Convert Viola to Viola da Gamba?
I've been checking out a lot of videos of musicians playing treble, tenor and bass Viol's, and I became curious if a standard Viola can be converted simply by adding Gut frets? Some guys actually use zipties because they're easy to tighten.
I guess the principal of the frets is to give each note the tone of an open string. Does anyone have any idea if converting a Viola will get me in the ball park of a Treble Viol tone wise?
Tone match may be a challenge because viols typically have more than 4 strings and are tuned around 4ths rather than 5ths. Also, the construction is dramatically different which will yield a different tonal balance than a viola.
Thanks for the info!
Tie-on frets are movable, and can even be slightly crooked, to favour certain intervals.
I was going to ignore this until I noticed your question was about achieving gamba tone. The answer is a resounding NO.
Michael, there ARE 4 string Viol's out there, in the treble, alto and tenor sizes
Primitive ones, yes, if you don't intend to play all the usual music. Kind of like three-legged dogs: they also exist.
And don't forget that gambas are Thu need in fourths not fifth, which means three string will react differently to when it's tuned as a viola. This may mean you need higher tension strings.
One thing to keep in mind when trying to learn a similar but different instrument -- don't approach it as if you already know a lot about how to play it. It's a different instrument, with a different bow and it needs to be approached as if you are a complete beginner, starting with baby steps just like we all did when learning violin/viola/cello.
Why don't you just buy a cheap viol and be done with it? Zipties? Really?
Are you particularly bothered about being authentic? There are stick on frets - I believe they do them for viola too.
I was talking casually at a lunch about viola pomposas with Colin Garrett, and he pointed out to me that a fifth string puts extra force on a bridge, so there needs to be a difference in construction between four bowed stringed instruments and those with more than 4.
As the human companion of a three-legged dog, I have to chime in to say they are decidedly NOT to four-legged dogs as a viola with frets is to a viola de gamba. Tripawds can do everything that a four-legged dog can do, besides scratch the ear on the side with the missing paw. :)
Just buy a gamba. Problem solved, time CANNOT be won....
Let them eat cake!
I thought gambas were much closer to cellos in size than to standard violas. At least, all the gamba players I knew at school were converted cellists.
they come in different sizes just like violin family