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I feel very lucky to have a decent fiddle to play. My granddad played a bit and had 2 fiddles. My dad gave my uncle his choice, and he took the one in better condition. My dad gave me the one he ended up with. I packed it away, in a manner I thought would protect it until I could get it repaired - WRONG! When I unpacked it, it was in pieces. To say I was heartbroken is a total understatement. I also knew how much it would upset my dad to find out the fiddle had been ruined. Another long story, but the short version is, it has been repaired. My granddad was a poor man -so I was surprised when the lutier (sp?) said it was actually a pretty nice fiddle. Hand made in 1906... I think the one my uncle took was a Sears & Roebuck special 😉
Nice story. Hope to see the second part of this story!
I just traded my last banjo for another fiddle.
The fiddle that came my way as the result of this trade was built by James Reed in 2011. James was the son of the fiddler Henry Reed, who Alan Jabbour had so painstakingly recorded in North Carolina in the mid-1960s.
Alan transcribed Reeds tunes, and taught many of them to, the Hollow Rock String Band - The band members: Alan (on fiddle), Tommy Thompson (on banjo), Tommy's first wife Bobbie (on guitar) and Bertram Levy (on mandolin).
Having just finished writing a book on Tommy Thompson that focused closely on the old time music community that coalesced around Tommy and Bobbie Thompson's weekly jams at their Randolph Road home, I liked the connectedness of this fiddle that ran from Reed's son to Alan, from Alan to Tommy and the band.
This fiddle is louder, more balanced, and easier to play than my first upgrade to a 1911 Wilhelm Durer . . . not too long ago.
Some pics attached. (Well, maybe . . .)
My primary fiddle is one I bought many years ago from fiddler Gerry Milnes in Sutton, WV. It is one of those many German student fiddles from the 1920's that remain in circulation today. It is scratched up a bit (read a lot) but sounds so sweet to me. The German student fiddles were well made for the most part and though not concert quality they sound great for OT music, in my humble opinion, especially if you just play in jams. My old fiddle (pushing 100 years old) is like an inexpensive bottle of wine. After the first glass it tastes just fine but watch out cause it will get you high.