For Sale is a fully-restored 1884 folk fiddle made by a 'W. Combs." I have found just one other reference to his instruments in a 1995 auction listing owned by the luthier I use. From history records and talking to Combs family members from the WV, Ohio and Kentucky areas, there were quite a few fiddlers known in local family histories, and the W. could stand for Wilbur, Willis or William, as they were known to play. That's all the information I have on the maker, who apparently worked in that region, and made very nice-sounding fiddles from local materials. In addition to being signed inside "Combs 1884", the underside of the fingerboard also is signed "W. Combs, April 1884." This is partially visible in the photo showing the neck and fiddle in two pieces.
There is nothing wrong with this fiddle, and it has been fully restored. No splits, cracks or open seams. I purchased it from an antique dealer who'd bought it at an estate auction, and the neck was separated at the time (see photo). Additionally, it was unfinished as well, still 'in the white,' either as a result of being stripped of finish at some point, or perhaps never completed by the builder. In any case, it had not had a finish for a very long time, as it was very dirty and polished by handling and hand oils. After consulting some people here on Fiddle Hangout, I went ahead and had it refinished while having it restored.
All work was done in late 2012, and includes a neck reset and re-glueing, new bridge, strings and pegs, and a careful refinishing in a very nice reddish nut-brown. It's set up and ready to play, although the setup may not be to some people's liking. I like a low bridge with less arch, as well as a low action. If you really hammer on the strings when you play, you might occasionally get some string buzz off the fingerboard. Most setups are personal, so you can decide whether or not to get a new bridge should you decide to purchase this instrument.
Tone is dark in the lower ranges, and has very clear and focused high tones. Great tones with double-stops. Overall, a very nice sounding instrument that's great for a fiddler, as it is very responsive and a joy to play for an experienced fiddler. A local instructor played it and said, "This is a great fiddle. No one will ever mistake it for a violin." It was high praise. ;-)
Sold AS-IS, due to its age. Please feel free to ask questions if seriously interested. Someone had tried to repair the neck connection with a dowel at some point, but it's simply a proper glue joint now, although you can see the dowel in the button.
United States, PA
Free shipping to most of the US, $10 extra for West coast states (CA, OR, WA).
Check/Money Order, Cash (in person), Paypal
Returns not accepted.
Condition of Item(s):
Used - Excellent Condition
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