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My latest rebec is inspired by the instrument illustrated on Plate XXI of Syntagma Musicum (1620), shown here on the left. I decided to widen the body and add sound holes to get as much volume out of the instrument as possible and also to increase its overall visual appeal. The soundholes are a copy of those on the “Beaufort” viol attributed to John Rose, circa 1600. I have made the instrument easy to play by basing the string sounding length, as well as spacing at the nut and bridge, on a modern violin and the instrument is strung with baroque violin strings (G, D, A). The tuning pegs are ebony which reduces sticking. The sound is a great improvement on my earlier instruments. The body, neck and pegbox are carved from a single block of wood and the hollowed-out section of the body has been taken down to a thickness of 3mm in places. The top is a single piece of tonewood which is coupled to the body with the use of a bass bar and soundpost, another nod to the maturing fiddle designs of the late 16th century. The following woods were used on the instruments shown above: Body - american and native cherry Top - spruce tonewood Fingerboard - walnut Tailpiece - walnut Bridge - beech Fittings - ebony I may use different hardwoods for the body, fingerboard and tailpiece depending on availability and whim! Hide glue is used throughout and the instruments are finished with oil varnish, a process that takes up to three months to complete. A case is supplied with every instrument. The cases are also built by me and are designed specifically for the instrument. They are lined with velvet, have a compartment for rosin etc and have safe storage for one bow in the lid.
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