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Jul 8, 2020 - 6:57:19 PM
154 posts since 6/11/2019

I've got the "I want's" for another fiddle. I have 2, but you know, 2 is 1, and 1 is none. I don't know why otherwise except for why not.

I wonder what y'all consider makes a good addition AND GOOD PLAYING COLLECTION--

--Do you look for an old Euro

--Do you look for something that plays better at Celtic/Bluegrass, etc

--Do you just do target of opportunity/good deal?

--Is there a spectrum of fiddles one should have--something old, something new, etc

Jul 8, 2020 - 7:45:10 PM
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1600 posts since 12/11/2008

I mostly let my ears do the choosing and, if possible, I'll demand that somebody good play the instrument for me so I can hear what it actually sounds like.  But yeah, if a fiddle is downright ugly I'll probably not buy it, and if the thing weighs a ton I probably won't buy it, either.

I also gotta say that, as you go further and further down the fiddle path, your ever more educated ears and your ever-increasing skills tell you more and more about what you really want.  In keeping with this I've gotten to the point where I just don't care how old the fiddle might be or where it was made.  My oldest fiddle (late 1800's) is the worst sounding one.  My best fiddle was made in the 21st Century.

Finally, oh yeah.  Don't worry if you're not thrilled with the chin rest attached to the instrument. They're not expensive, and they are truly easy to change.  All it takes is a chin rest wrench, which you can get at the same place where you get the new chin rest.

Jul 8, 2020 - 8:01:29 PM
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2264 posts since 10/1/2008

Yeah ... Lonesome Fiddler gives good advice here. Let your ears decide and have someone play it so you can hear it properly. Keep in mind that as long your playing changes your needs and wants will change ... it never goes away. When you buy a better fiddle it encourages you to grow into it. I have often heard that when you are thinking about buying a new fiddle look at new bows first. Insofar as my "stable" I have several German early 20th century workshop instruments and one mid 20th century three are Stradavari copies two are Guarneri copies and one is an Amati copy. Enjoy the search.

R/

Edited by - UsuallyPickin on 07/08/2020 20:04:57

Jul 9, 2020 - 5:55:48 AM
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RobBob

USA

2682 posts since 6/26/2007

Larry Brown, the luthier in Asheville has a whole lot of fiddles on sale right now. Contact me in a pm and I'll forward the email I got from him.

Jul 9, 2020 - 8:04:17 AM

Swing

USA

1961 posts since 6/26/2007

A fine Mario Antonio Frosali, a KC Strings five string, an E Reinhold Schmidt (amati pattern), and an old German trade fiddle...all of them are set up well and play nicely.... but I agree with UsuallyPickin, go look for a great bow and your current fiddles will thank you for that....

Play Happy

Swing

Jul 10, 2020 - 7:57:37 AM
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217 posts since 6/21/2012

One fiddle to rule them all!

Jul 10, 2020 - 8:12:54 AM
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846 posts since 8/11/2009

I would say if you want another fiddle and the funds are available, go for it. But then I have 7 of the little critters. 4 are what I call legacy instruments, from family members etc. 3 of the 4 are pretty okay, a Markneukirchen Amati copy, is the best one of those. The biggest disappointment is a 1919 Nippon Imperial , beautiful wood, but I have never been satisfied with the sound. Then I have 3 that I bought, a Lowendahl Paginini model off of Craigslist, cheap, which, is not bad, though its had a bunch of repairs, an EHRoth, that I bought because of the name, thinking I could make it sound better, which hasn't happened yet, and the biggest surprise of all, a domestic made instrument from the late 20's by HJ Pohl. Its had numerous repairs, a new neck put on, regraduating done from the outside, etc. I pieced together enough parts to make it a functioning fiddle, and was going to donate it, until I heard the first note from it, I've hardly touched any other fiddle since. I guess what I'm saying is play lots of instruments, don't let the name, or lack of one, affect your decision much, and enjoy every step of the journey!

Jul 10, 2020 - 6:09:56 PM

doryman

USA

47 posts since 2/10/2020

I wouldn't mind adding a 5-string to my quiver.

Jul 10, 2020 - 6:10:39 PM
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154 posts since 6/11/2019

quote:
Originally posted by snakefinger

One fiddle to rule them all!


...one fiddle to find them

One fiddle to bring them all...

And in the doublestop shuffles bind them...

Jul 10, 2020 - 6:11:08 PM

154 posts since 6/11/2019

quote:
Originally posted by RobBob

Larry Brown, the luthier in Asheville has a whole lot of fiddles on sale right now. Contact me in a pm and I'll forward the email I got from him.


PM sent, thanks

Jul 10, 2020 - 6:19:51 PM

154 posts since 6/11/2019

I notice a bunch of folks have a German early 1900's handmade factory fiddle. Trade fiddle, whatever you call it. I'm thinking I need to have one of those just on principle. I feel I should get a Strad pattern, though, since my playing fiddle is a Guarneri pattern. Don't know how it matters, but there it is.

Been looking at some "Imperial" violins, thanks for the input on that. Seems some were made in Japan, and some in Germany, same time frame.

I don't really care about collectivity (is that a word?), just mostly well-made stuff that works

Edited by - Flat_the_3rd_n7th on 07/10/2020 18:22:42

Jul 10, 2020 - 9:55:06 PM

1600 posts since 12/11/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Flat_the_3rd_n7th

I notice a bunch of folks have a German early 1900's handmade factory fiddle. Trade fiddle, whatever you call it. I'm thinking I need to have one of those just on principle. I feel I should get a Strad pattern, though, since my playing fiddle is a Guarneri pattern. Don't know how it matters, but there it is.

Been looking at some "Imperial" violins, thanks for the input on that. Seems some were made in Japan, and some in Germany, same time frame.

I don't really care about collectivity (is that a word?), just mostly well-made stuff that works


Of my three fiddles, the 100+ year old Markneukirchen German trade fiddle is the one I like the least.  The least amount of volume.  The scratchiest tone.  The heaviest under my chin.  One of the several labels inside proclaims it an Amati but who knows what famous maker they actually tried to copy?  There's also a label inside it that tells of a repair to the fiddle in 19th Century Denmark(!).  I got to say, though, that it was profoundly better than the new $300 Chinese fiddle that I now remember as my first excursion into the fiddle forest.  Talk about no tone whatsoever!  Not even bad tone...  Anyway, the way I see it is if you don't have a couple fiddle shops within driving distance, why not get hold of one of the folks on this site who makes/repairs them?  BTW, as I've probably mentioned several times here, my other two fiddles are 21st Century German ones.

Jul 11, 2020 - 6:22:16 AM

4724 posts since 9/26/2008

I have several trade fiddles, each a little different from three next. One that is/was in the same family and passed down from grandma to mom to daughter to me, was once dropped from a moving bike and repaired by grandpa on the farm. It is rough and I keep it in case Stacey wants it back. The others play fine and one was likely "high dollar" back in the day. If you want a great playing factory fiddle contact Royce Burt. He tweaks them and makes them sing.

Jul 11, 2020 - 11:52:03 AM

846 posts since 8/11/2009

Just a couple of other thoughts about finding a new to you instrument. Do all the notes play easily. On a couple of my instruments I find myself fighting to get a certain note to be in tune or have good tone, often the hardest note to get clear, is the D note in the A string, though I've had trouble with C# and B notes on the A string as well. I have another fiddle, that seems almost impossible to play the E note on the D string perfectly in tune. I read once about a sweet spot for how far the bow is from the bridge for best response. This article mentioned a Strad violin that several notes on the A string for best sound and intonation required the bow to be almost a half inch further away from the bridge, than with other strings. So the player had to learn to make that adjustment. Imagine that, okay here comes a C#. got to get the bow further away from the bridge. No thank you! Personally my skill set is minimal enough I need an instrument, that doesn't fight you in any of these quirky ways. Just some other things to consider when looking for an instrument.

Jul 11, 2020 - 8:36:08 PM
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154 posts since 6/11/2019

I follow you. Some instruments require a different attack to play a note. I don't want one that makes you have to play a tune with different technique.

They say the variables are speed, pressure, and sound point. They also say the shorter the string (as in a stopped C#, D or E on the A string), the closer to the bridge you should play to get the best tone. Which requires more pressure and less speed. I choose to stay on a soundpoint right between the bridge and fingerboard and deal with only 2 variables, speed and pressure.

Action setup--bridge height, shape--is a big factor, but fortunately cheaper than redoing woodwork

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