Deciding on a New Fiddle

So, I’ve decided I want to buy a second fiddle, but I can’t make up my mind which one to buy. I have a few reasons why I want a second fiddle and, of course, I will buy it from the Fiddlershop, but which one to get? Will it be the Master? Will it be the Artist? Will it be the Concert?

First, let me sketch out why I want a new fiddle. I currently own a Fiddleman Concert violin. It is beautiful and has great sound. In fact, I probably didn’t even need to buy the Concert as my first fiddle. I could have gotten away with a less expensive fiddle to begin learning on, and was considering the OB1 or Apprentice, the lower end fiddles in the Fiddlerman line of six fiddles, but I went with the mid-range Concert.

If you are not familiar with the Fiddlerman line of violins, there are six, and they range from lower end to higher end in this order: OB1, Apprentice, Concert, Artist, Master, and Soloist. The first four are considered beginner fiddles, and the last two are considered intermediate fiddles. I won’t go into pricing as pricing depends on how one accessorizes the choice of purchase.

The main reason I want to buy a second fiddle has to do with finger tapes. If you have been following my blog, you know that I vacillate between using them and not using them. Finger tapes are great for learning a tune, especially for a beginner like me, but they are also a hindrance. Once a tune is learned, the tapes are a distraction to my eyes and brain. In other words, now that the mechanics of a tune are learned, it is time to ascend to making the tune sound beautiful and natural, but it becomes difficult to do so when every time I look down, I see those tapes! It’s like having a dead bug in your direct line of sight on your windshield when driving. I can’t help but stare at them, and playing with my eyes closed or looking away from my fiddle introduces a host of other problems. Rather than internalizing and improving the tune, I start working the tapes again! And, the task of applying and removing tapes every time I start working on a new tune is not an option. I know some day in the future, I will not need finger tapes at all, but for right now this is not the case.

I also want a second fiddle as a back up incase anything ever happens to the only one I own now and it has to go to the fiddle doctor for repairs. I want a second fiddle that can be my special fiddle, not my work fiddle, one I can baby and treat with kid gloves. These reason are not uncommon amongst players.

Now, back to which fiddle to choose.

Oh, that Master, what a beautiful instrument with it’s one piece back and rich, dark, mellow sounds. It is a fiddle any fiddler could be very proud of, a forever fiddle for sure. However, it is the most expensive of the three, and is fitted with only one fine tuner. I don’t know if I want to spend that much money at this point, and I know I don’t want to get into peg tuning at this point. I could have it fitted with a carbon fiber tail piece with four fine tuners, but for me that smacks of buying an Mercedes and having it fitted with a Chevy bumper. Just listen to the Master play the Master…

The Artist is the mid range of the three I am considering. Also a fine instrument with great sound, but after listening to the Fiddlerman comparison video of the Artist and Concert Fiddles, I failed the Mystery Test towards the second half of this video.

So, if I failed the Mystery Test, why am I considering the Artist? It’s because it seems buying a second fiddle should be an upgrade over the first. But, if my main reason for buying a second fiddle is to have my cake and eat it too, be able to easily have finger tapes to learn a tune, and no finger tapes to develop my playing of a tune, why am I spending more money? The Concert fiddle is not shabby. In fact, I have a number of compliments on it for both it’s beauty and sound since purchasing it earlier this year. And, if my real objective is to improve my playing, I can always look forward to the treat of buying a third fiddle, my forever fiddle, at later time. Sure, I could buy the Master fiddle right now, have my forever fiddle now, but I think this decision would be driven more by my lack of impulse control and a natural craving to have the best.

So, as of this writing, I am thinking of buying another Concert fiddle, but, hey, that doesn’t mean I won’t change my mind in five minutes. I’ve already changed it a number of times while writing this blog post! I’m going to drive Christina in Customer Service at the Fiddlershop crazy! Decisions, decisions, decisions. I’ll be sure to let you know which one I settle on.

See my follow up post, Deciding on a New Fiddle. And, the Winner is…

  9 comments for “Deciding on a New Fiddle

  1. Steve Srader
    October 15, 2019 at 9:42 am

    I have Four fiddles each one better than the last , The first three have been pretty much been left behind and have not been played much ! So to each their own , But I can’t help but play the violin that sounds the best !

    • October 15, 2019 at 6:31 pm

      I’m sure that will be the same with me with this new fiddle…and ones to follow.

  2. old cowboy
    October 13, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    I bought the Fiddleman Master in December of last year. It is everything he said it was and more! Beautiful instrument and great sound. You can get it with fine tuners on all strings if that is what you want. I get pleasure just looking at it!

    • October 13, 2019 at 10:52 pm

      Yes, the Master is a gorgeous instrument in both looks and sound. Do you have fine tuners on all strings?

  3. Susan Call Hutchison
    October 12, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    This is such a FUN problem to have! I waited 15 months from my first fiddle until I bought my dream instrument just last month. I listened to EVERY video on Fiddlershop, several times. I considered each of the violins in your line up – and I was offered a really good deal from another shop – but it wasn’t for my dream violin: The Holstein Ole Bull, from Fiddlershop. I didn’t know if I could justify paying as much as it cost, but I was happy to hold off until I had saved enough money for it. Then, in September, Fiddlershop had a sale, and I jumped on the discount. I absolutely love my fiddle. So my advice is to toss that coin, and if you feel “hope” while it’s up in the air or “disappointment” when it comes down, hold out for the fiddle that you know will make you happy.

    • October 12, 2019 at 5:49 pm

      The Holstein Ole Bull is a great violin. You must be so happy. I’m thinking this fiddle purchase might not be the one that makes me happy, as the one I need to purchase at this point to help me move forward. The one that will really make me happy will be my third purchase from Fiddlershop.

  4. October 11, 2019 at 11:49 am

    This is a hard choice, to be certain. I’ve spent months going back and forth, thinking over this very question, looking at different fiddles. Then, I finally just decided to get what I knew I wanted for the long run.

    You know where I went, but that’s because I knew I loved the Master the moment I heard it. I did balk at spending the kind of money I did. However, I have a bad habit of shopping for fiddles (out of curiosity) when I really don’t need a new one. My hope is that getting the one that sounds and feels (size wise) best to me, I’ll stop the shopping around and daydreaming of spending even more money. We’ll see if that works!

    In the end, ALL of these fiddles sound great, and it just comes down to what calls to you and the kind of fiddle you want to afford. You really can’t go wrong with any from Fiddlerman, and I’m sure they’ll do what they can to give you exactly what you love. Let us know what you choose – shopping can be fun if you let it. 🙂

    • October 11, 2019 at 12:35 pm

      Today, when I was searching for that image I posted at the bottom of this blog post, I saw a meme that had a person flipping a coin, and the text read: When you can’t decide, flip a coin. While it is in the air, you’ll know what you really want.

      • October 11, 2019 at 1:04 pm

        Hah! That’s great. And isn’t it true?

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