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New baby fiddle!

04 Jan 03 - 11:32 PM (#858969)
Subject: New baby fiddle!
From: NicoleC

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?!

05 Jan 03 - 01:27 AM (#859025)
Subject: RE: New baby fiddle!
From: Bee-dubya-ell

Keep 'em both! I've never regretted buying an instrument, just failing to do so. When I bought my D-28 Martin several years ago the fellow had a D-18 for sale too. I've long regretted not buying both of them.

Anyway, you never can tell what might happen. Instruments need repairs and a good backup is always nice to have around. Several fiddlers I know have "foul weather" fiddles so they can protect their prizes during rainy festivals.

The mind of a musician can conjure up an amazing number of reasons to own an incredible number of instruments. All of them are valid!

Bruce (Owner of 20+ stringed instruments)

05 Jan 03 - 06:05 AM (#859079)
Subject: RE: New baby fiddle!
From: Oaklet

I bought a fiddle from a junk shop for £40 with a soundpost crack. The only label read "Medio Fine". I had it repaired and played it for years before trading it in with some basket - cases for the current one. I was told that it was a French factory - made job from the Lame factory (I could have got that wrong) dating from the turn of the century. It had a one - piece back, inscribed purfling and an ebonised fingerboard. Repaired, it had a value of about £500. In your position I think would keep both.

05 Jan 03 - 12:48 PM (#859236)
Subject: RE: New baby fiddle!
From: NicoleC

Yep, Oakley, that sounds like this one. I garnered the same basic info off the internet. However, there are apparently copies (of a factory instrument!) out there, and it doesn't have the "JTL" and logo sticker that would show it was an original.

After playing around last night, I'm starting to like the Medio Fino more than the other one... of well, that's why I took them home on approval.

I used to own an extreme number of guitars for someone who really didn't play. I may be turning into that again! But if I keep both, that means I could get rid of my little Chinese factory job, which was going to be my back-up intsrument. Hmmm. Anyone want to find out which falls faster off the side of a building -- a rock or a fiddle? :)

05 Jan 03 - 02:59 PM (#859313)
Subject: RE: New baby fiddle!
From: Mark Clark

Nicole, By all means keep both fiddles if you like them both. Then get yourself a double fiddle case to keep them in. Many years ago, I used to carry two fiddles this way and kept one in the traditional Black Mountain Rag open tuning. It's nice to have an alternate tuning available without having to stop and tune.

      - Mark

05 Jan 03 - 03:04 PM (#859315)
Subject: RE: New baby fiddle!

If you can afford both, keep both

06 Jan 03 - 12:08 AM (#859562)
Subject: RE: New baby fiddle!
From: NicoleC

Thank you for the link, Mark. That looks like a pretty nice case for the price. I wish double cases weren't so outrageously expensive, though! My single violin ultralight case does a great job for almost no weight -- it seems a shame that similiar cases don't come in doubles. Short of purchasing a road case, the protection is not that much better than the foam ones.

Oh well. No one said it was a cheap hobby!