10/09/2015

1880s "Devil's Head" 4/4 Violin




This is a customer's fiddle that has two repair tags in it (the first by Russell Flagg of Rutland, VT in 1940) and, with respect to family lore, it may be from around the 1860s. Personally, my guess is it's a little later -- maybe the 1880s to 1900s. It's a bit worn and has many old repairs but, after a neck reset, soundpost reset, seam repairs, and setup with new John Pearse synthetics, it's back to playing condition again. There's no identification as to the maker but the same family lore places this as an American make (and probably VT local).


Regardless of its origin, it's a pretty cool piece and has a good, direct sound. It's actually a fair-bit warmer on the ears than in the soundclip, too.






Note the tongue sticking out in there. Love that.


Heavy flame is all-around.




This had a past neck reset but the job fell apart and so I re-reset it. This time I added a couple of pins just to be sure. The neck angle is still low but I didn't want to have to recut any of the original wood (nor charge my customer an arm and a leg) to jack the angle even farther.





The fingerboard has a distinct "scoop" to it that I find a little slow for fiddling... though a classical player may enjoy it.

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