That’s because this is one of those rare “holy-grails” on my fantasy wish list – that just became reality.
A 1792 Renault arch-cistre (arch-cittern) in fantastic original condition. There was a bit of “fate” to acquiring this one…suffice it to say, that the time (and budget) was right.
As HG.net readers may know, this is something I classify as a “false arch-cittern” – meaning that it is descended from/inspired by the guittar (aka English guitar, itself, a sort of “false cittern”).
It may or may not be strung entirely in steel/brass, but I’ve got some more investigation to do regarding strings. What’s on it now represents a previous owner’s idea (solid steel or brass strings), and I doubt it’s accurate. Tuning up a couple for an experimental plunk yields a dry, punchy tone (somewhere between a lute and a banjo). The ribbed back is quite a bit deeper than any lutes, and of course, the strings attach to the end block, not a tie bridge.
Not sure about the woods – the back could be stained maple or sycamore. The rose is parchment and everything else white is ivory (yes, F&W opened this sucker up…but thankfully damaged nothing).
The back of the neck is stamped S. Renault, while the label is Renault & Chatelaine, Paris, dated 1792. That’s twice as old as any Knutsen, and it’s in better condition than the majority of those…
7 courses on the neck (first 4 double), 5 floating. Any cittern buffs out there with more details on this beast, please give me a shout!