Vihuela de mano by Patrick Degreve

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Patrick DeGreve
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Vihuela de mano by Patrick Degreve

Post by Patrick DeGreve »

My younger brother Marty is a classical guitarist. About a year ago I built him a Baroque Guitar. He came to me last summer and asked me to build him a Vihuela de mano. As it turned out we couldn't find any blueprints for a vihuela de mano. There are only three known existing historic Vihuela de manos left, and they are each very different in size, scale length, docoration, and materials. We both did some research, and found a few builders that make vihuelas, and compared them. Marty also did some research on the vihuela music, and I found some art from the period that show vihuelas. In the end I left it to Marty to give me the specifications for the instrument, and I came up with the decoration.
We made the scale length 59 cm. The width at the nut is 50 mm. the body length is 39.5 cm. The neck length is 27.4 cm. The soundboard is Western Red Cedar, The sides are Bubinga, and the back is Bubinga and maple. It has tied nilegut frets, and friction pegs. The strings are Nilegut vihuela strings. The neck is walnut, maple, and mahogany.
Marty came over last week and we tied on the frets, and set up the instrument. This took longer than I thought it would, so we didn't finish until about 11 pm. When I went to take pictures my battery died after just a few shots. Marty is going to bring the vihuela back next week, so I hope to have more pictures. Marty is very happy with the vihuela, He has already added a few songs to his list, using the Vihuela.
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Vihuela1.jpg
Vihuela.jpg

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Hans Bezemer
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Re: Vihuela de mano by Patrick Degreve

Post by Hans Bezemer »

That's a beautiful instrument you made.
How is it tuned? Did you use gut or nylon strings?

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Patrick DeGreve
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Re: Vihuela de mano by Patrick Degreve

Post by Patrick DeGreve »

Hi Hans, It is tuned like a 12 string guitar,(in octaves) but what would be the G strings are F#. We used Nilegut strings, which are supposed toe be nylon made to have the tension, and tone of gut strings. Marty may try gut strings at some time, but for now he is very happy with the nilegut.

Steve Senseney
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Re: Vihuela de mano by Patrick Degreve

Post by Steve Senseney »

I like it. Looks very nice.

Robert Russell
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Re: Vihuela de mano by Patrick Degreve

Post by Robert Russell »

That looks like a wonderful little instrument Patrick.

I am curious what the bracing pattern you used for it?

Would love to hear a sound clip of it.

Cheers,
Bob

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Patrick DeGreve
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Re: Vihuela de mano by Patrick Degreve

Post by Patrick DeGreve »

Hi Robert, I wasn't sure what bracing I was going to use, but decided to have three very light fan braces. The baroque guitar I built from the R. E. Brune plans was just a little bit smaller, and had no braces, but I felt that this vihuela, being a bit wider in the lower bout needed something. I was worried about over bracing the top, and kept them about 1/8 in. wide, and about 1/4 in. tall. I am at work now but when I get home I will post a picture of the braces. My brother is going to come up to my house next week and we will record a piece and post it. I like the tone of the instrument very much for a small instrument.

Jason Rodgers
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Re: Vihuela de mano by Patrick Degreve

Post by Jason Rodgers »

Good work, Patrick! Lots of interesting things going on with this guitar ancestor.

It looks like the bridge is an evolutionary step forward from the lute: an actual saddle in front of the tie block. Was this a feature that was found in the period paintings, or on the Brune plans?

I would have expected something like this to have ladder bracing, but it sounds like you made the right choice with the fans. I bet this design, along with the WRC, warms up the sound a bit more than you'd expect from this type of instrument.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

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