Thursday, June 15, 2006

My Old Fiddle

Fiddler's get pretty attached to their fiddles~ maybe not every fiddle they've ever owned, but certainly the ones they have for any length of time. From my observations, fiddlers are not opposed to trying other fiddles, and will consider trading up, but it takes quite a lot for a fiddler to actually give up their old fiddle once they've become attuned to it. Each fiddle, each bow, and even the accessories that go along with playing, make the 'package' unique. Add to that the personality and preferences of the fiddler, and it is no wonder that fiddling inspires such emotion in the player and the listener, and certainly in the dancer!
It may be the same story with other instruments, and I'd be interested to hear personal accounts of anyone's intimate relationship with their guitar, bass, drum, etc. For me, my world is fiddling, and it is with that instrument that I feel connected. I still enjoy playing piano, guitar, mandolin, and a host of others on occasion... but it is the fiddle that catches my ear, stirs my soul, and draws me to the jams and dances.
Fiddler's also get pretty attached to the person they allow to work on their fiddles. It's a supreme act of trust to bring your instrument to someone, leave it there, and have them do a repair on it. I've gone to a few people over the years, and have had good experiences, and met some interesting luthiers... I usually take my fiddle or bow concerns to Nate Slobodkin in Bangor . Richard has made connections over the years, too. Right now, his fiddle is at Somerset Violins having the bridge reset by Harry Richter, as well as a couple of other recommended adjustments. We both like Harry, and trust that he will do whatever is best for the fiddle.
We even name fiddles... right now I'm playing the 'Deer Isle Fiddle', you may remember its purchase from last year. I still have 'My Old Fiddle', and probably always will. It was hard to move on from it, and this 'new' fiddle has many of the same tonal qualities that I love about the old fiddle. Richard has a loaner from Harry, it's probably a fine fiddle, but neither of us have connected with it... R will be heading back to Waterville to pick up his own fiddle later today... slightly changed but still a good old friend.

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