So… it’s been a while..
… since my last update. So long in fact, that the rebec is finished! It had been finished in early 2020, just as Covid hit Europe, Italy first. This is relevant for the rebec, because there are not many places where one can find good quality gut strings for early musical instruments, except for Aquila in Italy. So, I placed my order days after the workshop closed for covid. Luckily for them, and for the rebect, they re-opened in early summer and my strings came flying in!
Can you imagine the angst as I’m tightening those strings, painfully aware of the pressure they collectively exert, through the bridge, onto the sound board? That beautiful sound board that was glued in place so nicely… I could almost hear it crack with every ultra-careful tenth-of-a-twist of the pegs.
But then, no crack! And what is more, the thing makes a sound, and that sound resembles the sound of a rebec! First thing I played was Attaignant’s Tourdion “quand je bois du vin claret”, in part because I really like it, and in part because I as seriously craving some wine myself.
The rebec definitely is a descant instrument, and in fact, the spacing on the fingerboard is slightly too tight for me to be comfortable. All in all, I am quite pleased with the instrument, however!
Having said that, the design of the bow is dismal. I’d went with a frog-less set up, that mimics the very very early bows, but it’s virtually unplayable. So back to the drawing board for that one!
In the end, the varnish that I had used proved useless, so I stripped it, and re-finished the body with shellac. For the sound board, I used a recipe from Robert Lunberg’s “Historical Lute Construction”, involving carnauba- and bee wax:
No photos of the finished product yet, but I will soon follow up with another post that will be all about pictures!