|Lourebach Renaissance Guitarino Designed by Zachary Taylor. Also known as guitarra, guiterne, machete, braguinha, guitarino (this is the designer's Anglicization of 'chittarino'), or any other of several possible names by which this family of instruments was known in the past. In fact, it is one of the smallest and also one of the earliest of the guitar family. It made its appearance mid-16th century when several respected composers wrote for it.
Few examples survive and one made by Giovanni Smit in 1646 may be seen in the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna. This delightful guitarino was chosen by Zachary Taylor as the basis of his design;
Some features of the original instrument were changed for various practical reasons. For example, the Smit has an arched back made of separate strips, similar to the lute, but this was replaced with a flat back to reduce production time. Separate strips were retained for the sake of decoration. Some of the cosmetic ornaments were also excluded as contributing nothing to the sound or its playability and adding unnecessary cost.
Other considerations included the frets, originally of gut, which were tied around the neck. Tied frets, whilst representing a strong reference to the original instrument, are sometimes troublesome and they wear out. Replacement may present problems to an inexperienced player and changes in humidity, temperature and clumsy handling can cause changes in the fret location. For these reasons it was felt desirable by the designer, the maker and the dealers to fit metal frets as a standard feature. Customers who prefer the more traditional tied frets may request them to be fitted when an order is placed.
The word 'course', when referring to a stringed instrument, means usually more than one single string. A course is usually two strings, but may be three on certain instruments. A common modern example may be seen in the mandolin and bouzouki. On the guitarino, two strings in a course may be tuned in unison or in octaves. Where octaves are used for the lower strings, it is most usual to have one of the strings tuned an octave higher than the normal, fundamental, string.
There is a lot of information available about the tuning of the Renaissance guitar but it was decided to offer this instrument with its pairs tuned in unison. Interestingly, near the end of the 19th century, the Portuguese took with them to Hawaii, the braguinha, where it was swiftly absorbed into the folkloric culture. The local musicians called it ukulele or 'jumping flea' in Hawaiian. It is perfectly feasible to play ukulele music on the four-course Renaissance guitar and vice-versa!
The Guitarino comes strung with the Roosebeck 4-Course Renaissance String Set with the recommended tuning being G3 G3 C4 C4 E4 E4 A4 A4 (gg c'c' e'e' a'a'). Each instrument is carefully set up for optimum action (string height): between 0.5-0.7mm at the 1st fret for all strings; 3.0-3.5mm at the 10th fret for the 1st course; and 3.5-4.0mm at the 10th fret for the 4th course. Each Guitarino comes with a Roosebeck Guitarino Hard Case which provides exceptional protection for your instrument. This case features a rugged, faux leather exterior, plush cushioned interior, and a locking fastener. The Roosebeck Guitarino Hard Case may be purchased separately.
Back: Walnut & Maple
Head Stock Plate, Fretboard and Bridge: Rosewood
Soundboard Bracing: Spruce
Nut: Buffalo Bone
Scale Length: 425mm
Overall dimensions: 635mm length, 155mm width, and 62mm depth
Fretboard Width: 38mm at the 1st fret and 41mm at the 8th fret
Weight: Approximately .43 kg or .95 pounds.
It is very important that the instrument is stored in a humidity controlled environment, especially where the relative humidity is less than 50%. A Case Humidifier (Item Code OH-6) is a great way to protect your investment. It may be necessary to re-oil the fretboard every few months with Lemon Oil (Item Code PW-LMN). A Pick Guard (Item Codes SS-1P-C and SS-2P-C) is not included, but, may be added for additional protection.