Early 18th Century Violoncello Piccolo, AllgŠu/South German.

This is a very interesting, early instrument of the late 17th or early 18th century, from southern Germany and, quite possibly, the AllgŠu region. It retains its original hand-written paper label which is now, unfotunately, completely illegible.

The small body size and four string range is reminiscent of the small cello held by C. F. Abel in the anonymous family portrait (detail below), often considered to be Bach and his sons. See below for more detail.

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The fruitwood head terminates in a carved lion head, which is very well executed and is in the style of South German makers such as Schorn and Christa, with a moulding cut into the sides of the pegbox near the nut.

The back is a single piece of lightly figured maple with wings to the lower bout. The sides of similar figure and the one-piece belly of strong, medium grained pine with a lower bout wing in the bass side. All blocks and liners are pine, the centre bout liners let into the blocks in the Mittenwald style (see photos).

Apart from the bassbar, the body is unaltered and retains all its blocks and liners. The body is clearly asymmetrical and has been built without a mould. The instrument was fitted with a new neck and bassbar to reconstruct the state as a 4 string piccolo cello.

Once restored, the instrument was tuned e a d G and the musical result was very interesting; a warm, strong nutty sound with plenty of power n the treble and an excellent bass and mid-range response.