Bending Over Frontwards

A photographic peek inside the workshop of
Simone Zopf
(Vienna and Hallstadt, Austria)

The making of a bent-top viola da gamba

Jan Breughel the elder: Bass viola da gamba (1618)

This depiction of a bass viola da gamba from around 1600 shows clearly that the top was not constructed from one single plank or two planks of wood, as is usual in traditional violin-making, but instead, from (probably) seven or eight strips of wood joined together.


Woods used in viol making


Varnish in preparation


Bending the five strips of wood for the top


Joining the five strips of wood of the top
(this is very similar to the technique used for the construction of lutes)


The bent belly, as seen from above

The bent top, inside view

Three bent tops


Floral design for the peg box and scroll


The finished decoration on the scroll


Bridges and bridge cutting tools


Inlay on the back of the viol


End of the fingerboard


See also

Instrument-making School Hallstatt