Italian gut string Factories Process, part 4

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 equisetum. And we could not understand what was that tool in Pinaroli (1728) called: sponge. Then in Salle they told us: sponge di crine per finir le corde, we asked: wha-wha-what? ...and they brought us to the grocery store and showed us some real horse hairs, in bundle, which they used to finish the strings, a bit wetted with tempra...

..after strings are cut to the commercial length, it is time for Quality Control.

They are divided by gauge, or by how many strands of gut they are made from, and then they are tested with the mersenne test.

Finally, they are packaged, in bulks using a special tool, or in circles and envelopes like today.

Factory La Bella, New York Long Island, 1940/50 (courtesy of mr. Daniel Mari)


While watching at those video, did you happen to pay attention at the length of the process, and to how many people were involved?

From the day in which the lamb was slaughtered to the packaged string it is at least a month.

The people involved: maybe 20 if you are ok with a hundred violin sets per month.... this is what they called "small family run workshops". But when we speak of factories, it's normally 200...

Oh, and a FAQ: how many lambs for a violin set? At least 24... actually as the guts are long you can have maybe 5 sets.... but in one violin set there are the intestines of at least 24 animals....


baroque music, double-bass strings, early music, gut strings, gut strings history, gut strings maintenance, gut strings manufacture, viol strings, viola da gamba strings, viola strings, violin strings, violoncello strings

You may also like

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}