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Victor the violinist Cat

Early Music Instruments Construction

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Hi again!! 

In my plans for this year is contemplated to build at least 5 early music instruments: A rebec, a Viola da Gamba, a Lute, a Cittern and a baroque Mandolin.

So far i'm almost done with the rebec. It was easy, as it is mostly carved from one piece neck and body, so I didn't need to do a lot to figure it out. I made my own design from Syntagma Musicvm plates and some inspiration from a pochette and a klasik kemençe I own.

Now i'm in the idea of making the others. I would like to make the viol next, but i'm in a trouble to find a nice plan for a bass viol, and to get the know how to some of the steps in the making. The plans available on internet looks like don't have enough info (at least for me) about the real making.

The same happens with the other instruments, specially in the things about the making of a bowl, or the neck set, for example.

I have enough experience making violin family instruments, but it seems to be a different thing at all.

Do some of you build or have built one of these instruments? Do you know where to find (or have) plans and books that can give a idea of it. I saw a book on Amazon, but all the reviews point that is useless (Taylor's book). 

If you have plans or books on PDF i'm willing to buy some!! I prefer this formats rather than buying in physical format, because of the shipping time and cost. Also if you have used books, or templates, anything, I would be interested.

Thank you!!!

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Victor, the series of Trade Secret books have some information about viol making. Page 13 of book 1 has an article about building a bass viola da gamba without a mould (built on the back.

 

 

There are also articles about decorative purfling as well.

 

As a disclaimer I am not a maker or really anything, just a lover of instruments.

 

Dwight

 

 

DLB

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The Henry Jaye of 1619 is published as a Strad poster - it's as good a viol to copy as any, and if you are interested in Praetorius's Syntagma Musicum it was made in the same year that was published, and is not dissimilar from some of those illustrated within it. 

 

Should be easy to get :) 

 

(Strad poster erroneously dates it to 1618, before you pedants correct me :) )

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Actually the Strad Jaye 1619 poster does not give enough information on its own to make a viol on this model. For example it does not show the dimensions of the front staves and there is very little info about internal features. Also despite that this viol has a similar string length to Simpson's description of a viol for divisions, it is quite a bit longer than most players are used to and happy with for solo playing. A decision about what music you want to use the viol for is important - French solo or continuo, English consort or solo, Italian renaissance, Bach, Telemann or Abel. They all need quite different designs of viol. Once a decision has been made you can look for plans and some are available to buy. Or ask a viol maker to help! There is lots of info online about the technique of making viol fronts with bent staves.

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For lute making, you can't beat "Historical Lute Construction" by Robert Lundberg.  The book is beautifully photographed, well written, and very very thorough.  If you have previous instrument experience, I think you could easily build a lute using Lundberg's book and a few internet resources.  David Van Edwards made and sells a very thorough CD-ROM ( Mac and PC) lute making course that includes plans of historical instruments.

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Victor, the series of Trade Secret books have some information about viol making. Page 13 of book 1 has an article about building a bass viola da gamba without a mould (built on the back.

 

DLB

It seems that the time to buy that books have come... there's a lot of useful info on them as it seems. Thanks!!

 

Probably one place that might have plans for all of the above would be the National Music Museum.  Check them out.

 

 

The Henry Jaye of 1619 is published as a Strad poster - it's as good a viol to copy as any, and if you are interested in Praetorius's Syntagma Musicum it was made in the same year that was published, and is not dissimilar from some of those illustrated within it. 

 

 

Yes, I'm aware of the existence of these plans... also some available from GAL, but neither of them have enough info to actually build the instrument... there's something missing in all of them. Unless you actually have built some viols and lutes before, I suppose. So there's a missing piece of knowledge for me before being actually able to understand the plans as I do with the violin's posters.

 

Actually the Strad Jaye 1619 poster does not give enough information on its own to make a viol on this model. For example it does not show the dimensions of the front staves and there is very little info about internal features. Also despite that this viol has a similar string length to Simpson's description of a viol for divisions, it is quite a bit longer than most players are used to and happy with for solo playing. A decision about what music you want to use the viol for is important - French solo or continuo, English consort or solo, Italian renaissance, Bach, Telemann or Abel. They all need quite different designs of viol. Once a decision has been made you can look for plans and some are available to buy. Or ask a viol maker to help! There is lots of info online about the technique of making viol fronts with bent staves.

In my country there's no viol maker to find out. Even there's no a lot of violin makers, let's say less than 10, and only 4-5 good enough for something. Any viol I could make would be nice, since I don't have any other plan for it besides learning about it. So far all the plans I have found doesn't have all the info to actually build, do you know a good excerpt? and info about making? Thanks!!

For lute making, you can't beat "Historical Lute Construction" by Robert Lundberg.  The book is beautifully photographed, well written, and very very thorough.  If you have previous instrument experience, I think you could easily build a lute using Lundberg's book and a few internet resources.  David Van Edwards made and sells a very thorough CD-ROM ( Mac and PC) lute making course that includes plans of historical instruments.

 

I have been looking at Lundberg book from some time... I was hoping to get a Pdf copy somewhere, but it seems difficult, I think i will have to buy the physical copy. I loved the David Van Edward course... i'm thinking about getting it. Thanks!!

 

 

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For lute making, you can't beat "Historical Lute Construction" by Robert Lundberg.  The book is beautifully photographed, well written, and very very thorough.  If you have previous instrument experience, I think you could easily build a lute using Lundberg's book and a few internet resources.  David Van Edwards made and sells a very thorough CD-ROM ( Mac and PC) lute making course that includes plans of historical instruments.

 

I have both those Lute resources. I think the Van Edwards is better for a step by step instruction and it includes a set of plans.

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The plans that Stephen Barber made for Dietrich Kessler of the 1691 Colichon and I think the Meares are comprehensive and show every detail. Certainly enough information to make the instrument in combination with the article in Early Music from 1983 on bent stave construction. However I am not sure if these are still available. I'll try and find out.

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Victor, the series of Trade Secret books have some information about viol making. Page 13 of book 1 has an article about building a bass viola da gamba without a mould (built on the back.

 

 

There are also articles about decorative purfling as well.

 

As a disclaimer I am not a maker or really anything, just a lover of instruments.

 

Dwight

 

 

DLB

Dwight, can you email me the page on gamba building without mold?

 

thanks

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4722702.jpg

 

 

 

;)

 

Long time far from the forum, and from the workbench. I got my left hand fingers slabbed by a electric jointer 1 1/2 month ago. Now i'm coming back.

Here is, it actually happened!! Still not finished yet... I have to make tailpiece, and finish the bridge (is still asymmetrical at some points and somewhat ugly). I used cheap woods for this one, and tried to make it look like not so new. I never understand why early music instrument makers use a so clear varnish and new looking, if they are trying to make a replica of an old instrument... anyway.




IMG_0849.jpgIMG_0850.jpgIMG_0851.jpg

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The reason why early instruments are made with clear bright varnish is that they are trying to reproduce the instrument as it was when new. Since we are trying to play the music as it sounded when new this is a reasonable match of the idea of music and instrument. However I must admit to having been corrupted, and prefer instruments that don't look too bright and harsh.

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Old thread I know, but has anyone made an instrument from the Henry Jaye (1618/19) Strad plan? Seems like a nice outline, but the string length at 760mm is quite a bit longer than one normally sees for English bass viols 680-90mm.

 

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