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 Post subject: Fiddle for a Beginner
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2005 7:48 pm 
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Location: Belfast to Brazil,and now Galway.
I have been toying with the idea of taking up the fiddle for a while now,and was wondering what would be a good fiddle to start off with,are the ones sold on e bay for about £80 (sterling) any good or just a waste of money.
thank's.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2005 8:32 pm 
Whistling Willie wrote:
I have been toying with the idea of taking up the fiddle for a while now,and was wondering what would be a good fiddle to start off with,are the ones sold on e bay for about £80 (sterling) any good or just a waste of money.
thank's.


You gets what you pays for!

A bad fiddle will hold you up for years trying to take a good sound out of it!

I swear by Romanian made Violins, I have tried a bunch and never found a bad one. Had on loan a Romanian student model for several years, it has a thin but comical sound to it, and not a bad note anywhere to be found including the screeching A which is common on low end models.

Would pay you to rent for a while, and later when you have both a teacher and some lessons under your belt you'll have a better idea of what you really want.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 3:41 am 
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It all depends on how much you can pay. I'd recommend not buying any of those Chinese fiddles if you want it to sound ok. Those are very squeaky and have a very sharp tone, I thought mine was good until I got another one, a German fiddle, after that my Chinese fiddle just hangs on the wall.
German fiddles are great but I guess there are other good ones too. There are some Czech fiddles in fancy colors, those seem to be good too.
Remember, a good fiddle will make you enjoy your playing much more. But, if you can't pay much, get one that is at least easy to play (low string action etc).

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 8:18 pm 
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Set up is really important on fiddles, so for that reason alone I'd go slow on buying one via an on-line auction. Buying or renting locally would make it easier to have the instrument checked out occasionally. I'd second the notion of renting, especially if you can find a dealer who really knows violins (not just a supplier for beginning students); sometimes the rental agreement will allow you to put all or part of what you paid toward the purchase of an instrument down the line.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 9:22 pm 
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Location: Belfast to Brazil,and now Galway.
Thank's for the replys,in your opinions what would be a fair price for a beginners fiddle.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 5:59 am 
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You can get a Gems 2 Gliga violin outfit from Elida trading for £250. I've bought three instruments from them over the past couple of years, and always been very happy with both their service and the instruments, which I play daily.

Gilga instruments are made in Romania, you can read about them on the Elida Trading website here:

Elida Trading

No need to spend more than that on your first violin unless you want to, but it'd be ten times better than one of the £80 e-Bay jobbies.

If you can't afford that, the Genials are cheaper and still good beginner instruments, but obviously you get what you pay for.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:00 pm 
I would not buy a beginner's fiddle! Instead I would rent until good enough to judge which is the best.

But if you must own then today's basic Chinese - esp pearwood - models are around $100. Pearwood BTW is very sweet but not loud. In that case I recommend Stentor Music Co. who's work is, IMHO, excellent! and who's Violins very very rarely dissapoint.

If OTOH you want a bit of character and Maplewood then any Romanian Student would be very rewarding ...If so please play in with slow tunes since these instruments bloom well with the least bit of care.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 9:22 pm 
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Southwest Strings in Tucson, Arizona is a large string dealer.
http://www.swstrings.com/Store/Shopping ... nstruments
I recommend that you request one of their catalogues. They carry a full range of violins from all over the world.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 10:26 am 
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Don't write off Chinese fiddles. There are some very fine makers there who don't charge much by Western standards (as we have come to expect). You can pay more than 1500 sterling for a really good one. They don't always sign the instruments - perhaps a legacy of earlier times - but that doesn't affect the tone and workmanship.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 3:06 pm 
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Hi Willie!

I know a piper on the board that is selling his German fiddle (1988) for a very reasonable price, a little more than 200 EUR. He has not yet put it up on Ebay so you might have a chance to get it before he does.
I have heard this fiddle a few times and it has a very nice and rich tone.
I also know he is going over to Ireland in mid october and you might be able to talk him into bring it over so you can try it out.

If I needed another fiddle I would buy it myself.

Send me a PM or mail and I'll reply with some contact info.

Here is a photo of it:
Image
Click thumb to enlarge!
/MarcusR

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 3:52 pm 
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Thank's for all the response guy's,a few options to consider now.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 5:47 am 
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I'm definitely no pro, but I've seen some inexpensive Chinese fiddles which played pretty darn well. The trick was that they were set up by a local violin repair shop. Think of it as tweaking a Generation whistle...

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 12:20 pm 
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Just a quick note here, as I posted in reply on the Fiddlers Roll Call thread, about good starter instruments and Ebay.

You can spend less on an violin and still get something serviceable to start on, but it's very hard to tell how good they are from the pictures (on Ebay). All solid woods is definitely an indication. I used to set up some inexpensive imports, and they were amazingly good sounding and not bad looking for the money. I believe the model was the Palatino VN-450, and I just did a search and came up with $89,+ship, which came out to +17, or $106 to my zip. Hard to beat that, for a quality beginner package. Here's the link:

http://shopping.comcast.net/search_getp ... d=11246277

You can upgrade by putting better strings on, and getting a new bow, or a basic set up (fitted quality bridge, soundpost adjustment), but for starters, they are very good-much better than my first fiddle back in 1977! Which, by the way, I quickly got rid of, at a little loss, so I could get something that sounded better. So the cheapest isn't always best, and neither is the most expensive. Most of the time you get what you pay for, up to a certain point.

Good luck-it's a lot of fun, and it's challenging, but it just takes some time to get the hang of it. So, it's worth the effort if you love the sound of the fiddle!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 6:34 am 
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hey.

sorry took so long to post. you should try danny donnolly for fiddles. he's from dungannon. our family's bought some great fiddles from him over the years and he's got a fairly big range of stuff.

i'll be in monaghan over the weekend and i'll fish out his number for you. i think you'd be much better off buying from someone like this than online or even in a shop as the cheap stuff in shops is, well, cheap. danny has inexpensive fiddles that are good.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 6:37 am 
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oh also you could get in touch with the brady family in belfast. edel and christine and another couple of them play fiddle. they could point you in the right direction too.

if you need either brady's or danny's number get back to me.

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