Lute, 1596; converted into a guitar, 19th century
Made by Sixtus Rauchwolff
Spruce, ebony, and rosewood; L. 29 1/8 in. (74 cm)
Gift of Joseph W. Drexel, 1889 (89.2.157)
The back of this Renaissance lute is constructed of twenty-five ebony or rosewood ribs with ivory spacers, and its top is Alpine spruce. It was probably originally made for seven or eight courses (pairs) of strings, but in the seventeenth century the neck, bridge, and pegbox were replaced or modified to give the instrument a Baroque configuration. In the nineteenth century, this instrument, like many lutes, was converted to a guitar. The wider Baroque neck was reduced and fixed frets were added, the pegbox was cut down, and a new bridge was fitted.
Sixtus Rauchwolff had an excellent reputation in his day and was a maker of lutes for the prominent Fugger family and the court orchestra in Stuttgart. A label inside the instrument identifies him as the maker and 1596 as the date of the lute. The name of Matthias Hummel, who probably made the Baroque alterations to the instrument, also appears.