. clearance from the string band treble and bass)
Body length: 440 mm
Body width: 265 (upper bout), 245 (waist), bottom bout (303)
Body depth: avg. 75 (crowned at about 1/3 of the body length, near the bridge)
Length from body end to nut, excluding head: 720
“I have personally made and played this instrument consistent with the need to be sure it is in excellent playing condition. No other player has touched or used the instrument other than the maker. There may be small finger-marks or slight changes to string position on the nut or bridge, slight marks made by tying frets, or slight indentations in the soundboard made during adjustment. The instrument will be finely hand polished and immediately playable. These instruments have historically proper finishes--wax and shellac, so there is no thick varnish or coating to prevent tiny blemishes. I do not use sandpaper, so there may be tiny scraper marks. These are barely perceptible and entirely in the tradition of historical instrument making.”
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11-course baroque lute after Pietro Raillich, 164?
String length: 618 mm
Body width: 341mm
Body depth: 130 mm
String spacing at bridge: 14.5 mm on centre
Pietro Raillich was a German craftsman working in Venice. This instrument is modelled on one of the finest preserved from the 17th century, currently housed in Nuremberg. The characteristic shape is a manifestation of the the movement known as Mannerism, in which the rectilinear geometry of the previous era was convoluted into oval and curvilinear shapes.
The back is extremely flattened, while the profile is extremely broad for the string length. The original instrument was made from rosewood, but my copy is shaded yew with ebony fillets. I added a floral marquetry pegbox veneer, and gilded the rose in honor of Ennemond Gaultier's "Loss of the Golden Rose Lute" and "Le Roze d' Or." This characteristic shape can be seen in instruments depicted in Denis Gaultier's "Rhetorique des Dieux".
It's intended to be a vehicle for the music of Dufaut, Mesangeau, Pinel, and the transitional tunings of the mid-17th century. The wide string spacing of the bridge facilitates the hopping motion of the thumb in the bass courses which is featured in the early French style. The lute is also excellent for later German composers such as Reusner, Bittner, Logy--even Weiss and Bach.
The neck is veneered with stunning quartered Brazilian rosewood, and the pegbox is triple laminated with rosewood and holly. The pegs are boxwood; the bridge is pear with an ebony veneer; two turned ivory buttons complete the decor. The stringing is all-gut with pistoy and gimped basses by Dan Larson. The fitted and lined case in included.
Only the best materials were used to make the instrument.
This lute was made in 1998 and I recorded Reusner suites in C and F minor found on this site with it. I recommend that a serious buyer should listen to all these pieces to asses the sound and musical potential. A substantial essay and photos, as well as a short sound sample are found elsewhere on this site at
Raillich 11-course baroque lute...........6500 CAD.
13-course lute after 18th century German models, made 2009
I designed this lute to play the music of Weiss and Bach after models by Sebastian Schelle and Johann Christian Hoffman. It has a slightly condensed body depth and slightly greater string length, with a rose by Schelle (thanks to O. Wadsworth).
I re-designed the pegbox to resist the deformation which is commonly seen on these "aufsatz" lutes by laminating ebony and holly in a single piece construction from which the pegbox side is then sawn, re-inforced with an ebony stanchion, carved in tree-leaf motif. I also changed the nut design to have a more gradual slope to accomodate the stiff KF harp strings which I prefer to overspun. They sound much closer to gut-core basses than the conventional overspun strings now common on baroque lutes. They don't overwhelm the upper courses and they have wonderful tuning stability. The highest three courses are gut. It's a better overall balance, more like an 11-course lute, minimizing the need for elaborate damping techniques. They are widely spaced, making the lute easier to play and to control.
This lute has 11 frets to the body, and 14 frets total, for the playing of Bach's violin solos (see my Tablatures). The 9 rib back is made from very high quality European maple, highly figured and undyed. The top is a superb quality piece of Black Forest spruce. The pegs are copied from Hofmann, made from lilac wood (Magnolia spp.), a beautiful and rare wood for pegs. The neck is veneered in quarter-sawn rosewood.
There is a substantial moulded ebony binding applied to the side which allows for playing at a table, and much less stress on the righ forearm.
It comes with a fitted, lined, re-inforced case made from Baltic birch with brass hardware.
It's certainly one of the finest lutes I have ever made. Fortunately, I made two.
Click to Download Demo 1
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Click to Download Demo 2
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German model 13-course Baroque Lute.....9500 CAD
This instrument is sold to an early music lover in Miami.
Six string Classical Period Guitar after Panormo
This instrument is a near copy of a guitar whose maker was declared by Fernando Sor, the father of the classical guitar, to be his personal favourite: Louis Panormo.
I created it after playing the original for a number of months and making an accurate drawing in 1987. I also included some interior details after Grobert, who made a guitar for Paganini which was later owned by Berlioz.
For this guitar there are accurate details including ivory frets (recycled from piano keyboards), and ebony pegs, fingerboard, bindings and head veneer. The principal timber is German figured maple for the sides and back.
The guitar has a pin bridge and gut strings. It is therefore perfect for playing any composer of the period, and there are many: Carcassi, Carulli, Giuliani, Sor himself, Legnani, Molino and others.
The guitar comes with a fitted upholstered heavy-duty case with brass locking hardware.
Panormo Classical Guitar.....8500 CAD