I have developed several models of Violone over the years, all at 16' pitch with string lengths of 100 cm or more. I am pleased to offer two new styles of Violone consistent with the demand for a bass instrument at 8' pitch.
The Busch model is a festooned form "G" Violone with an 87 cm stringlength. Derived from the gamba-like Bavarian instruments of the early seventeenth century, these are ideal both as consort Great basses and as small chamber basses.
The second model is taken from a design by Gasparo da Salo at 92.5 cm; with minor restringing this instrument can be used at either 8' or 16' pitch. This bass is built along heavier lines than the Busch and is a fine all-purpose contra-bass. Its small size, relative to the purely 16' basses, must be considered an asset to anyone who has ever loaded a double bass into a Honda.
For players, especially modern bassists, who require the robust sound of a full-sized instrument, I make two basic types of Violone in three formats.
The festooned form Vogel model (100 cm), after a sixteenth century example from Nüremburg, has a distinctly viol-like feel and a clear responsive tone, especially when strung with roped-gut.
The Tyrolean-Viennese model has proven popular with bassists because of its higher string tension and stronger attack. With six strings of 100 cm length it is a good chamber and orchestral violone; with five strings at 102-110 cm it is a Viennese classical bass in the manner of Anton Posch. In either form it is a sturdy, well-built instrument.
Violone in D, adapted from an instrument by Hans Vogel, Nuremberg, 1568.
Viennese 5-string Contrabass after anon., 19th century.