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Fiddle Lovers Online


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May 18, 2023 - 7:52:42 AM
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jonboat

Canada

12 posts since 5/15/2023

Whats everyone's opinions on buying a fiddle online? There are a lot of musical instrument companies, companies that specialize in violins, selling online, not to mention ebay.

I'm sure it is possible to get a good fiddle that way, but I'm from the old school and think it would be better to be able to play a fiddle before buying it, even quality violins don't all have the same tones and responsiveness, it's an individual preference, that you couldn't know, if you bought a fiddle online, until it was delivered to you.

May 18, 2023 - 8:02:18 AM
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DougD

USA

11705 posts since 12/2/2007

We have several members who sell fiddles online, with very good reputations. Look in this section of the forum for recent experiences with KCFiddles (Michael Richwine) and Royce Burt. Rich Maxham (The Violin Beautiful) also sells violins, although usually at a little higher end of the market. Look in the classified section on this site for more.
KCFiddles and Royce also have video demonstrations of their instruments on YouTube, which will give you some idea what they sound like.

Edited by - DougD on 05/18/2023 08:05:45

May 18, 2023 - 8:03:24 AM
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Snafu

USA

180 posts since 2/2/2014

I bought my fiddle/violin from Kennedy violins. It is my hangout picture!  A brick and mortar store with a big web presence. I was very pleased with my experience and would buy from them again. Biggest issue is making sure the fiddle is returnable if you don’t like it and understand the terms - who pays what if you do return it and how long the trial period is. Good luck.

Edited by - Snafu on 05/18/2023 08:04:12

May 22, 2023 - 9:08:50 AM
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117 posts since 4/30/2012

I have two fiddles which I bought online. One is great, the other is decent. The decent one is far greater than the first one I used to learn the bare basics. Be sure there is a return policy when buying online. Still, playing an instrument before buying is the much preferred method of purchasing. Bring your current fiddle with you for a sonic comparison. Unless one can afford the financial loss, I would be hesitant to buy a many-thousand dollar violin online from anyone. In this case, a hands-on tryout would be a prerequisite before any money is exchanged. In my situation, it is a two hour drive to Nashville and a three hour drive to Atlanta to reach a quality violin store. Obligations at home make it difficult for me to travel to the better instrument stores. For myself, online purchasing is an attractive alternative if used cautiously and with a reputable business. While still being tactful, I am not hesitant to return an instrument if it does not live up to the advertisements.

May 22, 2023 - 10:22:51 AM
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Players Union Member

carlb

USA

2616 posts since 2/2/2008


As Dale mentioned, how much are you willing to gamble?

May 22, 2023 - 11:23:10 AM
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Erockin

USA

835 posts since 9/3/2022

I'd buy one from someone here on this site. However, unless it's a steal, I avoid online instruments. That is, if it makes sense. When I bought all 3 of my Martin guitars, it was a process and an investment. It's not that I don't necessarily trust the internet, I need to meet and feel it.
I did buy a sweet VW camper sight unseen for $4500...5 states away! So that was crazy and it succeeded all of my expectations.

May 22, 2023 - 12:43:50 PM
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2397 posts since 12/11/2008

As far as I can remember, I've only bought one musical instrument via mail order that I've been satisfied enough with to keep. It's an M-38 Martin Guitar that I bought from the Mandolin Bros. in NYC in the late 1970's. An outstanding guitar on every level. Tone. Play-ability. Looks. And yeah, the fingerboard and frets are now pretty worn down!

May 23, 2023 - 6:50:07 AM
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1109 posts since 7/30/2021

I'm very much an "in-person" shopper with musical instruments...
leave me in a room for awhile with a bunch to try, and I'm in heaven.
Usually it's easy to narrow down to a couple, and then it's a lot of agonizing going back and forth, playing same music on each one...
And it's not always the most expensive one that wins (which is a good thing!!).

Anyway that experience is hard to replicate with online shopping...
and I also like to support the local music stores because I know the people that run them (small town here, the music store folks play in the local jams, teach music lessons to kids, etc)

May 23, 2023 - 6:53:33 AM
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1109 posts since 7/30/2021

Oh, but that said, my guitar teacher bought a guitar off of EBay and she LOVES it...
That thing sounds gorgeous!

But unlike me, she knows what to look for, I guess? (knows about luthiers, tonewoods, history of makers, etc)

So maybe a knowledgeable person (with more to go on than just test playing) could shop successfully online.

May 29, 2023 - 12:51:40 PM

Tom L

USA

2 posts since 6/12/2018

You just need to recognize that buying online is a gamble.
I got lucky with one of my first ebay fiddles. In retrospect, it was very cheap because the photo was so bad that no one could know what it was, so no one else bid. Turned out to be a very nice turn of the last century Stainer copy. The neck immediately came off, requiring hundreds of dollars of work, but even with that it was a good buy - very sweet sounding.
After that I bought a few other ebay fiddles, but soon realized I was just wasting money and stopped. That one good one was pure luck.

Sep 1, 2023 - 5:57:26 AM

3253 posts since 10/22/2007

I go either way. It's All a gamble. True. I've got pretty lucky online buying. I've been stung buying face to face. The FtF buys were even my fault in retrospect. A fiddle (awful) but i left home without one, at a time I shouldn't have. A bow, (awful) because I didn't bring my own for comparison.
Another thing: I'm pretty brave about working on hundred dollar fiddles myself.
Another thing: if you're going to buy that one final ( theoretically) fiddle. It's worth getting the full monty. The private practice room. The 6 or 8 fiddles at your feet to test. He even changed strings on a couple for comparison. Then, this seller also played a few back at me for projection. All around great experience. But in the passed, I've had good relationships over the phone with sellers as well.

Sep 1, 2023 - 6:30:30 AM

Erockin

USA

835 posts since 9/3/2022

I know this....I'm ready for a new fiddle!

Sep 1, 2023 - 11:09:15 AM
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2376 posts since 4/6/2014

quote:
Originally posted by Erockin

I know this....I'm ready for a new fiddle!


Just saying, don't be too hasty. i have regretted selling/exchanging fiddles. Personally i think loving the one you're with, (as much as possible), is an education in it's self....And easier on the pocket. Same with bows and strings. Get the most out of them that is humanly possible ,and learn how to do that in the process.

Sep 1, 2023 - 12:24:32 PM

3253 posts since 10/22/2007

Indeed, a bow can either make you or break you. I'm far more possessive of my favorite bow, than any of my fiddles.

Sep 1, 2023 - 9:20:57 PM
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6336 posts since 9/26/2008

Royce Burt would be my vote. He's a member here. Also. Michael Richwine as mentioned by Doug.

Sep 3, 2023 - 2:40:26 PM
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Gary524

USA

15 posts since 8/1/2017

I own one of Royce Burt's violins and it's my favorite. I have also bought three relatively inexpensive violins (not Amazon VSOs) on eBay from Yita Music and all have been an exceptional value for the money.

Edited by - Gary524 on 09/03/2023 14:41:35

Sep 4, 2023 - 5:46:43 AM

1 posts since 3/22/2023

Buying a fiddle online can be a bit of a mixed bag. Choosing a musical instrument is like finding a musical soulmate, and it's a journey worth taking with care and thoughtfulness. Exploring all the little nuances, understanding what features resonate with you, and discovering your personal preferences are key. Learning the basics of playing an instrument before committing is a smart move. It helps you build a connection and understanding that can't be replicated just by reading reviews or looking at pictures. Speaking of which,  I'm also on the hunt for a bodhran! Currently diving into customer reviews to find a reliable seller. Planning to take a few lessons too, just to really get acquainted with this beautiful instrument. 

Edited by - ArmandoMyers on 09/04/2023 05:48:41

Sep 4, 2023 - 2:26:33 PM

2397 posts since 12/11/2008

All told, I'm truly glad I satisfied my eons-long musical instrument buying mania before I left L.A. The only instrument I've bought since is a charmingly sweet soprano ukulele.

Sep 4, 2023 - 3:06:31 PM
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Fiddler

USA

4367 posts since 6/22/2007

Have recently gone through the process of seeking my "forever fiddle", I would like to offer my thoughts.

1. Set a budget and stay within that. Unless you are a professional musician, it's not worth going into debt or wiping out your bank account. Ok, if it's absolute perfect instrument and you can afford it, then go ahead!

2. Have a trusted luthier who will check your intended instrument over, whether you buy on-line or in-person. He/she will spot problems that you will likely overlook. Even if they charge a nominal fee for their time, it is well worth the investment!!!

3. Buy from a reputable shop, such as those mentioned above, they will have likely corrected any structural issues, if they were present. They will have also set the instrument up (sound post, bridge, tailpiece, strings, etc.) properly and according to standards.

4. Get another fiddler whom you like to play the instrument WITH YOUR BOW while you listen. Get their assessment of the sound quality and the set up. Have them listen to you. (I had a friend, and great fiddler, lined up to go with me to a shop, but my "forever fiddle" came to me unexpectedly!)

5. Compare the instrument to your current instrument using YOUR BOW. Does it sound better? Really? Can you justify the price? (I know that this is very subjective but ask yourself this question.) This is where your friend can help you!

6. Return policy- As others have mentioned, if you are spending $$ to $$$$ for a purchase on-line or in-person, I would recommend a return policy and be sure to understand the terms. The instrument will sound different in your own environment than in the store or practice room. Be prepared to walk away or return the instrument if it doesn't fully suit you. Beware of the "shiney syndrome." Shiney does not always mean "good". Sometimes the ugliest instrument on the rack will be the best!

Good luck! Enjoy the journey!

Sep 5, 2023 - 4:55:32 AM

Erockin

USA

835 posts since 9/3/2022

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle
quote:
Originally posted by Erockin

I know this....I'm ready for a new fiddle!


Just saying, don't be too hasty. i have regretted selling/exchanging fiddles. Personally i think loving the one you're with, (as much as possible), is an education in it's self....And easier on the pocket. Same with bows and strings. Get the most out of them that is humanly possible ,and learn how to do that in the process.


Solid advice. I'm def not selling mine. I've had mine appraised at 2 different prices now, the second one I was really happy with. However, I think it's time to get something different. This is something that can keep me on track. A case in my situation is more important than the fiddle but I'm ready for something that I can be a little more proud of. Online still seems to concern me unless I'm buying one from a pro with a rep. We'll see...for now, I'll keep sawing and researching. Saving money is easier with this goal at hand!

Sep 5, 2023 - 2:32:34 PM
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2376 posts since 4/6/2014

i have "latent fiddle acquisition syndrome" but when i get the urge to relapse, i just watch an Ian Walsh video. He plays a fiddle that doesn't even have an ebony finger board. Which to me sounds better than when he plays a (probably) nicer looking fiddle that does sport an ebony f/b

with ebony f/b

without ebony f/b

But to be fair they both sound great

Good luck

Sep 6, 2023 - 4:14:46 AM

Erockin

USA

835 posts since 9/3/2022

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

i have "latent fiddle acquisition syndrome" but when i get the urge to relapse, i just watch an Ian Walsh video. He plays a fiddle that doesn't even have an ebony finger board. Which to me sounds better than when he plays a (probably) nicer looking fiddle that does sport an ebony f/b

with ebony f/b

without ebony f/b

But to be fair they both sound great

Good luck


That's how my fiddle started out when I got it. You all compared it to his...lol. My guy painted it and it's getting back to that look again. Ian is great. I dig his style.

Sep 6, 2023 - 5:52:01 AM
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466 posts since 4/15/2019

the first fiddle I ought was a cheapo from amazon. I pd. $67 for it. I wanted to be sure I was going to stay with it before investing money in it. After about 3 or 4 months I knew I was hooked so I went looking for a nice fiddle. I looked at different places on line and came across The Fiddler Shop in florida. I was very reluctant about buying on line. Read all the reviews on this place and contacted them via email. After a lot of going back and forth I took the plunge and bout a nice one for $ 800. not a lot but yet for a retired man of 75 yrs. old it was a lot. That was 5 yrs. ago. I was truly amazed at the quality of this fiddle! Beautiful sound and beautiful to look at. It only gets better in every aspect as it ages! I have played guitar and other musical instruments for 65 yrs. I own a Martin D35 Special guitar and I rank this fiddle as having the same quality as my guitar. The people at The Fiddler Shop are a great bunch of guys to deal with and I can assure you will never go wrong dealing with them. The owner of the shop is a professional violinist as well as his son. You owe it to yourself to at least look into them before buying anywhere else!

Sep 6, 2023 - 6:03:37 AM

Erockin

USA

835 posts since 9/3/2022

quote:
Originally posted by old cowboy

the first fiddle I ought was a cheapo from amazon. I pd. $67 for it. I wanted to be sure I was going to stay with it before investing money in it. After about 3 or 4 months I knew I was hooked so I went looking for a nice fiddle. I looked at different places on line and came across The Fiddler Shop in florida. I was very reluctant about buying on line. Read all the reviews on this place and contacted them via email. After a lot of going back and forth I took the plunge and bout a nice one for $ 800. not a lot but yet for a retired man of 75 yrs. old it was a lot. That was 5 yrs. ago. I was truly amazed at the quality of this fiddle! Beautiful sound and beautiful to look at. It only gets better in every aspect as it ages! I have played guitar and other musical instruments for 65 yrs. I own a Martin D35 Special guitar and I rank this fiddle as having the same quality as my guitar. The people at The Fiddler Shop are a great bunch of guys to deal with and I can assure you will never go wrong dealing with them. The owner of the shop is a professional violinist as well as his son. You owe it to yourself to at least look into them before buying anywhere else!


They have a great site and looked at many violins on there. I love the videos they post as well for potential customers. I did buy one of their bows. Love it!

Sep 6, 2023 - 11:03:34 AM
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2376 posts since 4/6/2014

i have owned maybe a dozen or more fiddles in my 30 odd yrs of playing, dating from between maybe 1850s to 1980s. i want them all back..Same as i want all my old dogs back.sad

Thing is, i was given most of them, by good folk who thought i might be able to do them justice...Still trying though...

I think fiddles, like the folk who own them are living entities. And they will find you....Same as a Cat does.

Sep 6, 2023 - 11:16:59 AM
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Erockin

USA

835 posts since 9/3/2022

quote:
Originally posted by pete_fiddle

i have owned maybe a dozen or more fiddles in my 30 odd yrs of playing, dating from between maybe 1850s to 1980s. i want them all back..Same as i want all my old dogs back.sad

Thing is, i was given most of them, by good folk who thought i might be able to do them justice...Still trying though...

I think fiddles, like the folk who own them are living entities. And they will find you....Same as a Cat does.


This was a sweet reply! Made me smile. I'm not getting rid of any fiddles. Only trying to add #2. In fact, I'm going to visit a lady tomorrow night who has a collection she's selling. I'm pessimistic though...the prices are a wee bit higher than the research I'm finding. Stay tuned!!!

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