Aquila on the frontline for the Covid-19 emergency: from strings to 3D wires for ventilators components

Twenty-five kilograms of 3d wire for ventilators in Monza, seventy-five in Bergamo, forty-two in Rome.

All this happened in just a few days, without yet fully understanding the importance of what is happening, but driven by a crazy, powerful energy pouring out of his heart, knowing he can help his country.

This is the story of Mimmo Peruffo, manufacturer of guitar strings in Caldogno, Italy (the town of Roberto Baggio), who found himself to be the only one in Italy to produce the wire needed by 3D printers to make valves for diving masks converted into ventilators.

Click here to read the complete article by Ilaria Floris for ADN KRONOS

 

 

Here Mimmo's interview for TVA VICENZA:


Follow us on Instagram and Facebook

 


Aquila ukulele festival 2020!

DUE TO THE COVID-19 EMERGENCY THE FESTIVAL IS POSTPONED!
STAY UPDATED IN OUR SOCIAL CHANNELS AND WEBSITE!

Dear musicians from all over the world,

we are pleased to present Aquila Ukulele Festival 2020 edition!!

Since 12 years we have been organizing concerts and workshops dedicated to this small Hawaiian four-stringed instrument: the ukulele.

The history of the ukulele is full of adventures... a musical instrument that, if it had the gift of speech, would tell how that time from Portugal arrived to the island of Madeira and how in the 20s it became one of the most played instruments.

This year the festival will be in Arborea, an opportunity to discover the beauty of this Art Nouveau small town just a few steps from the crystal clear waters of the Sardinian sea. It will be dedicated to the golden age, a real jump into the past.

Two days of concerts, workshops and exhibition of musical instruments. Soon you will find all the information about the artists, how to get there and where to stay.

We are waiting for you!

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Contact:

info@mercatinodellukulele.it

https://aquilaukulelefestival.com/

 

Follow our Instagram profile:

https://www.instagram.com/aquilastrings/

https://www.instagram.com/mercatinodellukulele.it/

 


CD basses installed on theorbo/Chitarrone: why do they sometime break on the 5th?

Why do CD basses installed on theorbo/Chitarrone sometime break (mostly on the 5th course), even if there are no sharp edges and they were installed properly?

 

Tiorba (1882)
Source: Biblioteca de la Facultad de Derecho y Ciencias del Trabajo Universidad de Sevilla / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

The CD strings (from 110 CD up to 220 CD) are designed for renaissance & d minor Lute basses only .
For the long diapasons of medium extensions, the CDL type strings are available.
The thinner CD strings (82 CD up to 105 CD) instead, are designed for 5th courses and octaves for the very lower bass strings of renaissance & d minor lutes.

On theorbo/chitarrone these rules sometime do not work: why?

While on the traditional lute/archlute the 1st string works with the higher FL product (220-230 Hz.m), any kind of theorbo/chitarrone works with an exceptional, longer vibrating string length, far longer than what was calculated for lute, hence the fact that the 1st and 2nd strings are forced to be tuned an octave lower. For example, while a renaissance lute tuned in A at modern pitch has a scale around 57 cm, a theorbo in A at the same standard pitch has a scale of 85-88 cm (the FL product of the 3rd string b note -that actually is the canterelle- is 220 Hz.m)
In these conditions, the range of the FL products typical of a 5th course of a renaissance Lute (79-81 Hz.m) or the 6th course of a d minor lute (71-74 Hz.m) allows the use of CD strings of the thinner range with no problems, while on a theorbo instead, the FL product raises up to 109-115 Hz-m, and it is too high for strings designed as basses.
In practice, the FL product of a 5th course on a theorbo is the same of a 4th course on a renaissance lute.
This is the explanation of why a CD string installed on the 5th course of a theorbo can sometimes break: the FL product is too high (it’s not a matter of tension; tension has no influence in the FL product).

In conclusion, the proper place for the CD strings is - in the higher position - the 5th course of the renaissance lute, or the 6th , 7th  and 8th fretted theorbo basses. For the 5th course of a theorbo/chitarrone, the right strings to use are NNG or CDL type.

 

Vivi felice

 

 

 


Early Music - Change of production discount

Here you can find the list of HR, V (beef) and D (diameter less than 100) strings discounted for changing production.
Write to aquila@aquilacorde.com to buy them or for any further information!

"HR" Strings - Half Rectified beef gut

Code Lenght Diameter Quantity
70HR 120 cm 0.7 mm 15
79HR 120 cm 0.79 mm 40
82HR 120 cm 0.82 mm 36
85HR 120 cm 0.85 mm 5
88HR 120 cm 0.88 mm 2
97HR 120 cm 0.97 mm 20
100HR 120 cm 1.00 mm 20
104HR 120 cm 1.04 mm 22
108HR 120 cm 1.08 mm 26
124HR 120 cm 1.24 mm 1
132HR 120 cm 1.32 mm 345
136HR 120 cm 1.36 mm 120
140HR 120 cm 1.4 mm 120
145HR 120 cm 1.45 mm 61
150HR 120 cm 1.5 mm 17
155HR 120 cm 1.55 mm 120
170HR 120 cm 1.7 mm 18
180HR 120 cm 1.8 mm 24
190HR 120 cm 1.9 mm 6
140HR180 180cm 1.4 mm 3
160HR180 180 cm 1.6 mm 2
180HR180 180 cm 1.8 mm 1
240HR180 180 cm 2.4 mm 1
250HR180 180 cm 2.5 mm 1
260HR180 180 cm 2.6 mm 2
270HR180 180 mm 2.7 mm 1
280HR180 180 cm 2.8 mm 7
290HR180 180 cm 2.9 mm 5
400HR180 180 cm 4.0 mm 1

"V" strings - VENICE beef gut

Code Lenght Diameter Quantity
60V 120 cm 0.60 mm 1
66V 120 cm 0.66 mm 2
68V 120 cm 0.68 mm 2
70V 120 cm 0.7 mm 15
73V 120 cm 0.73 mm 5
76V 120 cm 0.76 mm 1
82V 120 cm 0.82 mm 4
85V 120 cm 0.85 mm 8
88V 120 cm 0.88 mm 11
91V 120 cm 0.91 mm 6
94V 120 cm 0.94 mm 19
97V 120 cm 0.97 mm 50
100V 120 cm 1.00 mm 36
104V 120 cm 1.04 mm 16
108V 120 cm 1.08 mm 4
120V 120 cm 1.20 mm 3
128V 120 cm 1.28 mm 2
136V 120 cm 1.36 mm 3
140V 120 cm 1.40 mm 4
145V 120 cm 1.45 mm 1
150V 120 cm 1.50 mm 2
155V 120 cm 1.55 mm 7
160V 120 cm 1.6 mm 5
170V 120 cm 1.7 mm 1
180V 120 cm 1.80 mm 11
190V 120 cm 1.90 mm 11
200V 120 cm 2.00 mm 4
210V 120 cm 2.10 mm 1
240V 120 cm 2.40 mm 1
280V 120 cm 2.80 mm 2

Wound strings "D" type

Code Lenght Quantity
73D 105 cm 15
73D 160 cm 4
73D 180 cm 5
76D 105 cm 17
76D 120 cm 8
76D 180 cm 2
79D 120 cm 4
79D 180 cm 2
82D 160 cm 0
85D 105 cm 1
88D 105 cm 6
88D 120 cm 1
88D 140 cm 2
88D 160 cm 0
94D 105 cm 6
94D 140 cm 2


Bow instruments: why do we propose two types of sets (Standard and Historical)?

The research on string diameters used in the past is a relatively recent discipline compared to the rediscovery of repertoires played today with original instruments or copies / hybrids.

Until a few years ago it was – and it is still valid today – in fact commonly believed that the diameters used in the past were quite thin. The instruments dedicated to ancient music are therefore for the most part still calibrated according to this type of diameters. In particular, the angle formed by the strings on the bridge is in many cases rather acute, very similar to those of modern stringed instruments.

Baroque Violin

The adoption of truly historic calibres on this type of instrument – which are the majority – would have led to serious problems in the quality of the sound produced and in the ease of emission.

We have therefore decided to make our string frames in this way: on the one hand, by proposing (in the light, medium heavy tension degrees) those series of traditional diameters – even if not historically documented – that are generally adopted today, and on the other hand, by proposing frames that refer to the historical information that has survived, while at the same time making it clear which modifications are necessary in order to have access to these types of gauges that make the instrument certainly richer, easier to issue, of stable intonation and with a longer duration of the strings (as well as being in line with the historically documented criteria).

Vivi Felice


Which are the so called 'secrets' that are important in the 'historical' and 'modern way' to make gut string?

1) Chemical baths

This is the bigger ‘secret’ and clearly takes the first position. The composition of the chemical baths is (and was)  always the very well-preserved secret of the stringmakers of the past and those of today. For example: we can do a lot of video on YouTube showing the whole process to make gut strings but, for sure, we will never tell or shows which are the chemical solutions that we employ, how we manage them and were we use them. Here is the truth: the exact concentration of the product, the different dilutions that are employed during all the process phases, the contact's time and how we 'massage' the raw guts during the chemical treatment are all the most critical parameters on the quality of a gut strings.

At the end of the day, this actually is the very and ultimate secret.

2) The twisting ratio

This is what many already knows but, I say, it is not the most important. There are other things: the drying curve when the strings are on the frame, that it is very different if the weather suddenly change and/or if the strings is made with different quantity of guts. Then it is very important is how much tense are the fresh string just put on the frame and how you 'massage' the strings just after they are on the frame to dry.  It is very important when you add twist to the strings because there are more and more twisting steps, all related to the quantity of gut of the strings, then there is the right interval between the different twisting steps and ... the weather: sometime we went up from the bed at 3 by night because the weather has changed and we must go to the factory and change something in the drying room.

3) The kind of raw gut

It is not the same if the raw gut came from a place instead another one. The medicines, hormones do not influence at all the gut string behaviours (till now this is what we have seen)

4) The cleaning process

It is not important at all if the raw gut was cleaned by machine or by hands: the goal is to obtain a very cleaned muscular membrane.  Both ways are ok.

5) The tools material

It is not important at all that the tools are made in wood like in the past times. It is the same, even better for the tool lifetime, to employ aluminium frames and plastic tools.

6) The kind of frame

It is not the same thing to employ a frame instead another one. the quality of the final string is very different.

7) Number of guts

It is not the same thing if the same gauge is made from 5 thick raw guts or instead from 8 thinner raw guts: the behaviours change drastically.

This is one of the best secrets.

8 ) Gut type

Beef gut or sheep gut: the performance are the same, but at the condition that they were worked in the same way (same chemicals, same twisting ratio etc) and that the sheep gut is cut in strips like the beef gut.  The strings made from whole unsplit lamb gut are, instead, far superior.

-----------

If there is not a stringmakers like a teacher and if there is not a lot of daily practice in a string making factory it is not possible to make real, professional gut strings. The chemical process is the background of this job.

Some amateur, nowadays, make a lot of experiments with chemicals with the hope to find the Holly Grail but with gut strings this experimental way unfortunately does not works.

Yes, one can make the string anyway, but they cannot be like those of the past: they  will be very dark (while in the past centuries this was always considered a sign of bad strings) , they will easily breaks and false in the gauge thinner of, more or less, 1 mm; they will have the strips badly bonded together,  they will be stiffer than the equivalent professional strings even if one have twisted them in a  very high twist (a violin and cello 3rd will be dul and hard to play with the bow: unfortunately  the preformers will think that it is not posible to employ a plain gut string) because the chemical process is not the right one.

Here is the deal:  the perfection of the gut string of the past was reached only after centuries and centuries with the continuous support of a lot of smart and clever people that worked hard on the field and were already professionist of this job. Only one that has not a clear vision on the whole situation can thinks that, because he is working hard and with passion (that is itshelf very good), will arrive one day, alone, to discover 'The Way'.


Sugar Strings for Ukulele

Sugar strings

The  Aquila Sugar Ukulele strings are made using a blend with a recently discovered  plastic material derived from sugar- cane.
With a transparent look, the sound of these strings is clearly brilliant, clean and prompt.
Unlike the Fluorocarbon strings, these strings have an excellent vibrato and a significant timbre variation when playing very close to the bridge and then up on the sound hole. In other words, they contain in their extremes the sweetness and sing ability of Nylon and the clearness and promptness typical of Fluorocarbon. Another important property is the characteristic sustain, which by scientific measurements is superior to any type of string currently available in the market. Another feature checked is the sound projection: our scientific tests have shown that it is superior to that of the Fluorocarbon strings.
Although the surface is extremely smooth, the grip on the fingers is remarkable. The material is very clear and transparent similar to a crystal-glass.

Notice: at first use the strings might have a squeaky sound when you rub them lengthwise with the right hand, especially if you have dry or rough skin: that noise disappears in time, but if you want to get rid of it quickly, you can use a simple hand cream to moisturize skin and strings.

Hope you’ll have fun playing with our strings!!

Review

Song  and Playalong

Would you like to by this product?

Click here!


How we work

Our philosophy

All content found on the pages that deal with strings for Early Music are mainly the result of our personal research, experimentation and dissemination activities, based on the following principles:

  1. going in person on the site (private individuals, museums, institutes, etc.) to take measurements of string sections (and take samples, when possible) and then processing the data in order to produce a technical report / database both for personal use and for the institution / private person where the measurements were made;
  2. searching for unpublished paper documentation in libraries, institutes, private individuals and state archives;
  3. searching for new iconographic evidence and evaluating those already known;
  4. developing, according to technical criteria, the acquired historical/technical/iconographic documentation relative to the string-making activity of the past;
  5. realizing in practice what has been discovered and developed in the string-making technology of the past;
  6. interviewing the last surviving string-makers and/or visiting places where there were important string-making factories, carrying out an exhaustive survey with related interviews and acquisition of documentation/equipment, etc.;
  7. disseminating what has been found, elaborated, experimented and/or supposed through books, articles, conferences, Facebook, video conferences and school lessons;
  8. carrying out tests and practical experiments to verify what has been stated in the treatises of the past.

—-

In the following image gallery, you will be able to see some aspects of our activity (visits to museums and related files of string pieces; recovered paper documents, video and audio interviews with the latest Italian string makers, technical advice, etc.).


How to correctly install gut strings in order to avoid breakages and at the same time assuring a fast and stable intonation

At times here in Aquila we are told: “I installed the first string and it broke, so I tried with a second one and it ended up the same way. I have been playing the [violin/viola/cello/gamba] in the last thirty years and I sure know how to install a string…

 

But being expert musicians and performers is enough to be considered expert installers of gut strings as well?

 

Critical characteristics of gut strings

As a matter of fact, due to its natural origin, at times a gut string can present a problem: in this case we talk about defective strings.

A string can be called defective when:

  1. it has been excessively polished: at touch and at sight the string may appear good and perfectly smooth, but in fact the external fibers have been excessively damaged, so, little after its installation, the broken fibers will raise from its surface as tiny hairs.
  2. it has very small whitish marks (fat spots) on the inside: such strings tend to break during the initial tuning
  3. it suddenly breaks once installed, far from its constraint points (bridge and nut)

A gut string in itself is very  strong to traction, but it also has some weak points:

  1. the material is not hard, so it suffers from potential sliding or contact points that are even minimally sharp (sharp edges)
  2. it easily absorbs humidity, so in humid environments the string becomes less compact, softer and therefore gets even more delicate on the sliding points
  3. it leads to high friction on contact points, at times it squeezes on the nut and bridge slots, or it may not slide smoothly.

Common solutions, like applying some graphite on the nut grooves, are pretty useless if the slots have not been appropriately created following the criterions suitable for gut strings, like in these examples:

The most important things to be observed, is that the slots are slightly cut and they never have clear bending points, and lastly that the nut is mirror-polished. Only at this point using graphite on the grooves becomes truly effective.

The historical essays, such as Thomas Mace’s Musik’s Monument (London 1676), suggest how the nut of a Lute should be prepared in order to avoid breakages and obtain tuning stability:

Finally, iconographic sources of the XVII century often show a particular nautical knot, called Bowline, that divides in half the traction of the string in two distinct points at the hole on the tailpiece (such use can be limited to the first and highest pitched string)

This is how to tie a Bowline knot:

There are also some other best practices to follow:

  1. tune the string keeping it out of the nut slot and, for bowed instruments, every now and then lifting the string from the bridge: this prevents the sliding on friction points, and assures an even tension on both sides of the constraint points. Put back the string in its slot only once tuned (or very near to its final tuning);
  2. Once in a while, it’s good practice to gently pull the string at half of its length, in order to unload its not recoverable elasticity and at the same time clamping it on its constraint points (this way the string will be almost immediately ready to be played);
  3. Put the string in tension slowly: the material needs time to reach its final state of stretching;
  4. The portion of the string wound on the peg should be as small as possible, making sure that on the first loop the string passes on top of itself, and then closing the spirals without further overlaps: see the indications of Thomas Mace on Musik’s Monument (London 1676).

 

The following videos summarize all the above mentioned recommendations:

Vivi felice

 

Mimmo Peruffo