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Jul 24, 2020 - 5:51:20 PM
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3552 posts since 12/8/2007

Not all are created alike, nor equal. Some fiddles be borne of the bad seed and na'en any sound post adustment, any stern lectures and angry vituperatives shall change their inherently shrill voice. You may play with perfect intonation, with heartfelt gusto and resolve; no matter, some fiddles will only deliver a thin, trebly tone regardless of your skill, your perfect bow, your love of music, your Pro-Arte strings, your pins on the bridge. Oh hear me, mateys, beware the ides of a fiddle that marches to a shrill sound!

I just changed the placement of the sound post six times, each time loosening and then re-tuning the strings and each time enduring an attack on me poor ears. I just placed six pins on the bridge. I changed the strings to Pro-Artes, strings which are rather dark and woodsy inherently. No matter, all. This Silver Creek IV purchased in 2018 is borne of Loki! It is Voldemort spawned! Beware, beware such a fiddle.

Hear me, lads, and act with forbearance and prudence when procuring your fiddles,

A commoner who only wishes to warn fellow travelers along the fiddle path.

Jul 24, 2020 - 6:25:16 PM
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DougD

USA

9768 posts since 12/2/2007
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I had an instrument that looked like a violin but really didn't behave like one. It never was very loud, or lively, and didn't sound pleasing under my ear. I tried setup adjustments, better strings, and finally even had my luthier (a very good one) regraduate the top. Still not good. Now the good part:
Finally I decided it had to go and gave it to a friend to sell on consignment in his music store. We decided to ask $1000 for it, and sure enough in just a couple weeks someone was happy to pay that. Even after the top work and giving my friend his cut (which I was glad to do) I made out quite handsomely on that deal!
Wish I'd had it appraised - maybe that "Stradivarius" label was real.

Jul 24, 2020 - 6:29:35 PM
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2049 posts since 10/22/2007

Here, here!
Of all the names on paper tags, this one said Angels, or some such. Squawked like a crow on crack. Painfull to play as well. I felt bad to sell it for $50. Should've burnt it, then put it out with an ax. Knowing that thing i'd a lost a toe in the prosess.

Jul 24, 2020 - 8:52 PM
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Fiddler

USA

4105 posts since 6/22/2007

Beauty is in the ears of the beholder.

I bought an incredible mid1800s rosewood case that had a Pfetzner violin in it. I paid $50 for it. The violin looked rough to say the least. Someone had tried to strip and refinish the top, the scroll was not finished and bore the scalloped chisel cuts. It looked to be the original neck and scroll. If looked like this scroll was the first attempt by an apprentice. Under the varnish near the heal was inked the date 1827. Other marks I could see through the f-hole seem to corroborate the date.

I thought that the case itself was worth the $50. If I could also get a playable fiddle, that would be great. I had a sound post put in, new tail gut, new bridge and strings. I put about $100 for this work hoping that it would be a good story. I was imagining the journey that it took to get to me. It could have been a prized possession of a immigrant. I conjured up all sorts of stories.

Well, it sounded like a piece of crap!! Absolutely no voice, no projection, no presence at all!! I repositioned the sound post ad nauseum - no luck. Tried 4 different types of strings. Nope!

So, it presently hangs on my wall as an ornament. It is flanked by my first instrument - an almost equally horrible clunker - and a fiddle that my granddad bought during the Depression from a hobo for $5. It is in the same class as the other two. Yes, I did put minimal money into them in an attempt to make them playable, but they are serving their life's purpose as a wall ornament.

Jul 25, 2020 - 1:31:10 AM
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1658 posts since 12/11/2008
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It's not that some fiddles are evil, it's just that some of them don't know how to sing. I gotta say, too, that it is a supreme pleasure to go to a quality, established fiddle store. Whether it be down-home or hoity-toity, chances are they got the goods. Give the sales person a price range. Describe to them what you want. You want to shout from the hilltops and let the world know how sensational you are? You want sweet & soft so you can work on your craft without getting dirty looks? You want something you can bring to the bar for the weekly jam and not worry if a little beer spills onto it? The shop will lay out a selection in front of you.

Jul 25, 2020 - 4:08:04 AM
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Swing

USA

1969 posts since 6/26/2007

I felt that way about a certain guitar...glad I swapped it for the one I have now

Play Happy

Swing

Jul 25, 2020 - 10:27:41 AM
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8 posts since 7/18/2020

I also own a Bucharest model with Perfection pegs, made in Romania in 2007. The weird thing is -- it looks perfect -- absolutely the nicest, most elegantly carved instrument I can imagine for an intermediate grade fiddle. The finish is perfect and even, not a dust particle on it. The scroll, soundholes and overall shape are perfectly carved, the purlfling is insanely precise with precision fitted corners, the color and arching beautiful.

In a word, the thing looks great, better than anything I've ever owned. But it sounds like dog feces. No matter what I do -- I've moved the soundpost multiple times, had at least 6 different string sets, both steel and synthetic, including Preludes, Pro Arte, Sensicore, and Alphayue (and a couple of lesser brands that sound good on my other fiddles).

I have no idea what the problem is, so I use it as a wallhanger nowadays, but I find it just plain weird that a violin can look so beautiful and yet sound so bad.

Jul 25, 2020 - 2:39:25 PM

52 posts since 1/21/2017

Maybe put some heavy strings on it and tune it to cross G. You never know...

Jul 26, 2020 - 8:41:45 AM
Players Union Member

boxbow

USA

2564 posts since 2/3/2011

Maybe a pickup, amp, and speakers?

Jul 26, 2020 - 5:20:24 PM
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3552 posts since 12/8/2007

quote:
Originally posted by boxbow

Maybe a pickup, amp, and speakers?


Yeah, I really should broadcast the gorgeously..."euphonic" sound I get with this fiddle to all!  May I tell those who come a knockin' at my door, "Well, boxbow said it was okay...."

Jul 26, 2020 - 6:49:43 PM
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8716 posts since 3/19/2009

I have an old, old, ugly fiddle..when I purchased it on Ebay, it had the fingerboard NAILED on.. I filed down the nail and overlaid a piece of veneer.. The top has a chunk missing..the pegs I removed and replaced with Perfection..looks terrible..the finish appears to have been worked on by someone who set out to have an ugly fiddle.. Well, sure it look bad, but the SOUND is the important thing, right? . Unfortunately, this baby also sounds like someone had stuffed the body cavity with a dirty towel..
I love it though.... something about how it feels in my hand..I use it as a practice fiddle because it plays so quietly that it doesn't bother the neighbors..!!!

Jul 26, 2020 - 9:26:50 PM
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2625 posts since 9/13/2009

quote:
Originally posted by boxbow

Maybe a pickup, amp, and speakers?


I had a crappy fiddle that I acquired for like $30... worked out fine converted to essentially an DIY electric. Filled the body cavity, put on bridge PU. Less expensive than buying an electric.

Jul 28, 2020 - 4:50:50 AM
Players Union Member

boxbow

USA

2564 posts since 2/3/2011

quote:
Originally posted by Humbled by this instrument
quote:
Originally posted by boxbow

Maybe a pickup, amp, and speakers?


Yeah, I really should broadcast the gorgeously..."euphonic" sound I get with this fiddle to all!  May I tell those who come a knockin' at my door, "Well, boxbow said it was okay...."


I don't intend to be anywhere within earshot, so yes, boxbow sez it's OK.

Jul 28, 2020 - 4:55:33 AM
Players Union Member

boxbow

USA

2564 posts since 2/3/2011

quote:
Originally posted by alaskafiddler
quote:
Originally posted by boxbow

Maybe a pickup, amp, and speakers?


I had a crappy fiddle that I acquired for like $30... worked out fine converted to essentially an DIY electric. Filled the body cavity, put on bridge PU. Less expensive than buying an electric.


Not that I'm going to do this, but what did you fill the body with?

Jul 28, 2020 - 3:01:36 PM
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3552 posts since 12/8/2007

Update. So I disgustedly smashed the fiddle on the rocks outside...okay, okay, so I set the said fiddle upon the bunk, sat back in my packable but comfy backpack chair, and thought, "Well, why not? What to lose?" and thenceward went to garage where wife has this yoga mat the colour of blue (never used), and I cut this small strip from it and stuffed it into the treble F hole betwixt the end curves--that is to say, right in the middle (don't nobody tell her I cut her mat). Anyhoo, I've now been playing this fiddle the last couple of morn's and it's thusly a quieter, mellower fiddle, totally good for practicing when one wants low volume. Quite fine tone now, too.

Jul 29, 2020 - 8:05:54 AM
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4260 posts since 6/23/2007

Instrument appearance has little to do with sound quality. Sound quality is most important. Good looks is a bonus.

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