Rickert - Garriock 1693 Gould Stradivarius Baroque Violin Replica (U.S.)
Rickert - Garriock 1693 Gould Stradivarius Baroque Violin Replica (U.S.)
This is a replica of “The Gould” Violin, made by Antonio Stradivari in 1693. The Gould Stradivarius was a gift from George Gould to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1955.
In 1975, The Metropolitan Museum commissioned luthier Frederick J. Lindeman of Amsterdam to modify "The Gould" so that it would be in its Baroque configuration. He based his alterations on what was known of historical setups from the late seventeenth century, specifically he patterned the fingerboard and tailpiece after surviving original examples on the 1690 "Tuscan-Medici" Stradivarius tenor viola (a very large viola tuned an octave lower than a violin) housed at the time at the Accademia in Florence.
The Tuscan-Medici tenor viola probably escaped conversion to a modern instrument because, for many years, it was considered to be undesirable and of little value due to its large size—much too large to be played under the chin of a normal human. Today, it is believed that tenor violas were never intended to be played under the chin, but rather, “da spalla”, suspended from an over-the-shoulder strap, much like a contemporary guitar, but that is another story for another time.
Anyway, Lindeman also fashioned a shorter neck and bassbar and fitted the instrument with a new soundpost, bridge, and pegs, as well as stringing it in gut. "The Gould" is the only violin by the famed master that has been returned to a Baroque setup and that is regularly used for performance of period repertoire.
The Gould is a superb example of a Stradivari “long pattern” violin. In the 1600s, Stradivari experimented extensively with the shape and arching of the violin. In 1690 he devised a somewhat longer and narrower body outline that is referred to as the "long pattern." By 1700 he abandoned this pattern and reverted to the broader shape that was typical of his earlier violins.
The Rickert-Garriock Gould Strad Replica
Our Gould Stradivari replica is a meticulously authentic reproductions of a 1690s Stradivarius long-pattern violin in Baroque configuration. Due to the existence of the Gould and the fact that Stradivari was quite meticulous in keeping good workshop notes, we have all of the necessary data for producing this fine replica.
This fine instrument is a collaboration between Dr. Donald Rickert of D. Rickert Musical Instruments (Hiawassee, GA, USA) and Shay Garriock, Owner and Master Luthier, S.G. Music Company Violin & Fiddle Shop (Pittsboro, NC, USA). Don and Shay have been friends/colleagues for about a decade. Shay is an expert in making historic violin replicas, especially instruments by Stradivari and Hopf. He also makes extraordinary 5-string violins of his own design. Dr. Rickert is an expert in Baroque period instrument construction, configuration and setup. He has extensive experience in making authentic Baroque necks as well as elaborately veneered and inlaid fingerboards and tailpieces of the period, for violins, violas, tenor violas, violas d’amore and violoncellos da spalla. Both Shay and Don are experts in varnishing, particularly old-style hand-rubbed oil varnishing.
Demos of the actual “Gould” Stradavius
- See video links at the bottom of the page.
Demo of one of Dr. Rickert’s Baroque violins
- Hear it: Listen, its a genuine Baroque! (Short clip of Elizabeth Blumenstock, a highly respected baroque violinist trying out an earlier post-1700 Stradivarius Baroque violin replica by Dr. Donald Rickert. Courtesy of Gary Payne)
The Specifics on the Rickert-Garriock 1693 Gould Stradivarius Baroque Violin Replica
- In keeping with the original “Gould" violin, ours has a two-piece maple back. Ours is somewhat better flamed than the original. The same goes for the highest-grade maple ribs. The top is very tight-grained old European spruce.
- Italian oil, hand-applied
- Like the original, the varnish is an amber-brown with a small amount of red-brown madder (i.e. alizarin) pigment.
- Graduation of the top and back is based on the best available graduation maps taken from actual Stradivari violins, augmented by our own extensive experience in plate tuning.
A Baroque bass bar’s dimensions, as well as the way in which it is glued into the instrument, are VERY different from a modern bass bar. The bass bar is one of the things that gives a Baroque violin its unique timbre, which is not quite the same from a violin in modern configuration.
The bass bar for this instrument:
- Baroque dimensions and installation (i.e. small by modern standards, parallel rather than modern transverse mounting)
- Made and installed by us according to known Stradivari specs: 241mm long; 6.6mm high; 4.7mm thick; mounted parallel to the centerline under the bass foot of the bridge.
Neck (authentic period shape and attachment method
- The neck is hand-carved and shaped into the appropriate Baroque period form (more wood left in the heel and scroll angles) by us in our workshops.
- The neck heel is set and surface-mounted (glued to the body and button, and nailed from the inside of the body) in the proper Baroque period manner.
Because our instrument body is built to the “long pattern”, which is about 6mm longer than a later Strad, the default neck is 12.5cm, from nut edge to body. 13cm and 12cm neck lengths are options. In fact, we like the 13cm length for optimal sonority.
- Neck heel angle: 86 degrees +/- 1, depending on neck length
- Playable string length (nut to bridge): 320mm to 330mm (depending on specified neck length)
Fingerboard (authentic spruce core veneered “wedged” Baroque fingerboard)
The fingerboard for this instrument replicates that used on the actual Gould Violin, as follows:
- Quarter sawn spruce core
- Figured maple edge veneers (approximately 3mm thick)
- Ebony face veneer (2.5mm), bordered by figured maple (also 2.5mm)
- Note: The 2.5mm face veneers are quite sufficiently thick to allow initial planing to achieve optimal initial “relief” and for repeated maintenance resurfacing for at least 20 to 30 years.
- The degree of rise for the “wedge” part of the fingerboard is carefully adjusted according to the neck angle, the desired playable string length (nut to bridge) and desired string height over the fingerboard, while affording a fairly high bridge height (for optimum sonority).
- Fingerboard rise: from 4 to 6 degrees, depending on neck length and desired bridge height
- Authentic Baroque-type maple core with ebony bordered by figured maple veneers to match the fingerboard
- Attached with 2mm gut chord and tied using a “Stradivari Stitch”
- Aubert “low heart” Baroque Bridge
Nut and Saddle
- Micarta™ synthetic ivory
- We DO NOT use real ivory or bone, so-called “fossil” or otherwise! The Micarta™ synthetic ivory, long used for Martin guitars, is far superior to real ivory or bone anyway.
- Less string breakage! Micarta has a hardness more similar to wood than to bone and is, thus, much kinder to easily abraded gut strings.
- Set up in our North Georgia Mountain (U.S.) workshop with Gamut historic replica gut strings (Pistoy-gimped gut D-string; silver wound gut G-string). These wonderful strings are, in our opinion, the best-sounding and most durable authentic Baroque gut strings available. Keep in mind, however, that they are gut strings and will break. For this reason, we give you an extra A and E string.
- Negri Classic case is included.
- 4 – 6 months
Bow is NOT included. If you want us to obtain a nice Baroque bow for you, please tell us. We can generally obtain a good quality authentic Baroque bow to suite your preference in the $300 - $400 price range. We can also obtain high-end Baroque bows ($2000 - $3500 range) from top historic replica bow makers.
Because of the cost of the instrument and fairly lengthy wait time, we can accept payment in two installments, as follows:
- 50% ($5,000) up front
- 50% ($5,000) upon shipment
Please let us know if you wish to negotiate some other payment schedule.
If you have any questions or matters you wish to discuss about this instrument, please feel free to contact us.
Our email is don@DonRickertDesign.com and phone number is (404) 828-0136.