Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

I am looking to upgrade my fiddle and am wondering if I should get a wooden one(Acoustic) or A carbon fiber one(Also acoustic). I am unsure because both seem to have there advantages and disadvantages. I have a couple of grand to spend and have been looking at the Yamaha YVN 200s (Wood £5896) and the Luis and Clark Carbon fiber violin (£4476.68 right now but may change). On the luis and clark website what do they mean by free delivery in contenental us. Would it post To the uk.

Thanks

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

Wood. Search for something you like, buy it, and take care of it. I’ve dragged my grandfathers fiddle (middle 1800’s) through some pretty severe environments (Saudi Arabia, Minnesota) and it’s held up rather well. Face it, the market for acoustic guitars is much greater than for violins and although carbon fiber or composite guitars are available they are still a blip when it comes to total production. Luthiers know how to build, and rebuild instruments that have been negatively effected by the climate. We’ve also learned how to take care of wood instruments that have to deal with harsh climates. Having said that, if your sound concept is best served by a composite instrument then by all means buy one.

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

Free delivery in continental US means exactly that: if you live in mainland America they’ll post it to you free. The UK isn’t in America, so you’ll have to pay shipping, which probably isn’t a deal breaker if you’re willing to spend £5k on a fiddle, and VAT which might be.

Wood or carbon? Personal choice. If I had that sort of money to spend I wouldn’t be looking at either carbon fibre or Yamaha, and I certainly wouldn’t be trying to make the choice by asking on the internet and buying blind. You need to play the instruments you’re interested in side by side.

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

Something else. If you had a wood fiddle would you be able to change it into a 5 string without to much bother or to high a price because i know that my local music shop has already offered to change (If i get it)The carbon fiber fiddle into a five string and it wouldn’t cost to much AS LONG AS I get it with them (Yes they do have one in stock right now but it is about £300 more expensive. I have tried it out and i really liked the feel to it but I still thought that the yamaha might be a contender.

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

You should absolutely NOT modify a 4 string into a 5 string. The construction is different, and your "5-string" would be a $5000 junker. If you want a 5-string, get a 5-string. Period.

If your local shop has what you want and you like it, get it. 300 pounds is nothing in the violin world. If you import an instrument into the UK, it is my understanding that you have to pay 20% VAT. Would you rather pay 20% of 5k to import one, or just pay 300 pounds AND get it today? Easy choice, in my book.

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Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

Wood definitely. For the kind of money you’re willing to spend you should be able to get a really nice instrument in or around the UK.

If you’re interested in 5 strings go for a maker that has a reputation for that type of instrument, they require different dimensions. I’ve heard a couple 4 to 5 string "conversions" and the low string was disappointing .

A quick search through some Irish classifieds shows this for example; http://www.adverts.ie/violins/tim-phillips-5-string-violin/10476609

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

All you will get here is other peoples opinions and you finally have to make up your own mind. All the same, my own opinion is in agreement with Mark M;- If you have that kind of money, why would you be thinking Yamaha? Also, I don’t know why you’d want to be shopping overseas or buying something that you haven’t tried. The thing would be to get out there and try out as many instruments as possible, and go home with the one you are delighted with (not necessarily new).

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Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

>>"You should absolutely NOT modify a 4 string into a 5 string. The construction is different, and your "5-string" would be a $5000 junker. If you want a 5-string, get a 5-string. Period. "

I interpreted that as meaning the shop would take it back in exchange for a 5 string model.

One other thing the OP should consider is re-sale value. In that price range a fiddle from a named European maker will be an investment that holds it’s value or goes up if his instruments become fashionable. Anything out of a factory will drop in value the moment it leaves the showroom, and keep on dropping.

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

One other thing to consider is the different technique required for a 5-string (if you understand this, read no further) …

The bowing plane is quite different than on a 4-string, the neck is a bit wider, the strings are a bit closer together, and there’s less freedom of bow movement on the G string.

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

If you’re going to pay that much for a fiddle, don’t go Yamaha. There are plenty of master makers who could make a far better instrument for that price, or less. I paid $4400 for my 5 string which I’ll link here:

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1267301966652015&id=120337168015173

Otis Tomas is a maker I would recommend, he finished within 2 months and included shipping with the cost, a standard instrument would be much less than $4400. He sources all of his wood from Cape Breton, and he’s a Canadian(ish) so that’s a selling point for me anyway. A few other makers I’m sure you could locate in England, Scotland or Ireland which you could meet, try their instruments and then see what you like.

Mick De Hoog(made Kevin Burke’s fiddle) is a wonderful maker who lives in Dublin, he might be a good choice as well.

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

If you have not figured out whether you want a 4 or 5 string instrument, you might start right there. 5 string violins are a compromise. A bastard if you like. Either the strings are too close or the neck is too wide. How often are you going to be using the C string? Buy a cheap Chinese 5 string and see if you really want to play like that. A carbon fibre fiddle will be great in extreme climates, but I just cannot imagine desiring its tone.
If I really wanted to buy a violin, I would go to a city where there were a number of reputable dealers, and take a few days to go through their inventory at the level I could afford.

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

You might want to listen to some of Royce Burt’s YouTube videos of him playing some of the fiddles he has for sale.

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

Now you have given me too much choice. The 5star performers look good and I will try to find out more about them.

Thank you all so much

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

@Jamie Clarke - the 5Stars are very good. The body is a little bit bigger to allow the C string to breathe. They have a warm, rich tone.

@Fidele Barnia : ["5 string violins are a compromise. A bastard if you like." ]

If that’s your experience, you must have played some real dogs!

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

I’m quite interested in carbon fibre fiddles myself. I’ve never had the opportunity to play one but I’ve heard good things. That being said, I just couldn’t see myself spending that sort of money on one. I mean I know it’s not a cheap material and probably the manufacturing process is pricey too, but neither are seasoned tonewoods or the skilled labour needed to carve them. I expect in a few years time there will be more companies producing them and they’ll be challenging low to mid price wooden fiddles, just like carbon fibre bows. But that hasn’t happened yet.
When you can buy a decent carbon fibre fiddle for six hundred, eight hundred, even a thousand euro, I will probably want one. In the meantime they cost thousands, which means you’re balancing up what might be a consistently decent factory fiddle against a handcrafted one, probably made from fantastic materials by someone with years of experience.
That’s just my perspective though. And like I said I’ve never played on one.

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

I just wonder if carbon fiber fiddles are or will become…a fad.

No? Then I’ll wait to hear one that actually sounds better than its wooden equivalent. Not the same - better. Noticeably better.

I don’t care if it stays in tune better or doesn’t break if you throw it at the guitarist and he throws it back. It needs to sound noticeably better.

Secondarily, it would need to prove its value over the years, when it will no doubt be upstaged by newer or prettier or, God forbid, "smarter" shiny things.

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Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

I can’t imagine why carbon fibre fiddles would improve in value over the years. I also can’t understand why they cost as much as they do in the first place. I once considered one ($3000+ Aus) because I was thinking of going plug-in electric, just to play other genre’s, but it was pig ugly. and acoustically… Well I reckon you can buy a decent training violin that makes a better sound. .

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Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

Well, you’d have to actually play one to find out. Preferably blindfolded. I did 🙂

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

Sorry for being "sucked into this" but a fiddle is a four stringed instrument, made of wood, period!! (No matter what it "sounds" like!) 🙂

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

" a fiddle is a four stringed instrument, made of wood, period!!"

Is that in trad police rulebook? 😉

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Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

And what did you think Jim? What did it sound like? Like a similarly priced wooden one? Different but in an interesting way? Richer? More focussed? Better? Worse? I’d be genuinely interested to hear what you thought of it.

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

outwesht, I thought the tone was very good. Resonant, rich, very even and quite warm too.

Very, very responsive, more so than many much more expensive wooden instruments, and good in the higher register too. No wolf notes whatsoever. The only thing I couldn’t really know was how well it would project eg, in a large hall. It sounded pretty loud under the chin, but that says nothing about projection.

Was it better that a wooden one? To be honest, there wasn’t anything specific about the tone that was ‘non-wooden’. There’s a huge variety of tonal differences between wood violins anyway.

The one thing I did notice was the volume seemed to be be quite even and consistent all over the pitch range from open G to about 1760 Hz (2 octaves above open A). It was missing the ‘devil spike’ that many wood violins have on the B note of the A string.

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

Interesting! I wish there was a shop around here where I could try one out.

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

Otis Thomas is good but you won’t do better than Jay Haide violins for the price and the sound. There are several ranges. They are simply outstanding.

Try the Sound Post in Toronto. They sell them for same price as U.S. distributor [assembled in California]. They are not "cheap" Chinese violins…they are high end quality in every sense. But saying that, I would go for their mid range fiddles or higher….better bridges, pegs, finish etc. And improvment in sound too.

link here:

https://www.thesoundpost.com/

The Sound Post ships worldwide also.

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

Otis Thomas builds his own fiddles, unlike Jay Haide.

I played a friend’s and it was very nice.

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Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

If you frequent Folk Festivals in Scotland or England, you will find that many top suppliers of fiddles exhibit at them. It may be to your advantage to have a look at such events.

Re: Wood Fiddle or Carbon Fiber fiddle?

I purchased a 5-string Carbon Fiber fiddle last year from www.elixirviolins.com. I like it a lot. It is very loud and sometimes I have to wear protection in my left ear when playing for long stretches. Living in Florida, I can leave it in a hot car without any worries. I can’t do that with my wood violins.