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Choosing a starter fiddle

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Sep 17, 2020 - 6:16:57 PM
36 posts since 4/9/2019

Hi! Looking to start learning to play fiddle. Need a recommendation for a decent starter violin (full size)... used actually preferred.. any suggestions?
Doc

Sep 17, 2020 - 11:23:19 PM

Cyndy

USA

638 posts since 3/2/2010

So many options! Typing on my phone, so I’ll just say the FHO archives should offer lots of advice. One thing to consider: a decent bow can make a big difference. Lots of discussions on that topic, too, over on FHO.

Sep 18, 2020 - 8:46:04 AM

36 posts since 4/9/2019

Thanks! Did not realize there was a fiddlers hangout!
Great help!
Doc

Sep 18, 2020 - 9:28:15 AM
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Cyndy

USA

638 posts since 3/2/2010

Now that I'm on my computer, I'll give you a longer answer.

Over on FHO, a often-offered bit of advice for people wanting to start playing the fiddle is to rent a student-level instrument from a violin shop for a few months. It's a good option to consider in that it should come set up and ready to play and the bow should be usable.

But, if you want to buy used--which is just as good as buying new and, in many case, probably better--it might be useful to check out the listings on Fiddle Hangout. Also, from personal experience, I can tell you that it's worth looking at what Bluegrass Shack has to offer. There are many used violins on the site for a variety of prices and they do a good job of trying to describe them. (thebluegrassshack.com/used.html) I bought my first "good fiddle" there and I'm pretty confident they would work hard make sure the instruments are playable. Of course, there are many other places to look, including local violin shops.

Having a "decent" bow is huge. Again, lots of options, but you'll see some under-$100 carbon fiber options that work pretty well.

Fiddle is a wicked instrument! But, ohhh, how wonderful it is to be able to make peace with one. :) The folks over on Fiddle Hangout are a good group. They'll do their best to answer your questions as you're getting started.

Sep 18, 2020 - 2:47:52 PM

DRH

USA

552 posts since 5/29/2018

Suzuki was the best option when I bought mine around 1978. Nice bow and quality case included. I let a few seasoned fiddlers try it and they said it was a good instrument and bow.

Last I looked on ebay there were hundreds of student violins, mostly Suzuki, though perhaps these days not the same quality as mine was. Don't know. As student instruments, many never get played.

Craigslist has a lot of violins too.

Sep 19, 2020 - 4:09:40 PM
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2171 posts since 2/10/2013

Your best bet is to contact Royce Burt in Plant City FL. He has a website where he demonstrates fiddles he has reconditioned. Call Burt and he will discuss your needs and help you pick a fiddle you can play for the rest of your life. Not only that, you will be able to sell it with no problem. You can check buyers opinions on his fiddles. Burt has contacts who send him used fiddles, and he reconditions them to that they are fine condition.

I am just a satisfied customer. A conversation with Burt is informative and enjoyable.

Sep 19, 2020 - 5:01 PM
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36 posts since 4/9/2019

Appreciate all the advice! Called Ms. Chris at bluegrass shack & ordered a new full size from her as a starter 399 plus shipping... she gives a full exchange price if an upgrade is in the future! Very nice to deal with... this old man will have a fiddle by end of next week!


 

Sep 19, 2020 - 8:13:44 PM

Cyndy

USA

638 posts since 3/2/2010

It's a pretty one! Enjoy.

And, yes. If you start thinking about an upgrade sometime down the road, I've heard great things about Royce Burt's fiddles from a number of people. I think Dick's comments are spot on.

Sep 20, 2020 - 6:25:30 AM

RV6

USA

1362 posts since 2/3/2012

quote:
Originally posted by DocSavino

Appreciate all the advice! Called Ms. Chris at bluegrass shack & ordered a new full size from her as a starter 399 plus shipping... she gives a full exchange price if an upgrade is in the future! Very nice to deal with... this old man will have a fiddle by end of next week!


Nice looking fiddle.  I'll bet you really like it.  

The "Bluegrass Shack" is a great place to do business.   Chris offers the best customer service I've experienced in my one year fiddle adventure.   After a disappointing experience from one of the "big name" outfits selling me a fiddle, off the shelf, with poor setup that had me ready to give up the fiddle before I started, I gave Chris a shot and she "nailed it".  I bought a GEWA package.   The set up was perfect and I modified my first fiddle (bridge, nut, fingerboard) to mimic the GEWA.

The Fiddle Hangout doesn't have as much activity as the BHO but there's lots of knowledge in the archives.    (I'm WyoBob over there).

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