Soprano Rebec
Soprano Rebec and Bow
Soprano Rebec

The rebec is a European development of the Arabic rabab. It emerged in the 11th century, and died out in the early 16th century. For most of its life, it was a small instrument, but larger sizes were made towards the end of the 15th century, and it enjoyed a brief spell as a consort instrument.

The Diabolus rebec is a typical 3-string model, based on various medieval illustrations. There is no firm evidence on tuning, so most people tune it in fifths, like a violin, or with a fourth and a fifth.

The soundboard is slightly curved, and there is no soundpost. The sound is characteristically "reedy". It blends well with drones, and is excellent for dance music.

The most common peg head shown in medieval illustrations is a simple flat plate, but there are a few illustrations of scroll pegboxes of varying complexity. I decided on a simple scroll, just because it looks pretty. The flat face on the end of the scroll can be a single piece of exotic wood, or can be inlaid.


Soprano Rebec, with bow

To order or enquire, pleasecontact me


Cases - Excellent cases can be ordered from specialist manufacturers such as Kingham MTM, but they're pricy. I can supply an attractive, custom-built plywood case, black with chrome fittings, for £180 when ordered with an instrument.

Delivery - the price depends on where you live. Please enquire.

I hate it when websites say "Phone for a quote", so to give you some idea - getting a baroque guitar in its case to America, including insurance, is currently about £130. Getting one to Kent is about half that.

Waiting time, from placing an order to clutching your new baby, is currently about 12 months. It's very approximate, because the schedule often contains items that are somewhat experimental, and they may take more or less time to complete than anticipated. Usually more.

Deposit- I usually ask for £150 (non-returnable unless I'm dead, insane, incapacitated or incarcerated) to secure an order and cover materials. Once that's paid, your order is entered into my Magic Book. Nothing happens for several months, then you receive an email to tell you I've started construction. A few weeks later, a big parcel arrives, and you squeal with delight.

Anote on HUMIDITY - delicate wooden instruments are remarkably resilient, but they can have major problems with both high and low atmospheric humidity levels. I keep my workshop at the recommended humidity level, between 45% and 50%, and I strongly recommend that instruments are kept as close to that range as possible. Electronic humidity meters are available cheaply on the Internet. They're small enough to keep in your instrument's case.
Low humidity can shrink wood, resulting in cracks and distortion. Case humidifiers, again available quite cheaply, should prevent this.
The main risk with high humidity is the formation of water droplets, either from condensation or perspiration while playing. These can damage varnish and slowly dissolve glue joints. A silica gel sachet can be kept in the case, but use a humidity meter as well. Take care it doesn't reduce the case humidity too far.