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fretted fiddle

GUEST,stevethesqueeze 03 Oct 03 - 05:12 AM
s&r 03 Oct 03 - 05:23 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 03 Oct 03 - 06:07 AM
GUEST 03 Oct 03 - 06:10 AM
The Fooles Troupe 03 Oct 03 - 09:29 AM
s&r 03 Oct 03 - 10:07 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 03 Oct 03 - 10:21 AM
open mike 03 Oct 03 - 01:40 PM
radriano 03 Oct 03 - 01:58 PM
dick greenhaus 03 Oct 03 - 07:00 PM
GUEST 04 Oct 03 - 10:43 AM
GUEST,PaulineL 04 Oct 03 - 11:11 PM
clansfolk 05 Oct 03 - 05:46 AM
Willie-O 05 Oct 03 - 09:46 AM
treewind 05 Oct 03 - 10:24 AM
clansfolk 05 Oct 03 - 01:10 PM
JohnInKansas 05 Oct 03 - 08:21 PM
Gypsy 05 Oct 03 - 10:58 PM
GUEST,stevethesqueeze 06 Oct 03 - 07:53 AM
Kudzuman 06 Oct 03 - 09:14 AM
GUEST,Maldenny 06 Oct 03 - 10:40 AM
clansfolk 06 Oct 03 - 01:56 PM
Murray MacLeod 06 Oct 03 - 06:18 PM
Bernard 06 Oct 03 - 09:24 PM
Murray MacLeod 07 Oct 03 - 03:11 AM
clansfolk 07 Oct 03 - 12:10 PM
cobber 12 Oct 03 - 03:41 AM
GUEST,Ian 28 Nov 07 - 04:35 PM
open mike 28 Nov 07 - 05:02 PM
The Sandman 28 Nov 07 - 05:08 PM
TheSnail 28 Nov 07 - 05:11 PM
The Sandman 28 Nov 07 - 06:08 PM
TheSnail 28 Nov 07 - 07:52 PM
Stringsinger 28 Nov 07 - 07:56 PM
GUEST,juma 12 Jul 08 - 11:01 PM
GUEST 28 Dec 09 - 07:25 AM
Jack Campin 28 Dec 09 - 08:17 AM
Jack Campin 28 Dec 09 - 08:23 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Dec 09 - 01:53 PM
GUEST,slyfusion 17 Feb 10 - 11:40 AM
Jack Blandiver 17 Feb 10 - 12:09 PM
The Sandman 17 Feb 10 - 12:54 PM
foggers 17 Feb 10 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,Stuart Hoskin 22 Feb 11 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 22 Feb 11 - 02:23 PM
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Subject: fretted fiddle
From: GUEST,stevethesqueeze
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 05:12 AM

Dear friends

I recently saw a band busking in Cardiff city centre from my window overlooking the town. The fiddle player was using a fretted instrument. By the time I got out of the office they had gone. Does anyone know of where these can be obtained or any other information on such things. I know I have been trying in vain to play the fiddle in tune for many years and such a thing would be marvellous for me, and my long suffering family.

stevethesqueeze


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: s&r
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 05:23 AM

One was converted for a friend by Eddie Green (ex Fylde guitars).
Any luthier would be able to do this, but there are problems. The bridge on a fiddle is movable, so the intonation would need careful adjusting, and the node on a fiddlestring is effectively behind the bridge (try playing a harmonic halfway along the string and measuring the distance - it ain't halfway).

My experience with fiddling is that a lot of the awful noises that happen are poor bowing.

I don't know the cost of conversion, but if you want to PM me I'll ask Eddie


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 06:07 AM

Why not post the conversion cost here?

I'm sure many of us realize that it is dependent on the instrument and other variables so it isn't always a single price.


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 06:10 AM

There's another thread about the subject here


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 09:29 AM

One thing some violin teachers do for young kids is to put some small strips of white tape on the fretboard to help find the noting spots...

Robin


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: s&r
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 10:07 AM

Don't know how much work Eddie wants, but I'll check out the cost with him and post it


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 10:21 AM

If you saw this instrument only from your window, it more probably was taped as per Foulestroupe's post. Tape can be bought specially for the purpose but most teachers incline against using it, for obvious reasons.

If you really are tone deaf, stevethesqueeze, (very few people are), maybe you should just accept that the fiddle, or any other infinite-pitch instrument, is not for you. Fretting a fiddle will make it a completely different instrument anyway.


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: open mike
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 01:40 PM

or perhaps you could take up teh nyckelharpa
which is in essence a fretted fiddle as it
is played with keys which land on the same spot
on the string every time! Of course you still
have to tune the thing, but with the keys you can
be sure you are hitting the right note without
haveing to worry or wonder if you are putting
your finger in the right place, as long as you
are hitting the right key!
Other name for this instrument is Key Fiddle.
search in teh threads and you will find some
references with links to web sites, etc.
It is a Swedish instrument.


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: radriano
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 01:58 PM

A fretted fiddle might be useful to someone learning to play but one of the charms of a fiddle is being able to slide into notes, something you won't be able to do on a fretted instrument. Alternatively, you could use the method of placing a bit of tape on the edge of the fingerboard to help you place your fingers. Ultimately, though, you need to develop your ear towards hearing the notes.


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 07:00 PM

You can add frets (non permanent) to any fiddle with a couple of yards of monofilament fishing leader (or nylon guitar strings.) It's the same method that they used to use on lutes. Just tie a piece around the neck and slide it into a position that sounds right. You can secure it with a drop of glue when you get there. Repeat as required.


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Oct 03 - 10:43 AM

Hi, I have been using a home brewed fretted fiddle for 2 years now cost of coversion is nil.and the instrument is not subjected to any
expensive, irreversable surgery.
An early forerunner of the fiddle was the viol which was fretted with gut and a special knot(very ordinary fishing slip knot).
I have fretted using black cotton but prefer light fishing cotton cord .Tune the fiddle open vs digital tuner eg Korg, set frets vs
tuner,fix frets in position with slip knot and strip of black electricians tape at back of fingerboard. check tuning each time you play as usual and adjust if needed.
Slides( bluegrass) are a little less easy but fingering is very
accurate.
Change your mind and no harm done,don't pay someone to hack your fiddle.
good luck,

mike R. (devon uk)


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: GUEST,PaulineL
Date: 04 Oct 03 - 11:11 PM

It's possible that the instrument you saw and heard was a Hardanger fiddle. This is Norwegian and is also sometimes used in the Shetlands. It really sounds, looks, and plays quite different from a "true" fiddle. It has a second set of strings which resonate with the ones you finger. They are tuned to a traditional Norwegian tune that was used by Grieg in Anitra's Dance from the Peer Gynt Suite. The bridge is flatter than that of a "true" fiddle to facilitate playing double stops and to make clean bowing more difficult. It is often decorated with markings that make it look tattooed. I have played one but, as you may guess, I do not especially like it.

I agree with the earlier comment that most of the unpleasant sounds that come from a fiddle are due to problems with bowing. My advice is to practice the violin, with visible markers (not frets) if necessary, and learn to get the intonation right. Also, concentrate on the bowing to get a good quality of sound and expression. Some lessons might help.

Good luck!


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: clansfolk
Date: 05 Oct 03 - 05:46 AM

Viola da Gamba - Violin/Fiddle "New Kid on the Block"

The most popular and functional bowed stringed instrument of the Renaissance.

The Gamba was made into four sizes to play the four ranges of vocal music. A set of six Gambas, usually comprised of two trebles, two tenors, and two basses, were called a "chest of viols." When played together in ensemble they were known as a "consort."

The Viola da Gamba (Italian - literally a "leg viol" or simply "viol" in English) has a flat back, sloping shoulders, six strings, C-shaped sound holes, and frets on the fingerboard (like a guitar).

By the Baroque Period the smaller viols had given way to the newly-formed violin family, but the bass viol held a firm place in both vocal and instrumental music.

Nowt wrong with a fretted fiddle - in fact ...... It's more "in tune" when played alongside other fretted instruments!

now here's a nice one..

interesting article


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: Willie-O
Date: 05 Oct 03 - 09:46 AM

There's an American band named Groovelily. The frontperson, Valerie Vigoda, plays a solid-body electric 6-string fretted fiddle--and plays it very very well. Sounds terrific with a great dynamic range.


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: treewind
Date: 05 Oct 03 - 10:24 AM

The viola da Gamba is one of the viol family. The others aren't "da Gamba" - Gamba is Italian for knee and refers to the instrument being held between the knees the same way up as a cello. The others are something like the treble and tenor viol and played the same way up as a violin and viola, and I believe the bass viol is is the forerunner of the modern double bass.

(also the viola d'Amore, not sure where that fitted in)

But it's quite true that the viol family are fretted instrments!

Anahata


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: clansfolk
Date: 05 Oct 03 - 01:10 PM

Anahata - ooops yes a bad bit of cut and paste from another post I made on this topic...

But you got the point.

Re using a fretted fiddle to teach and then moving on to an unfretted fiddle I would not advise it as the finger positions are different.

Eddie Green did a great job on my fiddle - I used and old lark to see how it went before having and electric one "sorted" - that'll be a winter project!!!

Pete


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 05 Oct 03 - 08:21 PM

Gerrit van Honthorst, Netherlands, Baroque, b.1592 - d.1656
A young woman playing a viola da gamba
Oil on canvas, 33.07 x 26.18 inches / 84 x 66.5 cm
Private collection
Signed 'GHonthorst' (GH linked, upper right)

...for a "classic" partial view of a viola da gamba, (and quite a lot of view of the young lady.)

One of my favorite paintings - I've used it for "desktop."

I believe there have been some previous threads on the Hardanger, though, which seems the more likely instrument if it was a "trad" thing and really did have frets.

John


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: Gypsy
Date: 05 Oct 03 - 10:58 PM

Gee, in my house, we just call them mandolins! ; )


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: GUEST,stevethesqueeze
Date: 06 Oct 03 - 07:53 AM

the band were back in the town today and I went and chatted to the fiddle player. It turned out to be a solid bodied elctric job fitted with frets by the manufactuar, some chap in the states, and had five strings, one lower than regular. I would also say it had a very flat fingerboard.

The player played fabulous chords and variations with fantastic effect and he told me he had moved from mandolin to fretted fiddle real easily using this intsrument.

thank you all for help with this matter

stevethesqueeze


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: Kudzuman
Date: 06 Oct 03 - 09:14 AM

Mark Woods Violins are fretted and one even has 7 strings. He has a web site if you do a search.

Kudzuman


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: GUEST,Maldenny
Date: 06 Oct 03 - 10:40 AM

There's a "Long necked violin" on ebay right now. n the picture with it, it has frets marked on the neck. Looks like they are only markings though, not actual frets.

Mal


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: clansfolk
Date: 06 Oct 03 - 01:56 PM

Woods Violins - Lovely.....


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 06 Oct 03 - 06:18 PM

s&r writes "....try playing a harmonic halfway along the string and measuring the distance - it ain't halfway......

I would like further amplification of this. I don't have a fiddle to hand but certainly the nodes for octave harmonics on my guitar are exactly halfway along the string, so how come it is different for the fiddle ?

Murray


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: Bernard
Date: 06 Oct 03 - 09:24 PM

The harmonics are exactly halfway, yes, but the octave fret cannot be as the string is being depressed - perhaps this was what was really meant. The string stretches, sending it slightly sharp. That is also why a steel strung guitar bridge is set at an angle - the thicker strings need to be slightly longer.


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 07 Oct 03 - 03:11 AM

I don't think that is what was meant Bernard. s&r explicitly states that on a fiddle the node for the octave harmonic is not exactly halfway along the string. String compensation don't come into it.

The ghost of Pythagoras awaits an explanation ....

Murray


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: clansfolk
Date: 07 Oct 03 - 12:10 PM

"the node on a fiddle string is effectively behind the bridge "

Murray - yes that confused me.... the fretted fiddle Eddie did for me has a harmonic at the usual half way point (this I presumed to be a must?) which it as near as.... over the 12th fret (action is actually quite low - making very little variation on string stretch and bridge angle)

come on Stu - put us wise!


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: cobber
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 03:41 AM

I used a fretted fiddle on a lot of the Cobbers recordings as it had a better sound in the studio than my stage fiddle. I use it these days a lot for sessions and it makes a few heads turn. The one I have is a Manby made in Australia by the Manby company who were based in Melbourne and London. Apparently they had a big factory in Melbourne (Australia) and during the 1920s had the highest production of violins in the world. The fretted model was produced for learning and they made a whole range of professional models, some I've seen were excellent. The trick with the Manby (or is it Mamby?) is that the "frets" are actually grooves so you can still get the slides that you would expect on a normal violin but you can feel very easily where the fingers should go. The only disadvantage is that they are a bit heavy on strings. They seem to turn up fairly regularly in Australia so if you really want to find one, that is the place to try.


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: GUEST,Ian
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 04:35 PM

Seems this thread ended in 03 and it's now 07 - so everyone is probably dead.

Never mind. I just want to point out that a fretted fiddle doesn't make much sense. Violins are tuned to fifths - not to octaves - and they have to be tuned by ear and electronic tuners are not correct for them. Electronic tuners are in equal temperament tuning and a fiddle is in Just intonation. The notes a fiddler plays by ear are based on both harmonics and ease of fingering - and so they play Pythagorean intervals - of around 90 cents for a half tone and 204 cents for a whole tone. This makes the instrument sound great. It also means that the position of certain notes change as different keys are used - and so frets just wouldn't work. Most people make those changes intuitively without realising it. Sometimes - to be in tune for double stopping the Pythagorean scale has to be abandoned for Just intonation ratios that give better consonance (sound better). Frets would make all of this impossible and seriously limit the musician. A fretted instrument would have to be tuned in equal temperament - and this would not permit the instrument to resonate correctly.

Basically - learn to identify Pythagorean scales and you will play in tune without frets. It's easy.


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: open mike
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 05:02 PM

talk about your unusual fiddles..
this 8-stringed one is on e-bay now.
http://cgi.ebay.ca/EIGHT-8-STRING-VIOLIN-ONE-OF-A-KIND_W0QQitemZ150187546956


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 05:08 PM

Wellsaid,and as well as this,the point about the fiddle is that it forces the player to rely upon their ear to make tiny adjustments of intonation,something that players of fretted instruments,and free reed instruments do not have to do,it is a whole different ball game.


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: TheSnail
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 05:11 PM

GUEST,Ian

and so frets just wouldn't work

Well, that just about wraps it up for mandolins, mandolas, tenor banjos... in fact, any fretted instrument really.


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 06:08 PM

Bryan ,you have missed his point. fiddles are designed[and here I must correct Ian]so that they can beplayed in   equal and mean /just temperament,mandolins and other fret can only be played in Equal Temperament.
Ian,when a fiddle player plays with a concertina or a mandolin he is forced to play in Equal temperament,when he plays on his own,or with an instrument in mean temperament ,he can adjust and play differently.


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: TheSnail
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 07:52 PM

Captain Birdseye

Bryan ,you have missed his point.

Ian said frets just wouldn't work. They would work but you would be limited to equal temperament. Not a problem if you are playing with other equal tempered instruments.


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: Stringsinger
Date: 28 Nov 07 - 07:56 PM

Valerie Vigoda uses a Mark Wood fiddle. He makes electric fiddles with six strings
to fret like a guitar. Mark Wood plays rock and roll fiddle and can duplicate pretty
much what any lead rock player can do on the guitar.

You can google him at MarkWoodViolins.


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: GUEST,juma
Date: 12 Jul 08 - 11:01 PM

just thought I'd add my idea... Although I'm self learned - so don't trust me.

I've been playing fretted instruments for many years and I'm quite sure I am always making pitch adjustments by bending the strings or changing the amount of pressure exerted by the fingers. Bending doesn't work so well with double courses, (two stings played at once like a mandolin or 12 string guitar etc) because each string bends a bit differently I think.

I certainly try to control the pitch with a clarinet by changing the shape of my mouth. I don't do it very well.

It's obvious you have full control on the fiddle. But if you had frets I think you still would have some control. But I think you would only be able to increase the pitch - by bending string or pressing harder with the bow or pushing down harder with your finger. So I reckon you would want the fret at the lowest pitch you might want for a given note (range). Then you could make your adjustments to get the exact pitch you're after.

At the end of the day you're still going to need your ears, but I'm all for trying to do things differently. It will be a different instrument and playing style to the more common fiddle for sure. I'd love to hear how it sounds.


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 07:25 AM

I have a friend that has a fretted fiddle made by Charles Manby between 1913-1930. It is Strad. copy in very good condition and it may be for sale. You can contact me at dmurdica@hotmail.com if you are interested.
Cheers Dom


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 08:17 AM

As well as the viol, a lot of mediaeval fiddles were fretted. Usually called "vielle", the design was nowhere near as standardized as the viol or violin and they generally weren't tuned in fifths. They probably make more sense as general-purpose folk instrument than a Hardanger fiddle, and will usually be a lot cheaper.

I saw Andres Mustonen with his group "Hortus Musicus" earlier this year. He led the band playing a vielle for the first (mediaeval) half and a violin for the second (baroque) one. Tremendously powerful performance - used the right way, the vielle is every bit as effective as the violin for showbiz exhibitionism.


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 08:23 AM

The word "vielle" is more often used this days in French to describe the hurdy-gurdy. But a google image search will reveal pictures of mediaeval fretted fiddles too. Just make sure you don't confuse either of them with The Vielle Toning System.


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 01:53 PM

To fret or not to fret... Well, I've heard very learned musicologists say no medieval fiddle was ever fretted, but the iconography would suggest some were & others were not. Jordi Savall is never without frets - even on his medieval fiddles, though I believe Sothcott went fretless...

The fretted fiddle tradition continues with THIS, which might help with my nascent violin endeavours, and THIS - which as a (fretted) crwth player I can but dream of...


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: GUEST,slyfusion
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 11:40 AM

Hello Suibhne O'Piobaireachd,

I am very interested in getting a fretted crwth myself. Would you be willing to share where you got yours and/or who made it?

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 12:09 PM

Both my crwths were made by master harp maker Tim Hobrough in 1983 & 1987, not sure if he's still doing them, but they're both still going strong, though I've retired the round crwth from performance.

round: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_t0Vm7Gjrs

square: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTQGXIu5QHA

In the intervening years there's been something of crwth revival in Wales which might be worth a look to see who's making what, though I doubt you'd find any frets in there, or curved bridges for that matter - let alone machine heads!


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 12:54 PM

if i was a fiddle and someone tried to fret me it would make me very fretful.
imo the idea is barmy,the whole point of the fiddle is that it is not fretted,the player has the benefit of minute glissandos[one sixteenth of a tone etc]


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: foggers
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 01:12 PM

I saw a neolin at the Old Time Music and dance Festival at gainsborough last weekend. Originally from....
See here


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: GUEST,Stuart Hoskin
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 01:37 PM

I just found my gran's Manby violin co fiddle with frets and wanted to point out to the scientific minds here that the frets looked odd to me since they were not uniform in placement and they are tapered so at slight angles unlike any fretted instrument. also the frets are not frets but indentations cut in to the wood. my gran learned on this fiddle and at 86 she has enjoyed a long life of playing with many scottish fiddle bands and orchestras.

interesting reading anyway.

having actually played the fiddle in question i felt that the frets were not necesary because my fingers naturally find true tones to my ear so cant be unbiassed. they seem to be close enough for a good starting point and i tested this right across 3-4 octaves.

so i guess the frets are there to give the idea to the learner of the rough area the fingers should go.

on a further note i went and researched pythagorian tuning, mean temperment etc etc.......... CAN OF WORMS!!

so glad i can just play without getting bogged down by theory.


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Subject: RE: fretted fiddle
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 02:23 PM

I've fretted both my fiddles (4 & 5 string) with lute-type tied frets using 16lb fishing line & it works a treat. If the fret is out, just jiggle it round a bit until it's in. These are first-position frets and get looked at askance by other fiddlers, but I'm long past caring really - having played fretted instruments all my life (bass, saz, crwths, vielles etc.) this makes perfect sense to me but the sound of your actual fiddle is a joy to me. My Black Sea Fiddles (Karadeniz Kemence / Pontic Lyra) remain unfretted; I've tried to figure out a way of playing the fiddle like a Black Sea Fiddle, with certain ergonomic devices added below the neck, but with little success as yet. I figure once I've cracked that then fiddling without frets becomes a distinct possibility. I'm also presently coverting an old fiddle into a diatonic key fiddle along the lines of the Moraharpa; nothing beats the sound of a bowed string stopped by a wooden tangent!

Conversely, my wife presently has her eyes on a fretless banjo...


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