Buying a Good Fiddle at a Violin Shop
We had good conversation as she was showing her shop. I had to put my foot down on my ego and ask for patience. In due course of time she showed the violins she had available. I had already mentioned that the last fiddle I got, the five string, was 1500 bucks. That may have influenced her choice of offerings.
I described the tone that I liked in a violin as strong in the lower strings, rich and sonorous. (Just hand over the Guarneri and we’ll all be happy.) She pointed out three candidates and left me to go at it. In a short time I selected the winner. Then, I played one more for Alison because it had a very interesting varnish. Lots of highlights including some green in there.
Choose the Best Violin of the Group
They were all good. I ended up getting the violin that had the strongest sound on the G and D especially, that being a major criteria for me. It has a one piece back, another desirable quality, because I don’t have one. The provenance is Chinese. She apparently gets many instruments this way. I think her vendors just bring them in and let her choose which ones she keeps in the shop.
Her shop is a new space, much bigger than the old shop. A work in progress, obviously. She just took out part of a wall in the front room to make a large window. Instruments are only loosely organized. But it was all quite adequate for my playing a few violins. (I think I tried four.)
We put together a package that included the bow, rosin and the case. I had brought my Kun Voce shoulder rest along so I didn’t need that. She also got a commitment from me to seriously consider buying the package. I was good with that. I liked the violin, and case was a sports car. Easy commitment.
The Cranky Violin Bow
As the days of the vacation went by I noticed the bow was misbehaving badly. The violin simply did not like the bow. It never seemed to have the right amount of rosin.
Getting back to Corvallis I was back at her violin shop for two reasons. I asked her to lower the action of the strings at the nut, and asked for an alternative on the bow. She brought out a very interesting looking bow. The wood was one I had never heard of, ipe wood. The frog was made of bone!
The fiddle liked the bow very much, thank you. This was another lesson for me about matching bows and violins. Some go together better than others.