8/15/2014

c.1981 Lehmann Vielle




Admittedly I'm quite out of my depth with an instrument like this. It shares the same scale length as a violin but the feel is quite different and so's the tuning! It seems there's a number of different tunings for this instrument ranging in pitch between a viola and violin range in fourths, fifths, and open variations. I've ignored that and for the purposes of sounding foolish on record played a sample in an open C tuning (CGCEG with the low C being a viola's low C pitch). It has a lovely, warm and sweet sound to it which might be expected with natural gut strings and a spacious, pretty flat soundboard and larger box compared to a violin or viol.

This one was made by Mr. Lehmann who's still in business and still selling vielles and (what appears to be his mainstay) fancy variations of acoustic guitars. I did nothing to it save setting the soundpost back up and giving it a quick cleaning. It's in good health and ready to go and it's here via a friend's collection.



Woods look like solid spruce over solid mahogany with a rosewood tailpiece and fingerboard. The maple bridge is carved super-fancy and how about those painted/cut decorative touches?


I love the touch of the flamed heastock veneer. The fingerboard shows evidence that this was originally setup with nylon or gut frets but evidently someone wanted this to be fretless at some point. It seems like vielles are played either way depending on the whim of the owner. Ebony nut.




Isn't that fantastic?


The mahogany back is 1-piece and has plenty of curl and light figure.

This instrument has zero cracks and the finish looks great and it's plenty clean.







A simple ply case serves for toting this around.

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