How polishing has changed through the centuries, from hand to machines …and, most important for us, from delivering on the market strings sorted by numbers of strands (so to say, in a 3 strands bulk you can find strings from 60 to 76) to deliver strings singularly packaged and labelled with a precise gauge. Polishing

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Drying, polishing, packaging The strings dried and still on the frames were polished by hand, using horse hair, or equisetum, polish stone or powder, or, later, sandpaper. About horse hairs: equisetum is also called horse tail, so for a long time wi thought that when they say we polished with horse tail, they were referring to

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C’mon let’s twist again… We finally have our guts ready, well cleaned, softened, hardened, selected: we are ready to use the wheel and give some twisting! …then we take our protostrings and we put them on the frame, where we give more twisting, we check the tension is fine, we constantly check they don’t dry

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From historical process to modern, from sheep to cow. In this video I forgot to mention the most important thing: the use of bovine guts permitted to avoid a big part of the process, saving days of work and dozens of workers, and, last but not least, working with a standardized material, always same size. If

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The “fresh gut” part  Let’s get started, and of course we start from Salle, in Abruzzi (Italy). We’ll go and see how a factory was organized in the 18th century. Yes, I said factory, not workshop. When you take out the intestine from a sheep, the first thing you need to do is to empty it someway.

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Making cordones for double-basses with a crochet, and recycling waste material 

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Historical gut strings manufacturing: cleaning with the thimble The last cleaning passage of the fresh gut was made using a copper thimble, pressing hard the thumb on the index finger. They did this 3 times a day for almost one week, using chemicals, and standing behind big tables with a parapet to protect them… G.

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Scarnatura: the first thing to do at the factory In this videos, originally Facebook Live, I went to the butcher to buy some lamb row intestines to show you the first part of the cleaning. This should never be done in a river directly, because the clod water will result in a stiffer gut. Normally

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Not only sheeps or lambs… you will be surprised to learn! My sources for this video are the letters of Roberto Salerni, the interviews to the old string makers in Salle, and Labarraque “Nuovo dizionario universale tecnologico delle arti e dei mestieri…”, “Minugiaio”, Venezia 1823

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This video is a very accurate reconstruction of the historical manufacturing process. Thanks to Mimmo Peruffo for this. Note that he is using whole lamb gut.

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A video from Superquark , ed. 2013. Superquark is a popular tv show in Italy, about science, art, history. It shows the manufacture of gut strings.  At 2.06 it’s me cleaning the guts with the copper thimble.

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From the famous BBC serie …the string maker is at minute 39′, the hands of the string maker belogs to Mr. George Stoppani

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Here is the video from the famous BBC serie “How it’s made” , recorded in April 2012 in Caldogno (Vicenza, Italy) at the Aquila strings factory. We tried to prepare everything to show them the whole process, but they didn’t want to film the smelly initial part. I’m the one who plays and who scrapes the guts

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