The Octobass String Project
In 1996 we received a request by the Musée de la Musique in Paris for the realization of two copies of original setup of ‘Octobass built in 1850 by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume (1798-1875).
This is a particular instrument about 4.0 mt high equipped with three plain gut strings at the vibrating length of 2.15 meters for a working tension of about 35 kg per string.
The original gauges measured (and to build) were:
1st C (32.70 Hz) approximately 4.0 mm
2nd G (24.50 Hz) around 5.3 mm
3rd C (16.35 Hz): approx 8.0 mm
The task seemed soon rather difficult, for a complete lack of previous experience in realizing plain gut strings of that size.
Arising problems did not concern only the right number of guts strands to combine (in order to achieve required diameters) but also in how to work for twisting so big strings, the procedure for their slow drying and finally how to carry out the final polishing
The strings were then made for a rough length of 4.5 meters, making necessary the use of approximately 4,100 meters (4.1 Km !) gut strands for each set (ie 8.2 kmof gut for the two set up required ).
Mimmo Peruffo, 2006