Lute Rental Program


There has been a dramatic increase in interest in lute rentals since the beginning of the pandemic, and we anticipate that once we've processed our current backlog of applications, there will be a shortage of Renaissance lutes, in addition to the current waitlists for theorbos and 13-course Baroque lutes. If you would like to rent an instrument, or join a waitlist for one, please fill out our Lute Rental Application Form, and somebody will get back to you as soon as possible about availability!  Please check this page for any necessary updates. Thank you for your patience!  We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, and we look forward to helping you soon! 


We expect to be able to continue shipping instruments during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and we will do our best to do so. However, significant delays can result if the Shipper/Care-taker lives in an area under a shelter-in-place order. We cannot expect that person to defy such an order, nor should we ask. We will stay in touch with you, and we ask that you also stay in touch with us if this affects returning an instrument.

 If you are concerned about the safety of receiving shipped packages, we offer the following information:

1. The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could survive on cardboard for up to 24 hours. In light of that possibility, the CDC looked at previous coronaviruses and concluded, “In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures.”

2. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes,” the CDC says, “but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

3. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says, similarly, in its guide to control and prevention, “At this time, there is no evidence that the COVID-19 is spread through environmental exposures, such as coming into contact with contaminated surfaces.”

4. As for the delivery services themselves:  UPS guidelines require that "if a UPS employee experiences symptoms such as fever or respiratory infection, they are required to seek medical treatment immediately.” If you want to limit contact with the delivery person, you can use UPS My Choice for free, once you receive the tracking number, to leave instructions on your deliveries.

5. And finally, as someone waiting for a package:  To avoid having to go get the package because the driver didn’t leave the package even though you were home, heed this advice: Fed Ex and UPS are inundated with volume that far exceeds other peak periods. Before you get too irate, try to understand that. Leave a note on your door telling them you are home.

6. After you’ve received a package, you can dispose of outer packaging outside of your home and wash your hands immediately after handling. But this is likely not necessary for most people’s handling of most cardboard packages.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding shipping, please direct them to James Louder.  We wish you many hours of enjoyment!


The LSA Lute Rental Program Team

About the Lute Rental Program

In order to fulfill its purpose of advancing interest in the lute and its music, the LSA understands that it needs to help players, especially beginners, secure an instrument on which to learn.  The rental fee needs to be low enough to encourage beginners to take up the lute and the instruments need to be of good enough quality such that the student is not hampered in learning by a poorly made or set up instrument.  The LSA Lute Rental Program hopes to fulfill the needs of lutenists and aspiring lutenists by providing access to such instruments.  LSA instruments are rented to LSA members only except for instruments designated for rent as stage props for productions.

If you would like to help us grow the collection through a donation of money to buy an instrument or the donation of an existing instrument you have, please contact the Rental Program Administrator, Fiona Thistle.  If you would like to ensure that your instruments are donated to the Rental Program as part of your will or legacy, please download and complete the Lute Donation Legacy Directive and mail it to the address indicated on it.  It will be signed and the original mailed back to you so that you can attach it to your will or use it in your own way to alert your family to your intentions to donate your instruments to the Rental Program.

How to rent an instrument

Step 1: Become a member of the LSA if you are not already one by clicking on the "Membership" button below and following the directions and payment requirements for becoming a member.


Step 2: Once you are a paid LSA member, browse through the rental collection and pick an instrument you wish to rent from those listed as "Available."  Unless you are already very familiar with lutes and your need for one, we suggest you contact the Rental Program Administrator, Fiona Thistle, to discuss your needs and which lute, of those available, will meet them best.

Rental Lute Collection

Step 3: Complete the online Application for Lute Rental form. Once your LSA membership has been verified, the Rental Program Administrator, Fiona Thistle, will check for the availability of the instrument you request. If it is available, she will send you the Rental Agreement. (Please note that the fees on this copy of the Rental Agreement apply to most, but not all of our instruments.  If an instrument has a higher rental fee, this is indicated on the Rental Lute Collection page).  If it is not available, she will work with you to choose another comparable instrument and send you the Rental Agreement with the number for the lute you will be renting.

Step 4: Follow the directions at the bottom of the Rental Agreement to complete your payment of the required $300 security deposit and first and last month's rental fees. Note: The initial rental period is for twelve (12) months.

When your security deposit/first and last month's rental payments have been processed by the LSA (please allow 1-2 business days for this) the instrument you selected will be shipped to you via Fed-Ex or UPS ground service delivery (please allow 1-7 days for shipping depending on the area in the US in which you live). You will be responsible for reimbursing the Lute Rental Program for the costs of shipping the instrument to you. A PayPal invoice for those shipping costs will be sent to you the same day the lute is shipped to you. You agree to pay that PayPal invoice upon receipt as your method of reimbursement.  The Lute Rental Program will, in turn, pay for shipping from you back to the LRP when you are finished with the rental.  For both shipments, you understand and agree that each shipment will include payment of insurance of the instrument and its case for their value listed in the description of each instrument on the Rental Lute Collection page.  We will ask you, when you ship it back to us, to insure it for that same value. You will be reimbursed for shipping the instrument/case back to us via a check that will be mailed to you from the LSA Treasurer.  In order to be reimbursed, we will ask you to send us the shipping invoice and you will be reimbursed for 100% of that invoice total.

PayPal AS THE ONLY METHOD OF PAYMENT: All payments by the renter (security deposit, initial shipping of the instrument to you, and monthly rental fees) are to be made by PayPal only.  We cannot accept checks or credit cards as this causes many problems for our accounting.  If you wish to rent a lute you will need to establish a PayPal account that either bills directly to your credit card (the method we suggest) or is a PayPal account that does not bill to your credit card (the method we do not suggest). The decision remains with you regarding how you wish to set up your PayPal account but you must understand that no method (e.g., cash, checks, credit or debit cards, etc.) of payment for anything related to your lute rental will be accepted other than PayPal: our only accepted method of payment. If, for any reason, you cannot or wish not to agree and comply with the PayPal method of payment, then we will not be able to proceed with a lute rental for you.

Step 5: Enjoy learning to play the lute!

Inside the instrument case you will find written instructions for its care.  Please follow these instructions carefully and keep them inside the case for review.  You will also find, in the case, a small sheet of paper detailing each string specification on the instrument.  Please keep this information in the case.  Should you need a new string, please contact the Rental Program Director and he will arrange your purchase of a new string with the LSA approved string vendor.  

If you are a beginner we strongly recommend that you establish a relationship with a lute teacher. You will not be successful in learning to play the lute if you try to teach yourself using a book tutor alone. A list of lute teachers is available on this website. If a teacher with whom you can meet in person is not available in your area, locate one who offers lessons via Skype or webcam. Although we do not strictly require that you have a teacher to rent a lute or other instrument in our rental collection, we do require, if you are a beginner, that you have at least had an initial discussion with a teacher about taking lute lessons with him/her. The lute is not a DIY or self-taught instrument.  You will be most successful and avoid being hampered by bad habits if you work with a teacher who can instruct you in correct technique. 

We have put together a Beginners' Guide to the Renaissance Lute that will answer many of your questions, especially if you are a complete beginner.  The guide is to take away the frustration a beginner would feel if they received a rental lute but the beginner's first meeting with their teacher was several weeks away.  When you get a lute from us you want to tune it up, play around with it, explore it...all hard to do without information to help you make that experience fun and successful.  The Beginner's Guide will help make your first contact with a lute or your rental lute a great experience.  It is available as a free downloadable PDF.  It has lots of pictures and is a large file (about 6 Mb) so be is worth it!!

If you are interested in buying a used lute, check out The LSA's lutes for sale webpage.  If you would like to commission a luthier to make a lute specially for you, check out the list of US and Canadian luthiers.  There are also super luthiers in other countries and by typing in "lute luthier" in an Internet search engine, you can find all of them who have webpages. There are lots of great tips regarding what to look for if you are buying a lute.

Does the Lute Rental Program have a rent-to-own plan?  Here is more information.


Encourage interest in learning the lute using

the Learn the Lute brochure!

You can download it and send it as an email attachment, print it out and mail it, post it on a billboard, leave on a table for people to pick up, pass them out when you perform in front of any audience of any type, etc. 

Please help us get this brochure in front of as many eyes as possible

The more we all encourage people... the more people will be encouraged to give the lute a try!

Brochure designed by John Orluk Lacombe

The content of this website is ©2020 by the Lute Society of America, Inc..
The Lute Society of America is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

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