Violins, mainly seen and heard in classical music, were developed in Europe, primarily in and around Italy. Gasparo da Salo (1542-1609) was one of the most prominent developers, changing the violin's design to what it is today. Many craftsman have added to the development of this instrument including the Amati family, Antonio Stradivari (who, it is believed, apprenticed with Nicolo Amati), and countless others - making understanding violins and their construction a complex study.
Fiddles and violins are the same instrument, however fiddles are set up differently than violins. Fiddles will have a different arch to their bridge, and fiddles will usually have a lower action (strings closer to the fingerboard). Also, a fiddle's sound post (located inside the instrument) will be in a slightly different position to accent the treble strings. Bowing techniques between fiddles and violins are different too.
When selecting a violin or fiddle it is helpful to have some basic knowledge, beyond just the price:
* A violin/fiddle should always have tuning pegs made of ebony, rosewood, or boxwood - not a lesser quality wood dyed black to look like ebony. Lesser quality pegs will either slip or stick which makes staying in tune practically impossible.
* The bridge of a violin/fiddle needs to be properly fitted to the top and the bridge's profile is also important.
* Proper size is also key when selecting a violin/fiddle for a child. Violins/fiddles come in different sizes and one size does not fit all!
* String choice and the bow being used will effect sound more than many realize.
* Almost all new violins purchased over the Internet are not set up to play, only to sell.
* Be very wary of new, full-size violin outfits (includes case and bow) selling for less than $135.00.
We currently have dozens of new and used violins in stock. ALL of our violins have been properly set up and only have pegs made of ebony, rosewood, or boxwood. And we are also an in-house, full-service repair center, which means we understand violin and bow construction, wood types, and proper set-up.