Small English Cittern

The small cittern was popular in England during the seventeenth century.P1020247 rectified

 Alex’s design  was developed as part of his Masters degree. The proportions are based on a rare surviving example that has been preserved in unusually good condition in the National Music Museum in Vermillion, South Dakota, and on the description and woodcut given in Michael Praetorius’ Syntagma Musicum (1619).

The idea was to produce an instrument that would allow a modern musician access to the sound and playing features of the original instrument, but in a user-friendly modern package.

As a result the A.S. Potter small cittern can be set up for either authentic brass stringing or for modern guitar strings, can be Cittern bordered with 21st century 12 tone equal temperament frets or with any of a number of authentic seventeenth century temperaments and can be fitted with either violin-style pegs or modern friction pegs.

The design is simple, but retains many original features such as the ‘beanpole’ half neck and tapered body as well as incorporating modern construction techniques.

Suitable for tuning in either English tuning + 4th (ECGA), English tuning + Octave (BGDE) or the tuning given in Praetorius .


Model Shown;

Soundboard		European Alpine Spruce
Back and Sides		Maple
Neck			Cherry and Maple laminate
Fretboard and trim	Walnut
Modern friction tuners
Walnut tailpiece for modern ball-end strings
12 tone equal temperament scale
4 courses; 2,3,2,2

Prices from £750