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Chinese viola da gamba

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by ole Jason, Oct 27, 2010.

  1. I was pretty surprised to see Song is now producing gambas. Has anyone had any experience with their instruments? From poking around online they seem to get decent enough reviews all things considered. Obviously, a lot of corners are cut with these instruments but they do seem to be using decent wood. I've wanted a gamba for years but the high cost of getting an instrument has always made it unrealistic.

    I do find it a little funny that they appear to just put random strings on the gambas :D

  2. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    Same here, I am curious!!
  3. They're also producing pretty nice 5-string cellos. Really cool to see a company producing these instruments.
  4. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    Hopefully they're not CCVDG's.
  5. Supposedly hand-carved tops but who knows
  6. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    You mean like VDGSOs? :D
  7. garyr


    Apr 13, 2011
    I got a treble from them a few weeks ago. It's very nice with only one problem - the nut is cut low like a violin. That's a pretty big problem though. It makes it impossible to attach frets. Experimenting with a high E nylon guitar string anything lower than the third fret bottoms out.

    I emailed them to let them know the problem and to find out what kind of glue holds it in place. Language is clearly a problem, as I don't read or write Chinese. They offered a refund, but I got it at a lowball $75 bid and it would cost that to mail it back. They say the glue isn't hide glue but "the chemical mixup glue". I'm afraid that means some hellish epoxy that will be near impossible to get off cleanly. I'll ask a local luthier about it but I suspect I'll end up using it as wall art until I can patiently carve off the nut with very sharp tools and cut a new one.

    I'm afraid with the language barrier the woman that does communication for them didn't understand the problem. A few weeks later and looking at their current instruments (and knowing what to look for now) I still see very low cut nuts that won't work.

    Quality is really pretty good other than that one fatal problem. If I had to guess I'd say they based their design after a 19th century German or lowland instrument. The back is one piece slightly carved rather than flat like most that you see. Wood is pretty good, it's fully lined and assembly is very tidy.

    I also have a viola d'amore from them and it's quite nice. It also seems like nobody has ever tried to set them up and play them. In the viola d'amore's case I simply needed to drill out the peg hole for the 6th playing string and the bridge for the 6th sympathetic string.
  8. EatOutInNout


    Jun 18, 2011
    I'm a guitarist and keyboardist. I dont know much about violas or anythign i thought it looked cool so i bought it for about 350. I'm no expert but I can see Its WAAAYY better built than any 500 dollar violins you see at local music stores so ya, thats all, thier customer service rocks too, they made a mistake on a bow order then sent me TWO and extra rosin. Although it does seem like they use an automatic translator or something for their emails
  9. Sorry to bump an old thread but could either of you guys post pictures of your gambas? I'd be interested in seeing some "real world" pictures of their instruments.

    It looks like they may have stopped doing bid auctions for their instruments. Everything in completed listing are buy-it-now's that didn't sell.
  10. I finally ordered one of these instruments and it's actually much better than I expected. As others have stated the wood used seems fine, very nice flame on the back, and the workmanship is top notch for this amount of money. The pegs are nice and tight. I was very impressed with the scroll work and finish quality. The people building the instruments obviously take more care in the detail work than I expected.

    Although I haven't tried to tie frets yet it seems like there will be enough room for gut frets. I probably won't use frets so it's not a huge deal to me one way or the other.

    My email correspondence with the seller was fine. Their English was good and didn't seem artificially translated.

    The one thing I wish they would have mentioned is the instrument comes with a modern bow and not a baroque model. I'll eventually grab a cheap stick from ebay but it would have been nice to have the whole package to begin with.




  11. Steven John

    Steven John

    Oct 17, 2012
    I saw this post on the Song gambas. As a viola da gamba player, I need to say that these are not really gambas. Their design is all wrong. No real gamba looks like they do, and there should never be a problem with tying frets. A real gamba comes with the frets already tied. If a person likes how an instrument sounds and is happy with it, it's not my business. But these are not real gambas. (Sorry if you're insulted.)
  12. apetocz


    Nov 30, 2012
    I bought one of these two years ago. Just to see if gamba playing was possible. I replaced the nut, added gut frets, used gut strings from gamut and replaced the bridge. It cost as much to set it up as to purchase. It makes a decent sound. But in the end, I got the real thing, much better. The song gamba is rather a doctored cello - but good and cheap if you just want to try it out.