A network for historic guitars and vihuelas
Robert Lundberg mentions a "scoop" planed into the ribs of a lute, thereby creating a depression in the belly, in order to create more room for the player's fingers. He mentions that the scoop can also be found in some guitars. Is this a feature that is present in the extant Stradivari guitars? Do any modern makers incorporate this into their baroque guitars?
Just in case no one knowledgeable on this subject replies, I'll state the obvious from photos I have to hand. The Hill Strad doesn't have any scalloping, but then it's essentially a two-piece back. The mandolino I saw in the Ashmolean exhibition has seemingly flat ribs (but that doesn't mean he didn't do it to others; just as mandolin makers offer different models, some scalloped, some not). However, the Dias guitar in the RCM has a scalloped back, but these are presumed to have been bent, not scooped (-out). There are plenty of articles and book chapters on Strad's guitars, which surely mention this. Good luck.
Thanks for the reply James. I may not have done a good job explaining my question. I'm not referring to a scalloped back, but rather a very slight removal of wood from the belly gluing surface of the ribs so that when the belly is glued to the ribs it causes a minor "reverse dome" of the belly. Lundberg mentions that in addition to pre-stressing the belly it also allows more room for the players fingers between the strings and the belly. I appreciate your reply, thanks!
I was really hoping someone else would reply to this, as I'd like to see what others have to say!
I have not built a baroque guitar yet, but I have incorporated the slight belly scoop into my renaissance guitars and the one vihuela I've worked on.
I'd like to know what the historical record indicates, but having done it myself, I can't think of a reason why I would do otherwise. I'm hoping that better minds might have an answer.