How special is your violin?

December 18, 2007 at 12:21 AM · I posted this question with my "excited about my new violin" post, but no one replied, so here goes again.

Does anyone name their violin/instrument? If so, what are their names? My first violin was Tristan, 2nd was Thea, 3rd was Dante, and now I have Zenzi. Does anyone name their bows?

Replies (31)

December 18, 2007 at 12:32 AM · Some day's she's Luisa--with an Azorean inflection. And somedays,

Fi' Fi' for my fave. hound dog of all times.

December 18, 2007 at 01:48 AM · My violin is very special to me. It is my second that I've played, and MY first violin that I've owned. Even though its worth less than 1000 dollars, it is my baby. I love learning and I love dog and my violin. Oh yeah, her name is Sofia (the violin)

December 18, 2007 at 02:42 AM · My violin is very special to me. I have had "Guido" for twenty (!) years now. Guido is more like my friend than my child. I haven't named the bows.

December 18, 2007 at 03:16 AM · My violin has no name, but should probably be "Chucky".

December 18, 2007 at 01:35 PM · Thanks for sharing everybody, this is so interesting to learn I'm not the only violin geek who names her instrument! And Anne, I knew a kid in elementary school named Guido (last name), a very funny, but nice boy. Go figure. :)

December 18, 2007 at 02:11 PM · I wanted to find the most Italian name possible, so it boiled down to "Luigi" and "Guido". "Guido" won.

December 18, 2007 at 02:59 PM · My daughter named her violin "Lucy" and her bow "Rocky." She is about to outgrow Lucy and is quite sad about it. I don't think she will want me to sell Lucy.

I'm actually trying to get un-attached from my violin because it's time for me to move on and get a better one. I never named it, but it was my first full-size violin, bought for me by my parents in 1978, so I've owned it for almost 30 years. I bought it from my then-teacher, who passed away about 5 years ago, and it reminds me of him.

The problem is, that it's a student instrument, most likely a German factory instrument from the mid- to late- 1800's. Its sound, especially on the G string, is thin and unimpressive, a little cardboard-y. Infeld Red/Blue strings have helped a bit with giving it a bigger sound, but I've had a number of knowledgeable people tell me the equivalent of "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear."

I've been putting off getting a new violin for a number of good reasons: money, mostly, and the fact that I'm playing more viola now (and bought a viola this year) makes the need less urgent. But I think that in order to really move on psychologically, I'm going to have to find a violin that's really special over and above how it sounds in the violin shop. I need to find one with a story behind it.

December 18, 2007 at 03:49 PM · I have a $99.99 Chinese manufactured violin that I ordered on line and I named it, "Chairman Moa" (sp?). If it was Italian I would have to name it Michael Corleone due to the fact that if I forget to rewater the humidifyer and my violin dries out in our next to nill humidity Wyoming air when I play it the sound is shear "Murder".

December 18, 2007 at 03:53 PM · My violin was named "Ercole" by the maker which is Italian for Hercules. It's actually very fitting for the violin because of its tone.

December 18, 2007 at 10:09 PM · when i first saw my violin i knew it was the one, and when i played it i fell in love. i named it matteus that means gift from God, because he gave me the gift to play the violin. i also have 2 other violins that i got for free actually so they should be named matteus but they are named jacobus and elmerius.

a violinist usually loves their violin, i don't know why, maybe because you hold it so close when you play, and it is small and fragile, and can sound so human, as if it's alive.

December 19, 2007 at 03:35 AM · Sarah, that is really profound and really true. I never thought of why we love our violins that way, but it makes perfect sense. Well-spoken.

December 19, 2007 at 04:22 AM · My first viola is "the old man". A little rough around the edges, a bit wheezy, and is about 100 years old now.

My new viola is named "Hilda". She is a large woman with medium shoulders, a narrow waist and large hips :)

My cello hasn't been named yet.

December 19, 2007 at 06:35 AM · In all likelihood, my violin is almost a hundred years old; it's been with me for the past two decades.

I actually tried to name my violin before, but I realized that it feels so much like a part of me that I just couldn't do it. For me, it felt as ridiculous as naming one's own appendages.

If you mosey over to my blog archive, you'll find it all there :-)

December 19, 2007 at 05:14 PM · Hello all. I am a new student of violin and never thought of naming my instrument until I wound up w/ two of them. My very first one was a cheap ebay piece of composite wood, which helped me decide that I really do want to keep going w/ learning to play violin. Then, I went to the next level and bought a new instrument which was made in 2007 in romania and paid $1500. Then someone gave me an old fiddle that was given to him by his grandfather and he did not play at all and said that I could have it. I brought it to the local fiddle shop and decided it was worth fixing. It needed strings, tailpiece, endbutton, pegs, chinrest and some minor cosmetic work. After all the work, I found out that the instrument was made in the late 1800's in Germany. Now that I have two violins, I decided to name them to distinguish which I am talking about. I am a big fan of Star Trek: Voyager and decided that the new instrument was made in 2007 that I would call it Seven after one of the characters in Voyager. The other one that was given to me is now known as my favorite...LOL. I guess I would name it, the elder. Thanks for listening to my babbling.

December 19, 2007 at 05:43 PM · My viola has a name, but it was given by the maker :) It's Nikko (Nee-ko). Then it has a number as well. I don't really talk to it much though. Mostly it talks to me, so I don't have many opportunities to use its name.

December 22, 2007 at 09:52 PM · I've had four violins since I started ( started when I was five, so I kinda had to keep switching) I've had my first full size violin for over 4 or 5 years now, and it was the only violin I felt attached enough to to name. Her name is Gypsy. But I named her only about two years ago. I've tried to name my bow, but I can't do it. I'm not really attached to my bow (but I'm getting a new one, that's really nice and I like it, so maybe I'll end up naming it...)

December 23, 2007 at 04:06 AM · I just started working in a violin shop where, among other things, I clean inspect and make minor adjustments on returned rental instruments. I talk to each one as if they were a person. It's kinda silly, but I love them and I love to touch them and I feel like they each have a personality worth valuing....well, most at least. :-) I especially like to talk to the "baby" violins (1/8th and smaller). I pretend that each violin is a person...albiet a different kind of person than normal people.

My violin's name is Charles Augustus Octavian Philippi de Violin I. But for some reason, I've been finding myself refering to it as a "she" lately. o_O

December 23, 2007 at 04:26 AM · My current violin hasn't told me his name yet, but we've only known each other for not quite two years. I simply refer to him as the Italian Job. He's modern, sophisticated, bold, and clean cut. With dark eyes.

December 27, 2007 at 04:27 PM · I thought I was the only one that did this....ALL instruments have personalities...

December 28, 2007 at 07:15 PM · O.K.,the Czech is "Claire", and the Veritas is "the Hoochie Mama".......

December 28, 2007 at 07:27 PM · Like Emily, I've got to wait for my violin to tell me his name.

I 'adopted' it from a local guitar shop over a year ago for a fraction of it’s current value. It’s a hand-made strad copy probably about over 100 years old with a big projection, sweet A, bright E, warm and complex D and G. It was love at the first sight for me and after I tried it a few minutes, I putted it down and took a long walk to calm myself down before deciding on whether to take it home. I wasn’t looking for another violin then and I certainly didn’t want to be a compulsive shopper. But after the hour-long walk, I thought I’d really kick myself if I didn’t bring it home so I did and that was one of the best things that I’ve ever done.

I don’t know whether it’s my playing or the violin, it just sounds better and better. My luthier has a number of very nice violins and I tried some, but I still like mine the best.

December 28, 2007 at 07:54 PM · My violin's name is "Herbert." I call him Herb. It has nothing to do with Karajan, when I was a kid I liked the name. I use it now as sort of an endearing kind of thing. I found out this year that my violin was owned by Rihard Jakopic, a painter famous in Slovenia. He brought Impressionism to Slovenia. Interesting...

December 28, 2007 at 08:38 PM · And I can say from first-hand experience that Joe and Herbert sound very good together. :-)

My violin's name is Milos Béla Károly von Takács-Szigeti, but I call him Milos. (He's actually Italian, and I'm afraid I may have given him a national identity crisis.)

December 29, 2007 at 12:35 AM · Wow, thanks for sharing everybody, this is so interesting!

December 29, 2007 at 12:52 AM · I acquired my old Italian in 1980. It has traveled with me around the world many times. I call it "my old friend". Unfortunately it is now in the shop for restoration and it has already been gone for two years. I miss it terribly.

December 29, 2007 at 02:11 PM · Mara - he still needs a nickname. I am sure he will feel more comfortable with one. Imagine how you would feel trailing all that around. I have suggested Petöfi or Kossuth, although Garibaldi might do. Anyhow, that would solve his problem.

December 29, 2007 at 03:17 PM ·

December 29, 2007 at 05:35 PM · Tom, I dunno, wouldn't having a nickname like Kossuth or Rákóczi or Szent-István be even MORE baggage? (Or how about Koppány??) :-)

December 29, 2007 at 07:27 PM · In Italian violin is a masculine noum, hence my preferred violin (that I've made in 2005) is the "Cellini". My preferred viola was the "Santa Cecilia", made this year, but I left it with a dealer in New York.

December 30, 2007 at 12:41 PM · Mara - beats me. You and he need to figure out what will make him feel most comfortable. I've just given some suggestions of the "including but not limited to" variety in line with the possibilities inherent in his current name and lineage.

February 8, 2008 at 04:50 AM · My violin is called "Ma Petite Claire." I love it. 1945 Max Moller.

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