V.com weekend vote: Do you have a name for your instrument?

November 15, 2019, 11:33 AM · Do you have a name for your instrument?

violin name

This vote idea comes via our friend Michael Kennedy, who had all kinds of guitars and other instruments that he never named, but when he got his violins, the names just kind of came to him. I'll let him tell the rest his story in the comments!

To be honest, I never have had a name that stuck for any of my fiddles. The closest was "Old Yellow," which actually was a modern violin that had some amber crystals in the varnish and was quite yellow. But honestly, I didn't use the name very much, not enough for it to feel "real"!

I do have a name for my car - our long-time Prius finally broke down, after 210,000 miles. So I got a practical car to replace it, a Honda Civic hatchback (my friend Maggie the cellist suggested the hatchback idea). I pointed out to my daughter that the light-grey car has a funny little fin on top of it, and she said, "Oh, like a baby shark!"

Baby Shark! So "2019". And the perfect name for a nerdy-but-sturdy car.

But back to fiddles, if you have named yours, what is the name? And what made you choose that name -- or did someone else choose it for you? If you never named your violin, why not? Might you in the future? Please participate in the vote and then tell us about it in the comments.

Replies

November 15, 2019 at 05:51 PM · I call my violin "the lion". It is a modern copy from the Ysaye Guarneri del Gesú made by David Bagué from Barcelona. I chose this name beacause the varnish is strong red-orange with a beautiful flame in the back, it is hard to play, hard to tame like a lion, but, when you manage to do it, it roars with an inmense power.

November 15, 2019 at 06:05 PM · My two violins are named Hobbes and Hudson.

Not to get all mystical and strange and all that stuff, but the names of these two fiddles seemed to pop out of nowhere.

Over the years I've owned different instruments - about two dozen guitars (not at the same time), a lute, mandolins, and I have a piano. Indeed, I have a wonderful Martin guitar that I bought in 2012. None of these had a name, or were given one, or anything like that.

Then violins came into my life.

I bought my go-to violin last spring with an inheritance from my parents after my mother died. Oddly, I looked at it the other day, and noticed the wood grain on the back and sides look like stripes on a tiger. Subsequently, I named it Hobbes, after the toy tiger in the Calvin and Hobbes cartoons.

My second violin was my mother’s old fiddle. It was the first violin I ever played during my ill-fated attempt to play at the age of 9. (Giving a fill size violin to a reluctant kid wasn’t a great idea. I skipped learning violin for the next 58 years.)

Well, that violin spent years in a closet in my sister's house in Florida. She decided to give it to me when I turned 70, simply because it had fallen into silence, and she thought I'd put it to good use.

Here’s the strange part. Once I’d named Hobbes, I looked over at my mom’s old fiddle, and instantly the name, Hudson, came to mind. Why Hudson? My mother was from Hudson, New York, where she learned how to play violin in the late 1930’s – 40’s.

Weird, eh?

Hobbes & Hudson - seems to work

November 15, 2019 at 09:21 PM · I had a name for the 250 year old violin I used to play....Called it the Ole Gent because it had an obviously male voice...and was OLD. Beautiful violin, but I had to give it back to it's owner. The one I replaced it with....no. I don't have a name for that one. It's too new (2003)...and doesn't yet have a personality. It's got a great tone, but....not the Ole Gent.....miss that one :-\

November 15, 2019 at 09:27 PM · While I consider my violin a semi-animate object, other than sometimes calling it: "The Family Fiddle" it is nameless although I have assigned it the male gender, he is my musical partner.Then again we bend genders when playing show-tunes where we channel our inner Julie Andrews when playing songs she made famous.

I guess humans are just weird.

November 15, 2019 at 09:43 PM · I call it "the voilin." My wife calls it "the Czech hussy."

November 15, 2019 at 09:44 PM · I voted yes... I’m not weird!

Violin 1 - JTL Dulcis Etsy Fortis - Rosa (she’s red!).

Violin 2 - Made by my Grandfather in 1974 - Ron (after Grandfather)

Viola - Eastman Strings - Blodyn (Flower in Welsh).

A friend of mine has an instrument made by Don Tatum, who actually named his instruments on their labels! Don also makes Pellegrinas, which come with names on their labels. I thinks that’s rather lovely!

November 15, 2019 at 10:20 PM · Yes. Descriptive ones.

Viola (Henry Krug 1979) - The Firebird.

This has a triple meaning. 1) When I dropped out of medical school and had severe depression in 2007-09, playing the viola was one of the few things I was able to get out of bed to do, so it had a hand in my rebirth, both in life and in music. 2) It just so happens my viola was made in Phoenix, AZ. 3) And, of course, the name refers to Stravinsky.

Violin (1950s German Strad copy) - The Nomad.

My violin has come from Germany to America by a circuitous route. It was purchased brand-new by my great-uncle in Taiwan, and went with him when he moved to Australia. After his death in the 1970s, it went back to Taiwan, where my uncle was the only musician in the entire extended family (a classical guitarist). But my uncle never got around to learning the violin and the instrument sat on a shelf in his house for about two decades. Finally, when I showed interest in learning a string instrument, he brought it over to the United States on his next visit.

November 15, 2019 at 10:44 PM · I must have inadvertently hit DELETE when making an edit after my initial post. So let's try again. I have names for my fiddles; but I didn't give them their names. I just identify them by the names of the luthiers who built them: Pilat - 1869; Altrichter - 1883; Bernardel - 1921. In tryout digital recordings with my phone, I identify which fiddle I'm recording with by the number of LH pizzicatos on open E at the start of each track: 1 for Pilat; 2 for Altrichter; 3 for Bernardel.

November 15, 2019 at 11:36 PM · My violin is named Zahav, which is Hebrew for gold, because fo the brilliant flaming on the back. My mandolin is named Mando Calrissian. Self explanatory.

November 16, 2019 at 01:46 AM · My main fiddle is Chingoo (means approximately 'little buddy' in Korean). My other instrument is jackiechan (all one word) because it was made in China and kicks ass!

I also refer to all of my husband's guitars as my "sister wives" which raises a few eyebrows for those not in the know.

November 16, 2019 at 03:22 AM · It.

November 16, 2019 at 08:21 AM · I call my viola "my viola"; and I call the viola I'm playing these days "my teacher's viola".

So, no, I didn't name them.

November 16, 2019 at 10:20 AM · Violetta )))

November 16, 2019 at 12:06 PM · My violin is “Mr. Robinson” named after its maker,

William Robinson, Plumstead, London, made in 1928

November 16, 2019 at 01:21 PM · My violin is made by Anne Cole who names all her beautiful instruments. Mine is named Pi to represent the intertwining of math, music, and art. I still have my violin I grew up with, The Ram. It is a heavy German violin with a lion head and is built "Ram Tough"!

November 16, 2019 at 02:19 PM · Bella

November 16, 2019 at 07:44 PM · Irma just named herself. I got her about the time that hurricane Irma had been in the news, but it’s also because she’s 100 yo and French ( Irma la douce). I startle people by saying I have been thrashing Irma .

My 5 string Yamaha electric is George Clooney as he’s so smooth and good looking.

The bows don’t inspire anything , although I note in an old thread on this topic there were some great names .

Some of my cars have had names, (they seem to be the French ones) the others just wouldn’t let one stick.

November 17, 2019 at 12:50 AM · I don't have a name for my violin but I do give it personality qualities (i.e. comfort it if it is cold, grumble when it won't stay in tune, praise it for not barking on the G string, etc.) Sometimes, I think of it as a loyal dog or horse like Lassie, where it brings me comfort and security when I need it and I can share its joy with others. But I can't find a name that sticks for it.

November 17, 2019 at 02:11 AM · Both of my violins and now my viola have names. One of the violins sort of named itself but I chose my viola's name, "Leila", whose meaning is tied up in the word 'dark'. It seemed appropriate for a

viola, but it was also the the name of my first mythical Rizzardi ancestress (not a pretty story), which is still given to some females in my family.

My violin's name is Geraldine. "She" was named after my aunt, who just turned 98 and was a violinist until her house burnt down with her violin in it. She never played violin again but she is a long time organist and was her church's organist until her house (which replaced the burnt down house) was sold about 5 years ago.

November 17, 2019 at 03:42 AM · My viola is named Clytemnestra Nepomuk. Her first name is after Agamemnon's wife (Greek mythology) who was a kick@$$ woman in the face of her husband's poor choices. Her middle name is after Hummel's middle name, as the first piece I ever played with her was his Fantasie.

November 17, 2019 at 06:16 AM · My actual violins' names are Adriano, Bruno, and Giorgio. I loaned (indefinitely) Margherita.

My bows are named Bernardo, Antonio, Marcantonio, Ottavio, Alvaro, Arturo, Vecio.

I have other names for more electronic instruments........ :)

November 17, 2019 at 02:22 PM · I recently bought a professional violin from Fiddlerman.com. I was puzzling over whether to name it after my old 4/4 violin (Roderich, a 2016 German violin) or pick a different name. A couple weeks after, I bought a plant and named it Heechul (after Super Junior's Heechul). Then I decided to name my violin after Super Junior's Leeteuk. The name has stuck, and I'm not changing it ever.

November 17, 2019 at 06:36 PM · My violin was named by its maker: James A Garfield, so I call it Garfield. I named my viola Odie, as Garfield’s companion. I named my teaching violin Stuart, after the man who sold it to me.

November 17, 2019 at 06:39 PM · I call my violin, the "Carlisle"

named for it's maker, James R. Carlisle. It was made in August 1943, #1142,in Cincinnati. It has a hand made label,complete with his thumb print.

November 17, 2019 at 06:56 PM · Several of my violins have names, but none quite so catchy & creative as those by others mentioned in the comments. My primary violin was commissioned by me and my Luthier always names her instruments after the client. Therefore, included on the makers label inside the violin, is its name, "Annabel." My main backup violin has a finish based on the Red Mendelssohn Strad, so I naturally call that one "my red violin." My third violin has a finish and look of the del Gesu Il Cannone and was named as such my Fiddlershop.com, so I call it "the cannon." Skipping waaaaay back in time to my first violin at age 9, I call it "Uncle Louis" after its original owner, my great uncle Louis, who died long before I was born. My great aunt (thankfully) kept it. I vividly remember the day she rummaged around in a deep dark closet and pulled out the violin case and presented it to me. Of course, 60 years later, I still have it.

November 17, 2019 at 09:07 PM · My cello is David Caron #176, dating from 2006. It was named as a result of a conversation between a young student and her mother, in Chinese, after hearing me play for the first time. In awe of the sound of my cello,, the mother called it, in Chinese?? Which literally means “voice from the sky” or “Heavenly Voice.” I was delighted at such a sincere compliment. I didn’t even learn about that conversation until several years later, but that is the name of my cello.

November 17, 2019 at 10:37 PM · Uncooperative

November 18, 2019 at 12:00 AM · My current violin is "Lola" (she's a showgirl)!

My viola is "Tex" since it was made by a luthier who was my former orchestra conductor and viola teacher. (George Robinson Violins in Lubbock)

My former viola, which was stolen in 2004 and never recovered is named Vladimir. Vladimir is an Andrew Weinstein viola, made in 1981, just in case anyone ever finds it)

November 18, 2019 at 12:00 AM · My current violin is "Lola" (she's a showgirl)!

My viola is "Tex" since it was made by a luthier who was my former orchestra conductor and viola teacher. (George Robinson Violins in Lubbock)

My former viola, which was stolen in 2004 and never recovered is named Vladimir. Vladimir is an Andrew Weinstein viola, made in 1981, just in case anyone ever finds it)

November 18, 2019 at 12:00 AM · My current violin is "Lola" (she's a showgirl)!

My viola is "Tex" since it was made by a Texas luthier who was my former orchestra conductor and viola teacher. (George Robinson Violins in Lubbock)

My former viola, which was stolen in 2004 and never recovered is named Vladimir. Vladimir is an Andrew Weinstein viola, made in 1981, just in case anyone ever finds it)

November 18, 2019 at 12:57 AM · wow you guys are just so lucky... I can't even think of a name for my violin... :(

November 18, 2019 at 04:37 AM · My 5-string acoustic violin is somewhat unoriginally named Violet.

My other 2 violins are named after their makers - Smith and Brown. I joke sometimes if I just had a Jones as well I would have some of the most common and boring names for my violins, in the world.

And to add to that, a Hill bow would fit nicely, but alas, I don't have one...

November 18, 2019 at 05:13 AM · I named mine Tormalea, years ago, for my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs.

November 18, 2019 at 10:13 AM · I have a Karl Bitterer from 1969 modelled after F. Gobetti 1711. Bought it from Morey's music in Long Beach CA as a new violin. Chose the name 'Benoni' after some thought. My fiddle is masculine in feel and sound, I wanted a Hebrew name in honour of the Jewish violinists that had inspired me [Heifetz!, Milstein, Perlman]. And I am an enthusiastic but untalented amateur; 'Benoni' meaning 'son of my sorrow' seemed to fit.

November 18, 2019 at 11:03 AM · Both my violins were made by the same luthier. I had no name for the first one until I commissioned the second one. As the new one arrived I named it "Danny Boy", the song that I most love to play. Then the first one became "Old Boy".

I have another one that is not really mine, it belonged to the late father of a friend. As nobody in the family wants to play violin they left it with me. I call it "Reinhold", for the former owner.

November 18, 2019 at 06:11 PM · I put yes in the box however, I only have named ONE of my instruments. I have several violins, guitars and more. (Long Story) In the middle of September I decided to name the violin that a friend game me that had belonged to her mother. Her mother had called it her second violin. While we don't know whether that referred to its date of procurement or the quality, that is what it was called. I called my friend in Florida and asked her what her mother's first name was - It was Delia. I named that violin Delia. Two weeks later I was really glad that I had done that as my friend died unexpectedly and suddenly on September 30, leaving me with many instruments and tools (she made dulcimers (mountain and hammered), bowed and plucked psaltries, performed and gave lessons for much of her adult life. I was also left with a 2001 Toyota Tacoma truck which my son named Syd (after my friend - Sydney) yesterday. I will need to look at whether I want to name other instruments, but that is in the future.

November 18, 2019 at 06:49 PM · I decided to call My Viola Tanya after a Model of the same name

November 19, 2019 at 12:04 AM · I call my violin Annalise... well, that's it's name, though I normally just call it "my violin". It felt like a "Lisa" but I like the slightly older, more sophisticated sound of Annalise (no offence to the Lisas out there!) Turns out the name means "Graced with God's Bounty" which works for me.

November 19, 2019 at 12:20 PM · Long-time violin commissioned by my grandfather (1929) and received by me upon his death my first year in college is made by Archibald S. Hill-- so of course, there was the answer to the query of me and my friends in high school whenever playing Vivaldi pieces "per Archi e Cembalo"--

"Who's Archie?"

Now we know, Archie is my violin.

Another more recently with me and slowly become a contender is also uncreatively named for the maker, this time the last name only,

"Schmidt" (maker is Reinhold Schmidt).

My viola, on the other hand, is from Hungary (yay!) with no specific known maker; darker, big bottom, definitely female, and it just happened and stuck early that she is "Vanya" for no particular reason I know.

Who's my favorite? The one I'm playing.

Previous violins included "Elmer" and "Old Green" (which really was old and actually had a bizarre green tint in one patch on the back-- once seen, the thing always seemed green, which isn't easy, if you're a violin...).

All these instruments had or have real character, and seemed to demand names.

My first student instrument didn't much have character or a name.

Other instruments don't get named. Mostly, I don't name things.

And yet bicycles usually ("Max", "Neville" [for Neville Marriner!], "Zoe" have been faves...

Cars sometimes, not usually (less character, less respectable than bikes!) -- "Emil" (a tired old BMW), "Skittle" (what the long-lived Corolla felt like after Emil!--and the artificial color...)

November 19, 2019 at 12:23 PM · I'm surprised that not-namers are the majority of replies--violins seem to attract names by some as yet unknown strange force in physics...

November 19, 2019 at 02:33 PM · Mine is Wilson after the volley ball in Castaway. Because he takes my blood, sweat and tears and keeps me sane.

November 20, 2019 at 12:49 PM · Hi,like the 'Wilson' name and reason.My violins dont have names,but

when I was learning ,as a boy,my brother used to call my violin

'violent'

November 20, 2019 at 09:02 PM · My starter fiddle, on which I planned to play Scottish folk music, is called Bonnie. My better fiddle, which came from China, is called Tiger Lily. I love both my girls dearly.

My bows all have names too. My first two 'folk' bows are Niel and Nathaniel, after the famous Gow family fiddlers. My latest pair are called Tam and Finn, since I mainly play Scottish & Irish traditional tunes.

I had a very nice bow lent me for a while which I called Beau, and that is always my favourite name for a bow.

November 21, 2019 at 01:22 AM · Mine is named Violette, after the great French/Balanchine ballerina Violette Verdy. She's a diva and kind of a wreck, but then again, so am I!!!

November 22, 2019 at 02:21 AM · My violin is named Claire, it came to me right after playing her. Claire means bright and clear and that describes my violins sound. She lets me know when I’m off and sings when my intonation is right on target.

November 22, 2019 at 04:13 AM · I choose names for my violins based on where they were made or how I acquired them. Yes, I have more than one. My current 7/8 is a John Juzek is named Karina Rosa: I love the sound of the violin and chose a pretty Czech name. My first violin acquired from a luthier, named him Luther, of course, my German one Johanna, aka as JoJo. And finally I have a vintage violin made by a local luthier/dentist/lumber yard owner: I haven't named this one yet.

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