Instrument Original Maker Date String Length* Traditional Simple
Small Bass H. Jaye 1624 67 9,900 8200
Bass H. Jaye c.1620 69 10,600 8,700
Bass R. Meares 1660 69 " "
Bass H. Jaye 1619 74 11,200 9,100
7 String Bass M. Collichon 1683 69-70 10,500 9,300
7 String Bass M. Collichon 1691 72-73 11,000 9,600
Tenor J. Rose 1598 58 9,400 7,600
Tenor H. Jaye c.1660 54 " "
Alto H. Jaye c. 1660 48 9,100 7,400
Treble J. Hoskins 1609 38 8,400 6,900
Treble H. Jaye c.1620 36 " "
Pardessus M. Collichon c.1680 33 " "
*all string length can be varied from 1 to 2 cm, + or -
My viols are built from fine, well seasoned woods, with a 5 or 7 piece “bent front” of European or Engelmann spruce; backs, ribs and neck of figured European maple; a traditional "open" scroll; double purfling on front and back for English viols; ebony veneered fingerboard and tailpiece and finished with a slight patina of age, using colored pigments and oil varnish and fitted with ebony pegs.
The the 7 string Collichons are made with single purfling on the front and can be made with figured walnut and cherry, as were the originals.
My Viols are derived from original instruments in shapes, dimensions, proportions, and "conception." The idea of making true copies is a complicated topic worthy of an in depth discussion. Very few original instruments survive in original condition with their original construction and parts intact. What is not known about a particular historical instrument is derived from observations of other similar surviving instruments and iconography of the time and place.
I also can do additional, decorative purfling work, copied or derived from original designs but I believe in keeping the decorations on the body minimal, as I am concerned about it's effect on the acoustics of the instrument.
All the models I make are available in a simplified style, (formerly referred to as "Essential" style). The idea is to simplify or eliminate certain decorative and (what I consider) other non-essential elements in order to make an instrument that plays, sounds and performs just as well as my fully decorated viols but for a lower price. I feel the end result still looks the part as well.
These are not student instruments. All the wood and construction are of the same quality as my traditional, fully decorated instruments. Some people may even prefer the understated look of these instruments. With a simplified scroll design, some of the elements, like non-veneered maple fingerboards, were used historically, as were walnut and cherry used for backs and ribs.
Using the fine, well seasoned woods for tops, backs, ribs and necks and careful construction methods and finish, the differences from the my "Traditional” copies are:
1. one single decorative purfling on the front only (Colichons instruments already had this)
2. a solid figured maple or cherry non veneered fingerboard and tailpiece with ebony edges.
3. a simplified scroll design
4. optional scalloped' "C" or flame sound holes
5. other options include 3 piece (or more) backs of alternating woods, of
maple, walnut or cherry, unique finish colours...
6. A customized mix of traditional and "simple" elements is possible..
Normally I supply custom fit cases from Kingham Cases, England. A quality hard case is necessary
to protect the instrument from damage and is the easiest way to control its exposure to humidity changes. The case is provided at cost and is in addition to the instrument price and varies with exchange rates. For those who need a flight case for air travel, there are other options . I cannot
fully guarantee an instrument without a good quality, well fitting hard-shell case.
Please contact me for further discussion about cases.
For orders, a deposit of 10% of the instrument price is requested to put you on the list and give you an approximate completion time for your instrument. When I begin the instrument, another 20-30% may be requested. The remainder is due at the time of delivery.
Current waiting time is about 6 months.
My instruments are covered by a lifetime warranty to the original owner.