Christophe Rocher

Guitarist and lutenist, France
Liuto forte in e, swan neck lute in d

I have a Liuto forte in e (guitar tune, 10 single strings) and another in d (baroque tune, 15 single strings), I’m waiting for an Arciliuto forte in g, and plan to order a Tiorba forte.

The Liuto forte are high-level instruments. The manufacture is irreproachable, down to the smallest detail. Aesthetic, balance of shapes, proportions and volumes … a feast for the eyes.

The approach of these instruments is natural for the guitarist and/or the lutenist. The « action » of the strings is ideal, the length of strings on demand, the tension of strings medium … that gives an immediate comfort of play, instinctive. Michael Haaser, who made my instruments is a lute maker of the highest level.

But what is trully exciting is the sound! Powerful without effort, rich in harmonics, clear and warm, perfectly balanced from high notes to deep basses, with a pleasant sustain. Intonation (metal frets) is perfect. For a modest additional cost, I opted for mechanical pegs: precise, reliable and maintenance free, they make tuning fast and easy. A new sound, therefore, with its own personality, endearing, and convincing for the audience, even « untrained » in terms of classical guitar and lute musics.

For an old guitarist like me (Friederich, lefthanded) and young lutenist (copies of historical instruments) refusing to choose between guitar and lutes, the Liuto forte is the « missing link ». Forgotten, the dilemma of playing with or without nails, tensions strings too different … in short : this uncomfortable gap for who wants to practice both seriously.

Of course, perhaps some purist guitarists, or some lutenists attached to the courses of historical lutes, will say : „It does not sound quite like a guitar“, „It does not sound quite like a lute“. Yes, it’s true, but it’s not the goal! The Liuto forte is not intended to replace these irreplaceable instruments, or imitate them. Each has their role to play in the current musical universe.

The Liuto forte is a new instrument that has the future in front of it. It corresponds to current evolution in the practice of plucked strings instruments. Because the repertoire of the guitar and that of the early instruments are now reconciliable on the same instrument, with the same technique of play, without reducing arrangements, and retaining (or sublimating) their authenticity. The new possibilities of Liuto forte in terms of ambitus and basses accessibility will inspire the composers.

The Liuto forte team is simply up to the instruments it offers. Available, benevolent, hyper-reactive. André Burguete is passionate as all inventors, with a unique musicological and historical erudition. He listens to you, gives you relevant advice. You are not a customer to convince, but a musician whose desires are really taken into account. Each question, even the most naive, will receive its clear, complete, well-argued answer.

So, „The best of guitar and best of lute together in the same instrument?“

I don’t like these shortcuts, but in these case, it’s a good summary. Considering my criteria and my expectations, I would say that the Liuti forti are the best instruments that I have been able to play, and that they go beyond what I was hoping for.