mudcat.org: Buying a fiddle
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Buying a fiddle

Related threads:
What's a Strad, Amati etc fiddle? (83)
Violin Vibrato Tips (10)
The fiddle and the blues? (50)
Tuning a Fiddle (51)
Cheap fiddle, so what (47)
Left Handed violin (24)
Can you rosin the bow too much? (43)
Help learning fiddle (56)
Fiddler's elbow (16)
Blues Fiddle (17)
Sometimes goes limp (bow hair) (87)
New Music store, need fiddle advice (3)
Difference Between Fiddle and Violin (45)
Violin cases and mobster's guns? (8)
Violin Question (6)
About fiddle and the tunes (19)
Children's violins - any suggestions? (8)
Fiddle chin rests!!!! (47)
Viola pegs slipping (19)
Austrialian Fiddling (7)
Fiddle wrist problem --advice requested (15)
OK to play fiddle in light rain? (21)
creative output of folk fiddlers (11)
Tune Req: Fiddle players, I need help. (2)
Fiddle tune backup: how to find chords? (53)
fiddle support for fused spine arthritis (6)
Fiddles from the Farmhouse Attic. (21)
New baby fiddle! (7)
learning the fiddle (46)
5 String Fiddles (13)
Help: Fiddle upgrade (15)
Playing harmonics on the fiddle? (29)


Fibula Mattock 21 Jan 04 - 09:36 AM
Sorcha 21 Jan 04 - 09:47 AM
Catherine Jayne 21 Jan 04 - 10:42 AM
Sorcha 21 Jan 04 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,Skipjack K8 21 Jan 04 - 11:04 AM
GUEST,Sarah 21 Jan 04 - 11:34 AM
Fibula Mattock 21 Jan 04 - 12:33 PM
Letty 21 Jan 04 - 01:37 PM
Catherine Jayne 21 Jan 04 - 02:08 PM
Bassic 21 Jan 04 - 02:21 PM
Catherine Jayne 21 Jan 04 - 02:27 PM
Willie-O 21 Jan 04 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,Mountain Tyme 21 Jan 04 - 09:11 PM
Bassic 21 Jan 04 - 09:48 PM
fiddler 22 Jan 04 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,winniemih 22 Jan 04 - 12:58 PM
Rustic Rebel 22 Jan 04 - 01:26 PM
Leadfingers 22 Jan 04 - 08:38 PM
fiddler 23 Jan 04 - 03:39 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 23 Jan 04 - 04:00 AM
GUEST,barrygeo 23 Jan 04 - 05:02 AM
NicoleC 23 Jan 04 - 12:23 PM
Sttaw Legend 23 Jan 04 - 01:47 PM
Fibula Mattock 24 Jan 04 - 07:07 AM
Fibula Mattock 25 Jan 04 - 05:54 AM
freda underhill 31 Dec 04 - 11:53 PM
Malcolm Douglas 01 Jan 05 - 11:29 AM
Fibula Mattock 10 Jan 05 - 05:30 PM
GUEST,Cod Fiddler 11 Jan 05 - 07:40 AM
Fibula Mattock 11 Jan 05 - 08:12 AM
Cod Fiddler 11 Jan 05 - 12:32 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:








Subject: Buying a fiddle
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 09:36 AM

I've been learning the fiddle since October (with a brief foray into the murky world of school violin lessons as a child). Anyway, I've not been learning for long, but today was the first time my fiddle teacher played my fiddle - and she was appalled! It's official: she has described it as "f*ckin' crap" (she's great, my teacher!) and has wondered how the hell I've managed to make any progress. It is crap - it's a shoddy, cheap, mass-produced,over-varnished, Chinese lump of shite, to be precise. Now, I know some of you might think that these are acceptable for beginners, but there's cheap and then there's crap, and mine's the latter. I have been blissfully unaware of how bad it was - I thought everyone had to develop inch-thick callouses on their left hand to be able to touch the strings. I've already paid 50 quid to get a new bridge and a few bits and pieces done to make it playable, but was advised by the mender not to spend any more than that on it because it really wasn't worth it.

Pause.

Anyway, I've promised myself that when my PhD is finished in the next couple of months I will buy myself a new fiddle. My teacher suggests I start looking now. She's told me that I should go to the shops (Bristol seems to have about a million of them...well, 4 anyway) and take one home and try it out.

My question: what the hell am I looking for in a fiddle? Is it enough to just go for one that I find comfortable to play and sounds nice? Anything's probably going to sound good (relatively speaking) after what I'm playing. I'm not convinced I have the balls to go into a violin shop and ask to take an expensive fiddle home. I'm hoping that I can get enough money together to afford a semi-decent one, although that depends on when my job starts... I aim to have about 800 quid to spend, but that's got to include a new bow.

So, helpful fiddling people, what did *you* look for in your fiddle? How did you buy yours? Where?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Sorcha
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 09:47 AM

Best advice--take your teacher with you to shop.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 10:42 AM

Good advice Sorcha! Fibs....I'm bringing my fiddle to Ireland with me....you can have a go on it and I'll run through with you in person what you should be looking for etc. Im also hoping to be buying a fiddle soon hopefully in the next 3months or so....we could meet up and go have a play with a few if you like on weekend. Ialso hope to purchase the long awaited for 5-string fiddle!!!

Khatt


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Sorcha
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 11:02 AM

And, I'm planning to bring mine to UK in April...you're more than welcome to try it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: GUEST,Skipjack K8
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 11:04 AM

Kate, I have a lady mate near you in Shepton Mallet who makes them. Just to break your heart, she knocks them out to world class classical types for £K4 a time. But they are beautiful things, and when she plays the very best one (which she kept for herself) I get an uncomfortable trouser.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 11:34 AM

Do what I did. Play everything in the shop that you can afford and if you like the sound and it feels good to play, buy it! The instrument for you will make itself known. It won't go on make, age or look. I trusted my instincts 17 years ago and am still playing the same fiddle and have never found another I like better.

Cheers
Sarah


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 12:33 PM

Khatt - I'll take you up on that offer. Thanks for the advice everyone. It's a lovely thought that the instrument will find me as much as me finding it.

Curse you Greg, with your talk of £4K a go... One day, when I'm a multi-millionaire with my erotica empire (long story, great idea) I shall buy me one of those. Actually, my Dutch non-boyfriend's sister makes violins, and teaches people to make them. I am sorely tempted to learn, but her classes are in Dutch. I'm quite sure I can't afford one of hers either.

(Is there a tune you must never play when trying a fiddle in a shop? Like a "No `Stairway'" sign in a guitar shop?)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Letty
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 01:37 PM

If you've tried a few fiddles in the shop/workshop, and you can't decide which one, there's absolutely no need to be embarrassed about asking to take them home with you. I had less experience than you when I bought my fiddle, and the seller let me take home 2 fiddles and 4 bows right away.
Don't forget to test different bows: they can make a world of difference.

See you in Portaferry,

Letty
PS a new fiddle as a reward for a PhD sounds like a good idea. Hmmm, back to work!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 02:08 PM

Fibs!! You could also come to London for a weekend and we could visit a few violin shops in the Capital!!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Bassic
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 02:21 PM

All very good advice.........but dont ignore what is comming out of china and the far east. Find a good one and they are superb value. Wages and the price of good quality woods give them the edge and if you can find one that has been well made then they can be a bargain. £800 should find you a good instrument and a good bow from what ever sorce. Definately have someone with you that knows what they are doing. If you happen to be in yorkshire try Charles O`Connors shop in Whitby,(ex Horslips fiddler). He usually has a reasonable selection for about that price. Last summer he was selling one of this own fiddles that he used on stage and for someof his recording work for about that price. If it was good enough for him then it should do for the likes of us! :-) Good luck.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 02:27 PM

Bassic....does the shop have a website that we can visit....you know me and instruments....I want to own them all!!!! The fiddle I have now is gorgeous and my pride and joy and I would never think of selling. However I am looking for another fiddle with a different tone to give variety!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Willie-O
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 02:55 PM

Forget Chinese sweatshop violins--bad vibes.

You had it right the first time: "comfortable to play and sounds nice". The more different ones you try, the better informed you will be on these two essentials.

You can tell by looking:

  • has it been played? (good)
  • banged around and refinished (not so good but might not
    matter, go back to that criteria in quotes)
  • is the bridge straight, not bent over or warped, and the action acceptable? (if not, it needs some attention--but might be worth a second look if the price is right).


In a way you have an advantage over those of us who inherited our instruments--you can play the field without feeling disloyal to your family heritage.

W-O


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: GUEST,Mountain Tyme
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 09:11 PM

Having played fiddle for many years and collecting some thirty or so and many bows I thought I might know just a little about "buying a fiddle"... maybe not... now hear this... an adult friend with short fingers, today, without my foreknowlege went to a "Music Store" to buy a new fiddle. First the salesperson got out a plastic scale contraption to measure my friends arm length "in order to determine the proper size fiddle" to fit my adult friend. ie, a 3/4 or 4/4 size I assume. To me the scale length that fits my hand (long fingers) for ease of first thru third position without the neck heel being in my way determines my choice of "size".
Question is, has anyone here any input or comment or hands-on experience with the plastic sizer scale described/mentioned above?
My thought is when comparing for example a Strad style copy (short body)to a Steiner style copy (long body) what is the point of measuring ones arm length?
In addition, I sometimes play Cajun style where the body of the fiddle is held against my chest not under my jaw bone.
Also, many many old fiddles can be had for $100 with case. Some i've bought just for the strings on them. Fiddles are everywhere, it's good bows that are hard to find, hair or not. My advice, buy a good bow first.
Any comments appreciated!!
Mountain Tyme


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Bassic
Date: 21 Jan 04 - 09:48 PM

Link to Charles O`Connor`s shop web site in Whitby. Have a look around and you will find the fiddles.

Wish we could find lots of ole fiddles in the UK for $100!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: fiddler
Date: 22 Jan 04 - 09:03 AM

Check out Glen Titmus - he has a web site - generally good fiddles at good prices - will do for most folk stuff unless you are playing with Fairport, Steeleye or someone like that. I wrot the original site many moons ago it has changed a quite a bit ( al lot even) but is still easy to follow.

http://www.glentitmus.co.uk

Here is an extract from his web site.

To order, email me, and quote the book number mentioned in the text. This is a sequential number allocated to each instrument as it is made ready for sale, and is the most reliable method of identifying each instrument. I will make arrangements to get the instrument to you and will send you an invoice. Then you either send me a cheque or return the instrument within 14 days

Theres not many will take that risk!!!

He is often found at festivals too.

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: GUEST,winniemih
Date: 22 Jan 04 - 12:58 PM

I bought an Anton Breton fiddle (made in China) a couple of years ago for $200 U.S. new, and I like the tone of it, esp. for old time music. Having a relatively inexpensive instrument is an advantage for travelling- I hauled it all over Central America last winter and didn't worry much about humidity damage, temperature changes, possible theft, etc. I also felt freer to let others play it. I have been very pleased with this particular fiddle.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Rustic Rebel
Date: 22 Jan 04 - 01:26 PM

I just bought a new Rothenburg 4/4 (copy of a strad) on Ebay. It came with case, bow and resin, Paid 80.00 (US) and it's really not a bad violin. Made in Germany. Sounds nice. Plays nice. I would check into Ebay because there are a lot of choices and good prices and you can always email the person for questions.
Rustic


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Leadfingers
Date: 22 Jan 04 - 08:38 PM

Fibs= Why not get really COOL and buy a nice banjo instaed ?? I will be only too pleased to give you any advice I can at Portaferry.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: fiddler
Date: 23 Jan 04 - 03:39 AM

LF they were talking about Music!

Banjos indeed!

I get enough of them at Gainsboro Please don't encourage proliferation!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 23 Jan 04 - 04:00 AM

fiddles are a big rip off, buy a hamster instead, only 2 quiud.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: GUEST,barrygeo
Date: 23 Jan 04 - 05:02 AM

Why not make your own??
You can buy an excellent quality violin kit on the net from Stewart McDonald?? Most of the hard work is done?? Also lots of books and videos???
If you are prepared to put your own time into it you can end up with a good instrument at reasonable prices??
I'm no genius craftsman but I have put together a number of instruments and there is a great buzz from making music on an instrument you built yourself??
Barry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: NicoleC
Date: 23 Jan 04 - 12:23 PM

Making your own you can also end up with utter crap after a lot of hard work. Or worse yet, and instrument that's perfectly fine but doesn't sound like you want it to.

Lots of good advice here. I think you should also familiarize yourself with common construction and repair problems so you can judge whether or not said crack or split or odd angle is something easily and cheaply fixed -- or something you should stay away from.

After much frustration being in the same spot as you, I literally stumbled across a guy that did restoration of big batches of auction fiddles and sold them out of his barn. His selection was FAR superior to any of the shops and his prices were killer. Shopping with him did require a basic knowledge of instrument problems. I was fortunate enough to have good advice regarding my final selection, but also had a big leg up understanding some basics when I was choosing which ones to bring home for the final audition and review.

Play everything you can get your hands on and try to get an idea of the tone and character you are looking for so when you find it, you know it.

Keep an eye out for that special deal. If you find THE one... don't wait for the PhD, okay?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Sttaw Legend
Date: 23 Jan 04 - 01:47 PM

Fibula
Their is some excellent advice here to be followed, the main thing to remember is take someone with you to look and listen, possibly your teacher. You will know by playing and listening - but take your time and do not feel that you have to be rushed into a purchase if you are not 100% about it. You are paying a lot of money and you will have it a long for your enjoyment. Dont forget the importance of the bow, this is a commmon mistake. A good dealer will always allow you to take 2 or 3 home to try.

jOhn
I tried a hampster once but the rosin on the bow didn't agree with the hampster hair.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 24 Jan 04 - 07:07 AM

Thanks for some great advice everyone. I found out that my new job will start at the beginning of March, so the first pay packet will go towards a fiddle! This afternoon I'm going to take a walk down to the "good" violin shop where they've been so helpful before, and ask about trying some out.
I thought climbing was an expensive hobby until I took up the fiddle...

jOhn - we're not allowed pets in my flat so I don't think I can get a hamster. I've found some mouse shit in the cupboard though, so there might be enough small furry things in the place already.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 25 Jan 04 - 05:54 AM

Update: I went to the violin shop yesterday and tried out 4 fiddles. I really liked two of them - a new one, and an old German one. I didn't think I'd be able to tell any difference, but surprisingly I could. They've said I can borrow them and take them to my fiddle teacher during my next lesson to get a more knowledgeable opinion.

I'll talk to all the fiddle players at the Loughstock gathering next weekend, and I'm going to keep looking for the next month or so, but now that I realise what I'm missing by playing on my lump of shite, I really want a new one right away! Still, better wait and hopefully it will find me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: freda underhill
Date: 31 Dec 04 - 11:53 PM

for anyone interested in getting a beautifully made violin, its worth checking out Graham Caldersmith's site at Graham Caldersmith Caldersmith

www.luth.org/calder/

the sound is beautiful, violins are made individually on commission and he has sold to some great violinists. costs are reasonable.

graham is an Australian scientist and music lover. he has applied his understanding of physics to guitar and violin making. he is a very talented instrument maker and has published over 30 papers in various respected journals concerning music, lutherie, and his accumulated physics-acoustical research.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 Jan 05 - 11:29 AM

Given Fibula's budget, we're not really talking new hand-made! Not having time to travel when I needed a "new" instrument, I trawled dealers' websites that carried photos and proper descriptions; and wound up buying one from Glen Titmus, mentioned earlier. It wouldn't suit everybody, but I'd decided to keep it well within the "approval" period. Just make sure he remembers to pack round the bridge: the couriers managed to knock it over and dislodge the soundpost.

Taking a couple home to try and then running them past an expert is certainly the best way to go. I've always liked the old German Strad copies: factory made as a rule, but many turn out well. Remember not to stint on the bow; if you're spending (say) £300-£400 on a fiddle, think in terms of £200-£300 for a bow. Mine cost nearly as much as the instrument, and it was worth it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 10 Jan 05 - 05:30 PM

oh, hello - this thread is a year old now! I got my fiddle - a lovely old German one, and I'm very, very happy with it. i also got me one of them thare incredibows - $50, superlight and indestructible. I love it.
All I need now is a new teacher (mine has gone to a much better place - Co. Kerry - and I am bereft and struggling on in bloodyminded beginnership).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: GUEST,Cod Fiddler
Date: 11 Jan 05 - 07:40 AM

Congratulations on getting a lovely fiddle Fibula. I've got a lovely German fiddle too. I assume this means you've finished your PhD? If so, I'm jealous, but sincere congratualtions too! I've been "finishing" mine for months. Too much fiddle playing and not enough work. Any advice? What did you study?

Richard.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 11 Jan 05 - 08:12 AM

Hi Richard,
Yup, submitted on April Fools day last year, viva-ed 4 weeks later. I studied computer science - image display, visual perception and a bit of archaeology. My advice - get bored writing and then you'll submit! My fiddle playing has been somewhat neglected over the past few months now that I actually have 'real' work to do (insofar as academic research - with deadlines - can be called 'real').


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Buying a fiddle
From: Cod Fiddler
Date: 11 Jan 05 - 12:32 PM

Computer Science and archaeology sounds very interesting. The cittern player in my little band is a lecturer at Hull University and does similar stuff, though he is definitely an archaeologist who collaborates with the computer people. They have amazing visualisation facilites which enable you to fly through virtual landscapes and buildings in 3D.

Thanks for the advice. I am already bored of writing (about cod genetics) but I'm still three and a bit chapters short of a thesis. The thesis has been neglegted and my fiddle playing is improving astronomically! I am going to begin a final thesis push NOW!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 28 February 2:55 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.