Modern builders?

Online Fiddle Lessons Forums Strings and Things Modern builders?

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  • #72944
    Gunnar SalyerGunnar Salyer
    Participant

    So I’ve noticed, in the mandolin community, there’s a dozen different modern builders mostly one person shops that everyone knows about, and you frequently see their work being played. In the guitar world, there’s a bunch of manufacturers whose work is widely used. On the banjo side, there’s also plenty of people (and comparatively more factories) building banjos. My question is this, are there any widely kn fiddle builders still active? Unfortunately the fiddle is the one instrument (not counting bass) where you can’t tell the manufacturer just by looking at it. And it seems like most performers are playing vintage European instruments, or old American ones. So, do y’all know of any modern builders whose work is well respected and played by anyone on a (relatively) famous band?

    #72947
    fiddlewoodfiddlewood
    Participant

    I know a couple up around here, but their main customers are in Orchestras…

    #72951
    rodgerrodger
    Participant

    And they really don’t want fame knocking on their door because they already have an impossible backlog…

    #72953
    FrederickFrederick
    Participant

    I know one fiddler, fiddle builder in eastern Tennessee that has built over 60 fiddles. He sells the 4 stringers for $3,000.00 and the 5 stringers for $3,500.00. Here’s my webpage of his fiddle works:

    https://www.frederickwarner.com/keith-williams-fiddle-maker.html

    #72973
    Gunnar SalyerGunnar Salyer
    Participant

    How come a bunch of replies disappeared from this thread? Fred, (since your name change, I will now call you Frederique!) That’s the kind of folks i wanted to hear about, I’ll check him out

    #72984
    John (BGD)John (BGD)
    Keymaster

    Hi Gunnar, sorry if some replies disappeared, GoDaddy did a restore of the site and some things were lost. I tried to reinstate all the replies but some may have gotten away.

    Bob Kogut is a great builder that lives nearby, a lot of pro fiddlers have his instruments. His prices are reasonable.

    https://www.blueridgeheritage.com/artist/bob-kogut/

    There are some well-known modern violin builders, but they mostly sell higher-end instruments starting around $15,000.

    #73001
    Gunnar SalyerGunnar Salyer
    Participant

    Ok cool, I’ve seen Bob’s name a couple times, I’ll check him out

    #73006
    AvatarEddie
    Participant

    I have a Bob Kogut 5 String as well. Angelica

    #73008
    AvatarAngela
    Participant

    Wow Eddie. Beautiful. Tell us about it.

    #73011
    AvatarEddie
    Participant

    It was Finished December 2017. The original owner had it two months and put it up for sale. She couldn’t get used to a 5 string. I had seen it original advertised on YouTube by Bob and loved it. Once I saw it advertised on fiddle hangout I bought it.

    #73012
    AvatarAngela
    Participant

    Eddie, that’s great. I’d love to hear it if you’d feel comfortable putting up a video on Lion’s den.

    #73017
    Gunnar SalyerGunnar Salyer
    Participant

    That’s a beautiful fiddle!

    #73023
    AvatarEddie
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Angela / Gunnar,</p>
    A, I will figure something to put on there.

    G, thanks man!

    #73025
    cricketcricket
    Participant

    Eddie….congrats on owning that beautiful piece of work!  I would love to hear it one day.

    As to the disappearing threads…I almost remembered the guy’s name in this area right…remembered it right later, as I figured I would.  His name is Patrick Higgins…and his shop in right on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River in Bellevue, KY.  I’m surprised I even remembered this much info, because it was years ago…not that long ago, but a few years back when I had gotten that old fiddle for 50 bucks from my friend who didn’t play at allbut used it as decoration right up near her fireplace.   Patrick Higgins glued it back together and cut a bridge, put a soundpost in…I think that’s about all…I think he charged me 130 for that…not sure how great a price or if it was bad or good price, since it was the first time I’d ever gotten any work done by any kind of luthier…since then, my husband put in the geared tuner pegs and re-carved the bridge to fit my playing better…I’d like to move the soundpost around a little, but I’m terrified of soundpost setting, so I’ll just leave that alone.  Husband also put in a new tailpiece…last time I changed strings I noticed a huge crack going along the tailpiece…it mighta been there all along, I don’t know…but now it has a new tailpiece too.

    While I was in Patrick Higgins’ shop I noticed those 10,000 dollar price tags on fiddles hanging on the wall…so…lol…I knew then I was in the wrong neighborhood…wrong side of the tracks, so to speak…for me.  We can barely afford all the house insurances, taxes, medicare payments, etc., etc., etc.  No 10,000 instruments for me…mine all together wouldn’t be worth that much…all those guitars, fiddles, viola, cello, dulcmers, etc.  Probably together worth a couple thousand, if  luck would help me out.  Maybe a little more…no more than 3,000 for sure.  But anyway…happy to at least have the instruments I do have now…waited most of my life to get them.  But don’t know how good or who or what or whatever about Patrick Higgins…but he’s there…pretty close to us.  I hope I don’t need luthiers again…but if I ever do…I guess I’ll go back to him.

    #73033
    Gunnar SalyerGunnar Salyer
    Participant

    Jonathan Cooper is another one

    #73034
    rodgerrodger
    Participant

    Eddie, that looks like big leaf maple.  I was given a bunch of big leaf maple once, by a fellow that got it from Gibson’s supplier in British Columbia.  I ended up giving it back, because I consider all the work involved in carving plates to be such that one might as well stick with the established practice of conventional maple for the back plate.  I know good results have been gotten from alternative wood for sure though.

    Just wondered what your comparison of the sound with this fiddle is compared with conventional fiddles…??  Darker? Brighter?  Response & overtones?

    #73037
    FrederickFrederick
    Participant

    I like the root-beer-colored satin varnish. Also, the points on the side bouts are interesting in the way they do not form sharp joints. Hard to imagine how it would sound just by looking at it, but I suppose if the graduations of top and bottom plates are properly cut…all other things being well done, it should have a beautiful tone.

    #73039
    AvatarEddie
    Participant

    I will try to post something soon on the site where Angela mentioned. Roger, it is big leaf curly maple. Without writing a book I will tell you that I have adjusted this fiddle every way you can to figure out what changes the tone and everything else. No kidding…

    i have the fortune of having a great friend that is an awesome luthier and custom guitar maker and he has been doing it forever. He has  taught me how to do everything but build a fiddle at this point and I have a kit from stew Mac that I will do sometime in the future. This thing has an incredible sound. Very deep low C string that is strong and powerful, and depending on the bridge shape, thickness, and soundpost position the A and E string can be so bright that it is strident and irritating or it can be warm and sweet.

    I just found the perfect combo for me recently when my friend gave me a viola bridge and challenged me to cut it down to a Hybrid size slightly larger than a violin bridge, but much smaller than a viola.

    his theory is that a good 5 string fiddle ain’t a violin and it ain’t a viola. I put the ain’t s in out of respect for my old friend. He was absolutely right and I told him that I thought he was full of baloney before I did it. I just read yesterday for the first time that John has a 5 string Kogut. I would think his is engleman spruce top and big leaf maple backs and sides as well.

    #73040
    AvatarEddie
    Participant

    After saying all that, I think as long as a violin is graduated right. Most of the tone and color is going to be in the setup. Bridge, sound-post, the after length from bridge to tailpiece, and a few other things.?

    oh and Gunnar, I dream of a jonathan cooper 5 string. He is

    my hero. I will never have one unless the good Lord has someone give me one. His base model is $15,000

    #73041
    rodgerrodger
    Participant

    Fred, I think those corners are very typical of old time mountain luthiers  of the Appalachians.  But I really have no extensive knowledge of it…just some observations….Also the varnish with somewhat walnut flavor is also…

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by rodgerrodger.
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