Solution to Wavering Cleartune Needle on iPhone

After one of the IOS updates of Cleartune, I noticed that it became more difficult to get the needle to stop wavering even though I have it set to maximum damping. Recently, however, I discovered that the secret to a quiet needle was plucking ponticello, i.e., closer to the bridge.

Fred Reinagel’s Double Your Pleasure—or Double Trouble?

My thanks to Fred Reinagel, the inventor of the beloved VioLab tuner, for sending me his essay on double frets on the viol. I highly recommend this paper particularly for viol players as it furnishes much more detail on double frets than I was able to provide in the book. Additionally, it provides a succinct, clear, and accurate explanation of meantone temperaments with recommendations specifically geared toward consort tuning. You can access it here: Double Your Pleasure—or Double Trouble?.

Audio Files

It’s come to my attention that the audio files on the IUP website can be somewhat cumbersome to use. If you are having difficulties with them, please send an e-mail message to, and I can send you a zip file with the original files so that you can use them more easily on your computer.

How to deal with mi at the 1st fret

When you’re playing a piece in G Major on a lute in G, you usually only need mis at the 1st fret. A good example of this would be “John Come Kiss Me Now” from the ML Lute Book. In such cases, to avoid having to use a tastino on the 4th and 5th courses you might want to slide your 1st fret down to the mi position, but it’s going to be too loose to be effective. I’ve found that if I tape the 1st fret into place on the back of the neck, it’s usually snug enough. I keep a length of scotch tape stuck to the back of the pegbox so that when I need the 1st fret only as a mi when I’m playing in a context in which there are no instances where I need a mi at a predominantly fa 1st fret, such as when you’re in G Minoir, it takes me just a second to tape it into place.

Glued on Frets

Years ago during our lessons, Paul O’Dette recommended that I attach my tastini with glue as he did, but I resisted because when I would change the tastini for whatever reason (new temperament, new string, etc.), I would make a mess of it. Recently, however, Grant Tomlinson showed me how to easily remove a glued on fret or tastino with a very thin palette knife such as the one pictured on your left. This led me to adapt Paul’s approach, and now I am much happier with the glued on tastini than the taped on tastini I recommended in the book. They are more secure and look better without the little icky feeling you get when your fingers touch the tape or that faint crinkling sound you hear if the tape isn’t completely flush.

Here’s how it looks on my theorbo.  Much nicer, don’t you think?