Sunday, May 11, 2014

Christoph Koch Theorbo - A Photo Album

I finished another Koch theorbo last week. This is the same model that I described in posts from 9/20/2013 and 4/15/2013.
The lute was commissioned by Tony Elitcher, Adminstrative Director of the New York Continuo Collective.

The bowl is constructed from kingwood as is the original lute with holly
spacers between the ribs.

I inserted a larger photo to show you the different woods that I used on the veneer of the neck and extension. The striped neck veneer is assembled from black Gabon ebony alternating with pieces of kingwood left-over from the rib material with holly spacers. The veneer on the back and front of the extension is African Blackwood. This wood has a brownish tinge to its blackness. The sides of the extension are American Walnut. The back of the extension is rounded by 3mm or so and  then bent in the opposite direction to form the joint with the neck.

Blackwood is brittle and I had trouble bending the wood in two directions so I made a cut through the veneer before I glued it to the extension. After the glue dried I widened the cut and inlaid a wedge of holly topped by a heart. As with much of historical lute making this is an elegant solution to a troublesome procedure.

I carved the theorbo heard from a small block of poplar and test fitted it precisely to the end of the extension before painting it a semi-gloss black to simulate polished ebony. The head was then glued and screwed in place. The screw heads were hidden by plugs. The extension, front and back, is edged with holly.

I adapted a portion of a familiar renaissance rose pattern rotating the axis of the smaller rose by 1/6 to enliven the assemblage.

The rose and bridge of the Koch are placed a little lower on the face in comparison to other theorbos that I have built. The sound has a silvery quality that I attribute in part to this design.

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