Some of the viols I make.

Treble Viol

after Henry Jaye


I build my treble viols in 3 different sizes. The smallest one has a body length of 33 cm and is built after an original by Henry Jaye, which is on display at the Musical Instrument Museum in Leipzig. There are two other Henry Jaye instruments of this size that I know of.


For the medium size treble I have enlarged the Jaye Original a bit, so that I have a body length of approx. 36 cm with a string length of approx. 37.5 cm.

My largest treble viol has a string length of approx. 40 cm. 

Tenor viol

after Henry Jaye, Southwark ca. 1620


This viol corresponds to the size of the tenor viol of John Rose in the Paris Museum, whereby the outline and the sound holes were taken of the small Jaye treble viol and have been enlarged. 


As individual decorations, in addition to the standard carved scroll and the double purfling, a carved head, rosette or purfling ornament on front or/and back is possible


Body length 53.5 cm, string length approx. 57 cm. 

6-string bass viol

after Edward Lewis, 1687


The viola da gamba by Edward Lewis, which is on display at the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels, served as the model for this viola da gamba.

The original was converted into a 7-string viol.

I have tried to reconstruct the original arrangement as a 6-string bass viol with a string length of a little over 70 cm.


A stringing complete with plain gut strings works very well with this viola da gamba.

This viol can be used very well as a division viol as well as a consort or a continuo bass with sufficient foundation.


body length 69,6 cm, string length 70,8 cm

6-string italian bass viol

after P. Maggini around 1600.


This early Italian bass viol has f-holes and a parchment rosette. The scroll is a mixture of an early Renaissance viol and a cello scroll. External decorative linings. 


string length ~ 72 cm, body length 72,7 cm


Photos R. Scheikowski

small 7-string bass viol

a small 7-string bass viol after Claude Pierray, Paris 1709 


Pierray's creative time is approximately at the same time as Nicolas Bertrand, about 20 years after Michel Colichon. The carved top has double purfling and short sound holes placed very close to the edge. The head and pegbox are typically French.


Body length 63.9 cm, string length approx. 68 cm. 

small 7-string bass viol

after Michel Colichon, Paris 1683


The original of this viola da gamba can be found in the museum in Paris and is original in all parts except tailpiece, bridge and pegs. This one, as well as two other Colichon viols from 1687 and 1688, has the back, sides and even the top (bent from five parts) made of Cedrela Odorata, a wood from which cigar boxes are still made today. 


I recommend this model as a very versatile model, it sounds very full and projects well. 


Body length 66.8 cm, string length approx. 70 cm.

medium sized 7-string bass viol

after Michel Colichon, Paris 1689


The model for this viol is in the Grumbt Collection of the Museum Bochum. This instrument is a little smaller than the Kessler Colichon of 1691 but larger than the Paris Colichon of 1683.


I find this viol very elegant and pleasant in size.


body length 69,5cm, string length approx. 70,8 cm

large 7-string bass viol

after Michel Colichon, Paris 1691


The original of this large Colichon viol has a flamed walnut back, fruitwood ribs, painted on purfling and an ornament on the 5-piece bent front. As for French viols usual, there is no purfling on the back. The original has a 'pirate head'. Private property. 


Body length 70.8 cm, string length approx. 72.5 cm.


5 or 6 strings, after 'Maggini'. 


The original of this violone is in the Dolmetsch Collection. It has double purfling front and back, F-holes and a very nice, single fluted scroll. With a string length of approx. 98 cm this instrument is very well suited as G Violone. 


With today's strings it can also be used as a D violone. I also build this instrument a bit smaller with a string length of about 92 cm as G Violone (on the photos with the decorated pegbox).

I used an instrument from the Musical Instrument Museum in Paris as the model for this carved pegbox.


Body length 97.5 cm, string length approx. 98 cm. 


Photos R. Scheikowski

Renaissance viols

after Francesco Linarol


The english viol consort 'Fretwork' plays on 4 renaissance viols by me, which are based on the Francesco Linarol in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. I have enlarged and reduced the size of this instrument so that I can create a string length of about 50 cm for the two tenor instruments in a, 73 cm for the bass in D, and about 92 cm for the bass in A. The sound boards are flat in the longitudinal direction and bent over two curved crossbars. 


All four viols have flamed birch ribs and backs. No soundpost and no wound strings!


Wonderful to hear on the Odhecaton recording.


In the meantime, the Music Academies in Bremen and Leipzig each have a consort with renaissance viols by me.


this is what Irene Klein has to say about the instruments:


"Henner has built a Renaissance viol consort after Francesco Linarol (ca. 1590) for our viola da gamba class at the Academy for Music and Theater Leipzig, two alto viols in A and G and two bass viols in D and A. We have been playing them for a good three years now and what can I say - we are happy!

The sound of the soundpost-less instruments is fine and clear, with a generous width and crystalline transparency. At first they appear quite quiet, but after longer playing-in you get the hang of them. The right bow weight and string speed make an enormous difference. The player has to coax the sound from them - and is richly rewarded.

Instruments that are teachers themselves, as it were, gambas for professionals. Thank you!"