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Fiddle Lovers Online

Jun 16, 2017 - 12:49:35 PM
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13 posts
Joined Oct 20, 2013

I bought a Lui Xi fiddle about three weeks ago. It came directly from China. I’ve looked at these for about two years and finally decided to gamble $225 (including shipping) and see what the quality was. I was really pretty surprised at the fit and finish… particularly between the nut, neck and finger board. There’s a very smooth almost seamless mating of the parts. The pegs are very well fitted… they turn smoothly and hold position easily. The antiquing is well done with muted warm gold tones and a largely smooth oil finish. The top grain is very tight and even, opening somewhat toward the edges. There’s no glare or plastic appearance, just an even soft nicely transparent sheen.

On the down side, the strings were quite poor, the bridge was thick and not well finished, the elevation at the nut was a bit high and the ebony tail piece was not set up with the proper after-bridge spacing. Fortunately, I do most of my own service work, so I almost immediately carved a new high-quality bridge, changed the tail piece to a Wittner Ultra, re-shaped and lowered the nut, mounted Dominant strings, moved the sound post a little to the dark side and conducted a thorough set up.

After three weeks of playing the violin daily, I am amazed at the tone, clarity and responsiveness of this instrument across the strings and up the neck. The voice has changed notably as the instrument has been played. At first, it was simply loud (never edgy), but lacking somewhat in overtones and depth. After a week it softened and took on a sweeter more rounded sound. Now the clarity has really asserted itself. Double stops are balanced and well defined such that the stronger low tone does not over power the higher. High notes ring and low notes are full and respond with only light coaxing.

While the violin does not compare on par with aged or more skillfully crafted instruments, it is in a class well above student-grade violins available in the $500 range. In time, I expect this fiddle will continue to improve in tonal quality matching its excellent playability. I couldn’t find anything in this fiddle to be disappointed about that couldn’t be easily addressed with a little careful adjustment and selective component replacements. With a total investment approaching $300, I couldn’t be more satisfied with the purchase.   

Jun 16, 2017 - 5:43:37 PM

187 posts
Joined Aug 3, 2011

Which model, Ross? I have purchased several Yita T19 in the past for benefits & fundraisers. I agree with your review. I did not keep any of them and occasionally wonder how they sound now. I also wonder if their T20 would be even better.
Jun 16, 2017 - 10:07:23 PM
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fujers

USA

4522 posts
Joined Feb 14, 2008
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Why Heck, You already got it beat..you already know how to work on em..thats great. Knowing what you want in a fiddle beats not knowing. I've seen a lot of trade fiddles that sound as good as masters. Good luck. Jerry

Jun 17, 2017 - 1:16:14 PM
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13 posts
Joined Oct 20, 2013

quote:
Originally posted by Connie Williams

Which model, Ross? I have purchased several Yita T19 in the past for benefits & fundraisers. I agree with your review. I did not keep any of them and occasionally wonder how they sound now. I also wonder if their T20 would be even better.

Hi Connie - It's a T20.. they referred to it as "The Dolphin". I watched the auctions for a few weeks, putting likely candidates on my watch list. Knowing that I was going to change out the tailpiece, bridge and strings, my main criteria was tight top grain, ebony fittings and a 24mm neck width at the nut. The bidding was slow on this one (Holiday weekend) and I won the bid at $168. Add to that the $58 for shipping, $35 for Dominant strings, $8 for a Teller 3-star bridge blank (not pre-fit) and $14 for the Wittner tailpiece. So, I have $283 invested for the violin and foam case.

The reviews I've read regarding the Liu Xi violins (http://www.violinist.com/discussion/archive/24294/) comment that there's a significant difference between the T19 and T20 level instruments. I don't have any point of comparison, but at the price I paid, nothing would motivate me to go for a lesser offering.

Jun 17, 2017 - 1:34:14 PM

13 posts
Joined Oct 20, 2013

quote:
Originally posted by Chops Chomper
 

Why Heck, You already got it beat..you already know how to work on em..thats great. Knowing what you want in a fiddle beats not knowing. I've seen a lot of trade fiddles that sound as good as masters. Good luck. Jerry


Thanks Jerry.

When I first started playing, I didn't have a very big pocketbook for that kind of thing, so I bought a set of Harbor Freight chisels and a string of old train-wreck fiddles. I glued and hacked and researched specs and all. I learned how to pull better sound and playability out of most of them and what worked best for me too. It was really a worthwhile education. I still do about one a month just for fun.

Jun 22, 2017 - 11:45:38 AM

1053 posts
Joined Dec 11, 2008

StringBard -- Excellent review.  A fine piece of writing.

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