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Who are TODAY's best fiddle makers for old-time/Traditional Music?

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Dec 17, 2018 - 9:33:29 AM
6654 posts since 10/26/2005

Hi. I realize this is a subjective question, but if one could look out 100 years from now, who's fiddles (being built today) would be viewed as highly desirable? And if you would, please tell me how you might define desirable.

Thanks, all.

Craig frailin Evans

Dec 17, 2018 - 12:02:29 PM

beegee

USA

21022 posts since 7/6/2005
Online Now

For the money, for new fiddles, it is hard to beat the higher-end Chinese. Eastman violins are decent. Scott Cao is another well-reputed maker.

As with any fiddle, fit, finish and sound are the big 3. I think that there are a number of really fine American makers whose works will be really strong. I don't have names, but the American fiddle market is becoming more important.

Dec 17, 2018 - 12:12:01 PM
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frailin

USA

6654 posts since 10/26/2005

Yeah. I'm looking for some North American maker for this.

Dec 17, 2018 - 12:28:26 PM
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Alex Z

USA

3301 posts since 12/7/2006

Have to ask the right person, not us banjo nerds on the BHO.  smiley

And the right person is David Bromberg, the David Bromberg.  Maybe the expert on American violins. http://www.davidbrombergfineviolins.com

Here's an article, one of several over the years:

http://stringsmagazine.com/david-bromberg-on-his-collection-of-270-american-made-violins/

Edited by - Alex Z on 12/17/2018 12:30:04

Dec 17, 2018 - 12:44:12 PM

lapsteel

Canada

259 posts since 8/13/2015

That reminds me that I have to update my photo.......

Dec 17, 2018 - 3:10:07 PM
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beegee

USA

21022 posts since 7/6/2005
Online Now

I found this website that has some comments.

It's difficult to predict which American fiddle makers will endure the slings and arrows of the market. I guess if we knew the century-trend we could buy up the stuff now and sell it in 100 years...cheeky

https://www.violinist.com/blog/laurie/20174/21113/

Now, if the fiddles by master American builders are too pricey, future generations will do what we have always done: find an old cheap nondescript fiddle that sounds good. I have noticed that there are many bad-sounding fiddles in old time/traditional music. Many years ago, I was given a Philadelphia-made John Albert(likely German imported in the white). The guy paid $20 at an antique store. I played the fiddle for a long time and sold it to a university student for $1700. 2 years ago, I carried 4-5 fiddles to a fiddle repairman in Pittsboro NC. Of the lot, he only adjudged one of them worth playing. That's the one I play. The rest gather dust. 

Edited by - beegee on 12/17/2018 15:18:28

Dec 17, 2018 - 3:15:54 PM
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dmiller

USA

23432 posts since 7/22/2007

quote:
Originally posted by frailin

Yeah. I'm looking for some North American maker for this.


Hi there Craig.  I'm an "addict" to five string fiddles (these days).  Mine is a 5 string Frank Daniels made Maggini style fiddle (that came from a tree from his yard in Meridian Idaho) with double purfling.  He is carrying on the tradition that his father started many years ago. I had to "fix a few things" - - like getting rid of 10 coats of varnish on the fiddle which really impeded the tone and the quality of sound, but now this fiddle I have of his really "sits up and SINGS" when you play it with all that excess "gunk" on the wood removed.  The Daniels fiddle is one that (I think) that should be sought after years from now - - because they are that good.

So are the Silakowski 5 string fiddles.  He's down in Indiana, and his fiddles are as well known as the Daniels fiddles are.  When you compare the two makes together - - it's 6 of one or a half dozen of the other.   They are both that good.

When defining "desirable" in an instrument (in this case the fiddle - -) It has to not only sound good - - but it has to resonate / feel alive/ and kick the sound of the music back into your chin and shoulder so you feel the entire fiddle responding to the bow when you play a tune.   I don't know of many violin makers  - - but I do know of Daniels and Silakowski, and they both  meet the "desirable" qualifications with their work. 



 

Edited by - dmiller on 12/17/2018 15:27:25

Dec 17, 2018 - 10:12:23 PM
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752 posts since 3/22/2012

Is this forward planning for the next old time dvd interviews volume, Craig? I do hope so!

Dec 18, 2018 - 3:46:38 AM
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frailin

USA

6654 posts since 10/26/2005

Yes, Geoff. Planning for the 12th Volume in 2019. :)

Dec 18, 2018 - 10:57:26 AM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

21533 posts since 6/25/2005

My sense is that there are too many to even contemplate. I’d start with rosters of makers who show their wares at festivals and other gatherings.

Dec 18, 2018 - 3:51:46 PM
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wtalley

USA

221 posts since 7/2/2010

I'm not a fiddle player, so I cannot tell you what is desirable.  But if I wanted to buy a new fiddle, I think I would go to a fiddle player that makes fiddles.  That being said, my votes would be for Bob McCluskie (http://mccluskieviolins.com/index.html) and Mark Bluett (http://www.bluettbros-violins.com/).

Dec 18, 2018 - 8:41:32 PM

59 posts since 9/30/2009

I'm no authority, but I can say that Scott Marckx in Port Townsend WA makes a fine instrument, and the one my wife Betsy plays cuts right through to the dancers when we play a square dance. He makes fine five-strings as well as fours.

Dec 18, 2018 - 9:24:55 PM

283 posts since 11/17/2018

This archive thread on the Fiddle Hangout mentions a few names...

fiddlehangout.com/archive/33190

Dec 19, 2018 - 6:05:48 AM
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1357 posts since 6/2/2010

Just heard a Dave Bing fiddle last night at a jam. Sounded really nice. He is located in WV.

Dec 19, 2018 - 6:08:22 AM
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carlb

USA

1903 posts since 12/16/2007

Dec 19, 2018 - 6:45:04 AM
Players Union Member

frailin

USA

6654 posts since 10/26/2005

You folks are awesome. Thank you!

Craig

Dec 19, 2018 - 2:57:22 PM
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1488 posts since 4/10/2005

Not venturing future prognostications, but you might cast an eye at Armand Aromin of Rhode Island. He is a champion Irish traditional fiddler with a lovely Irish CD at large with his band The Ivy Leaf, and also plays American traditional with his duo The Vox Hunters.

After studies at Berklee, he proceeded to the North Bennett School of skilled trade in Boston and did their 3-year violin-making program, has been making fiddles for 6-7 years now and still playing Irish and other traditional on fiddle, and organizing and leading jams in Providence--you can see him playing on the 'tube, and his violin site is arominviolins.com. Might be a nice feature for a Craig docu….

Dec 19, 2018 - 2:58:49 PM
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frailin

USA

6654 posts since 10/26/2005

Thank you CM!

Dec 19, 2018 - 5:44:37 PM
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wsharp

Western Sahara

82 posts since 4/13/2010

I'm just a banjo player....but, all the fiddler folks I play with rave about Dave Bing fiddles and they all have bought one or are planning to. They are beautiful to look at and sound so great. Plus, Dave is just such a good guy!

Dec 19, 2018 - 6:19:40 PM
Players Union Member

frailin

USA

6654 posts since 10/26/2005

I'd like to learn more about Dave Bing. I've heard his name associated with Dwight Diller. But I can't find info online about his violins. He's got a website, but there's no significant content.

Dec 19, 2018 - 11:50:38 PM
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RG

USA

2834 posts since 8/7/2008

Edited by - RG on 12/19/2018 23:54:42

Dec 20, 2018 - 3:31:32 AM
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frailin

USA

6654 posts since 10/26/2005

Does anyone have links to info (articles) on Dave’s fiddles?

Dec 20, 2018 - 5:37:08 PM
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wsharp

Western Sahara

82 posts since 4/13/2010

I don't have any specific info on his fiddles but he is one of the most approachable people I have ever met. One of the real gurus of old time- and one heck of a fiddler and one heck of a nice guy. I have contact info if you want it. message me.

Dec 21, 2018 - 12:30:26 PM
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ScottK

USA

1512 posts since 4/1/2005

I don't know about 100 years from now, but John Herrmann's son Jamie is out here in Oregon building and restoring violins and his instruments are highly desired by me and my old time music friends today.  :-)  

https://www.herrmannviolins.com/

Cheers, Scott

Dec 23, 2018 - 12:21:19 PM
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robinja

USA

83 posts since 7/8/2008

Mark Ward, Cincinnati, OH; David Chandler, Burnsville, NC; Bob Kogut, Lenoir, NC; Joe Thrift, Dobson, NC; and Phil Tanner (grandson of Skillet Licker Gid Tanner), Dacula, GA would all be good candidates.

Dec 24, 2018 - 10:09:52 AM
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banjot

USA

198 posts since 8/20/2006

I'd second the recommendation of Joe Thrift. He's world class and a good fiddler to boot. He also has a new website.

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