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

The making of a bent-top viola da gamba

Pieter Breughel: bass viola da gamba with a bent top

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.

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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

updated 15.03.2011