The strings are the one part of the Redwood Violin that I am not planning to make myself. While it looks like a doable process it is quite involved and I simply dont have time at this point. A second reason is that modern synthetic strings sound different to traditional gut ones and if the violin is to be heard in a modern orchestra setting, modern string are a better bet.
I would like to try making strings some time, just to round out my knowledge, but now is not the time. However this week I remembered that I need a tail gut for to anchor the strings to the body. These days we usually use an adjustable plastic one but, as its name implies, it used to be made of gut and is essentially just a heavy weight gut-string. In violinmaking school I was shown how fit these, but it was already an obsolete technology – apart from in the Baroque music world.
I’m considering trying to make a tailgut from sheep’s gut. I guess that it doesn’t need to be quite as refined as a violin string, and it doesn’t require any metal winding so it should be easier to make.
If anyone would like to take on this project for me, or to collaborate, please get in touch.
Heres an excellent video on traditional string-making by Aquila of Italy
A note on Catgut
Cat’s gut has never really been used for strings, thats a myth. Sheep’s intestine seems to be the preferred source. Here’s a nice little history of strings. And if you really want to get into the detailed manufacture of strings, here’s an excellent account from contemporary US string maker, Gamut