Hans Burkholtzer Lute: 11 Rib Back

The original instrument was made by Hans Burkholtzer in Füssen in 1596 and is now in the Vienna Kunsthisorisches Museum, item number SAM 44. It began life as a seven or eight-course instrument, and there is a label inside which indicates that by Thomas Edlinger of Prague converted it to eleven courses was in 1705. At some date after 1719 the bass rider was added by an unknown craftsman to make a thirteen-course instrument.

The original instrument was probably converted into an eleven-course lute sometime in the 17th century and then changed again into a thirteen-course lute in the 1720s. Therefore, we offer this instrument in both the eleven course and thirteen-course set-ups. 

The back of the original instrument has twenty-one ribs with spacers. To provide a less expensive model, I have redesigned the body with eleven ribs. This version retains the unique flattened shape of the original form and therefore the characteristic deep and projective tone that makes this instrument such a popular choice for Baroque music.


This model is a basic model with either eleven or thirteen courses, and with a variety of string lengths. There are also a variety of options available to dress the instrument up and personalize it to your tastes. The basic model consists of:



  • Back: 11 ribs, wood of choice with ebony spacers
  • Front: AAA Engelmann spruce
  • Hand cut rose modeled on the original
  • Decorative carving around rose
  • Spruce neck core with ebony veneer
  • Ebony fingerboard, with points
  • Head: maple rails with ebony trim
  • Solid ebony head back plate (Decorative head back plate is optional)
  • Pegs: Ebony, rosewood or boxwood
  • End button: Ebony, rosewood or boxwood
  • Bone nut
  • Maple bass rider with ebony lining
  • Maple chanterelle rider
  • Nylon top strings and octaves with wound nylon basses
  • Maple bridge with ebony top plate
  • Ebony outlined mother of pearl heart at bottom of front
  • Ebony front edge half binding

String length:

70.5cm (as on the original instrument)




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