Printer-friendly version
The Weekend Vote weekend vote: From what century is your fiddle?

March 25, 2013 at 12:23 AM

I find that an audience enjoys hearing about my fiddle, as much as I enjoy telling them about it. It's about 200 years old, so I like speculating that maybe the piece I'm about to play (if it's an old classic) is something that was played on the fiddle before I was even born!

People seemed equally curious about my 20th c. violin as well; as it was made in Montana, had some amber in the varnish, etc. I actually knew much more about it, because the maker was living.

From what century is your primary fiddle? (Remember, if it was made in 1950, it's a 20th-century violin, if it was made in 1789, it's an 18th century violin, etc.)

From Mendy Smith
Posted on March 25, 2013 at 12:30 AM
She's coming up on her 10th birthday.
From William Horning
Posted on March 25, 2013 at 12:33 AM
1912, by William DeVeaux Foulke of Philadelphia. An important year for me, as the Titanic sank in April (one of my many interests) and the great state of Arizona became a state (my birthplace, which attained statehood on Feb 14th)

From Simon Streuff
Posted on March 25, 2013 at 12:47 AM
wow thats a lot of 21st century violins! Didn't expected that! Mine main violin is 20th century and pretty healthy. My old one is probably 19th century.
From Joel Ang
Posted on March 25, 2013 at 1:03 AM
1840.....British violin maker Bernard Simon Fendt....
From Carter Asbill
Posted on March 25, 2013 at 1:16 AM
Stefano Scarampella, Mantua, bought from William Moennig
& Sons 1956. Previously owned by Mischa Mischakoff
when he was Concertmaster of the NBC Sym. And traded to Moennig after Mischakoff went to the Detroit Sym.
From elise stanley
Posted on March 25, 2013 at 1:45 AM
2010 :) And yes, the varnish has set :p

My other one is 1888.

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on March 25, 2013 at 3:14 AM
Made in 2007...

6 years old.

It was made on my lucky year (19yo the 19th November)and it played in Montreal's Symphony as a substitute instrument for a player who has his instrument on repair. Well, I do hope all this is in its blood and will help me (am I too supersticious? Probably!)

Already has spots where the varnish is used because of my hands in playing position. Looks older (if that is a good thing for a violin!)

Wonderful instrument and a rocket with synthetic strings. Though, now, my G and D are Gut strings. Gut is not the optimal playing strings. But the sound...

From Emma Otto
Posted on March 25, 2013 at 2:51 PM
My violin was German made in the 20th century sometime - in the '50s, I think. I love it, and it gives off a beautiful tone.

My fingerboard is a little strange. It's way thinner than the fingerboards of most violins. I was in a symphony concert with 34 other violinists a few days ago and I couldn't see any other violins that had fingerboards as thin as mine. Does anyone else have a really thin fingerboard, or do I have a really unique violin?

I was showing my brother my violin last week, and I told him, jokingly, that I practiced so much that my fingerboard had worn down!

From james holmes
Posted on March 26, 2013 at 12:16 AM
I voted 20th century but a wannabe 17th.
From Rachel Neville
Posted on March 26, 2013 at 2:26 AM
Mine is 2011!
From John Pierce
Posted on March 26, 2013 at 5:04 PM
Mine is a Markneukirchen from about 1880. It had one previous owner: the brother of my great-aunt's husband. She was a real wheeler-dealer.

After Uncle Carl's brother died, his widow decided to find a good home for his fiddle. Aunt Bertha pointed her to me. So I got it in 1966, for $25. It was over 75 years old when I got it, she said. Further research on Lederer-Roth and the label put it in the range 1882 - 1885.

It sounded pretty good at first. Later I found out that you need to put on new Eudoxas every so often. :-)

It's well worn - the fingerboard should really be replaced. I definitely need to fit a new nut. The varnish is worn and was poorly patched, before it came to me.

But WOW... It sounds good for what was probably a Sears & Roebuck mail-order.

I also have a Rumanian 2002 workshop fiddle that was a good buy. It sounds fairly good, and is my backup instrument.

From Randy Walton
Posted on March 26, 2013 at 8:09 PM
John, fingerboards can be planed for a lot less money than replacing it. A new board runs around $250 to $300 dollars, while planing comes to about $80, where I take my violin anyway.

I have a Didier Nicolas violin from France, born around 1842 and its board was planed a year ago. It's been in my family since the summer of 1998.

From John Pierce
Posted on March 27, 2013 at 2:48 AM
I don't think planing will work: there's too much missing. But it may be worth a look. Thanks for the idea.

Still, I've gotten used to it, and it still plays well. It will hold as-is for a while.

From Tom Holzman
Posted on March 27, 2013 at 12:32 PM
You need a "who knows" category. Mine is either 19th or 20th century. Ten experts have given 12 different opinions (two experts changed over the years). It has a Paul Bailly label, but only one has thought it was a genuine Bailly. Some thought it might be. Some were sure it wasn't but could not say who made it or when. Some were sure it was French, others thought it might be German. So, I am in the "who knows" category.

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Anne Cole Violin Maker
Anne Cole Violin Maker Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine