Lilting Fiddle

Learning to Play Fiddle as an Adult

The Baby Fiddle Has Arrived

Posted on October 9, 2019

Yesterday, the 3/4 fiddle I won from the Goodwill auction site arrived. It was very well packaged and came in just as good condition as the images the auction posted, so I was impressed by that.

The fiddle itself is an interesting conglomeration. While I’m no expert at violins, I know a lot more than I did when I made my first purchase. I feel like this was originally a basic quality student violin that someone made a number of modifications to try to improve.

I know that the bridge is not an original – it’s one of those adjustable feet bridges, like the one I bought a while back to try to improve my own cheap fiddle. I also feel that the tailpiece, chin rest and tuning pegs were replaced with a set very similar to something like this.

In fact, this might be the exact set that’s on here, just a slightly lighter color, or maybe faded with age:

I can see that there’s been glue repairs to where the neck attaches to the body, and the fingerboard is certainly not real ebony. I think at one time, it might have been black, but has faded with wear. Also, I can tell that the nut has been adjusted, especially the depth of the groves, probably to bring the action down to a playable level.

The strings looked suspiciously new, which made me really curious. The first thing I’d expected to need to do was replace corroded old strings. I still picked up a new set, which will arrive tomorrow, just because I want to see if I can improve the sound in any way. Because despite all these modifications, the fiddle still sounds kinda… toy-ish. I don’t have a better word for it.

Still, the sound post was in place. The tuning pegs required a bit of applier to catch and hold the tune well, and it really felt like I was breaking in new strings on this thing, because they finally did settle a bit after tuning several times.

But… what do you want for $30? The overall quality and setup of the instrument is better than the $30 Ebay VSO I bought last year. And messing around with it as I did yesterday, I learned exactly what I wanted to know.

The smaller 3/4 fiddle fits my arm and finger length far better than a full size.

I knew I was having trouble with the full size fiddle, but I thought that maybe over time, I’d work through those things. The major reason I bought this little fiddle was to see if there was enough of a difference between the sizes to warrant a smaller fiddle purchase when I decide to upgrade.

I still need to play with it a bit more, and see what it feels like for real practices. But as far as I can see, it was already much easier and more comfortable for me to handle.

So, now my curiosity lies with the 7/8 size violin. It’s a halfway between the full size and the 3/4 size, and might give me the sound I hope for with a more manageable size that makes playing comfortable.

I know that Fiddlerman offers fiddles in this size, even the Master Violin, which I dearly love the dark sound of. I have a feeling come the end of the year, I may be looking to go that direction once holiday bonuses and such come about!

Leave Your Thoughts!

Archived Comments

Jim Guinn - Thursday, October 10, 2019

It looks like you got your money's worth, and also now know the smaller size might be better for you. I am really thinking of purchasing the Fiddlerman Master Violin, too. I just wrote them two days ago to see what it is without the "outfit". I don't need the case, bows, etc. For just the violin, the cost is $150 less at $728. I decided to wait at least a week before I buy it, if I do. I can be impulsive, so I want to make sure. If I have two fiddles, I can keep my finger tapes on my Concert Violin to learn a tune, and the Master without finger tapes to then practice and work on intonation without watching the tapes.

Aywren - Thursday, October 10, 2019

I also thought about asking them the price without all the extras as I already have enough bows, rosin and etc to go around. I might write them and see if they'd do that for me, too. I'll admit that $728 is far more appealing than the cost on the site.

I also want to ask them about the sizing, because I'd like to try the 7/8 but I won't know until I play it if that's a good in-the-middle for me. I know they're pretty good about working out exchanges if needed (or so I heard), but some communication up front would probably be good.