Medieval Gittern

4-course gittern

4-course gittern

The gittern was a common medieval instrument. It originated some time in the 13th century, and had largely died out by the end of the 15th century. It resembles a small lute, but its body is carved from the solid. My gitterns are based on a surviving example in the Wartburg museum, by Hans Oth of Nuremberg, dated circa 1450. It is one of my most popular instruments. Few other luthiers are crazy enough to make dugout instruments.

Hans Oth Gittern
Hans Oth Gittern

The Oth gittern is quite small. It has a string length of 340mm, similar to a modern soprano ukulele. It has 5 double-strung courses. Some players find this rather cramped for their hands, so I have also designed a larger version, scaled to 445mm.

I also make a 4-course version, which I believe is more typical of earlier gitterns. This can be made in both original and enlarged sizes.

gittern back
Gittern back - 4-course
gittern pegs
Gittern head - 5-course
gittern rose
Gittern rose

Sound Clips


Played by Ian Pittaway

 


Played by Ian Pittaway

Prices

Medieval Gittern, 4-course, original size (string length 340mm)
£700
Medieval Gittern, late 5-course, original size (string length 340mm)
£750
Medieval Gittern, 4-course, enlarged (string length 445mm)
£800
Medieval Gittern, late 5-course, enlarged (string length 445mm)
£850
 
Cases
Excellent cases can be ordered from specialist manufacturers such as Kingham MTM, but they're pricy. I can supply a simple but attractive plywood case, black with chrome fittings for 150 when ordered with an instrument.
To order or enquire, please contact me
shim