V.com weekend vote: What color is your violin?

November 2, 2018, 9:40 PM · For a while I had a yellow violin. It wasn't just a little yellow; the luthier had literally mixed amber crystals into the varnish -- you might even say it glowed.

colored violins

I loved its appearance (yellow is my favorite color), though one of my friends laughed, "What is that, glitter? It looks like it was involved in a child's art project accident!"

Aww now!

I now longer have that violin. My current violin is simply a traditional brown, beautifully varnished. Mine doesn't lean toward golden, orange or red, but many traditionally-varnished violins do.

Obviously, the most important thing about a fiddle is the way that it sounds. But its appearance can affect its value as an object of art, and it can also affect the way one feels about it.

I once had a new student bring a bubble-gum pink violin to her first lesson. Her parents definitely had bought the pink fiddle for its color; it was complete garbage as an instrument! But that does not mean that all interesting-looking violins are garbage. It is possible to create a decent violin that is rather exotic in color, though most brightly-painted fiddles you would find on the Internet are decidedly not-so-good.

When it comes to electrics, though, they can come in all kinds of colors.

What color is your main violin? Is it a traditional violin or an electric? And what has your experience been, with colorful fiddles? Please participate in the vote and then share your thoughts in the comments.

Replies

November 3, 2018 at 03:32 AM · The main one is dark brown. The other two are orange-brown, like the one I have in my current member photo.

November 3, 2018 at 04:17 AM · I only voted with my main instrument, which is orange-brownish. My backup viola has that "modern Italian" yellowish-gold varnish. Two of my violins are dark brown (they're antiques) and the other that I'm letting my sister use is a French-esque reddish brown.

November 3, 2018 at 12:18 PM · My main violin is orange-brown. My secondary violin is golden brown (it was completely re-varnished before I acquired it and I don't know what color the original varnish was) and my viola is orange.

November 3, 2018 at 01:53 PM · My "Mittenwald-Strad" is mostly dark brown with some lighter sections as well as fancy perfuling and a back with lots of inlaid intarsia. That was fashionable in the late 1800's amongst many fiddlers - my wife's great-grandfather included as he brought it with him when he emigrated to the USA.

November 3, 2018 at 02:37 PM · I have a beautiful orange birds-eye violin. Unfortunately it sounds terrible, and it's actually only 7/8. I played it through my childhood. My teacher likely knew better but my parents didn't. Some years ago I had the top regraded at Kapeller's in Richmond with the idea of making it sound okay. A small improvement, fortunately the luthier there gave me a good deal because he said the chance of making the violin sound good was low. Subsequently I showed it to Dalton Potter who immediately declared it a hopeless case ("way too heavy"). I'm going to turn it into an objet d'art.

The violin I actually play is traditional ... brownish and antiqued. I wish it weren't antiqued so much, but that's part of the particular luthier's style, it seems.

November 3, 2018 at 03:12 PM · My first viola was yellow. I thought the color was actually hideous, because it was sort of ashen yellow. I really love yellow too! The sound was pretty good actually, but I sold it long ago.

November 3, 2018 at 03:38 PM · Just say "No" to blue and purple violins. ;-)

November 3, 2018 at 05:59 PM · Mine is Blue and absolutely not traditional, Marc from France, my website is http://www.violonbleu.fr

November 3, 2018 at 06:31 PM · Sadly (to me) my Luthier varnished my commissioned violin completely opposite to what I asked for. When she asked me, I pointed to the color/style of finish on the violin of one of her adult students. Easy-peezy: she sees the violin every week and can have her professional photographer husband photograph it. The violin itself sounds beautiful (the most important thing, of course), but I really dislike the finish.

November 3, 2018 at 10:56 PM · One of my students got a very nice-sounding violin for ~$900 because the yellowish color made it very hard to sell (according to the seller). I don't know what happened to it, but have often wondered.

November 4, 2018 at 01:35 AM · My violin is a bit yellow-ish brown, and my viola is reddish-brown. (My viola is in my profile picture. I think it looks a bit redder in person). I like both of them, and I prefer something that doesn't stand out too much. I bought both of them in part because of the appearance. Although sound is most important, I also wanted an instrument that I liked to look at and hold. I had a friend in my old orchestra who made instruments and they were all yellow. He made his own violin, and he also made a viola and a cello. All yellow. I think they were reasonably good instruments, especially for an amateur luthier, but they stood out and people sometimes called him "the guy with the yellow violin."

November 4, 2018 at 02:08 PM · My violin is orange-brown, with barroque perfling.

November 4, 2018 at 06:15 PM · I can confirm that yellowish violin may sell harder and can be a bargain, the same happened to my friend who could buy such a wonderful sounding violin from a local luthier.

November 4, 2018 at 08:52 PM · I have only one REAL violin. It is an 1886 Strad model labelled Antonins Stradivarius Deutjide Arbeit 1886.

The tone (as noted by Kato Havas is 'beautiful and warm') and I am it's proud owner.

The varnish is mostly original and a brown/gold colour with 3D depth except the front plate in which the varnish has been reduced to a base colour showing a very vivid gold in the bright summer evening sun that seems to light up the room. When treated with reverence it speaks volumes at all resonant sounding points. So perhaps the number of layers of varnish do have some bearing on the sound in the right hands of the own/performer.

November 5, 2018 at 11:59 AM · We all live for a yellow violin, yellow violin, yellow violin.

Apologies to Lennon and McCartney.

November 5, 2018 at 03:26 PM · I am not the type to want to stick out in the crowd. I like the look of the brown varnish done well on a violin.

I also have a yellowish violin. Not quite yellow, but not totally lacking some hint of yellow in the finish. I have tried to like it. So far it hasn't grown on me.

In the beginning it was all about the sound so long as the violin wasn't too "out there" in terms of looks. I have since realized that getting along with an instrument you plan to spend a lot of time playing should take looks into consideration. What seems like little things in the beginning get larger as you spend more time with the instrument. I don't like the feeling of making do.

I don't think I would be one of those people who could close my eyes and be comfortable playing an orange violin. I'll still know it's orange and I won't like that :)

November 5, 2018 at 04:49 PM · Well, contrary to many of you guys here - based on the responses - I love yellow violins (and also very dark ones). I think they look great, especially with black fittings. Due to budget limitations, I have exactly the type of violin I don't like (physically speaking), because my instrument was the one that worked the best for me at the time I bought it. It's brown with boxwood fittings. It sounds beautifully and responds exactly the way I like, but if I wasn't afraid of altering its sound, I would have it at least refitted with black pegs and tailpiece.

November 6, 2018 at 09:13 PM · My violin is brown with red tinged in the varnish ~ A handsome concert recording instrument, it has forever served me well in works as Shostakovich's First Violin Concerto in a minor, Op. 99; in all the French violin literature; in Unaccompanied Bach Sonatas & Partitas, & in Guest Concertmaster Solo's, so one is not so concerned with the colour, but the Sound capabilities of the Violin! I'm very lucky to play on a responsive violin ~

E. Matesky

November 7, 2018 at 09:38 PM · mine is brown with an over-wash of red. The idea is that the red is soft an wears with use so that the violin ages naturally - but fast.

[Call out to Jean Dubuisson - I saw in another (closed) topic that you wondered what had happened to ne. Well lots :D but stopping violin and enthusiasm is not one of them.

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