- The making of a bent-top viola da gamba -

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

Pieter Breughel: bass viola da gamba with a bent top

Pieter Breughel: Bass viola da gamba

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.

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Wood for viol making

Woods used in viol making

varnish and utensils

Varnish in preparation

sbending the strips of wood on a form

Bending the five strips of wood for the top

joining the five strips of the top

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

Belly, viewed from the top

The bent belly, as seen from above

Bent belly, as seen from below

The bent top, inside view

Three bent tops

Flloral designs for the scroll and pegbox

Floral design for the peg box and scroll

scroll and pegbox with bass relief

The finished decoration on the scroll

Bridges and tools for making them

Bridges and bridge cutting tools

Inlay on the back of the viol

Inlay on the back of the viol

Design of the end of the fingerboard

End of the fingerboard

Instrument-making School Hallstatt

Setting up a new copy of the Michael Albanus viola da gamba built in the school.

Simone Zopf und José Vázquez
with two recent copies of the Michael Albanus viola da gamba
The original is in the foreground!

updated 16.10.2007