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A New Builder of 4-String and 5-string Fiddles Russell McCumber Elkin NC

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Jan 11, 2020 - 3:22:06 AM
like this
346 posts since 8/21/2007

I posted quite some time ago a little about Russell McCumber and I am way late on a follow up, but after I originally posted I had some pretty severe health issues come up on me I had to deal with. I am much better now. I couldn't find the original post so I started a new one.
Russell and I started Violin building school at the same time at Surry Community College Mt. Airy NC. The teacher and starter of the program was and still is Joe Thrift. Joe was in the first graduating class of The Newark International School of Violin Making. Roger Hargrave, one of the undisputed authorities on Joseph Guarnerius del Gesu violins was in this class too. It became quickly evident that violin building just wasn't in my DNA. But it became very clear, early in the program that building violins was very much in Russell's DNA for lack of a better phrase. So much so that Russell applied for a grant from the NC Arts council for more intensive studies with Joe Thrift which he got. He now helps Joe Thrift teach the class and also builds on his own. One aspect that I really believe makes Russell's violins/fiddles unique is he is a world class player as well. It is very rare to find a maker that is as accomplished as he is as a player. For full disclosure Russell and I were roommates in NC too until I had to move back to Athens GA to help take care of my father and sister.

These are pictures of one of his latest builds I am the proud recipient of. A 5-string that is of his own design, very much inspired by the work of Joseph Guarnerius del Gesu. It has a European spruce top and Bosnian maple back and sides. It is oil varnish of his own recipe and is antiqued. The price for a violin like this is $6500


Jan 11, 2020 - 6:04:58 AM

wilford

USA

110 posts since 6/26/2007

Beautiful work.

Jan 11, 2020 - 6:19:16 PM

346 posts since 8/21/2007

Since the fiddle is not in my hands yet I will tell you what he said about the above fiddle I feel so lucky to be getting. He said “It is warm and rib across all 5 strings with power and clarity,"the fiddle has nice resonance and sustain to the notes for being brand new”.

Jan 22, 2020 - 11:21:47 AM
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346 posts since 8/21/2007

I should have my new McCumber 5-string in hand possibly by this Sunday January 26th, if not then the following Sunday February 2 for certain. Give me a few days with it and I’ll post a review of the fiddle and let you know what I think. It’s ice to be active back
in the community again.

Feb 27, 2020 - 5:25:19 AM

ehoard

USA

11 posts since 7/15/2017

Did you get you 5 string? How do you like it?
 
 

Originally posted by fiddler59

I posted quite some time ago a little about Russell McCumber and I am way late on a follow up, but after I originally posted I had some pretty severe health issues come up on me I had to deal with. I am much better now. I couldn't find the original post so I started a new one.
Russell and I started Violin building school at the same time at Surry Community College Mt. Airy NC. The teacher and starter of the program was and still is Joe Thrift. Joe was in the first graduating class of The Newark International School of Violin Making. Roger Hargrave, one of the undisputed authorities on Joseph Guarnerius del Gesu violins was in this class too. It became quickly evident that violin building just wasn't in my DNA. But it became very clear, early in the program that building violins was very much in Russell's DNA for lack of a better phrase. So much so that Russell applied for a grant from the NC Arts council for more intensive studies with Joe Thrift which he got. He now helps Joe Thrift teach the class and also builds on his own. One aspect that I really believe makes Russell's violins/fiddles unique is he is a world class player as well. It is very rare to find a maker that is as accomplished as he is as a player. For full disclosure Russell and I were roommates in NC too until I had to move back to Athens GA to help take care of my father and sister.

These are pictures of one of his latest builds I am the proud recipient of. A 5-string that is of his own design, very much inspired by the work of Joseph Guarnerius del Gesu. It has a European spruce top and Bosnian maple back and sides. It is oil varnish of his own recipe and is antiqued. The price for a violin like this is $6500


Aug 23, 2020 - 1:05:07 AM

346 posts since 8/21/2007

Yes, I have had it for quite sometime now. It is everything I have ever wanted in a fiddle, 4 or 5-string. The workmanship.is as good as it gets. The antique it is very convincing. The tone is very even with a very sweet.E string and is most definitely a banjo.killer. Russell is moving to the outskirts of Boston Massachusetts. He will be hitting the road and heading north later on today as a matter of fact. I couldn’t be more satisfied with the Fiddle. Please excuse my tardiness on posting the follow up on this Fiddle. I've been dealing with some very serious health issues that is taking me away from the forums . Still not quite sure what the outcome is long-term. The peg head has imperfections in it because it is a copy of the Lord Wilton del Gesu  that has been slightly elongated to accommodate the 5th string and make.it easier to change strings. 


Edited by - fiddler59 on 08/23/2020 01:19:44

Aug 23, 2020 - 1:28:50 AM

346 posts since 8/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by fiddler59

Yes, I have had it for quite sometime now. It is everything I have ever wanted in a fiddle, 4 or 5-string. The workmanship.is as good as it gets. The antique it is very convincing. The tone is very even with a very sweet.E string and is most definitely a banjo.killer. Russell is moving to the outskirts of Boston Massachusetts. He will be hitting the road and heading north later on today as a matter of fact. I couldn’t be more satisfied with the Fiddle. Please excuse my tardiness on posting the follow up on this Fiddle. I've been dealing with some very serious health issues that is taking me away from the forums . Still not quite sure what the outcome is long-term. The peg head has imperfections in it because it is a copy of the Lord Wilton del Gesu  that has been slightly elongated to accommodate the 5th string and make.it easier to change strings. 


Aug 23, 2020 - 1:30:29 AM

346 posts since 8/21/2007

 
Aug 23, 2020 - 1:39:49 AM

346 posts since 8/21/2007

Sorry I’ve been away from the forms for a while but I have that some severe health issues since April. I am at least stable right now but I don’t know what my long-term outcome is going to be. On the Russell McCumber Fiddle that I posted a while back it is without a doubt the best playing and sounding instrument I have ever owned or played. To my ear it has a very rich even and open sound that is a banjo killer. The stream is very sweet and not harsh at all as a matter fact it’s pretty fat sounding. The workmanship is as good as it gets. The Imperfections you might see in the scroll is because the scroll was copied after the Lord Wilton del Gesu Guarneri but elongated slightly to accommodate the fifth string and make it easier to tune and chain strings. I am thinking it is very convincing. It is very much made in the Italian tradition. European top with Bosnian back and sides. I’m going to post some pics of his latest build with a slab cut back and it is a 4 string. Russell is moving today to Boston Massachusetts or at least on the outskirts. I think this will be a great career move on because you have the Berkeley school of music as well as several colleges that have very good classical programs.

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