Viols after Nicolas Bertrand






Lütgendorff in his Comprehensive Dictionary of Violin & Lute Makers does not seem to think much of Bertrand's work, yet he has become a most important maker for anyone interested in the history of the viola da gamba. He worked in Paris at the turn of the 17th to the 18th century and produced a number of viols, which are still in more or less original condition. His work is crude at times, viewed from the point of view of a craftsman, however his instruments are still valued for their sound and projection.





7 - string bass »big« model:

A big 7 - string bass with a string length of about 71 cm . The original belongs to Wieland Kuijken, and I have based my copies on this instrument after having carefully examined and measured it. The head I use is after an original treble found in the instrument collection at the Paris Conservatoire. The body is about 70cm long, with the greatest width being almost 42 cm resulting in a rather substantial sound box, which creates a beautiful, rich French sound.













7 - string bass »small« model:

Laurence Dreyfus owns a 'smaller' model of a Nicolas Bertrand, which I have used as a base for an instrument for players who require a smaller seven string bass viol. Having made slight adjustments to the thicknessing of the top and back, I have succeeded in producing a seven string bass viol, with a string length of about 68cm, which still produces a rich and sonorous tone that carries well.