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Thread: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

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    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    After two years of immersion in the mandolin world, this past six months I’ve been reacquainting myself with banjo and fiddle. Here are some observations about the mandolin world vs the fiddle world:
    - The Mandolin Cafe is a treasure! I have tried some different violin/fiddle forums, but nothing has come close to the energy of the Mandolin Cafe!
    - The fiddle is LOUD! After searching for louder mandolins to compete with the banjo and electric guitar and bass in a group I jam with, I’ve been struggling with just how loud a violin is! When playing violin, I’ve used an ear plug in the closest ear, and I’ve bought an electric violin just to give my ears an occasional break from having such a loud sound source so close to my head! I haven’t resumed jamming, but had my first Covid shot last week and after my second Covid shot hope to get back into the fray. It may be a few months before I spring the fiddle on them though, but when I do, they’ll hear me!
    - The fiddle is hard! Lol, without frets, the fingerboard is a continual challenge. Intonation takes a LOT of work and is a big part of learning any new tune. I’ve actually enjoyed the challenge of a more difficult instrument.
    - The availability of used fiddles is overwhelming! After rarely finding any used mandolins locally, especially anything other than the common Guitar Center type low end mandolins, it has been fun and amazing seeing so many used violins in the local market. Folks on the Fiddle Hangout talk about watching for $20-50 fiddles and occasionally finding a very good one. I told my wife my interest in yard sales and flea markets has been piqued!
    - There are a lot more violin stores than mandolin stores! In KC, we have at least three good stores with hundreds of violins to try, from beginner to pro level, and quite a few small shops and private dealers. I have to drive 45 miles to get to a decent mandolin store (Mass Street Music in Lawrence, Kansas), and they don’t really have a big selection.
    - Violin strings are expensive! My last two sets were $65 and $89! And only four strings! Strings generally need to be changed at 3 month - 12 month interval, depending on how often they’re used. Some folks change them monthly or even more often! (I hear 300 hours as a common estimate for violin string life.) I’ve tried a few sets and am close to finding what works best for my violins, but I’ll never again think twice about an “expensive” set of mandolin strings.
    - Changing and tuning 4 strings is so nice after 8 strings on the mandolin! I change a set of violin strings and I still pause at the end and think, “Finished? Already?” (There also aren’t any sharp ends on the violin strings, and no trimming after installation. NO BLOOD, lol.)
    - The bow is awesome. Yes, it’s also a pain, but I love the control I get over each note, from beginning to end. With great power comes great responsibility, and all that.
    - Rosin is a pain. Don’t use too much. Don’t use too little. Don’t touch the bow hair because then the resin won’t stick as well. Dark vs light resin? Good resin, on the other hand, is still not very expensive ($10-$30?) and lasts a LONG time, so easy to try a few different kinds. Still, when starting out, resin is ONE MORE confusing variable.
    - Having the choice of a reasonably cheap carbon composite violin is wonderful! I have a nice carbon fiber guitar for extreme temperature and humidity conditions, and also for road trips. I always wanted something similar in a mandolin, but carbon fiber just doesn’t seem to be able to catch on very well in the mandolin world. The violin world has at least four good carbon fiber options, from cheap to expensive. I bought the base Glasser without electronics for “just” $525. It does sound boxy compared to a decent wooden violin (but some Evah Pirazzi Green strings recommended by the Fiddlershop helped a lot), but it has decent geared tuners, has the shape of a traditional violin (the higher end carbon fiber violins tend to be more daring in design), and can take any shoulder rest or chin rest (the higher end carbon fiber violins usually either can’t take other shoulder rests or chin rests, or have some limitations). The Glasser is popular among a lot of good players who need to play in adverse conditions (including bars with too many chances of beer spillage, lol). When I travel in the summer, I won’t have to worry about pulling the Glasser out of the car if we stop to eat or shop. Nice! If there were something decent in that price range for a mandolin, I’d grab it up!
    - It has been enjoyable stepping into a world with such a rich educational heritage. Folks have been analyzing and writing about every aspect of the violin construction and use for hundreds of years, and thoughts by Mozart’s daddy are still pertinent today!
    Doug Brock
    2018 Kimble 2 point (#259), 2019 Silverangel Econo A (#446), Eastman MD315, 2020 Morris Oval Flattop A, Eastman MDA315, some guitars, banjos, and fiddles

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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    I think Sam Bush still plays a fiddle he found at a yard sale way back when

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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    FAS is way cheaper than MAS, for equivalent quality. The problem is that it also makes one more susceptible!

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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    Quote Originally Posted by Mainer73 View Post
    FAS is way cheaper than MAS, for equivalent quality.
    Up to a certain point this is true. The problem though, is that there is a ceiling for mandolin quality and price that doesn't exist for fiddles.

    Leaving aside vintage Loars, you're very near the top end of quality for mandolins by the time you spend $10,000 USD. You can spend up to $20,000 for the most desirable luthier names, but that's about it, unless you go on to collect signed Lloyd Loar F5's.

    Fiddle prices just keep going up from there. I play a pretty good mandolin that I paid almost $5,000 for, but my Significant Other paid twice that much for her fiddle, custom made by a local luthier. You don't have to spend that much on a fiddle, but many do, after getting involved in that scene for long enough. A $10,000 fiddle isn't that unusual even in the local amateur Irish/Scottish trad scene we're both involved in.

    And it doesn't end there! It's recommended to spend around half the value of your fiddle on your bow. Our picks cost bupkis by comparison.

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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    Up to a certain point this is true. The problem though, is that there is a ceiling for mandolin quality and price that doesn't exist for fiddles.

    Leaving aside vintage Loars, you're very near the top end of quality for mandolins by the time you spend $10,000 USD. You can spend up to $20,000 for the most desirable luthier names, but that's about it, unless you go on to collect signed Lloyd Loar F5's.

    Fiddle prices just keep going up from there. I play a pretty good mandolin that I paid almost $5,000 for, but my Significant Other paid twice that much for her fiddle, custom made by a local luthier. You don't have to spend that much on a fiddle, but many do, after getting involved in that scene for long enough. A $10,000 fiddle isn't that unusual even in the local amateur Irish/Scottish trad scene we're both involved in.

    And it doesn't end there! It's recommended to spend around half the value of your fiddle on your bow. Our picks cost bupkis by comparison.
    I posed a question on the Fiddle Hangout to see how common it might be for “fiddlers” to buy expensive violins. I understand that there are always folks with disposable income or professional players who will buy and play more expensive violins, but the folks who responded generally indicated the normal price range for their purchases had been more in the free to $400 range. The low prices generally also included the expectation of some repair work, either by the buyer or by a luthier.
    Doug Brock
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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    Another difference in the fiddle world vs mandolin/guitar/banjo world is the lack of brand awareness. Nothing on the headstock to show that you have that “amazing instrument.” I imagine that makes it easier for a fiddler to not feel as pressured to buy a more expensive instrument.

    The lack of headstock name can also make it tough in the used market to know what an instrument actually is, how old it is, where it came from. A lot of old violins have fake labels and even fake repair labels and dates! Folks were already trying to trick the buyers 100 years ago! A lot of good Chinese violins have no internal labels at all. The lack of provenance makes it tougher for the seller, too. The good thing for most fiddlers is that the end result is only caring if the instrument sounds good (if it even has strings and bridge to make it playable), is in decent shape overall, if it doesn’t feel too heavy, if there are many repairs, if there are any cracks that need repair, the condition of the headstock around the tuning pegs, etc.
    Doug Brock
    2018 Kimble 2 point (#259), 2019 Silverangel Econo A (#446), Eastman MD315, 2020 Morris Oval Flattop A, Eastman MDA315, some guitars, banjos, and fiddles

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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    Interesting points, Doug. Clearly the sky's the limit with violins. Some are literally priceless.

    There's an argument to be made for not having a great violin for traditional fiddling. Am I after the refined sound that I hear from classical violinists or the type of sound I hear on old records and field recordings? The folklorist and musician Ken Perlman says in Couldn't Have A Dance without The Fiddler that in Prince Edward Island, most fiddles came from department store catalogues and never received kid-glove treatment. It's a point of pride among PEI fiddlers to be able to play a tune well on any fiddle. Of course, professional musicians and contest players often have different demands, and go for high quality instruments. The Ontario fiddlers and contest winners, Graham and Eleanor Townsend, for instance, had violins made by European masters. Still, Graham complimented my fiddle, no masterpiece, on being "powerful" which would have been important when my grandfather played it without amplification at dances.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    Very interesting post. Thank you for sharing.

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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Brock View Post
    I posed a question on the Fiddle Hangout to see how common it might be for “fiddlers” to buy expensive violins. I understand that there are always folks with disposable income or professional players who will buy and play more expensive violins, but the folks who responded generally indicated the normal price range for their purchases had been more in the free to $400 range....
    Doug - here in UK, quite a number of older Scottish style fiddle players have fiddles their parents bought them as teenagers for classical use, which are now quite valuable - £7000 - £12,000 isn't exceptional. The younger players (and their parents) can't afford those instruments, but they are fairly well served by affordable Chinese made fiddles that can sound pretty good with a good setup and good strings. Carbon fiddles - have you tried Helicore strings on yours yet? They respond very quickly for folk fiddling, and to my surprise, give the best all round sound on my Luis & Clark carbon violin, better than Obligato and Evah Pirazzi (dunno why, they'rte usually great). It does help if you can get a good setup on your fiddle (probably with a new bridge) and have the luthier adjust your soundpost with the Helicores on, till it sounds as good as you think he can get it. Pacific Northwest - are you involved with an Alasdair Fraser Scottish fiddle group? I used to go to his fiddle/cello camps in Skye, Scotland - they're excellent.

    Glad you're enjoying the fiddle/violin world - there's so much less BS and violin snobbery around compared to say 40 years ago, with players now much more ready to cross musical styles and boundaries. I'm going the other way, and the community here is great. You're right, I don't think there is a comparable violin Forum out there, but this is exceptional! www.maestronet.com is well worth a look, there's a number of very helpful experts and expert players from the classical side there.
    Eastman MD305 mandolin...

    2 x Fiddles, 1 x 5 string viola, 1 x 5 string octave viola, 2 X nyckelharpas
    2 X 12 string guitars, 3 x 6 string guitars, 1 x Cuatro de Puerto Rico
    5 x recorders - descant, alto, tenor
    1 X Highland bagpipes
    1 x Garvie 'Session' pipes

    Which is why I won't be upgrading the mandolin anytime soon.

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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    Up to a certain point this is true. The problem though, is that there is a ceiling for mandolin quality and price that doesn't exist for fiddles.
    My point was that in equivalent quality points, you get a lot more bang for your buck with fiddles. One can obtain a fiddle of equivalent quality to the higher-end mandolins, without spending close to the same amount of money.

    The half the value rule for bows only is really relevant up to a certain price point, and has many qualifiers.
    Last edited by Mainer73; Mar-10-2021 at 2:42pm.

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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    Quote Originally Posted by MandoManCaleb View Post
    I think Sam Bush still plays a fiddle he found at a yard sale way back when
    Some of those yard sale fiddles are worth $$$$$$$

    I have a friend who found an old bow in one of those cases.....$19k as is.

    I have three fiddles made by the gentleman who does my fiddle work. I rotate through them depending on the setting. One is a five string (my favorite). I use a variety of Coda bows and actually prefer a heavier bow, so I generally use a viola bow. I have wood bows, but for what I need, the Codas are great.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    Some of those yard sale fiddles are worth $$$$$$$

    I have a friend who found an old bow in one of those cases.....$19k as is.

    I have three fiddles made by the gentleman who does my fiddle work. I rotate through them depending on the setting. One is a five string (my favorite). I use a variety of Coda bows and actually prefer a heavier bow, so I generally use a viola bow. I have wood bows, but for what I need, the Codas are great.
    As long as they haven't been subjected to poor storage! I've had to pass on a few that would have been great had they not been allowed to become crack-ridden or warped. I have a nice, excellent condition 1908 Guadagnini copy that I got for less than $200 from a guitar vendor that was trying to move it because he couldn't determine anything about its maker, didn't know violins, and it wasn't set up. And it came with a 40s German bow worth $1000. I acquired my 1920 Mirecourt in a similar manner...

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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    Interesting points, Doug. Clearly the sky's the limit with violins. Some are literally priceless.

    There's an argument to be made for not having a great violin for traditional fiddling. Am I after the refined sound that I hear from classical violinists or the type of sound I hear on old records and field recordings? The folklorist and musician Ken Perlman says in Couldn't Have A Dance without The Fiddler that in Prince Edward Island, most fiddles came from department store catalogues and never received kid-glove treatment. It's a point of pride among PEI fiddlers to be able to play a tune well on any fiddle. Of course, professional musicians and contest players often have different demands, and go for high quality instruments. The Ontario fiddlers and contest winners, Graham and Eleanor Townsend, for instance, had violins made by European masters. Still, Graham complimented my fiddle, no masterpiece, on being "powerful" which would have been important when my grandfather played it without amplification at dances.
    Some of that old sound was probably due to dodgy strings and poor instrument condition as well as bare-bones recording set-ups (many are low-tech field recordings). Not to mention old players with tremulous hands who were no longer as active in music but had been discovered by musicologists. In my opinion, some of today's players go a bit too far in trying to sound intentionally scratchy and "vintage" when a lot of those older players would have been happy to sound better, or did sound better at other times. There's lots of writing out there that indicates that there were many players with good tone and ornamentation back then, as well as many stories of fiddlers who got jittery at being recorded. I know it certainly brings my playing down!

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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    Quote Originally Posted by Mainer73 View Post
    Some of that old sound was probably due to dodgy strings and poor instrument condition as well as bare-bones recording set-ups (many are low-tech field recordings). Not to mention old players with tremulous hands who were no longer as active in music but had been discovered by musicologists. In my opinion, some of today's players go a bit too far in trying to sound intentionally scratchy and "vintage" when a lot of those older players would have been happy to sound better, or did sound better at other times. There's lots of writing out there that indicates that there were many players with good tone and ornamentation back then, as well as many stories of fiddlers who got jittery at being recorded. I know it certainly brings my playing down!
    I agree. I'm all thumbs with a recorder on. Along with the factors you mentioned, older fiddlers had different aesthetics from what a great many fiddlers today have. Many old timers who lived through the folk revival stuck to their styles because they preferred them. Often, trained musicians seem to assume that the old timers wanted to sound like today's stars. Many older fiddlers to whom I listen had great tone and ornamentation (though one wishes recording quality was better), but weren't trying to produce the kinds of sounds desired by classical violinists. In many cases, they were bored by popular younger musicians. In my part of the country (Atlantic Canada), until recent generations, most fiddlers played dances, whereas stage performance, often for people not immersed in the music, is more popular now. The different venues and audiences create different playing styles. However, if you like an old style of fiddling and want to play that way, you won't necessarily master it by buying a $20,000 violin.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    Carbon fiddles - have you tried Helicore strings on yours yet? They respond very quickly for folk fiddling, and to my surprise, give the best all round sound on my Luis & Clark carbon violin, better than Obligato and Evah Pirazzi (dunno why, they'rte usually great).
    Yes, I tried Helicore on my Glasser carbon composite violin and it was a step in the wrong direction - even more of a boxy sound, and loss of volume. (I have been playing Helicore quite a bit, but seem to be moving more in the synthetic direction in general, with Dominants and the Evah Pirazzi Green strings.)

    Iíve been greatly admiring those L&C violins! If I play out as much as I hope to, a better carbon fiber violin is fairly likely for me!
    Doug Brock
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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    Great - a couple of comments I'd make on L & C are, first, that their violin feels like a relatively small instrument, and that can take some getting used to (it doesn't sound small). The heel of the neck is a different shape to most wooden violins, and if you use that as a reference point for position playing you may need to adjust. Finally, I'm very happy with the sound mine makes, but I wasn't carried away when I first picked it up. The violin shop I bought it from keeps old strings so you can try a set of different makes. From memory, L & C come with Dominant. I tried those, Obligatos and Evah Pirazzi, before finding that to my surprise Helicore worked best (which don't work on your Glasser). We then worked with adjusting the sound post and moving the bridge for maybe 30 minutes, till we got the sound I liked best. It then (again to my surprise) played in over maybe 3 months to sound better again - maybe your Glasser will. Unusually for a fiddle, the D on this particular one is the strongest sounding string (it's the weakest on most other fiddles I've played), and the E could do with a little more. Have fun!

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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    ... if you like an old style of fiddling and want to play that way, you won't necessarily master it by buying a $20,000 violin.
    Or, perhaps, by playing it with modern technique. There are some recordings of J Scott Skinner, one of the greatest Scottish fiddle tune composers, from 1899. Skinner was partly a music hall act at the time, and he used a Stroh fiddle for that recording (like a phonofiddle, with a horn). His playing is surprisingly fast, but the sound is unlike any modern folk fiddler I've heard - it's more like Fritz Kreisler, an almost contemporary classical violinist, with big slides and a very round plummy tone, probably partly due to the Stroh.

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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    I was always fascinated by the lack of information about Scotty Stoneman's fiddles.

    Interesting topic.
    1933 Gibson A-00 (was Scotty Stoneman's)
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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Brock View Post
    Yes, I tried Helicore on my Glasser carbon composite violin and it was a step in the wrong direction - even more of a boxy sound, and loss of volume. (I have been playing Helicore quite a bit, but seem to be moving more in the synthetic direction in general, with Dominants and the Evah Pirazzi Green strings.)

    I’ve been greatly admiring those L&C violins! If I play out as much as I hope to, a better carbon fiber violin is fairly likely for me!
    The Glassers are voiced towards Larsens, which they import. These are my go-to strings for violins that are a bit stiff sounding. It’s either them or Piastros, which are pretty pricey.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    Great - a couple of comments I'd make on L & C are, first, that their violin feels like a relatively small instrument, and that can take some getting used to (it doesn't sound small). The heel of the neck is a different shape to most wooden violins, and if you use that as a reference point for position playing you may need to adjust. Finally, I'm very happy with the sound mine makes, but I wasn't carried away when I first picked it up. The violin shop I bought it from keeps old strings so you can try a set of different makes. From memory, L & C come with Dominant. I tried those, Obligatos and Evah Pirazzi, before finding that to my surprise Helicore worked best (which don't work on your Glasser). We then worked with adjusting the sound post and moving the bridge for maybe 30 minutes, till we got the sound I liked best. It then (again to my surprise) played in over maybe 3 months to sound better again - maybe your Glasser will. Unusually for a fiddle, the D on this particular one is the strongest sounding string (it's the weakest on most other fiddles I've played), and the E could do with a little more. Have fun!
    I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the improvement of the Glasser using the Evah Pirazzi strings. The Glasser still can’t compete in tone and volume with my wooden violin, but the difference isn’t as glaring. I think I can enjoy playing the Glasser now, knowing that it’s toughness is it’s secret weapon.
    Doug Brock
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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    The Glassers are voiced towards Larsens, which they import. These are my go-to strings for violins that are a bit stiff sounding. It’s either them or Piastros, which are pretty pricey.

    I had heard good things about the Larsens, so was disappointed in how they sounded on the Glasser. (I had plenty of warnings about the Glasser’s sound, lol, but the lure of a carbon composite violin at that price was my motivation.) Knowing that strings can make significant changes on an instrument, I tried a set of Helicore I had on hand. They didn’t sound nearly as good as the Larsens. I then reached out to the Fiddlershop who sells Glassers just to see if they had tried any other strings. Their luthier HAD and thought the EP Green did the best on them, and not with the gold E, which he usually favored, but with the silver. I bought a set of EP Green from Fiddlershop and was pleasantly surprised at how much better the Glasser sounded. To me, the Glasser is quite usable now and I play it some every day. Again, for best volume and tone, not the Glasser. But knowing I can take it anywhere without worrying about temperature or humidity (or rough environments in general - I’m thinking camp fires, lol), then that Glasser is ready willing and able.
    Doug Brock
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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    This is a very cool thread. To me, the fiddle/violin is the most fascinating stringed instrument. We have one in the house, but I canít do anything with it. Even though I know the fingerings because of mandolin playing, I canít make my left hand work at all while holding the fiddle tucked under my chin and off my shoulder. Itís the most unusual posture and I just canít do it, but I admire anyone who can.

    After being around a few fiddlers and listening to some interviewed, etc, it seems like fiddlers (not classical violinists) arenít nearly as concerned about the make of their instrument as mandolin players. Iíve seen some who seemed kind of surprised by someone even asking about the instrument. Maybe that isnít as common as I think, but itís just an observation of mine.

    This all reminds me of once when I was playing music with a wonderful upright bass player. He had been playing that bass for about 15 years, had never changed the strings, and when I asked him about the maker, he looked inside the F-hole and read the label out loud for what mustíve been the first time. I always thought that was very odd. Again, maybe that isnít typical, but Iíve never met a guitar or mandolin player with the same attitude.
    ...

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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    I've never once had anyone ask me who made my fiddles, only how old they are.

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  42. #24
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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb View Post
    After being around a few fiddlers and listening to some interviewed, etc, it seems like fiddlers (not classical violinists) aren’t nearly as concerned about the make of their instrument as mandolin players.
    I think there's a few reasons for that. There have been many thousands of violin makers. Relatively few of them are known to players (of all styles), far less by the tonal characteristics of their instruments. In addition, the instruments of even the top reputed makers can be variable in tone character and quality. Quite a high proportion of violins have no maker label, including a reasonable proportion of very old and valuable ones. Finally, we fiddlers generally don't use such a wide range of tonal characteristics as classical players - many fiddlers are very happy with 'their sound', and don't require the range of tones a really good violin can produce. Incidentally, going back to an earlier posts here - I would say that the range of good value violins and mandolins has been greatly widened in the last 20 years by the advent of Chinese and other far East workshops producing instruments for quality rather than quantity. Some of these are great value, and I think you can get about the same quality per $ in violins and mandolins, in the 'first serious instrument' range under £$1000. I think mandolins look expensive compared to acoustic guitars, but maybe that's because so many guitars now available are downright cheap for what they are?

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  44. #25
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin world vs fiddle world

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    Or, perhaps, by playing it with modern technique. There are some recordings of J Scott Skinner, one of the greatest Scottish fiddle tune composers, from 1899. Skinner was partly a music hall act at the time, and he used a Stroh fiddle for that recording (like a phonofiddle, with a horn). His playing is surprisingly fast, but the sound is unlike any modern folk fiddler I've heard - it's more like Fritz Kreisler, an almost contemporary classical violinist, with big slides and a very round plummy tone, probably partly due to the Stroh.
    I am not sure what that term means but I can't imagine that a Strohviol would enhance any tone to sound "plummy". The ones I play (including mine) enhance the more treble and nasal tones rather anything that would sound full and rich. They were meant for recording acoustically and were designed to focus the sound in one direction toward the old horns.

    I am sure that Skinner was an excellent violinist in any case.
    Jim

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