Unprofitable Instruments


The rebec was one of the most popular stringed instruments of the Middle Ages, enjoying a lively presence throughout Europe from the 11th through the 16th centuries. Rebecs are suitable for medieval dances and early Renaissance part music, and are an excellent choice for both string players and novices alike.

  • One piece body of maple, pear, or cherry
  • Arched soundboard of high quality spruce
  • Gut strings, standard tuning middle C, g, and d
  • Standard model string length 32-33 cm
  • Small and large models also available
  • Coming soon: Renaissance rebec consorts
Rebec, front view
Rebec, back view
Rebec, side view

If you are interested in ordering an instrument, see the pricelist and contact us


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Early 12th century, BL Arundel 91 f. 218v

Early 12th century, St. John’s College Library, Cambridge, B.18, f. 1

Early 13th century, BL Lansdowne 420, f. 12

Late 15th century, Vatican Museums, Melozzo degli Ambrosi

1513, Hans Holbein sketch

Elbing Gittern. A fourteenth century gittern. This instrument was excavated in the medieval trade town of Elbing, Poland. Like a rebec, a gittern’s pear-shaped body is made from one piece of wood. (Photo courtesy of Richard Earle)