Salvage the Lute? Possible project?

I was encouraged to start custom builds and now I remembered something. I have a lute lying around. I ordered it online once and didn’t really intent to play although I expected a bit better quality than I got in the end to be honest. I was too lazy to send it back so now I have an instrument that works as cosplay utensil at best.

So let me ask you guys with more build experience if it is possible to buy gear and upgrade this into a playable instrument. I made pictures and will describe how bad it is and it is really bad.

This is the lute:

Bass guitars for scale:

How the strings are attached/fixed:


Looped through a hole and on the string itself

The tuning pegs are just wood screws with holes in it for the strings:

The fret bars are just attached - something like zip ties it looks and feels like. So some kind of plastic rings:


So does this have to stay a cosplay utensil or can I build an instrument out of it?
@Jamietashi since you are my main source of encouragement for build projects: what do you think? Something possible with this or will it always be garbage?
Anyone else is of course also welcome to chime in.

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Looks like a decent instrument to me… but I build instruments out of junk so take my opinion with a grain of salt. lol

What’s the nut look like? Does it have decent action as is? The frets are probably movable so you can set them to any scale you want (musical scale, not scale length).

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No, you are probably perfect for this. I should have thought of you first!
The nut:


just some plywood (i think? a: unsure about the wood b: about the translation) with crudely cut holes for action. I don’t think it’s even.
In hindsight maybe the worst angle I could have chosen for the picture. Sorry.

The saddle same wood and not even glued on or anything, can move it around or remove it:

It’s impossible to tune it as it is. The tuning pegs won’t hold against a decent tension so that it would be playable.
So I thought maybe get some cheap but decent metal tuning pegs to build in there, pry out the nut and make one myself or maybe buy and cut one off from an acoustic guitar and get a decent saddle.
I think I’d also like something to attach the strings in another way. But maybe I’m too stingy about that.

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The bridge is a floating bridge and isn’t supposed to be glued down (the tension of the strings hold it in place). This allows for intonation adjustment, which is especially handy if you change string gauges.

Both the nut and bridge may need the slots filed slightly deeper to keep the strings from sliding out of place, though usually it is enough to place the string where you want it then tap it lightly with a hammer which will make an indent in the wood to hold the string.

If the tuning pegs and peg holes are well matched then you probably just need some peg dope.

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Cool. Thank you for the information!
Another question I didn’t bother to ask because of the plan described above and the thought of turning it into a bit of a guitar or maybe ukulele in the course of customizing it: I’ve never seen those kind of strings so I don’t know how to replace them. The are incredibly thin/low gauge. Any suggestions?

Also the initial setup confused me and you may have an idea what it’s supossed to be. The strings were close together so you had to fret them together in 2-2-3 pairs and one triplet (low to high, the highest strings as triplets). Of course I can tune it whatever but if you have a reference what it might be I would be very interested.

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@juli0r I was going to suggest @Korrigan as someone would see potential.
Jamie

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Ah, ok, I just noticed that it’s 7 string, I originally thought it was 6 string and that one of the strings had slipped from the nut and bridge.

So what you have there is a Turkish baglama. The most common tunings seem to be GDA or AGD, but many tunings are used.

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You are amazing!
Thank you so much for all your help. Consider yourself hugged (if you like).

No problem @juli0r. :slight_smile:

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why not a one string fretless bass ? the neck looks so narrow !

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A friend used to play a one string self-made bass as a gimmick. It was made out of a broom and he called it the “Broom of Doom” :laughing:

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I’ll leave it as it is and just try to make a playable instrument out of it.
If I don’t like the result a one string bass might be an option as alternative so thanks for the suggestion.

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Come oooooooon, @juli0r

:grin:

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YES !

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Wow :sweat_smile:
Here’s another showcasing of strange gear…


… and they’re Danes :wink:
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Yeah, I had seen these before… the one with the headstock and body reversed throws me off every time :crazy_face:

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Um, no.
:laughing:

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Hey there @juli0r, seems @Korrigan got here way before me about correct identification and the specifications of the instrument. Never played it but it is definitely a part of my culture :smiley:

This video here is explaining how to change the tuning pegs. The video is in Turkish but what he does is super obvious so thought it might help!

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Cool! I am on my way to the music store so I hope I get through the video before I arrive in case I actually want to pick up some pegs anyway.

But first I’ll have a look into the translation of the powder that kerrigan was talking about. I hope the shop has it in stock.

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Oh absolutely YES :slight_smile:

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