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Virginals

Forte-Pianos

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Unfinished Zuckermann Kit for Italian Virginal I, ca 1975 (?)

Price: $750 USD as is (the Universal Currency Converter can tell you what that would be in your currency) plus shipping from Annapolis MD and any applicable taxes & duties. Kit is made in USA-made kit so qualifies as duty-free in the US, Canada and Mexico under NAFTA. Interested? Contact us!

 

This kit for a Zuckermann Italian Virginal (version 1) was started but never finished. The original owner assembled the case and did most of the keyboard work over 30 years ago (1974 and 1975) but unfortunately passed away before completing the instrument. The kit was given to a friend who always intended to finish it but it wasn't a priority as he doesn't play. Now he'd like the kit to go to someone who will build it and *play* it. Got to be good karma in that!

 

Although it doesn't take up much room, this virginal can handle a lot of music. Compass is a generous BB-e''' (54 notes), an it can be tuned to GG/BB short octave for and effective range of 58 notes. Disposition 1 x 8'. Finished dimensions are approx. 183 cm x 46 plus 15 cm for the keyboard, by 23 high, plus the stand which is another 64 cm high ( 6 feet x 18" + 6" x 9" + 25"). Virginals pluck near the middle of the string, producing a distinctive deep, plummy tone.

Complete with lid, music desk and stand, also instruction manual and 1:1 plans. The jacks are the older-style Zuckermann white Delrin (plastic) jacks designed for modern plastic plectra (not leather). A few keytops/arcades are missing (and may be in with the parts) but otherwise everything is there, so far as we know.

Not sure if you can build a virginal from a kit? Our kit FAQ gives some general information on building a harpsichord from a kit, and there is more information here: .

If you want the virginal but don't want to build it yourself, we can make it for you. for around $6,500 CAD, depending on decoration. Still a bargain!

 


 

Update: more informtion from the owner:

Hello Dawn,

    The soundboard is not glued in place.  I could easily lift it.  Surface does have fine glue lines.  It is clearly made of several thin piece glued edgewise. However cross-section appears to be layered.  Moreover, construction manual identifies kit as Virginal I.  So I assume soundboard is plywood. There are some light brown stains (waterstains?) on the soundboard; but no warping, separation or other damage that I can detect. Looks to me as if they could be removed with household bleach, oxalic acid, or simply sanded off. Will send photographs if you request. A dark brown, deep, probably irremovable 2-3" narrow stain on the wrestplank (if that is the correct word--it is thick board with both ends cut at an angle that fits diagonally in the case).  But the stain will be facing the soundboard when assembled and therefore will be invisible. Again, will send picture if you wish. You were right about spare keytops/arcades.  There appear to be some in the box with the other parts.  There is a letter to a local harpsichord builder in the box with the parts dated 1974.  So a build date of  74-75 appears to be a good guess. I have found a few (not all) of the missing pieces of case veneer and will wrap them in saran and put them in the box with the other parts.

 
 

The birch ply (?) case is assembled but there has been some peeling of the veneer. You can see it on the keyboard sidepiece. On the plus side, the soundboard appears to be spruce and *not* installed (95% sure on this, but awaiting confirmation) so you'll get a good tone. You can even plane it, if you want to..

If a kit 'goes bad' it's usually because the bridge has been installid incorrectly or the holes drilled in the wrong places. This kit has not gotten that far, which makes it less likely that there will be irremediable problems with the construction that has been done so far.

 

Most parts are still sealed in their envelopes. There is also a parts list in the manual so you can check to see that everything is there. Zuckermann no longer makes this kit, but if there are any missing parts or you need spares or wires, you can get them from us or from Zuckermann Harpsichords International (www.zhi.net).

The wire appears to be steel or soft iron. The later kits used brass wire, in our opinon a nicer sound, but in theory a new bridge could be made to change the scaling to brass, if you like.

[above] Compass is BB-e''' (54 notes), can be tuned to GG/BB short octave for effective 58 notes. Disposition 1 x 8'. Nice keyboard -- maple naturals with blackwood sharps. Some of the keytops and/or arcades appear to be missing but they are easily replacable. Harpsichord builders (such as, ahem, ourselves) can supply them or you can make your own.

[right] Zuckermann no longer makes this kit, but this is the photo from their catalogue of that time. This kit is a little different, most noticably the stand.

We sold an Italian Virginal made from one of these kits a few years back. It was a very fine instrument and had been used professionally. Our write-up is here, photos, too.

 

Price: $750 USD as is (the Universal Currency Converter can tell you what that would be in your currency) plus shipping from Annapolis MD and any applicable taxes & duties. Kit is made in USA-made kit so qualifies as duty-free in the US, Canada and Mexico under NAFTA. Interested? Contact us!

 

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