The Frei Lute


Hans Frei was one of the great instrument makers in Italy in the early 1500's.  In his workshop in Bologna he helped to define the form of the lute.   A testament to the enduring quality of his instruments is that no extant Frei lute remains in original condition.  They have all been updated with the passage of time and the fashions of music with new necks to accommodate more strings and new tunings.

This model is based on an instrument by Hans Frei now in the Wein Kunsthistorisches Museum, no. C34. This model has been chosen because it is a very beautiful and comfortable form with a full, bright tone. It is an ideal lute for both beginners and experienced players.

The original instrument, in its present form, is an 11 course instrument for baroque tuning. This is a later adaptation of the instrument, which was probablymade as a six course instrument.  To supply the needs of a variety of players this instrument is offered as a six, seven, eight, nine, and ten course renaissance lute.



 Basic Lute Features:

  • String length 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 course models- 63cm or 64cm
  • Body length - 44cm
  • Body width - 31cm
  • Overall length - 74cm
  • 11 rib cherry wood back
  • Cherry neck
  • Cherry fingerboard with rosewood edges and points
  • Choice of pegs
  • "AAA" Englemann spruce front
  • "A" pattern rose design
  • Rosewood end pin
  • Bone nut
  • Nylon strings with wound nylon basses
  • * The 11 course baroque model has an Ebony veneered neck with an ebony fingerboard

In addition to the instrument described above and pictured, enhancement features can be added to the instrument.

Optional features:

The basic model instrument comes with a good quality engelmann "AAA" quality spruce front. Other qualities of front wood are available as an optional feature. Please click on this link to go to the page that explains all of the front woods available.


  • Western Red Cedar
  • Sitka Spruce
  • Figured Sitka Spruce
  • Italian Alpine Spruce

Back woods available:

  • Figured maple
  • Bird's eye maple
  • Yew
  • Pear wood

Additional, custom features available:

  • Ebony edge binding only
  • Ebony edge binding with ebony heart
  • Ebony edge binding with mother-of-pearl heart
  • Boxwood edge binding with boxwood heart
  • Ebony rib spacers 
  • Gut string set
  • Ebony fingerboard with points
  • Ebony veneered neck
  • Ebony veneered neck with holy stripes



Home             Lutes