A 1700 Strad gets restrung

The cellist Josetxu Obregón is playing at the Palacio Real in Madrid next week on the 1700 Stradivarius that belongs to the Royal Collection of the Spanish Crown.

But here’s the thing: he’s got permission to have gut strings installed on the instrument for the first time in modern times and that is setting the Spanish strings world all aquiver.

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  • Surely this practice is far from unusual – e.g. Viktoria Mullova uses gut strings on her Strad for the Vivaldi recording and I believe other Baroque repertoire.

  • Of course, I believe Josetxu Obregon is a baroque cello player and therefore uses gut strings very often, what seems interesting here (or at least this is the way I understand it) is that this particular Strad didn’t have gut strings installed in modern times, it has a “modern” setup, so it will be a good chance for the audience to listen to it with the kind of strings that were used in Stradivarius time.

  • Given that this instrument has a modern setup, changes would have been made to the way the neck was set, the fingerboard, the pegs, the bass bar, and the soundpost. These changes allow for higher tension strings and more projection and playability. Simply re stringing the cello with gut strings will not allow for the audience to hear the instrument as it sounded in 1700.

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