February 19, 2019 at 11:46 PM #69334
Can you buy a sweet sounding fiddle?
This may seem like a dumb question, but can you improve tone just by purchasing a better fiddle?
I sometimes wonder if I can ever sound like John in his lesson videos even playing just simple tunes or scales?
Any thoughts on this topic?February 20, 2019 at 12:51 AM #69344
Kenny I hear you clearly , Johns fiddle is a great one ! I have bought three different fiddles and they are not created equal , they are all different as night and day , Even the violin bows are not created equal , One of Johns favorite rosin is Andrea A Piacere which is green it gives a softer smooth sound His strings are Helicore Medium , My sweetest sounding fiddle is not equal to Johns but I am fairly happy with it ! I too am after that sweet sound ! Good luck !February 20, 2019 at 1:11 AM #69349
Oh yes, Kenny and Steve — a good fiddle makes a lot of difference! My best fiddle got smashed in an accident and I still mourn her. Always be on the lookout for a beautiful-sounding instrument!February 20, 2019 at 8:10 PM #69394
What can I expect to pay for a good fiddle? Looking for more than the Chinese brands.
Any advice on how to find one?February 20, 2019 at 8:30 PM #69395
Have a near death experience (you know, where you go to Heaven but get sent back)…get one from an Angel…bring it back here….
Seriously though Kenny, most fiddles in our price range will have sweet spots & sour spots. If it has a sweet sound range all the way through that’s what makes it expensive. If you travel around and try out as many fiddles as you can, look for one that has it’s sweet spot where you like it best and a manageable sour spot. If you get it, get the sound post positioned where you like it best. That can make a really huge difference. Try out a well carved, well seated bridge, and select the type of strings that give your preferred sound. Others will add to this list. What it sounds like in the store can most always be enhanced a lot.
A more adventurous route would be to invest in one that needs some repair, to get it cheap, and fix it. The best sounding fiddle I ever had was a piece of junk that someone spray painted silver, and cut holes in it to install electric pots. When I stripped the paint I found a beautiful one piece back. The entire fiddle was carved the thinnest possible, and it had a most beautiful range from top to bottom. It is still sidelined after an event where I picked up the case and it fell open, dropped out and landed on the bridge. It’s on my to do list, as item one million something.February 20, 2019 at 9:42 PM #69405
Good advice, Rodger.
Kenny, I’ve found that good sounding fiddles seem to start around $800, but tend to average around $1500. You can usually get a great sounding fiddle for $2500. You will need to play a lot of fiddles to find the one you love! A good idea is to tell local luthiers to be “on the lookout” for good instruments.February 20, 2019 at 10:25 PM #69414
Time to start saving $3,000. Then I will never buy one I cannot play before I buy it , All the fiddles I have bought I bought on line , How ever the best and most expensive one was $1,799. from Kennedy violins it’s called the Zubak Soloist Violin Outfit it is sweet and makes me wont to play , however to pay more than that I would wont some , in person hands on with the instrument ! There’s no one in my 50 mile area that has anything but cheap violins .February 20, 2019 at 10:52 PM #69415
Kenny If a person could afford to go to Kennedy violins , It would be a great place to find your dream violin they have lots of them ranging from $14,000. to $300. maybe a thousand violins on location , I could trade up to a higher level and pay only the difference , They give a price guarantee if you buy from them and you don’t have damage so I could get $1799. towards the next violin ? Something to think about !February 21, 2019 at 7:56 AM #69416
Kenny if you ever travel through Tulsa, Oklahoma stop by Tulsa Strings . https://www.tulsastringsviolinshop.com/
Jacob the luthier is really good at doing anything to a violin. He has a really nice selection of violins from all price ranges.February 21, 2019 at 12:44 PM #69423
Thanks everyone for your comments on this.
Rodger, Near death experience? I don’t even want to get my hand bitten by a dog. Hope you are doing better by the way!
I visited a local luthier yesterday and he only had 2 fiddles in the shop. Both needed major work done on them. One was priced at $150.00 and one at $1200.00. Neither was playable.
He didn’t carry bows, strings or rosin. Said he didn’t have much call for them.
I may have to look in Austin, Texas for a luthier. 3.5 hour drive.
Steve, I will look at your ideas. I wonder if the rosin you mention is too soft for the Texas summers or does our warm climate matter when choosing rosin.
Joe, I will keep Tulsa in mind. Thanks for the info. I remember there is also a Fiddle shop run by Byron Berline in Guthrie Oklahoma. http://www.doublestop.com/musichall.php/
He has a great name for a fiddle shop – “Double Stop Fiddle Shop”
I recall there was maybe a fiddle shop in Lawrence, Kansas, but I can’t remember the name.
I used to get a bluegrass paper subscription that listed shops but I don’t remember the name of this paper either. These would all be on my back home to Iowa from here.
P. S. I put Thomastik dominant strings on replacing a set of Prims. I like the sound of the Dominant better. I may have to try other strings before I really know what I want.February 21, 2019 at 2:19 PM #69425
Looks like maybe I will be visiting Oklahoma , Tulsa and Guthrie Ok nice violin shops there !February 21, 2019 at 3:07 PM #69426
Kenny, I’ll share an even more adventurous route. About 6 or 7 years ago I needed a good fiddle and had some money for a pretty good one. I wasn’t in a position to travel around and shop for one and I needed a short cut to do it. I had been dealing a lot with Shar for student fiddles & supplies and knew they are a good outfit with a huge inventory of fiddles of all levels, including a base of very good ones. So I phoned them and got a hold of one of their young player/salesman. I spent some time explaining my situation and had a good feel that this was a quality young fellow that knew his stuff and I felt good about it, so I jumped in. I told him exactly how much I had to spend on it, and what I was looking for in sound description. I got him to promise that he would go into the models of that level of price and play all of them they had and I would trust him to pick out what I wanted. He seemed to respond to that trust and found an excellent fiddle that I’m really happy with. I only did this because I couldn’t possibly travel and do it myself at that time. It was an obvious short cut that could possibly get the best results from a larger base of quality instruments than I could sort through any other way. Of course with Shar they have a return policy if I didn’t like it, and they have the same policy Steve mentioned, that you can upgrade and get your full price applied to an upgrade, so that is a pretty safe way to go.February 21, 2019 at 10:30 PM #69436
Thanks for sharing your story about Shar. Glad it worked out for you.
Anyone have any thoughts on Steve’s mention of the Rosin that John uses – Andrea A Piacere
Will this work in a hot area like Texas? Most of my playing is indoors so I guess it would be ok here.
February 22, 2019 at 12:36 AM #69439
- This reply was modified 8 months ago by Kenny.
I use it here in Arkansas I also use the Andera Solo it has more grab and not as smoothFebruary 22, 2019 at 7:25 AM #69440
Hey Steve, as has already been mentioned, when you visit Guthrie be sure and stop in to Byron Berline’s Double Stop Fiddle Shop. If I ever get up that way, I hope it’s on a Saturday so I can catch his show upstairs above the shop.February 22, 2019 at 8:50 AM #69441
Rodger, I’m glad you had a good experience with Shar. I’ve only heard good things about them.
Kenny, the rosin should work well in TX unless you are performing in extreme conditions!February 22, 2019 at 2:04 PM #69448
Thanks Fred , when I go I will plan for a Saturday , ThanksFebruary 22, 2019 at 4:40 PM #69449
Steve, I ordered a half cake of Andrea A Piacere Rosin today. I’ll give it a try. Thanks for pointing me in this direction.
I assume I will have to clean the bow hairs before applying the new rosin – correct?February 23, 2019 at 9:00 AM #69463
My best fiddle came from a pawn shop in Peoria, IL. I paid $200 in 1984. Total luck.
I’ve been to Nashville’s Violin Shop. Fred Carpenter has alot of nice fiddles to try.
I also follow Probus on Facebook. He seems to turn alot of fiddles, puts videos on his site so you can hear them. He’s over south of Louisville.February 23, 2019 at 1:51 PM #69469
Kenny, there’s been talk of cleaning bow hair before, but not in regard to switching to a new rosin. You have a point that the old rosin on the bow will mix to some extent. How far you want to go cleaning the bow is up to you. Probably just wiping it off would be good enough. Some people like to mix rosins every time they apply it? But then again, some people like to mix all the flavors at the fountain soda pop machine also.February 23, 2019 at 5:41 PM #69477
Thanks – I appreciate you sharing your knowledge with us. Great to have you and others helping us!! Again – thank you.February 23, 2019 at 9:09 PM #69479
JoeParticipantFebruary 23, 2019 at 11:43 PM #69483
Fred so sad about the Fiddle shop I guess I will not be going there to catch the show on Saturday anytime soon , I was working up the trip for a couple weeks from now . Talk about Murphy’s Law ? Kenny John has a video on cleaning the bow hair and I think I remember him saying bow hair needs to be cleaned from time to time for better performance , I cleaned mine one time in my year and seven months Hah .
February 24, 2019 at 2:36 AM #69488
- This reply was modified 7 months ago by Steve Srader.
Unless their having a fire sale Steve. Nicest guitar I ever had was in a fire like that, but wasn’t hurt as far as the sound….February 24, 2019 at 2:55 AM #69489
Wow Rodger I will make a phone call or two !February 27, 2019 at 10:51 AM #69587
WOW so sorry to hear about the Berline fiddle shop.
Kenny, now and then take a toothbrush and carefully run it throught your bow hair. This will take out the excess rosin. Let us know how you like the Andrea A Piacere.February 27, 2019 at 1:42 PM #69592
I chose the safe method and ran a toothbrush through the bow hair. Then applied the rosin. For the first time ever I can now see rosin flying off the bow hair as I play. I may have never had enough rosin on my bow before.
Still evaluating the sound produced with the new rosin.February 28, 2019 at 7:49 PM #69622
Thanks for the fiddle shop suggestions. I looked them both up and will keep them in mind.May 19, 2019 at 11:30 AM #72148
I have fiddles for sale in North Central Arkansas. I have a home fiddle shop and many fiddles and bows to choose from. I restore violins and bows, but currently backlogged until August or so. The Branson show fiddlers keep me busy as I am only an hour or so away.May 19, 2019 at 11:49 AM #72149
Fishnfiddle 1 , I would like to know more about where your located , As I also live in northwest Arkansas , and would maybe like to drop in and check it all out !May 19, 2019 at 1:23 PM #72153
If you like your current fiddle, but think it isn’t quite sweet enough, try taking it to a good luthier. It took me awhile to find a good one within reasonable distance, but with a new bridge, planed fingerboard, and adjusted soundpost, he brought the fiddle back to life. Also, hearing him play my fiddle made me realize how good it really sounds. He gave me some good tips and I realize it’s up to me to bring out the potential in the fiddle. I tried the Andrea Solo rosin and found it too grippy and it would quickly cake on the strings. I’m now trying the Andrea A Piacere and, so far, really like it.
I’m happy with my fiddle now, but still always on the lookout for something really sweet.
JoeMay 19, 2019 at 1:54 PM #72154
Icebike says…..”but with a new bridge, planed fingerboard, and adjusted soundpost, he brought the fiddle back to life.”
Having the fingerboard planed is so often overlooked but yet is a really important part of fiddle care. A nice really good new bridge and a nice really good soundpost are just so important. The soundpost has to be fit exactly to bring out the best. there’s a lot to fitting a bridge, too. Then there’s the strings and the bow.May 19, 2019 at 2:33 PM #72155
So if I look you up, buy a fiddle or a bow – then you would take me fly fishing on the White River! I hear there is great fishing in your area.
Sounds like Heaven!
Do you have a website?May 19, 2019 at 2:39 PM #72157
Kenny now your talking ! I am happy with my fiddle but would like to go window shopping and check out Fishnfiddle 1 shop and fiddles and maybe learn a thing or two !May 19, 2019 at 5:06 PM #72166
Let me know if you go and what you think of the place.
Icebike – Some great thoughts on how to make a fiddle sound better. thank you.July 6, 2019 at 8:02 AM #73992
Sorry Steve and Kenny about not being responsive. Retired life is much more than I ever dreamed, busy 24/7. My shop and home is near Flippin/Cotter area on the White River. And yes I do fish, have the river boat and all. I am in Colorado for July, back in August. I have 200 violins to choose from, but only a couple dozen restored and ready. All price ranges. I sold one of my best last year in Fred Carpenters shop for $12,000, a French head fiddle. Great guy to work with. John, please advise if I am allowed to provide my phone number on this site. I would welcome folks to visit me in Arkansas.August 16, 2019 at 10:42 AM #75531
I went through probably 6-8 low cost fiddles that just didnt sound real good to me. Then on black friday last year I found a Cremona SV-800 on sale. It said originally $800 but $400 on black friday. I bit. Man it sounds sooooo much better than any fiddle I have ever owned. I still own two of my not so good sounding fiddles but the Cremona is the only one I play every night.September 5, 2019 at 9:12 PM #76168
My first fiddle was just a strad copy from China cost was maybe $175. It was ok to learn on but didn’t have that sound I liked even with better strings, or a bow, or rosin. Of course I also wasn’t very good, so I’m that also had a lot to do with it too.
I spent time looking and testing. And I found Cremona fiddles really good for the price. I have a Cremona SV-500. It cost $400. Maybe will upgrade at some point but it is a great sounding fiddle, imo for the price.
I also own an old fiddle that was handed down to to me that my grandfather owned, but I will never play itSeptember 14, 2019 at 2:47 PM #76660
I once spoke to a luthier and he said when someone is looking for that perfect sounding fiddle, he will pull several down and not tell the buyer the price. You will feel it when you play if it is the right fiddle for you. Some folks fall in love with a clean crisp sound while others are looking for that soft mellow sound. It’s all what the musician feels.September 14, 2019 at 6:07 PM #76671
“I also own an old fiddle that was handed down to to me that my grandfather owned, but I will never play it”
Why would you never play something that’s only purpose is to be played?
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