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Jul 7, 2020 - 1:36:41 PM
8411 posts since 3/19/2009
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YIKES!! I just sat on one of my fiddles. Two strings broke and the bridge dropped.. Fortunately, it was just my Civil War era 'beater' fiddle that sounds like an old man who smokes heavily, but still.. I Cringed as I got up to see what damage I'd done...
Another time I was busking and put my fiddle in its case..then lifted it to my shoulder without having zipped the case shut.. the fiddle flew out like a bird whose nest was about to be violated... and when it hit the ground from 5 feet high (good thing I'm not 6 feet tall), the neck popped loose...
So... Tell us about your tragedies.

Jul 7, 2020 - 2:53:43 PM
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53 posts since 11/19/2019

Oh no!!!!

No fiddle or instrument tragedies here, but I learned a lesson long ago that if I close a case or toolbox I latch it - Never put the lid down without latching it. If you close it, you latch it. I will have to admit that I made the mistake more than once.... After having kids, I then had to learn the lesson that not everyone else had learned the lesson that I did.... So now I'm back to having to check every case/toolbox.

Edited by - ChinnRest on 07/07/2020 14:53:59

Jul 7, 2020 - 3:32:05 PM
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1743 posts since 8/27/2008
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No tragedy here either. But long ago I made the habit of doing the above, securing a lid if I closed it on a case. Also, I made the habit of picking up cases with the lid in toward my body, so in case it's not fastened closed it will flop open against me, not the floor.

Jul 7, 2020 - 4:17:09 PM
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DougD

USA

9676 posts since 12/2/2007
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I do the same as above. For a violin when I pick up the case by the handle I put my index finger along the top just in "case." Old latches sometimes come loose.
I have a friend who bought a violin made by our late, local luthier (probably a few thousand dollars) and sure enough he sat on it, causing quite a bit of damage. Then, he had to TAKE IT BACK to the same luthier who had lovingly crafted it for extensive repairs.
I never leave instruments lying around, especially on chairs or couches.

Edited by - DougD on 07/07/2020 16:28:30

Jul 7, 2020 - 6:01:18 PM

8411 posts since 3/19/2009
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I've made several cases for various students.. One was for my daughter.. Once while she was busking a passerby said, "I'll bet your father made that case for you ." She asked why he has suspected that.. He said because it is "Overkill in construction".. Well, yes, she could use it a as a stool..or footrest.....!! I'm usually very careful about how I handle my fiddle case, but it only takes ONE lapse of judgement...and bam!! on the ground..
I do have one friend who is meticulous about putting her fiddle in a case if she leaves it for even a moment.. I need to learn from her..
Once a few years ago I propped my fiddle against a jam table, at night.. thinking it was safe.. someone tripped over it..Fortunately, the fiddle wasn't damaged.. (never did check on the person who tripped on it..wink)... Anyway, since then I've been more careful... but still accidents do happen.

Jul 7, 2020 - 6:24:48 PM

8411 posts since 3/19/2009
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One story that I can't vouch for the authenticity of is.. I met a man in about 1976 whose job was to travel with a famous violinist and assure that his violin WORKED.. Apparently for the money they were paying the famous person, he could not afford to have a violin break.. So, he always had this GUY in the wings with a spare fiddle.. Apparently only ONE time in the years that the man traveled with the violinist, were his services needed. The violinist tripped on his way to the stage and somehow damaged his primary violin. My acquaintance had to give him the backup fiddle, and by the end of the first 'movement' of the music piece, he was proud to say that he could give the famous person back his repaired violin...I couldn't get him to name the violinist, but his story made sense then, and makes sense now..

Jul 7, 2020 - 6:47:11 PM

5 posts since 11/23/2015

Not to me. But one of my fiddles was my grandmother’s. Many times I heard the story that she tripped coming on stage and it went flying across the stage. No damage, so the story goes.

Another time I had somebody showing me some licks. Her brand new to her fiddle slipped out from under her neck and hit the floor...bridge side down. She cried.

Hope these stories didn’t jinx me.

Jul 7, 2020 - 6:58:06 PM

4725 posts since 9/26/2008

Not fiddle. Once many years back, the drummer in our band offered to help load the jeep with gear from his basement before a gig. He carried my guitar out but did not put it in. Instead, unbeknownst to me, he put on the ground next to the rear wheel of the passenger side. A few minutes later, "is that everything?" I asked. He assured me it was. I was backed into the driveway and this drove out. Todd was the last car in the driveway and followed me out. I hear a horrible scraping sound and lay on the horn. He had backed into the headstock portion of the case and was pushing it down the steep driveway. Luckily, the case was upright and he just barely crushed the tip of the case. Guitar was unscathed.

The same accident prone drummer damaged many of my things over the ten plus years we played together.

Jul 7, 2020 - 7:08 PM

203 posts since 4/22/2009

I was using a nice old [apparently non-protective] case. Someone knocked it out of my hands and it landed on metal stairs. Drove the sound post into the top and cracked the entire top. My grade school violin. I needed a better one anyway. That one was a beautiful 200 year old French violin with great tone but with a heavily repaired top. One humid weekend at a festival caused the top to cave in. I had someone who is an expert in plate tuning technology built a new top. Sounds really good.

Jul 7, 2020 - 7:15:55 PM
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25 posts since 1/28/2018

I've had several tragedies with fiddles...but I eventually get the notes right....

Jul 7, 2020 - 7:54:54 PM

270 posts since 6/21/2007

No fiddle tragedy for me, but a guitar one. When I finally saved up enough money ($125 in 1972) to step up from my Sears Silvertone to a Harmony Sovereign. I had only owned it for a month when I took it to play at a church service, going up to receive communion as I walked back to the worship band area with my head bowed I accidentally hit my guitar knocked it over breaking the neck.I went back to using my Sears Silvertone for several months before I saved up enough money to buy another Harmony .crying

Edited by - stumpkicker on 07/07/2020 19:55:35

Jul 7, 2020 - 7:55:29 PM

1996 posts since 10/22/2007

I moved the old kitchen cupboards down into my office. Loaded them up with books. A few years later, a corner unit came off the wall and onto my Harwood, with a one piece back. The only thing damaged was a clean break across the pegbox. The string tension sucked it all together. One could barely notice. But at least it didn't damage the plates.

Jul 7, 2020 - 8:28:35 PM

2497 posts since 10/6/2008

Well, I knocked my first fiddle off of the washing machine onto the concrete basement floor once. It survived, but, frankly, it wouldn't have been much of a loss. :)

My banjo story is more tragic. I bought a nice banjo from a gentleman who, for years, had kept it in pristine condition, and I value it. Well, I had it on a stand, and I walked by, bumped it, and sent it flying. It broke a tuner (which I was fortunately able to replace with a pretty much perfect match) and took a tiny chip out of the finish on the top. Oh, how I regret that mistake. It now lives in the case.

And then there was the time when I was at fiddle camp, and I don't remember the details, but, all of a sudden, during break, I think, someone's fiddle went flying onto the floor, and it wasn't a pretty sight. I think all of us in the room felt crushed and speechless.

Jul 8, 2020 - 4:49:46 AM

846 posts since 8/11/2009

My instrument tragedies, have all happened when the instruments were setting safely in their closed and latched cases. I've had the necks of fiddles decide to come loose 3 times, twice with the same instrument, it's now hanging on my wall, lol. And then I had a Loar era Gibson A mandolin that the head stock just broke off of. Such a sickening feeling to open the case and find something like that.

Edited by - bandsmcnamar on 07/08/2020 04:50:38

Jul 8, 2020 - 5:53:54 AM

182 posts since 11/26/2009

I sat down on my fiddle. Just broke the bridge, glad I wasnt overweight at the time. haha

Jul 8, 2020 - 7:29:26 AM

4725 posts since 9/26/2008

All of these sitting accidents. Take note observers, do not put your instrument where it could get sat on because it eventually will.

Jul 8, 2020 - 9:45:58 AM

bsed

USA

4071 posts since 6/23/2007

A triple tragedy.

I had 2 of my fiddles standing up in a 2-fiddle case. The case was on a little table. One of our cats got curious about something "up there" and took a leap at the case. Both fiddles went flying, hit the floor. I was sent by a friend to a luthier he knew. He said he could do the repair for a "cup of coffee". I had already been to a violin shop and the luthier there led me to believe it could go well beyond $1000. What had I to lose? But I wasn't going to give him a cup of coffee, but a whole bag of it. (In retrospect I could have also given him a few hundred dollars---though I don't think he'd have accepted it.)

In the end, my fiddle was well repaired (the violin shop guy did the other fiddle as it wasn't as bad off) and I had 2 nice fiddles again.

I said this was a triple tragedy, though. Well, it was maybe a year later that the luthier who worked for coffee took his own life. Not much else I can say about that. You just never know what goes on in people's lives.

Jul 8, 2020 - 10:52:03 AM
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gapbob

USA

690 posts since 4/20/2008

I had a good friend who was much older than me (40 years). Jock went to a party and played on this old fellow's collection of violins and bows, turned out they were quite valuable. After he played for this fellow, he said, "When I die, I am going to leave you my fiddles!"

And he did.

So Jock inherited 6 violins and some number of bows. One of them (an Amati) he sent into Russia to be sold by his brother so he could bribe his way out of the country. Others he traded away to Gypsies, etc. Two of the bows were a Peccatte and a Lamy, the Lamy had gold fittings and he set it down on the arms of a chair, and his daughter ended up sitting on it, all they could do is retrieve the gold from it, not repairable.

Yes, he had a fortune in violins and bows and frittered them away.

But such a wonderful friend, I wish you could all have met him, the tales he told...

Edited by - gapbob on 07/08/2020 10:53:48

Jul 8, 2020 - 11:06:59 AM

Fiddler

USA

4084 posts since 6/22/2007

I've been fortunate and have never had a tragedy. But, I have had a couple of close calls when I first started playing. My first fiddle was very inexpensive. I was given an old (cheap!) chipboard case to go along with it.. Yep, forgot to latch it. Fortunately, when I picked it up, the lid opened close to the floor which prevented the instrument from rolling out. 

I have witnessed other horribler (is that a word?) incidents - sitting on it and/or the bow with much damage, knocking it over at a house party or gig, tripping in a crowded room and using the fiddle to cushion the fall, putting the instrument in the trunk in July in central Texas and driving 4 hours to get to late afternoon gig (yes, it was totally disassembled!! - every single joint!). 

The worst was a friend leaned his case with fiddle against the back bumper of his car. He forgot it was there and backed up AND over it. It was worse than hearing bones crunch!!!

I think that I have learned from other people's miseries! I only set the instrument back in its case. I never lean it against something of lay it on the floor, especially during a crowded jam or party! If I am traveling with it, I never put it in the trunk - and I ALWAYS check to make sure it is in the back seat before I move the car.

FWIW - I have a couple of wonderful rosewood coffin cases that have the handle on the top - not the side. I use these mostly for historical performances. Oh, I came oh so close to losing it when the latch failed on one of the cases. I was able to catch the fiddle before it fell. These each now have a strap to hold the lid closed.  In fact, in many of the older photos that show people with these cases, you will see an old belt or rope tied around the case for this very purpose!

Jul 8, 2020 - 11:24:36 AM
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8411 posts since 3/19/2009
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Kirk's story reminds me of one of my own.. I'd made a banjo for a young woman..She took it to a dance weekend and when the event was over she left she forgot to put it in the car.. and didn't notice it was gone when she got home.. A few days later I got a call from a dance organizer and he said they found one of my banjos at the camp..I told him it couldn't have been mine because I hadn't attended.. He said.. Nobody makes banjos like you..THIS is YOUR banjo.. He described it over the phone and I immediately knew that it was made by me and who it belonged to....I called the young woman and asked where her banjo was.. She didn't have a clue.. She was so embarrassed.. She got it back ok..

Jul 8, 2020 - 11:58:06 AM

11038 posts since 9/23/2009

I didn't know you made banjos, Lee. Awesome!

Jul 8, 2020 - 12:06:03 PM

8411 posts since 3/19/2009
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quote:
Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

I didn't know you made banjos, Lee. Awesome!


I made 22 banjos and 7 banjo ukuleles over the years.. Just TODAY, I posted on facebook that I'm selling all of my banjo supplies because I've "been there, done that"...

Jul 8, 2020 - 12:07:24 PM
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223 posts since 9/6/2011

youtube.com/watch?v=922QQlJmYvU


He is having such a good time.....but at the end of the video it all comes crashing down.

Jul 8, 2020 - 12:10:41 PM

8411 posts since 3/19/2009
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quote:
Originally posted by imapicker2

youtube.com/watch?v=922QQlJmYvU


He is having such a good time.....but at the end of the video it all comes crashing down.


WOW.. I don't know if I should laugh or cry... Poor guy.. That could happen, for sure..

Jul 8, 2020 - 1:46:42 PM

11038 posts since 9/23/2009

I gotta say it makes me feel bad to watch how that old guy could dance and play like that. Wow, what's my excuse? Of course I woulda collided with somebody a lot sooner than he did, trying that sort of thing. Or I might have been the pedestrian that would have collided with the musician.

Lee...I'm so amazed with anyone who can build an instrument. I always wanted to, but since I'm too chicken to even set my soundposts, I guess I ain't anywhere near trying to build an instrument...lol.

Jul 8, 2020 - 1:51:54 PM

8411 posts since 3/19/2009
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quote:
Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

I gotta say it makes me feel bad to watch how that old guy could dance and play like that. Wow, what's my excuse? Of course I woulda collided with somebody a lot sooner than he did, trying that sort of thing. Or I might have been the pedestrian that would have collided with the musician.

Lee...I'm so amazed with anyone who can build an instrument. I always wanted to, but since I'm too chicken to even set my soundposts, I guess I ain't anywhere near trying to build an instrument...lol.


I TRIED to create banjos that were NOT just kit parts put together.. I bent my own three ply rims, and hand carved the neck and did all my own pearl inlay..It was fun and educational..Setup is critical, and I was always proud of the playability of my instruments..  On  one occasion a guy came from California to learn from me, and I worked one on one with three other people to teach banjo making.. I loved it all.. but that was then..this is now...

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