Steffen Nowak, Maker of fine Violins, Violas and Cellos in baroque and modern style
Viola after Paolo Maggini, Brescia ca. 1630
A Viola after Giovanni Paolo Maggini of Brescia.
What makes this viola a 'players instrument' is the placement of the ff soundholes in the geometrical center of its' length - the stop and bridge position.. The back length of 413mm - 16 1/4'', the stop at 205mm, giving a very comfortable string length of 354mm. In its' original baroque set-up with the shorther neck this would of course have been even shorther.
When deciding to make this Maggini model I was struck by the choice of wood the Brescian master had available: a georgious slab back with a subtle mottled figure, not birds eye maple which would have been even more uncommon (though you can see that with some Venetian makers and even more often North of the Alps).
Undoubtely many makers today would antique ('fake') such a model. But who are we kidding, however skillfully this is done, and there are not many makers really equipped to 'pull that off', a scratch is a scratch, even if 'artistically' applied.
It's about surface textures, letting the wood grain shimmer through to the surface, allowing the oil varnish over one or two decades develop a little shrinkage, on the normal contact points of skin and surface the varnish will loose some lustre. This is normal and should be anticipated. This is not a cheap Mirecourt, the varnish hard, scratched.
Do you want to try this instrument or have any questions? e-mail me here
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