Hans de Louter's Cittern Prototype, 1994.

This is a picture of the prototype instrument Hans de Louter made. Originally this was a cittern, which means that it had 10 strings. Hans was not satisfied with the string spacings that resulted, and later converted it to an 8-string (octave mandola ?), and currently plays it himself in his band "Traction Avant", where he also plays the double bass.

Notable differences of this prototype and the later bouzouki design are the headstock, the scale length, the position of the soundhole (closer to the bridge) and the bridge which is closer to the tailpiece than it should be. This way the bridge is off-center too much, and the instrument will be less loud. Invisible, but important, internal difference is the bracing pattern, which also affects the volume, but even more the tone of the instrument. The tailpiece on this instrument is a gold-plated 2-piece mandolin tailpiece, which only accepts loop-end strings.

The shape of this instrument's head is less technically challenging, and was largely dictated by the reduction from 10 to 8 strings; there was not enough wood left to do very fancy things. It is inlaid with his trademark, a script capital letter "L", and a pattern of leaves. Notice also that this one has the neck adjustment in the head, not thru' the soundhole.

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(Modified: Wed Jun 19 19:23pm by han / hspeek@xs4all.nl).