The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #55323   Message #858969
Posted By: NicoleC
04-Jan-03 - 11:32 PM
Thread Name: New baby fiddle!
Subject: New baby fiddle!
I FINALLY found a new baby to adopt!

I spent the afternoon in a dusty, dusty shop playing more old fixer-upper fiddles than I could keep track of. This repairman had some *serious* inventory in the $100-1000 range, most of it still not setup yet. If you know someone in No Cal looking for anything from a cheapie student model to a decent moderately priced fiddle, PM me and I will get you his name and phone number. Nice guy, not pushy, and honest. Concert violinists won't care for the selection, but folkie players could have a blast trying everything out.

I brought two instruments home on approval, but I'm leaning toward taking both of them, since I like both and the combined cost is still well below what I expected to spend.

The better one is made well, has a well rounded tone, and has a nice clear high end without any harshness or brittleness. I wasn't as happy with the low end, which lacked a bit of depth and resonance, but when we moved the sound post and opened up the low end, the high end got a bit harsh, so we moved it back. This is a mystery instrument -- it has no maker markings of any kind. Maybe 100+ years old, but that's just a guess. There are some places where the finish isn't great, but no structural flaws to speak of. However, it's rather largish and heavier than desirable. But sounds really nice. A good deal at $500, and I could be happy playing it as an everyday instrument.

The other one is not as nice but has tons of character and charm. I don't think I'd want to play it as a regular instrument, but it has so much personality it really spoke to me. It's a Medio Fino with a very peasanty-earthy-Eastern European-folky sound. It's more brilliant that I would normally care for, but I bet it would carry great over other instruments without being to squeeky and harsh. I don't think it's a real Medio Fino, since it's missing the initials and logo; it's probably a knockoff. The bad news is that it's got a small soundpost crack, that was glue repaired about 40 years ago. The repair has lasted this long, right? Bargain basement price, $200.

Is it silly to keep both? If I take one back... there will be the temptation to look at them all over again... have I now been reinfected with Instrument Aquisition Syndrome?!