Pringle Viols

John Pringle
Stringed Instrument Maker
2218 Mount Willing Road
Efland, NC 27243
(919) 563-4118


Seven String & French Viols

Few basses were built in England alter the French style with the added low A string, but there are numerous examples of English instruments converted by the addition of a new neck, fingerboard and tailpiece. Most of the original seven-stringers are French or German. Stradivari left drawings for a viol ala francese but no such instrument survives. It should also be remembered that there were French six-string basses too.

Six-String Bass

After GUILLAUME BARBEY, Paris c. 1690

SL 71.5cm

A very elegant fine example of the early French school.

Small Solo Seven-String Bass

After F. RUGGIERI, Cremona 1697

SL 69.0cm

Italian viols from this time a very rare, but this one is a beauty. It is the smallest seven-string I know, but it works.

Mid-Size Seven-String Basses

After EDWARD LEWIS, London c.1680

SL 71.5cm

I know of three almost identical basses by Lewis that survive with French necks, apparently all by different hands, so they must have had the qualities the French players wanted.
After PIERRE COLICHON, Paris 1691 SL 72.0cm
A slightly more robust instrument than the Lewis, and French to its very linings.

Continuo Seven-String Basses

After NICOLAS BERTRAND, Paris 1720

SL 74.0cm

With the French habit of placing the bridge low on the body even some of the smaller-bodied basses clearly were played with what seem to us very long string-lengths. This one is just all around big, a real continuo workhorse.