You rarely see a pretty fiddle
Why’s that then?
Some instruments are found in all stages from plain to ludicrously ornate. Mandolins for instance - I have one Fylde Touchstone which is tastefully elegant (i.e. plain but in nice wood), and one old Stripy Romanian which is just a little decorative (stripy back and flower motif by the sound hole), but you see some really scary ones which you fully expect to light up at night, or at least glow in the dark, and you wouldnt feel safe left alone with. A guy turned up at our session with a mandolin which looked to have been made from a fossilised pumpkin, and he assured us it had real gold on the metal bits. Sounded just like any other reasonable mando.
The same happens with Banjos and Bodhrans and Melodeons and Guitars. Gold! Mother of Pearl! Abalone Stars on the Fingerboard! Real Diamond encrusted Tailpiece!
But you rarely see a decorated fiddle. I came across one in Derby with a picture in marquetry on the back, and inlaid patterning round the front, but for the most part the only difference in appearance from one fiddle to the next is the shade of brown and the level of dirt or cleanliness.
Are fiddlers / fiddlemakers less flamboyant? Is there a strict code whereby the brotherhood of fiddlebuilders will kneecap anyone who paints serpents or naked ladies on a fiddle? What’s the answer?