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Well, here she is -
Finished in a hurry to take to a fiddle workshop at the county fair. The varnish still needs a bit of work and it's not as pretty as it could be, which is why I'm calling it the Six Foot Fiddle – it's just gorgeous when viewed from that distance 😉
This fiddle was built starting with a kit. I was hoping for something more than a VSO (violin shaped object) and I think I got it. Here's a video of it being played by a professional (bear in mind that it had only been strung up for 3 days at this point – the sound has gotten deeper and richer in the week since.) -
The whole story is on the blog in my sig line…
Still trying to find one that works best for me - I have a long neck and like the chinrest centered over the tailpiece. Rosewood would be an option, or a plain boxwood model that I could stain, but so far I haven't found that "perfect" rest.
Thank you, Fiddlerman! It is a joy to play on, that's a fact. I'm so happy with the sound - now I need to practice more so I can do it justice 😉
Actually, electric fiddles are much easier to build - the sound relies on the pickup, the body doesn't have to be built to such exacting measurements as an acoustic fiddle. It would be an interesting project, though...wood species doesn't matter...You may have given me a good idea 😉
Thank you all for your kind words.
I really wanted the finish to be something that you don't see every day - there are a gazillion red and brown violins out there, and since I started with a kit it was already non-traditional so I had nothing to lose by experimenting.
I don't have easy access to pernambuco wood for a bow, (and that's a whole new art form!) but the local boat builder has a shop full of wood that's he's hoarding and I hope to get some from him 🙂 Not sure if any of it would be suitable for bowmaking, but I do know that the majority of it is naturally dark in color, so the chance of making a blonde bow is pretty slim.
He's already given me some "kindling" (odds and ends and off-cuts of boat building projects) that will make some nice ribs and maybe a neck or two for the next two fiddles that are on my mind. I need to convince him not to cut it up so short
I was given a pair of violin molds by a friend who found them at an estate sale, so the initial work has been done - the shape has been decided. They are both full size (4/4) but are slightly different so the next two fiddles won't be identical and I'm thinking of building them at the same time, one from traditional wood (spruce & maple) and one from something exotic (Congo teak/zebrawood and maybe a pine or redwood top) just to see if I can do it - the "real" luthiers say it's a bad idea. A very, very, very bad idea that flies in the face of all tradition blah, blah, blah, so you know I can't resist I'll probably go to hell for my heretical ideas, but I hear that's where all fiddlers go, so I'll be in good company
I feel like if there are electric violins, violins painted in all colors of the rainbow, and violins 3D printed from computers, choosing a non traditional wood isn't going to be the most heretical thing in the world.
If you do go with an exoitic wood, you could also spice up the scroll with an animal head or something. A Zebrawood Zebra with a flamed back!
Here's the next fiddle -
A bunch of "kindling" scraps from a local shipwright. Looks like ribs and maybe a couple of necks to me.
All of the violins made by the Masters are spruce and maple with few exceptions and the debate over why those woods were used is deep and wide but time has proven that they produce the best sounds.You could easily lose yourself in research about ancient building methods, and not much real, documented information was left behind, but that would leave little time to actually experiment and build a fiddle yourself.
Traditional luthiers use only spruce, maple and ebony and wouldn't consider anything else, even going so far as to purchase European woods that have been aged for many, many years, thinking that they will produce the best sound, and it can be argued that they're right, if you're selling to top players and/or building for a traditional violin sound and/or "look."
If, like me, you want to build something beautiful and aren't concerned about selling to a top player, you can think about other woods. There are many builders who are making wonderful instruments that are non-traditional in both structure and looks and those are the people I take my inspiration from.
Why be normal?
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