The student range

Many varieties of the lute family are available from 6crs to 13crs and a student theorbo based on Sellas E547, as seen in the 'Instruments' section on the main website or the lutes in stock page with the cheapest lute starting from £884 (without case, UK only of course). Instruments are based on originals in museums such as Hans Frei  (KHM C34), Hans Burkholtzer (KHM NE48), and the Tieffenbrucker family (KHM C36, etc), with hand carved roses, not generically named models based on composers or periods in music and certainly not with soul-less laser-burnt out roses.

Many varieties of the lute family are available as student lutes or cheaper lutes and not just restricted to one or two models, if your new to the lute then Lynda Sayce, the Lute expert, explains its long and complicated history in the Lute Roadshow seen here on the Lute Roadshow The student range has allowed students and universities who can't afford to own a multiribbed or  expensive decorative instrument to own a hand made lute for less,  providing a suitable alternative to the mass produced generic instruments seen online. Some factory made lutes from Turkey tend to be constructed more like oud's, heavier with oud barring not like the lutes and a basic unauthentic plastic or flat machine cut rose. The student lute range allows you to have a luthier-made instrument at an affordable price, in some cases cheaper than the 'pro' lute range offered by one online retailer. Budding lute players may say they don't care if the body shape and barring is authentic but some have a higher string action which needs remedial work, as commonly remarked about on by lute teachers, makers and online lute shoppers. Conversions are then required costing more money to make a soundboard closer to the original barring as seen here , it needed converting as requested by the owner John Peck, lute teacher. 

Interview with the maker shows the student lute after Tieffenbrucker C36 being played and explains the origins and philosophy behind the range. I originally learnt how to make one at school, with help from teachers and a professional lute maker, inspiring the need for affordable lutes which are enjoyable to play and new audiences to enjoy. If waiting for a lute takes too long then stock is made as seen here a 5 crs Medieval Lute. The student range has been proved popular over the last decade, the range is increased each year such as creation of the student lute-guitar based on Maler listen to it here. It's light-weight, authentic construction, is based on Maler (MI 54), unlike the many heavy instruments commonly found online. It has a 65cm string length, tuned in e' with lute intervals but can be tuned as a guitar too, no string changes just tuning up a semitone to play modern guitar music/ transcriptions,baroque guitar and mandora/gallichon music. You can still play almost all renaissance lute tablature, duets with lute or voice, or tenor in ensemble in lute tuning.

In 2015 the scaled down student Quito Vihuela was created for Richard MacKenzie listen to it here. The savings then can be spent on facsimiles of lute tablature, or lessons with a lute teacher, or a different student instrument. Below are examples of popular models, from top to bottom; Sellas student theorbo E.547 (an invisible folding mechanism option is available), an 11 crs Student lute is available and can be heard here playing a newly discovered manuscript in Ghent and on this Tombeaux CD- A Secular Requiem played by Richard Mackenzie on Spotify, based on Frei C34, the left handed version shown below it is a 13crs bass rider version, 7crs student lute in g' based on Frei C34, 7crs student lute in f' based on Tieffenbrucker C36 (as seen in the Interview with the maker news article), 14crs student chitarrone based on Tieffenbrucker (RCM26):

Hear the Canarios by Kapsberger being played on this theorbo below: 

A Smaller version (79.2cm) of the Sellas theorbo with hardwood English yew ribs can be heard below, apologies for my playing it's not as good as Richard's of course:

Also owned by Richard is the student 11crs Baroque lute after hans Frei seen below:

A left handed version is seen below:

  In figured Ash below:

In English Heartwood Yew (the clasp has some sapwood/creamy white wood)

Here the Student Tieffenbrucker chitarrone here

The student Mandora for those interested in the very late period of the lutes evolution

Back is made of heart and sapwood English Yew/ with some unavoidable knots thus cost less and used for student lutes, but some like that look, hear it being played below by Richard Mackenzie:

An Electric Mandora, commissioned by Chris Hirst, takes the lute to another new level playing Yesterday by the Beatles below:

A contemporary of the Mandora was the 6 course guitar or 'Mozart 'guitar as Richard calls it and here he is playing Brescianello below:

Also playing an ancestor of the classical guitar is the Student (Quito) Vihuela

A Hire lute is available for beginners via the Lute Society Uk (No 48 Hans Frei C34) or musicians/composers to try out new instruments for as long as required, and explore the vast printed resources of tablature for many different types of lutes from renaissance to late baroque. The student lutes are made with less ribs and materials that are  slightly less expensive but this has minimal effect on reducing the overall cost, but the real cost reduction is made by working for less so you can have more and get you on the lute-ladder. Usually such customers have returned to order more instruments. Construction time isn't reduced too much, only by less ribs, simpler rose design but not flat and machine cute, still nice looking like the Hans Frei C34 original rose.It's important your first instrument does not put you off playing altogether string spacings are comfortable, and different sizes of student lutes are available, such as the Frei C34 and the Tieffenbrucker C36, as one size doesn't always fit all. All wood is sourced from specialist suppliers of quality soundboards and quarter-sawn kiln dried woods and eco-friendly bog Oak is encouraged as a suitable black wood replacement for ebony.

The most popular student lute is the 7crs Hans Frei C34 student lute in g' at 61 cm, a comfortable body depth and shape as most have said and 7crs covers most of the Renaissance lute repertoire. There are some 'student lutes' made by oud makers and or very cheap lutes online claiming to be after Hans Frei but these are not the same shape/design as the original instrument in the museum, thus likely not to be authentic barring inside too. 

The Student Chitarrone was created to make the Chitarrone/Theorbo more accessable to existing players who desire to play continuo and solo without spending a small fortune. The cost has been reduced considerably by making the back out of 17 ribs rather than 51! Lutenists such as Alex McCartney have ordered a student Chitarrone and a 10/11crs Frei after, here them at Veterum Musica. The rose is the same as the original, a simpler one can be ordered, and the soundboard has a protective ebony edging as does the extended neck. The fingerboard has the usual student simple join without points. This instrument can be made as a folding theorbo as was the Sellas E547 Student theorbo in 2013, hear here! for Oxford Graduate Lutenist/Scholar  Richard MacKenzie He was the first to order the folding theorbo as well as many of these student lutes, his first was made in 2004, and heard here in the ensemble Mascherata, and often on Renaissance Fm  click!
Other instruments have included a student Mandolino now owned by Lynda Sayce, and a Romantic Terz guitar for Jamie Akers, if you are interested in ordering one of these but is not currently in stock please contact info@jminstruments 

The intention is to get more people playing by offering a wide variety of affordable instruments of different periods and theres plenty of online tablature and digitised manuscripts even for the specialised instruments like the mandora/gallichon via here Explore, enjoy and get playing this lovely music!