Question fiddlers!

Question fiddlers!

Has anyone here in the USA or elsewhere, and particularly about NYC, heard of a voilin shop named Muses Instruments?

I found them while looking at fiddles on EBAY, and they seem to be very nice instruments, partcularly for their price. I was curious as to whether anyone had heard anything about them.

~Pádraig

Re: Question fiddlers!

Well, I’ve spent more time in Flushing than I’d like to admit, but I wasn’t violin shopping at the time. Never heard of ‘em, and so far as I can tell they’re an ebay only outfit.

The fact that their stock is spread out between Flushing, NYC and "United Kingdom" is also curious, pointing, again, to being an ebay only outfit that is rebranding stuff, but will only identify the original brand as an "award winning maker."

What award, from whom? The best cheapass fiddles my brother sells, awarded by his sister?

And all we see are close up pictures of their backs. I’d be hard pressed to classify them as nice instruments from that (you actually can make some judgements about a book by it’s cover, but I’ve never been able to judge a violin by how pretty its back is) and there’s a complete absence of online reviews.

The fact that they also double in "starving artist" type oil paintings of dubious artistic value also makes me a bit dubious myself, but hey, ya never know, they could be top notch deals on really nice instruments.

But you’re buying a pig in a poke. Might turn out to be a cat.

KFG

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Re: Question fiddlers!

Hi Padraig,

The pictures of those violins look like the ones made in Romania by Vasile Gliga. I have a Gliga and my teacher was very impressed with it. He said it had a nice rich tone. They sell on Ebay also but I wouldn’t buy anyting without playing it first. I bought mine used from a newspaper ad so I was able to play it before buying.
Good luck, hope you find what your looking for.
Mary

Re: Question fiddlers!

Ebay is a good way to get ripped off. Granted there are a *few* fiddles on there that are what they claim to be, but most are unplayable crap, with poor materials and manufacture, and nothing resembling a proper setup. Take my word for it. At the very least, even if the fiddle itself is remotely decent, you can expect to pay to have a new bridge, or the stock one recut, pegs properly fitted, you’ll probably need a new soundpost as most of those have poorly cut ones, The fingerboard and nut will probably not be finished properly. You’re better off going through a reputable violin shop that is actually confident in their product to sell retail and is a luthier.

Re: Question fiddlers!

Padriag,

Meemtp is right it’s real easy to get ripped off when buying from Ebay but for those of us who can’t afford what’s typically in a good violin shop or don’t have one in our area another good source is to check whith your local high schools and colleges. Many times the orchestra students are in the process of upgrading their instruments. You don’t have to spend tons of money to get a decent instrument to learn on.
Have fun
Mary

Re: Question fiddlers!

Padriag, step away from the computer….
Seriously, I thought I might go the eBay route when I was trying to replace my fiddle, but rapidly came to the comclusion that I really didn’t want to do that. I watched someone refurbish her $100 instrument she found on eBay; about 6 months and 600 bucks later she had a playable instrument. To h*ll with that…

On the other hand, I was wandering around Portland last year, and on a whim stopped in to Artichoke Music. I spent a pleasant hour test driving different instruments, and chatting with a woman who worked there who knew a thing or two about Irish tunes. I had no intention (really!) of actually buying anthing that day, but I ended up taking home a fiddle. I think I got a great deal.

My point, echoing everyone else here: deal with someone with a face. Antiques Road Show notwithstanding, you generally get what you pay for.

Re: Question fiddlers!

I just spent 2 hours (after work got down) testing fiddles; very good way to spend the afternoon. I knew it was bad when I heard voices that said "this one…this one"

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Re: Question fiddlers!

Hello, First time posting, I am being drawn out from lurkingdom to try and be of some use, as I have gleened so much from all of your postings
(a BIG thank you to all!!) and have enjoyed your back-and-forth camaraderie. I’m so new at fiddling that I don’t even have 2 cents to share. I can finally contribute….yeah!!!
Anyway, I got a wild hair Aug. 2004….decided if I was ever going to play fiddle I best get a move on. So that very day I went to the local music shop rented a fiddle (to see if I’d like it) and signed up for lessons. And….I’m in luuuv
:0)…wish I had started this years ago!
The rental fiddle was worse than bad and they still wanted upwards of $600USD for it! Lucky me, I received a new fiddle for Christmas!

Now, don’t start throwing last years rotten produce my way, cuz I got a Chinese/ebay fiddle….shock…horror, does it get any worse than THOSE 2 words?! ;0). I’m gonna have to save up a whole lot more $$$ to get a nice old one….figured this would do in the meantime, get me out of crappy rental plus the fiddle was pretty inexpensive, as far as fiddles go.

It came from Muses Music in NY. It had a 15 day return policy, so figured didn’t have a lot to lose. If it’d have been a no-go & not passed
the luthiers inspection, would’ve sent it back, been out S&H, & would’ve chalked that one up to experience.

After I received it I took it to my teacher, who is also a luthier and has been playing for many years. He was very impressed, couldn’t believe how much it cost (little, not lot) said if purchased locally would cost several times more.
He also said is was well set up, it required no additional work….bridge, soundpost, pegs, etc. That was a pleasant surprise cuz I figured I’d have to spend more $$ on it to bring it up to par. I can attest for the awesome well fitted pegs, that durned fiddle stays in tune for days….YiiPiii! the rental needed tuned every time I picked it up.
He said too that it had a great sound, and he can really make it SING, I’m not there yet, but man I can’t wait.
Plus, she’s a beaut…a real looker! Decent roomy case & bow too.

The fellow seems pretty straight up too, they had a problem and called our house to inform us (they sent the fiddle that was won to someone else & for their mistake upgraded to the higher level fiddle & sent it overnight…which is NO small deal…to Alaska, I’m sure that put them out a pretty penny!)
I wouldn’t hesitate to deal with them again.
And no, I don’t know these people, never met ‘em, I’m just a half froze Alaskan tryin to get a decent sound out of my fiddle and I’m coming right along *thinking positive, fingers crossed*

If you have any other Q’s about this I’ll be happy to relate to you what I know about the fiddle or transaction. All in all I’d say a lot of fiddle for the money …what am I saying…it was a gift…anyway….
Lucky me…no pig in a poke here….it turned out all right
CHF

Re: Question fiddlers!

What fun, AKrose! There’s nothing quite like playing The Fiddle With Your Name On It after sawing away on a marginal rental instrument for a while. How long was it before you could stop playing the new one and resume normal life? :)

It isn’t easy finding instruments to test drive when you live in the boondocks.

Re: Question fiddlers!

I am with AKrose on this one. I bought a fiddle on ebay- 50 whole bucks- for my daughter who is taking lessons as a second instrument through our local Irish music school. I really didn’t feel like renting an instrument for her, and it wasn’t working out with her playing mine.

It is a Fritz Helmke, and I have actually taken it over at this point! It has a great full sound. It came with a bow that was better than mine, a set of strings, rosin, a pretty nice case, and the violin itself not only looks nice but sounds nice as well. I was really hesitant about buying a violin without playing it, but, for $80 (including shipping) I took a chance and it worked out!

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Re: Question fiddlers!

Well, I do have a few questions about da fiddle itself…

foistly ( ;) ) what was the tone like, if you could describe it… like if it was light and clear, or dark, or what not. Also, have you put new strings on it, and did that change the tone in a certain way?

Re: Question fiddlers!

Batlady,
Ha Ha!! Hee Hee!! That’s funny….I didn’t know that life would return to normal….does it ever? That fiddle gets me into so much trouble. I’m suppose to be doin’ this & suppose to doin’ that, but all I do is play my fiddle! Yeah, living in the boonies, we don’t have much selection.

Padraig….I’m new to fiddling & am not sure what you mean by "light, clear or dark". I will try to remember to ask my teacher how he would describe the sound/tone & let you know. I have not changed the strings or anything else with the exception of adding 3 fine tuners, there was only 1 on the E string. After my teacher/luthier played it I asked him if it needed anything….nope, he felt it was fine the way it was & he was even pleasantly suprised at the decent set up.

Re: Question fiddlers!

I must confess, after a long period of hesitation I finally ended up buying a uses Instrument chinese fiddle on E-bay.

It costed med 200 GBP and was shipped from the U.S. to Sweden in three days.

The fiddle was a beautiful peace of instrument with nice sound. However I decided to bring it to my fiddle "doctor" who two years ago did a great job on the fiddle I’ve had for several years (a handmade Swedish fiddle from 1930).

My fiddle doctor had a closer look at my new fiddle and couldn’t believe I got it so cheap on E-bay (would definitely not buy anything on E-bay himself). He said that he had some professional clients that play Chinese violins and that some of the absolutely top class violins he overhauled are Chinese.

He said that my new Chinese fiddle was definitely among the top class ones and that he’d figure it would cost at least five times what I paid.

He made a new setup and changed to a set of Pirastro strings and the fiddle now sounds marvellous. Easy to play with a rich full warm sound in the whole register.

All in all, the price of the fiddle plus shipping cost and the cost for the setup gave me a terriffic violin for 300 GBP!

I can’t stop playing on it. It enen outclasses my old fiddle who actually costed the double compared to what I paid for my Chinese one.

I can strongly recommend Muses Instruments!

// Lars in Sweden