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I finally tried a fiddle EQUAL to my fave

Posted by bj on Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Not better than my little french fiddle, but equal to it, but with a somewhat different voice. If this was a singing voice I'd say this one sounded much deeper in the chest. Dark is not the right word, though I like this one similar to the way I like darker fiddles. The focus was very, very strong on this fiddle, and the overtones were complex and subtle at the same time.

It's a Gagliardi from the late 1700's. Wow. Even closed up and just a hair nasally, it sounded absolutely fabulous under my ear. My friend Maggio, the fiddle dealer, had it and asked me to play it for him, so he could hear it away from his ear. He is a violinist, so the setup was classical, and it had synthetic low tension strings on it, so the sound wasn't as fiddley as mine is. But what a fine sounding instrument! He played it for me also, and, like my fave, it sounds good under the ear and away from it both. So few do, it's nice to play the few that accomplish that feat!

I first guessed it was French, but before he could correct me I said that no, it reads somewhat French but something about it looks to be more Italian. And yes, it is an Italian fiddle. He said it had been made in Italy by a maker who also spent time in France, which is the influence I was seeing.

And it's a very good thing that in my mind it was only equal to my favorite girl, since it would have taken me a few month's full time work to earn the money to buy this one, had I decided I had to have it! He's already sold it . . . and I'm very glad the temptation is gone, though I will remember that sweet fiddle for a long time.

8 comments on “I finally tried a fiddle EQUAL to my fave”

Ozarkian DL Says:
Tuesday, July 20, 2010 @2:31:24 PM

If only to have held & played it, tis better than not to have met at all. My old hillbilly kit made fiddle sounded green, flat, scratchy & squelchy after I made it, but tha more I play it tha better it sounds. Second only to my "Strad Hellier".

bj Says:
Tuesday, July 20, 2010 @2:37:17 PM

Isn't it great how they come to life under our fingers?

mudbug Says:
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 @12:21:11 AM

Ahhh, wonderful instruments we have played, like the sweet memory of a bygone kiss.

Humbled by this instrument Says:
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 @6:39:36 AM

Ahhhhh, like the sour retrospection of some mint-chocolate ice-cream which melted before I had the chance to slurp it down my gullet.

Dock Jekel Says:
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 @7:22:15 PM

Very beautiful story... I am charmed how you recognized french influence in the craftsmanship of this fiddle, but this may be a reflection on how little I know.

bj Says:
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 @7:31:54 PM

I have a couple friends who are violin dealers. I owe what little education I have in that regard to them. It seems to be sticking, amazingly!

fiddlepogo Says:
Thursday, July 22, 2010 @7:28:14 PM

I know what you mean about being glad temptation is gone... the $700 Scott Cao that responded so nice is gone... whew!!!
And my baking soda finish tweaks seem to have added some of that responsiveness to the Knilling.

eerohero Says:
Sunday, July 25, 2010 @12:05:52 AM

yes, these kind of stories warms up a fiddlers heart, dont worry, there will be other opportunities, you will get your dark warm sounding fiddle sooner you may think off, your unconscious will guide you to it.

Im looking for an old Mandolin at the moment, driving around at auctions in all over scandinavia, chasing an Old Swedish Made Lewin Mandolin, its just as good as Gibson, just doesnt have that fancy look, its drop formed instead, and the cost is not a tenth of Gibson.

We will reach our Dreams.....
BTW, sam bush have excellent DVD`s newly made of Rhythm Mandolin at

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