The rebec found its way via Spain and Byzantium to central Europe in the middle ages. Early sources - for example the “Cantigas de Santa Maria” - show rebecs with two or three strings. The first important source in Germany is the book “musica getutscht” by Sebastian Virdung - the first scientific book about music in german language. Martin Agricolas book “musica instrumentalis" is based on this book and shows a complete set of four 3-stringed rebecs form soprano to bass.
Typical for the rebec is its body shaped like a pear. It is - including head, peg box and end pin - made out of a single block of wood. The rebec can be played laying on the arm (“da bracchio”), between the knees (“da gamba”) or standing on the left knee. We use only gut strings for these instruments.