Name: laouto.

Type: Plucked Lute > Chordophone.

Region: Greece > South Eastern Europe.

Specimen: Kritiko Laouto (Cretan Laouto).

Tuning (specimen): Kritiko Laouto G D A E.

Dimensions: Scale Length 65 cm.

Luthier: Dionyssios Matsikas.

Acquisition Date: January 2013.

Acquisition Source: Paul Kikuris @

The laouto [in Greek: λαούτο] or Laghouto is a long necked lute and a member of the cordophone family of stringed instruments. In Greek the name laouto means lute. The laouto is played with a long plectrum now made from flexible plastic held in between the pointer finger, index finger and thumb. While the precise origins of the laouto are unclear, there is a parallel history shared between the laouto and the oud.

Types: The laouto is played in both Mainland Greece and the Greek Islands. In the Mainland the type of laouto played is called a Sterianos laouto it is tuned Cc Gg Dd Aa. Where as in Crete the laouto is referred to as a Kritiko laouto it is tuned Gd Dd Aa Ee. Traditionally the laouto plays an accompanying role to other lead instruments, particularly in Crete where it accompanies the Cretan Lyra. The laouto can be found in other regional ensembles and is also played as a solo instrument.

Construction: Both instruments follow the same construction. The fretting arrangements and tunings do differ. This type of lute is assembled from a staved body, sound board, neck, fingerboard, head stock and bridge. Both laouto�s have tied frets of nylon line as adjustable frets on the neck and fixed frets where the neck joins with the body. The soundboard (kapaki) is assembled by a laborious process of shaping and joining the staves over a ribbed mould.

During the gluing processes the staves are held together by tacks. Wax paper is placed in between the mould and instrument as a means to make it easier for removal. When the body is dried and shaped by the mould it is carefully removed. The staves are selected from multiple different variety of woods, maple, walnut, ebony and rosewood. The soundboard or kapaki is made from European Spruce. A rosette stamped of metal is affixed into the sound hole. A pick guard of walnut applied just behind the sound hole. The bridge is made of ebony.