How to buy a fiddle

There are several things to consider when one is out to purchase a fiddle, depending on how much one is interested in spending and what you want to get out of your instrument. The setup of the fiddle is often more important than the instrument itself so make sure to ask yourself the right questions when you are planning to make this purchase.

large fiddle

What size fiddle do you need?

Most adults will be comfortable using a fiddle that is full size or 4/4 unless they are of an extraordinarily small stature or their arms are very short. These measurements should help one to determine what the best fiddle size for you might be and be sure to measure yourself from the neck right to the middle of the palm when the arm is fully extended.

• 14″ 1/16 size
• 15-1/4″ 1/10 size
• 17″ 1/8 size
• 18-1/2″ 1/4 size
• 20-3/8″ 1/2 size
• 22-1/4″ 3/4 size
• 23-5/8″ 4/4 (full) size

If you are young and buying your first fiddle, it is possible that it won’t be full size but that you will want to get a larger one later on. Don’t spend as much on it if that is the case since you will have to continuously upgrade to match your size. Children tend to grow rather quickly so the lifespan of the fiddle will be shortened if you don’t plan a bit in advance. You can’t make it too much larger so you might want to find a dealer than honours trade in’s and stick with them until the player is into a full size instrument. You may also want to consider a vintage instrument which generally has a fuller tone once you are into a more permanent fiddle. They are of high quality and don’t lose their value. Parents are often concerned about spending too much on a fiddle for their child if it’s their first instrument and they’re not sure if the child will commit to playing yet. That’s fair enough – stick to a bargain in the beginning until you’re sure that the hobby will persist and if it does, you can make a bigger investment later on.

How much money should you pay?

Even a bargain fiddle will be a good starter instrument if it has the right setup. This needs to be done at a proper violin shop and not just a general music store and this can cost about $100 if it includes new strings and more if the fiddle needs repairs. Remember that rate because anything less is probably not a proper job and you’ll end up being unhappy with your instrument.

Should I buy new or used or vintage?

If you’re looking for a bargain, it is likely best to buy your fiddle new as vintage instruments often cost much more. They are worth the investment but if you know you’ll have to upgrade you don’t want to make that initial outlay. If you are buying vintage, play close attention to whether or not it is damaged and if you can’t tell for yourself, let someone who can inspect it. Buy from someone reputable and find out in advance if it needs work and how much that will cost.

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