Over 5000 km away from the manufacturer, with no representative in the
Netherlands, I felt a bit hesitant about buying a kit overseas. But I knew that the
instrument was very good and my correspondence with the people at Hubbard gave me such a
feeling of confidence that I decided to take the risk. Now that the instrument has been
finished, I have never felt sorry for one second for my decision.
I experienced outstanding support from the very start of the building process.
Due to language difficulties, I think I was a nuisance customer. But Hubbard never got
tired answering all of my questions. A missing part? No problem. Without any complaint,
within a day or two I got it. In order to build a kit successfully, I think it helps to be
creative and a do-it-yourself kind of person. Experience also helps. But, most of all, you
should love to do it.
The kit is composed of many, many parts. Some of them need further processing, others
Hubbard has done for you. I feel that the balance between parts you can and parts you
cannot process yourself is very well chosen. The dimensions of the parts are very
accurate; if something does not fit, it is most likely because of something you did,
rather than a fault of the part, but a little trimming and adjusting corrects the
situation. It is very important to keep in mind to never glue until you are absolutely
sure you have it right. I built the instrument in 10 months, spending almost all of
my leisure time. It was a great pleasure to see the instrument growing while the parts
boxes became more and more empty.
Finally the time comes when you put the first string on. You are anxious to pluck it
and experience the first sound and that is a great moment of victory. Yes, it does sound
well.... I built the stand myself as well as a matching piano bench (neither shown) which
took another three months.
The paintings were done by
artist Jan Overbeeke who created on my request a 17th century landscape
in the style of the early Jan van Goyen (1596-1656) who was also the
latest teacher of Jan Steen who married van Goyen's daughter Margriet
in 1649. The soundboard is not traditional but is painted in a free
style where a tree develops over the sound board where all kinds of
birds, flowers, etc. are living. Working with the gold leaf was
very difficult but is worthwhile because it gives a beautiful finishing
touch. Now that the instrument is finished I'm very happy with it. It
sounds great, the touch is great and it looks great.
So it is more than I ever could imagine owning. I thank the Hubbard family and staff
for making this possible.