Work in progress 2019 – varnish ground stage and viola design

There are many ways to finish an instrument. Some of them have probably undesirable effects, but very often it is hard to know how the result both acoustically and visually would have differed if done differently. This is a 414mm over the arch length viola (16 1/3″). My goal was to have no varnish layer as such at this stage. A couple of hours removing most of what I put on top of slaked plaster gave a sheen in most places on the maple and a dry surface on most of the spruce.

The scroll model I developed for this instrument had quite a bit of Amati influence. At 112mm long it’s quite small for a medium size viola; my idea is that it should be fairly light feeling for the player.

What historical model viola is this model developed from? My design was influenced by the fact that quite a few much loved violas by great makers of the past are cut down larger instruments, often even then larger than is comfortable for many people. There are a number of ways of easing the reach of the left hand into high positions: one is to make indented shoulders, another is to create quite sloping, rounded shoulders – as Goffriller did – another is to create shortish upper bouts: voila!