Uniquely Australian

 Bass Lyra Gamba

   Photographs by G. van Didden


This instrument was specially commissioned by Jillian Samant of New York. It is based on the form of the 16/17th Century "John Rose" Bass Lyra Gamba in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England, but is not in any way a copy. The string length is slightly longer than the original with the aim of achieving a good 'bottom end' sound.

Australian Bass Lyra Gamba

Australian Bass Lyra Gamba

What makes this Lyra Gamba different in its appearance is the decoration, all other aspects of manufacture are traditional. The usual human head surmounting the peg box has been dispensed with and in its place I have carved a Frilled Neck Lizard - uniquely Australian. The apparently somewhat random use of painted Western Australian Wild Flowers reflects the way they grow. We do not get great patches of massed flowers - they just pop up individually here and there.

Australian Bass Lyra Gamba

Most importantly I have concentrated on achieving a good sound. The sound post is placed underneath, instead of behind, the foot of the bridge. Stringmaker Damian Dlugolecki made strings specially for the Gamba, as usual he was most obliging and I think they suit it perfectly. The sound post placement will surprise some people but there is historical evidence (see Count Cozio di Salabue's notebooks) that this placement was common practice during the Baroque and Renaissance periods. All my Early and Baroque instruments are set up this way and are developing well.

Click on pictures to enlarge and view slide show


This Gamba was featured on Stateline on Friday 17 May 2002
(ABC Television, Perth, Western Australia).


Arthur Robinson    Violin Maker

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