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Back in junior high school, my orchestra teacher brought an old violin that one of our Nashville Symphony members was selling. Of all the kids in the class, he offered it to me to play on for awhile, and asked me to talk to my parents about the possibility of buying it for me. I had a decent German made violin already, and I wondered why he chose me, a second violinist, and not the better players like the concert master, or first chair, first violinist, and he simply told me, "You deserve a nice violin, and I thought it just seemed to suit you." I was touched!
I opened the case, and there was this lovely old blonde, almost wheat coloured Italian made fiddle, made around 1740's (? 17-something-or-other) narrower at the top and middle than my German, so much so that it rattled a bit in the modern violin case without padding. It had all rosewood fittings, not ebony, and a triangular shaped tail piece, and narry a blemish or scratch! I wish i had paid attention to the label with the maker- I cannot remember! The sound was phenomenal! My daddy was a long-haul truck driver, and sadly the symphony member's appraisals of the instrument kept increasing. I played on it for three months, obviously attached to it. It was was too expensive for my parents to afford, and my dad cried (literally) when he told me he couldn't get it for me, and I cried when I had to return it- I got a big hug from my orchestra teacher.
I still think of that Italian fiddle, and wonder what became of it. My German violin sounded like "green wood" after that, and though I love my Romanian violin I have now, I am always on the look out for an old, blonde coloured, rosewood fitted Italian fiddle (:
Thank you for that posting, It made me feel bad that you did not get that fiddle, but I am glad that you had it for a while and grew to love it.
If I ever see a violin like you described I will call, shout, or scream, because I think you would love to have it.
Now for me, I had started to take classes for Mandolin, and after 4 lessons, my teacher asked me if I considered playing another stringed instrument (maybe I was that bad).
I told him I had always loved the fiddle, especially Old-time fiddling.
He pulled out a case and opened it up and in it was a Fiddle (Made in china, but it looks good to me), I did not know what to say and asked him about it, thinking he wanted to sell it to me.
He then said he was not selling it but if I wanted to learn the fiddle then he would give it to me.
After trying to play a long bow stroke he adjusted the "e" string a couple of times and the fine tuner was stripped out, so he said he did not have one but would order one.
I asked how long it would take and he said he had a wood tailpiece with fine tuners and if I wanted it he would put it on then, but I would have to pay for it. I paid him for the wood tailpiece and started the following week on my first lesson. That was two weeks ago. Looking for a spare bow, I found the Fiddlerman website and here I am. With the help of folks here I am learning, on my first fiddle.
It ain't gonna learn to play itself.
That's a lovely story too Gordon! I don't believe in coincidences, and I think your teacher's comment wasn't that you were bad at mandolin, but perhaps he just knew ("here's your sign") somehow that you really wanted to play fiddle. You're blessed (:
I'm glad you got to start your lessons, and found Fiddlerman. You can't beat a virtually free starter fiddle either (: My husband actually found Fiddlerman on You Tube since both he and my 8 year old son are interested in learning too, and I got hooked. It is so nice to "talk fiddle" with other folks, and such a welcoming, encouraging crowd.
My teacher was wonderful. I had him as a teacher the entire time I played in the public school orchestras from 6th grade to 12th, and he gave us numerous scholarship and advancement opportunities, got us all auditions for Jr. and Youth Symphonies, and we were at one time the best high school orchestra in the country. I played second violin, and he would always put me in the middle of the second violin section, and once I asked him why, and he said, "Because you are our strongest player, and you carry the section, and the tune." That old cliche, "playing second fiddle" had a different connotation for me after that (:
There are some good Chinese made fiddles out there, and honestly, many of the ones we buy here (70% I believe I read in the posts here) are actually from China, unless otherwise noted.
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