Posted by Mandogryl on Sunday, September 19, 2010
With off and on again work I managed to rebuild this Magginni copy trade fiddle. It is not something I would normally have endeavored to do, but she was given to me. Like an unwanted kitten, I did not want this fiddle, either. I have plenty of other work to do in the shop, with two F-5 mandolins and one violin commission to work on. So I only work on it in between glue-ups. Soon, though, the project began to gain momentum, and I began to work on it in earnest about a month ago. The two biggest hurdles were the neck block and the top plate cracks. I had to decide to rebuild or make a new head block, but in the end I decided I could restore the original. The top plate had numerous cracks that had to be re-glued before I could re-thickness this plate. The bass bar was an integral one, so I planed it off and made a new one. Then I could begin reassembling. I made a new nut from scratch. The top plate finish was a mess, and I wanted to take it down to bare wood but all who knew about the project suggested retaining as much original finish as possible. This I did, though it made the final stain look uneven. It is what it is. After a couple of coats of my special homemade varnish dried, I went about setting the instrument up. The only peg hole needing bushing was the E, which went smoothly. At first she had a disturbing wolf-tone on the A string, but the two bass strings sounded strong and muscular and the E had authority. My Nippon’s E, by comparison is tinny and thin sounding. I studied the sound post and realized that it was too tight and too close to the center – too far away from the treble bridge foot. I removed it this morning and shortened it bit by bit and patiently tried it over and over again till it seemed right. I learned a little trick about sound post orientation along the way. She sounds really terrific now. It was a very satisfying project, and I would like to give it to a youngster next year at fiddle camp that may be in need of an upgrade. I need to discuss this prospect with the director to see if such a thing would even be feasible.
I have over 30 pictures of the process in my photos, if you care to look.
Monday, September 20, 2010 @4:43:28 PM
I'm glad it came out sounding good. I'm working on top removal on two fiddles now. I'm hoping once I get repair done I can make 'em sound like something.
Monday, September 20, 2010 @5:01:00 PM
It should make a huge difference. Very gratifying, too. IF they are trade fiddles, you can bet they were rushed to market, thus poorly carved. If you need any tools, just holler.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010 @5:51:16 PM
I wish I could accomplish all this , it sounds so exciting.
Jody Trost Says:
Sunday, October 31, 2010 @11:34:44 AM
I would love to be that talented..I have been practicing my fiddle and I believe I am making progress :) I would really like to practice with you someday and hope that I could try and follow you. You are tolerant and kind and I need to practice playing with someone else. Let me know if you think we could get together sometime..
Sunday, October 31, 2010 @11:36:46 AM
Sure, Jody, that would be great.
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'Update on formal lessons' 2 days