buying a fiddle

buying a fiddle

hi everyone. my name is rob and i really want to get started on fiddle. can anyone suggest a good place i the U.S. to get a fiddle outfit for around $200? i’d prefer it to be not too far from NY. any advice for a beginner would be helpful too. thanks-
rob

Re: buying a fiddle

I just bought a fiddle in an antique shop in Bouckville NY—that’s just north of Hamilton and east of Morrisville. I paid $200—I got it as a beater fiddle and for my partner to learn on. The shop is in the old train station and is called the Depot Antiques. The shop has a bunch of other fiddles, some starting in that price range. It’s a bit of a drive, but it’s pretty and the flood waters have receded.

Re: buying a fiddle

You could also consider rental. This is what I did to start for three months. At the end of that time I was pretty sure that fiddle was for me and spent some bigger money on one. Places like Johnson String Instruments http://www.johnsonstring.com/ can do something over the phone and ship to you. 12 months is $216 including insurance but $156 of that can be applied to a purchase of an instrument later on.

Re: buying a fiddle

I’ll second the suggestion of Johnson’s for renting or buying an instrument.

As to actually learning the fiddle, I’m not sure what to start you on, but once you know the basics, Matt Cranitch’s book on fiddling is very good. It’s better to find a teacher for fiddling, though; it’s not the same learning from a book.

Finally, listen to all the fiddle music you can—live or recorded, especially tunes you’re familiar with. Hearing the way different people play the same tune can give you ideas on how you want to play it.

Re: buying a fiddle

Here’s a third for rent-to-own.

Nearly every city in the US has at least one music shop that supplies the local school orchestras and music programs. Most of them have a rent-to-own policy that isn’t a rip-off.

The best thing about rent-to-own — aside from the lower initial cost, or course — is that, in most cases, if you get a fiddle you aren’t connecting with or don’t like for some other reason, you can exchange it for another one. Even among inexpensive, factory-made, mass-produced, student-model fiddles, some will be good and some will be bad.

I got lucky, and love the tone and reliability of the one I rented to own! I’ve had it about seven years now and it’s been great!

Most of these sorts of shops will also let you upgrade to a better instrument during the rental period if that’s your desire.

As far as learning the thing goes, listen to as much as you can. There’s TONS on on-line resources for fiddle/ITM. You might want to check around your area to see if there’s a fiddler who gives lessons; a couple of lessons at the beginning to teach good posture and basic technique will give a satisfactory foundation for learning on your own.

Also, check out http://worldfiddlemusic.co.uk/ … that’s a good site to help explain a lot of trad. music fiddling techniques….

Re: buying a fiddle

thanks- i actually got a fiddle the day after i posted this. i found one at a flea market for $65. luckily a woman in my pipe class at Catskills Irish Arts Week is a fiddler, and she said it’s good to start on. thanks for your help!