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Bass of the Week: Michael Bornhak Viennese Violone

Michael Bornhak VioloneThis week we’re checking out a gorgeous new instrument with roots that date back hundreds of years. German luthier Michael Bornhak built this incredible Viennese-styled violone, which was an early form of the double bass, and took it out to the Black Forest to photograph it. Complete with beautiful inlays, the bass takes its cues from a baroque instrument.

“It’s not really a Stadlmann copy but inspired by Stadlmann Viennese Basses,” he explains. “I used a very good plate of Northern Italian spruce from Antholzer Tal, and the flamed maple for back, ribs, and neck is from Slovakia.”

Bornhak made all the parts by himself beside the Rubner tuning machines and the gut strings made by Nicholas Baldock. The strings are tuned B-E-A-D-G as you expect a five-string, which the luthier says is good for both modern 440 Hz tuning and the baroque 415 Hz tuning.

The instrument, which is now with its new owner, is just as much a piece of art as it is a fantastic instrument. That is because the skilled builder put lots of time and effort into making it. “I started making in June and finished last week,” Bornhak says. “It took more than 400 hours.”

You can hear Bornhak demo the bass here:

Michael Bornhak Viennese Violone Specs:

Strings:5
Scale:107cm (42.13″)
Top:Italian Spruce
Back and Sides:Flamed Maple
Neck:Flamed Maple
Tuners:Rubner
Strings:Nicholas Baldock Kathedrale and Antiquus
Varnish:Spirit