Whole unsplit lamb gut: only a myth from the past, or are they really different?
The use of whole guts was the rule in some countries (such as Spain, Portugal and Italy) where there was availability of small animals that allowed the use of three, sometimes four of their coupled and twisted guts, to obtain the range of diameters suitable as the first string of a Violin.
From the documents that were found, it would seem that new techniques were introduced in Germany only in the late XVIII century to overcome the problem that because of their type of sheep, it was impossible to obtain whole guts. The solution consists in splitting the intestine lengthwise and halfway in order to obtain thinner strips.
While its use was actually known as early as the second half of the XVI century, at least: in the statutes of the string makers of Rome in 1587, 1591, 1642 and 1678 it was in fact forbidden to make strings from casings ‘split in the middle’, under penalty of heavy fines or even whip and jail and the expulsion from the roman stringmaker’s corporation.
But does whole gut really sound better?
Uncut whole gut strings not only have proven acoustically high performance in terms of volume and achievable sound nuances, but also have high tensile strength, fast and stable intonation and resistance to climate changes
The use of unsplit lamb gut, besides being closer to the historical reality of the string makers of the past, has also led to strings with unexpected superior acoustical and mechanical properties, as compared to those produced with gut strips.
The HU type strings have a surface that has been smoothened only the minimum needed to guarantee that the string is not false; the string is then slightly oiled.
Source: Aquila Corde
- STRING: Gut string
- COLOUR: Brown
- MATERIALS: Unsplit lamb gut
- LENGTH: 120cm.
- GAUGES: from 0.38 to 1.16
- NOT DESIGNED FOR: AQUILA HU unsplit lamb gut strings strings are not recommended for the chanterelle on plucked instruments, like lutes, theorbos or archlutes.