my fiddle is sick
December 18, 2017 at 11:57 am #14890
Yikes, I can’t practice. I think my instrument has a loose seam, but I’m really not sure. It sounds bad in a vague way and sometimes has a horrible buzzing noise. So, I’ve got to find a place to give me an estimate on repair, decide whether it’s worth repairing or not (the value of the violin is probably pretty low) and maybe figure out how to buy a new/used violin. Vary daunting. If anyone on the forums has any advice, I’d sure appreciate it.
December 19, 2017 at 5:19 am #14893RichardParticipant
A luthier friend showed me how to check the joints between top and side and bottom and side. on the top surface close to the edge go around knocking with your knuckle. if the fiddle has become unglued at certain points you will hear the difference in sound. Do the same around the bottom edges. Armed with this knowledge you can show a luthier what is wrong and he/she can give you an estimate for fixing.
The other thing I would recommend is to not rush when buying a new or used fiddle. You need to be sure the sound is right for you. I learned this lesson from experience! 🙁
December 20, 2017 at 4:40 pm #14925
Thanks Richard! I’m pretty certain now that it’s a loose seam. It gets sort of higher pitched and rattly around the chin rest when I do the knock test. I have two places that said they’ll give me an estimate w/o bench fee and it looks like it will cost around $100 if I’m correct. My violin might not even be worth that much, but it’ll give me time to not rush buying a replacement, so I think that’s where I’m headed. It feels a little decadent to spend cash money on an instrument when I’m not talented at all, but I love playing so well, and it is my savings account after all, so I’m going for it!
January 4, 2018 at 4:31 pm #15341MaximusVonCParticipant
Saw your post here and Richard gave you excellent advice to find any seam problems, but I thought I would help out with the aftermath. Firstly, I would say to you that it is not a decadence to spend on a beginner instrument. From what I can tell from my researching, you are almost guaranteed a clunker if you buy a violin for less than $150 USD. Beginner violins from reputable brands seem to hover around the $250-$300 mark, brand new and that is just the entry point. It is a “darn shame” that you have run into a problem so early on, and it is up to you to decide if repair or replacement is the worthwhile option. I only wish to impart this small bit of information to you: If you don’t love your violin, you won’t LIKE practicing on it.
I was fortunate, I worked a ton of overtime and had 2 fat paychecks about a month before I said “I really want to do this” (I was considering the Cello for about 8 years before I bought an instrument, decided on violin instead because of the costs and my love of Irish folk music). I bought a second hand student violin for around $450, it retails at $700-800 new, sounds great (With a few wolf tones on the G and D strings if I play them hard and some “Tinny” notes on the E if I don’t press my fingers down- but to be honest- I love the Wolf tone resonance, so I don’t mind)
I’m not really helping yet, am I? This is the crux of my point- Go to 3 or 4 musical instrument shops (No need for a luthier/Violin shop if you don’t have them close by). Look around for a student instrument with little to no rosin on the bows, or a cheapish one that has been played awhile. (In my small city, I was able to find about 1-3 instruments per shop, but I looked for about 2 months before settling on an instrument I connected with). This allows you to get a Very Good student violin for less than retail, and you can upgrade within a year or so. Right now I would dare to say that you should not be looking for the best, but the best you can afford. If a $100 repair fee is more than half of what the violin cost you, then ditch it for a new one. If you can persuade the music shop to give you a professional tune up on a second hand violin you come across, then you are way ahead of where you started.
In any case, I hope you do well this New Year, and I hope that you find an instrument that calls you to play it- even if you only give it “Ode To Joy” for the first month, that is still something, and the 2 of you can pull more music out and make it yours.
January 26, 2018 at 3:35 pm #15800
Max, that was very helpful. I did give the local shop the go-ahead on a $100 estimate to fix my loose seam. I actually kinda like that fiddle, but I do know it’s a cheapy and not well regarded. It’s a Seidel, early 80s, apparently what most of the 4th graders in the early 80s were playing! I’m still (probably) going to spring for a new one. I’ve already played a few used instruments, and, once I get the old one back, I plan to bring it along whenever I test a new/new-used so that I can compare. I keep a savings account that’s meant for emergencies and, while wanting a new fiddle is hardly that, I think I could stretch a point to get my hands on something in the $500-$700 range. Meanwhile, I’m waiting to get my old Seidel back, and hoping it’ll be good enough for a middle-aged lady with no talent!
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