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Fiddle Lovers Online


May 27, 2022 - 4:13:18 PM
1 posts since 5/27/2022

Hi guys! new here, I'm Riley. I've been playing banjo and guitar for some years now and I've wanted to learn the fiddle for a while. I'm on a very limited budget so I'm mainly looking at the secondhand markets at the moment. I don't mind 'cheap' so long as it's playable, I won't be playing in front of anyone for a while anyway so sound is less important than the general playing quality.

I also semi plan to experiment with bridges at some point (mainly a flatter bridge for double stops) but won't do this until I'm more experienced.

Any advice on picking out something cheap to start off with would be greatly appreciated.

May 27, 2022 - 4:36:30 PM

bsed55

USA

4224 posts since 6/23/2007

A 'cheap' fiddle could be OK as long as it's set up properly. Get a skilled luthier to do this.

I'm not sure what 'cheap' means, though. I've found that I can't find a decent violin that has the sound I'm looking for for under $1000. So if $1000 is the benchmark, then I guess that's arguably 'cheap'.

It might be more worthwhile to take one of two avenues:

1. get a rental, play it for a couple years, then decide where to go from there.

2. decide you're really into this fiddle thing and spring for one of these $1000 violins (or you might find a pretty good one for several hundred less).

Good luck!

May 28, 2022 - 5:43:24 AM

94 posts since 9/4/2007

You can usually find decent cheap fiddles in our area for a couple of hundred dollars (sometimes more, sometimes less) on Craig's list. They are usually playable, but tend to benefit hugely from setup by a decent luthier and a new set of strings.

Also, ask around amongst friends in general and folks that play music. Often there are violins sitting unused that people are willing to loan out (possibly even sell) for awhile.

May 28, 2022 - 6:25:43 AM
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2431 posts since 10/1/2008

Well Riley, that's good advice above. You will likely find some excellent used instruments where you are at. A 200.00$ US setup will go a long way to making a fiddle's playability good. Keep in mind that a good bow is as important as a good fiddle. Take your time and talk to fiddlers. They will likely know who, what, and where to go to get something worth playing for a few years. Cheers, R/

May 28, 2022 - 12:04:46 PM
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5706 posts since 7/1/2007

Seriously, you need to determine a budget first. Banjos and guitars can be everywhere pricewise, as can fiddles. I've offered Chinese fiddles on this forum that get the "seal of approval" from my pro customers for US$800, and may list a couple of them again soon. German fiddles, like E Martin and Reichert can run $1000 - $2000. The kind that make a Pro fiddler's eyes light up (old Mittenwald fiddles, generally) will run US$2500 and up. (I just finished setting up an E.R. Schmidt for a pro player that I would have valued at $3000+.

I recently bought about 40 new fiddles from a wholesaler that had varnish blemishes but are otherwise fine. I may post them here for around $500 - $600. That's pretty much the range; otherwise you're talking about Chinese starter outfits where you don't get much of anything for your money.

May 30, 2022 - 1:42:49 PM
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2 posts since 9/7/2016

For a rank beginner, any properly set up, playable fiddle/ violin will work for you. At the beginner level tone is not important. Back in the day, most of us started with the German trade fiddles.

May 31, 2022 - 9:08:50 AM
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bsed55

USA

4224 posts since 6/23/2007

Yup, and I still have one. Payed $150 for it in 1980. It has always played and sounded great! 

Mike Seeger once offered to buy it off me. I don't know what his sense of humor was like, but it didn't sound like he was joking around.

May 31, 2022 - 4:40:36 PM

WyoBob

USA

394 posts since 5/16/2019

quote:
Originally posted by bsed

Yup, and I still have one. Payed $150 for it in 1980. It has always played and sounded great! 

Mike Seeger once offered to buy it off me. I don't know what his sense of humor was like, but it didn't sound like he was joking around.


That's a $506.00 fiddle, nowwink

Jun 1, 2022 - 10:19:04 AM
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742 posts since 3/1/2020
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quote:
Originally posted by Victor Seal

For a rank beginner, any properly set up, playable fiddle/ violin will work for you. At the beginner level tone is not important. Back in the day, most of us started with the German trade fiddles.


Yes, playability and setup are crucial, but I completely disagree that tone doesn't matter. Bad sounding instruments make people quit. 
 

Let's not be too quick to put down the German trade fiddles, either; they're the bread and butter of the majority of serious violin shops. The cheap ones are often a little crude on the inside, but with some attention they can be great. It's no coincidence that decent Markneukirchen violins are selling for $5000 every day now. 

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