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Reference Library Makers

B. Salo, 1540, d. 1609, Brescia.

Highly important maker of violas, he was probably introduced to instrument making by Girolamo Virchi and Peregrino di Zanetto. Most of his career in Brescia was devoted to viols and citterns. A violone player himself, he produced some highly influential bass instruments also. Although none of his labels carry a date, it was probably towards the end of his life that he started the manufacture of violas, for which Brescia now has an unrivalled reputation. All but one of his surviving violas are made on the large tenor form, now virtually obsolete, and most have been reduced in size for modern use. He was followed by his pupil, Giovanni Paolo Maggini, another apprentice Jacopo Lafranchini, and his son, Francesco. His work can be quite rugged in style, the heads quite carelessly carved, but always with good proportion and strong arching, and a rich dark varnish. Maggini became a very distinguished maker in his own right, but the work of Francesco and Lafranchini is very rarely identified.

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