Cera's Rebec (Mark 1 Mod 5)

This page is devoted to the construction of my 5th rebec, this one an item in the charity auction.  I was hoping to create something a little different this time, but the differences were going to be accoustic, not just aesthetic.  I had a devil of a time getting what I wanted into physical form, a failure of one body not the least of the issues.  But after looking at several instruments, and seeing the difference that different bridges made in my other instruments, I decided to develop this instrument around a higher bridge, which meant a higher arched fingerboard, and a shorter tail spacing.  I think the experiment is a success, it has a different, more feminine voice to it, much as the period texts seem to describe.

This instrument is sister of the soon to be completed Mark 6 rebec (Conna, you know who this one is for) - the blanks were taken from the same piece of wood and turned at the same time, so the instruments will be almost identical in dimension and scale length.  The body is canary, the fingerboard is padauk, as will the tailpiece.  Pegs and pins are padauk, the saddle and nut are asian waterbuffalo horn.  The bridge is maple, or a more ornamental design, and the tailpiece is equipped with fine tuners.

I will start with the same basic setup photos as the other instruments, as they all start out in a similar fashion

Here is a pair of canary rebec blanks with a single hide glue line joining them right down the center.  This glue is not meant to hold them for turning, merely to assure there is no slippage when I start turning the neck area.  The blocks will be held together with plywood end caps which will also act as bearing surfaces for the lathe drive spur and tailstock center

I'm going to skip to a part that I don't show in other pictures, joining the soundboard to the body of the instrument.  You can catch up on the steps in my other pages - I am going to use this opportunity to show some of the procedures I missed in other pages, and details of the differences in the instruments.  Anyways, a set of flat caul blocks and clamps allowed me to get good pressure on the soundboard to body joint.  Didn't hurt that the fit was perfect without glue, either.

Now for the part I know you are all here for.  What does this one look like?  I'd say it was one of my most handsome instruments, with a kind of style that quite frankly couldn't have come from regular European woods.  The focus on golds and ambers and rusts gives this a very noble presence.  Here is the peghead, a traditional round with large pegs that look like they jumped right out of an illumination

Here is the tail end of the instrument.  As this is a departure from the other rebecs I have built, I decided to do a little looking around at tailpieces.  Not that I am ashamed of the simple flat wooden eggs I have been using as my standard, but I wanted something a little classier for this instrument.  With everything to choose from from trefoils to tombstones illustrated in art and manuscripts, I chose to mirror the lines of the fingerboard.  I like it.

The bridge is also a change from my simple very early arches, to a more traditional German bridge, not a fully formed modern bridge, but something a little classier than the rest I have done.  It is maple, and on top of adding to the looks, the shape allows it to be strong while being tall, and it's light weight lets the right amount of vibration pass to the soundboard.

Here's the side view of the instrument - as I said a handsome, striking piece.  I just love the way the colors and grain textures work together to give something a little more than I expected out of such an instrument.  The high bridge is shown here to good effect.

And a top view.  the colors again are beautiful, hard to believe they are natural and not the result of dye or stain.  The carpathian red spruce soundboard sets off everything around it.  THe double soundholes are the most common, or should I say most standard, soundhole configuration in these instruments - if gives a lot of open soundhole area without weakening the bridge area of the soundboard.  With the high bridge of this instrument, I wanted that.

These pictures are of the instrument at the time of basic completion.  I don't know about the rest of you, but I seem to like continually fiddling with projects.  Each time fate intervenes to keep me from delivering the instrument, I get to tweak a little here, change a profile or an edge there, do a little detail work not shown here - but that hopefully will soon stop when I get the instrument into the hands of it's new owner.  I hope she likes it as much as I do.