The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59947   Message #958247
Posted By: Mark Clark
23-May-03 - 12:01 PM
Thread Name: Cheap fiddle, so what
Subject: RE: Cheap fiddle, so what
I think £400 is around US$653 today. From a commercial dealer, that would buy a pretty basic instrument. From a small trader-collector, however, you can do much better. I bought my Magini copy over 20 years ago at a small midwest festival. A guy I'd never met just had a bunch of fiddles for sale by his truck. I wasn't in the market but tried them out and fell immediately in love with one of them. I paid him $187 which probably equates to around $400 today. A dealer in rare violins estimated its value at quite a lot more than that. Professional fiddler Randall Collins offered me $800 for it that same year. I thanked him but refused.

The point is there are ways to get a good instrument without spending a lot of money. At least in the U.S. that's still true. I know an old farmer that buys nearly every fiddle he finds for sale. He has an awful lot of junk but also some very nice instruments and he never seems to know what they are worth. He just likes them.

Aside from the occasional lucky stroke—a friend once acquired an actual LL F5 with “tone reducer” for $125—most new cheap instruments will often be of poorer quality than a used instrument at the same price. But if it sounds good to you and it's mechanically sound… well, what the hey.

      - Mark