On the Workbench - Gallery

On the Workbench

Much of what's on the workbench will eventually be for sale, while other items may be personal projects. Please contact me if you would like to know more about a particular project or to get on the waiting list for a new instrument.

Old Instruments in the Process of Reapir or Restoration:

New Instruments Currently in Process:

Planned Instruments:

A simple novelty instrument that was swung while the strings were plucked by the thumbs, creating an effect similar to the pealing of bells.

(See Stuart Walsh's page for more information about these fascinating instruments.)

14-course Lyre-cittern (2023)

This oddity is something I have been fascinated with for some time. At leat two (possibly three?) instruments of this design survive, possibly all created for the same theatrical event. Listed as a "theater prop" in some sources, the instrument was set up for actual performance.

The overall structure is essentially a single plank of wood that serves for neck, pegbox, peg-plate extension, and support for the soundbox -- truly an early "neck through" instrument. The soundbox of the instrument is relegated to a small area at the bass of the instrument, with the remainder of the "body" being comprised of carved lyre-inspired arms that join the soundbox with the base of the neck.

The two surviving instruments I know of, one in Bologna, the other in the Kunsthistoriches Museum (SAM 61), are almost identical, the major differences being in the level of painted decoration. Both instruments have 14 single-strung courses of wire, with 6 courses on the small pegbox and the remaining 8 courses at multiple lengths along the pegboard, arranged along a long sloped bridge, somewhat like on a harpsichord. The 14th course is unusual in that it is laid out separately from the others and with a length between that of the 7th and 8th course, suggesting a re-entrant tuning. Such a tuning can be found in Allesandro Piccinini's Intavolatura di liuto, et di chitarrone, libro primo (1623), where the 14th course in his diagram "Accordatura ordinaria delli contrabassi del Chitarrone" is shown as a semi-tone higher than the 8th course.

Cithrinchen prototype (2021)

I wanted to build a prototype of a cithrinchen in order to play around with the soundboard barring and to better understand the historical stringing evidence. The overall dimensions of the prototype are taken from Tielke, 1676 (RCM #27), though the current soundboard barring is after the x-ray images from instrument MI67 in the Germanisches National Museum.

This prototype is about as plain as they come! This instrument was built in record speed (the mutli-piece back was completed in a single afternoon) out of some alder wood I had from another project. All work was done with chisels, planes, and scrapers (no sandpaper). The frets are modern bar frets, the pegs were purchased on eBay, I did not bother with rosettes, and the whole instrument was given only a quick wipe down with a single coat of oil for "finish."

This instrument is not for sale. It has been useful as a prototype where I can switch out the soundboard for another with different barring in order to experiment with the effects on the sound. Once it has served its purpose, the pegs will be reclaimed and the instrument will be resigned to the burn pile -- or given to a small child to play with!