Viols after Jakob Stainer

Jakob Stainer, born in 1621 in Absam in the Tyrol, Austria, is regarded as one of the great violin makers of all times. During his lifetime his work was so well received that his violins fetched a higher price than the ones from his Cremonese contemporaries. He left a number of viols, which he made for monasteries in the area of northern Italy. Some of these have survived in museums, a number of them are privately owned.

I have had opportunity to examine three originals closely and base my copies on the measurements obtained from studying them.

The Stainer copies have been well received by players around the world. Their strong sound, powerful like the sound of a 'cello while still retaining the qualities of the viol family, make it the perfect instrument for German solo literature for the viol, as well as the obvious candidate for continuo playing. If you need a strong basis for a trio sonata, this should be the instrument of your choice. It works well as a consort bass as well, however if your preference is for English or French literature an English six string would be more suitable.

The instrument has a string length of about 70 cm and comes with either a lion's head or an ornate scroll. As there is no original neck left (according to various scholars), I have based the lion's head on one of the many original violin heads left, and the scroll on the original formerly owned by August Wenzinger.