My New Baby

February 8, 2016 at 12:39 AM · I just want to say thank you to everyone that has been so kind as to offer their advice to me over the past couple months. Not only have I appreciated your honesty, but also your encouragement.

Armed with all the advice I've gleaned from you guys, and with my teacher at my side, I went to my local violin shop yesterday and purchased this little beauty.

Now, I know it's nothing special. It was an inexpensive instrument compared to what many of you have, but I'm extremely proud because I picked it out myself! I played about 7 instruments (including one that was WAAAAAY out of my price range), and was pleasantly surprised at how well I was able to hear the differences between them. One of them that I tried, a rather ornate country-western-looking fiddle, I immediately rejected because the sound was irritating. Honestly, I went in thinking that I would be at the mercy of my teacher's opinion, but I was able to listen and determine which one I liked best, even if I couldn’t put words to it.

Here are some pictures:

Front

Back

Scroll

Another Angle

Some thoughts/discoveries:

- While I'm not fond of the boxwood fittings (purely personal aesthetics), I'm very enamored with the chinrest. The typical Guarnieri rest that my cheap-y violin had dug into my chin something awful. This one lacks the same raised bump over the tailpiece, so holding my violin up is much more comfortable.

- I also upgraded my bow – it’s still an inexpensive composite (paid about $80 for it), but oh man, the SOUND it produces. I had no idea how rotten my old bow was until I picked this baby up. Its weight is nice, and it seems more evenly distributed throughout the stick. While I’ll probably upgrade again in the future, I’m quite pleased with it.

- I’m down to 1 fine tuner. This is going to be a bit of a struggle for me, being so new to this, but my teacher said I can always add them if tuning with the pegs is too difficult at first. She also recommended that I try playing this instrument without the tapes I had on my old violin’s fingerboard. She and I both noticed that while I was testing my instruments (which, obviously, had no tapes), I was actively listening to the notes rather than watching where my fingers should go.

- I had precious little idea of how terrible my old VSO was. It took considerable effort to play on that thing without creating weird, wisp-y sounds in several places on the G and D strings. My new instrument SINGS, and I’m happy to find out that I’m a better player than I thought I was.

Sorry for bombarding the board with such a long message, but I had to share with someone! :D

Replies (23)

February 8, 2016 at 01:00 AM · Congratulations! Beautiful looking violin! :)

Who's the maker?

February 8, 2016 at 01:21 AM · Aaron

Your recent triumphs just about eliminate many good excuses for not making great progress. Better rev up that practicing!

Good luck!

I happen to have a trial violin right now and, believe it or not, the supplied bow sounds terrible with the supplied violin. I had to fix that from my collection of 4 other bows.

February 8, 2016 at 03:05 AM · Congratulations :)

February 8, 2016 at 03:13 AM · Congrats!

February 8, 2016 at 04:10 AM · is this a Maggini copy, or perhaps made in the Maggini style (double purfling)? I just googled a bunch of them and noticed that the backs of quite a few of them were designed.

are you happy with the Dominants? There's a whole world of strings out there, that could (if desired) make as much or more difference to the sound and playability as the new bow.

I would be careful about adding fine tuners, as it will likely change the sound and possibly the feel, to varying degrees. I've got tuner tailpeices on both my fiddles, They came that way, I like them the way they are, and no intention of changing that.

...looks great, congratulations

February 8, 2016 at 05:22 AM · I would guess more of a da Salo than a Maggini. No extra turn in the scroll and all that.

Congrats on your new baby!

February 8, 2016 at 07:04 AM · That looks very nice. I would leave the boxwood fittings on. You will find that you will like them eventually :)

You might try Tonicas for strings ; I prefer them to Dominants on my violins.

February 8, 2016 at 07:21 AM · Nothing wrong with the Dominants with a Gold Label/Hill E (or another good E). But Tonicas are indeed cheaper! I wouldn't take off the Doms until they wear out, at least.

Enjoy your new friend, and keep loving the journey. :) Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm with us.

February 8, 2016 at 08:22 AM · Congratulations! Very nice violin, and I actually like the boxwood fittings.

February 8, 2016 at 02:19 PM · I think the fittings "fit" the violin well.

Not sure which model CR that is, but it's similar to one I have--and I like it. Sometime you should go to the violin shop and just try chin rests--the differences in comfort may astonish you.

CONGRATS.

February 8, 2016 at 03:07 PM · Congrats! Very pretty violin...a da Salo copy moreso than Maggini I would think as well...

February 8, 2016 at 03:44 PM · Thank you all! I’m very excited and can’t wait to see how much this helps my progress. It’s definitely helping me practice! I can’t seem to put her down. :)

I’m not sure who the maker is. The shop I purchased from is owned and operated by a single luthier and his wife, but not all of the instruments he sells were made by him, including this one.

The label on the inside says, “M7 Kruno’s Violin Shop 4/4, Modello Maggini 2015”.

As for my strings, they are what came with it, and what I had on my previous instrument (Dominants with a Pirastro E). I’m not completely dedicated to them, though, and am always willing to experiment a little. I’ll look into Tonicas, and see how I like them. Thanks for the suggestion! :)

I had Obligatos on my viola, but my luthier had some negative feedback about them having a high tendency to unwind. My teacher uses Evah Pirazzi golds, but they're quite pricey and I've seen mixed reviews here...

The fittings are starting to grow on me a little. They definitely suit the violin very well! I'm in no rush to change them, though, so I'm sure I'll get used to them just fine.

My chinrest model might be a Teka? At any rate, I love it so far. It's a bit lower than my Gaurnieri was, but I love that it doesn't have that little hump that goes over the tailpiece. I have a long neck and a bony jaw, so that was just plain uncomfortable.

February 8, 2016 at 03:52 PM · Ha! So it is a Maggini copy! Goes to prove how little I know! :D

February 8, 2016 at 05:01 PM · You're required to purchase and try at least 20 sets of strings.

Violinist.Com is sponsored by the Shar Products Company.

February 8, 2016 at 05:19 PM · One should not dis Shar. They have a gizmo to cure every problem .... real or imagined.

Anyhow, what is more fun than a new violin ???

February 8, 2016 at 09:19 PM · Looks more like a London (see pics on Quinn violin site); there are lots of models with more-or-less over the chin, but left mounted.

worth trying models, esp. if you have ANY chin or balance problems.

February 8, 2016 at 11:55 PM · you can always replace the tailpiece for a wittner with fine tuners. its not very expensive

February 9, 2016 at 12:23 AM · And, CONGRATULATIONS on the new babe!!!!

I'm in the process of looking and trying a few out myself.

February 9, 2016 at 03:41 AM · @Aaron Wildman: I knew about the extra turn on the scroll with Maggini, just forgot about it until you mentioned it. as the label says 'Modello Maggini', it could be just as close to a da Salo for all I know.

@Aaron Zenor: if You're not tired of talking about your new violin just yet... please describe the sound...warm, medium, bright - focused/rich?

as for strings, I think it depends on if you want to take the fiddle in a different direction than it is now. I would not necessarily jump on Tonicas next either, they sound nice, but the mediums are too small gauged for my liking. Lots of things to consider with strings besides they way they sound. Tension and how they play being two important ones imo.

I sincerely hope you don't have to go thru 20 sets as Paul suggests...been there, done that.

February 9, 2016 at 04:42 PM · @ Dave Snow: I'd be happy to, if I could. I'm still quite new at this, though, so a lot of the terms people use to describe the sounds of violins kind of elude me. I don't know what a "warm" or "bright" violin sounds like, and so on. I only know that I like it, and that it's an improvement over what I had.

If I'm comparing it to my old one, a Ricard Bunnel G2, I would say that it's more... expressive? My G2 felt dull, as though it lacked real resonance. My new instrument has a nice, not-too-loud richness to it that I love. It feels like it has more... texture?

In the process of buying, I played a wide range of instruments. One of them was an ornately carved, bright orange fiddle that reminded me of cowboy boots. I immediately rejected it because it had a loud, piercing sound. Not unpleasant, but something I would expect to hear in a country western bar.

Another I played sounded a lot like a viola. It's neck was thicker - possibly part of why it sounded so mellow? That one was gorgeous, and reminded me of soft lullabies. But it didn't project much, so I put it down.

Then another (which had an odd back made of "bird's eye maple" or something like that - reminded me of fire) that I played had a very aggressive, sharp sound that made me think of an epic battle scene.

So I ended up choosing the one I have. It has a sound that reminds me more of the softer parts of a fantasy movie. It projects well enough, but is a bit softer and less edgy than the others I played. The E has a clear, unmuddled sound that makes me think of sweets?

I hope that gives you an idea... As an avid writer, it's easier for me to think in terms of story/theme metaphors.

February 11, 2016 at 05:06 AM · ok, I get the idea from your description and your comparison to the other violins you tried. I prefer a "Less edgy" sound myself. as for projection, unless you are competing with other instruments or projecting to the back of a hall, I think it's better to have a sound that is pleasing under your ear. 'sounds' like you made a good call.

February 12, 2016 at 02:20 AM · Congrats Aaron. Sounds like you made a good choice.

I played a nice antique one for many years and loved it.

But had to send it back to Europe as it could not handle the dry climate here.

Maggini copies often have a bit darker sound, many are slightly

larger than standard size. (length of back often greater than 36 cm)

Here an original Maggini violin:

http://orgs.usd.edu/nmm/Violins/Maggini/3365/Magginiviolin3365.html

That would be well into the 6 figure price range of course if

the museum ever sold it.

Note that it does not have an extra turn in the scroll and is not over size (LOB 35.3 cm).

The common older French and Saxon Maggini copies often do

have an extra turn in the scroll but not all. Not all of them are over size either but the majority I have seen are.

February 12, 2016 at 09:30 PM · Nice fiddle, if you are happy with your new baby, nothing else matters. If you are not happy with the pegs or tuning after a while, you might consider fitting a set of Knilling perfection planetary gear pegs (turn ratio = 4 to 1). Though many if not most players are reluctant to try these, mostly because of tradition, I can assure you they will greatly clean up the appearance of your fiddle since no tailpiece fine tuners are needed. Also, once set up, they eliminate tuning problems completely. They are impervious to changing conditions and simply make tuning much easier. I now automatically fit them to every new fiddle I make. Perhaps the best new innovation in fiddle making to come along in 400 years. If you are a handy guy, read the instructions carefully and fit them yourself (you would likely need a hole reamer to do this). Better still, get someone with experience to do it for you. Preferably someone who has already fitted a few sets and has already experienced all the possible pitfalls involved.

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