The most important question when evaluating any fiddle is, “what does it sound like?” A pretty fiddle won’t necessarily sound as good as it looks, and many “ugly” fiddles sound incredible.

I had intended to have the fiddle finished in time for the fiddle workshop at the Toledo Wooden Boat Show, feeling that the symmetry of returning a year after I’d first touched a fiddle with a fiddle that I’d built myself would be very poetic. And then I heard a rumor that Kelly Thibodeaux wouldn’t be able to give the workshop this year and I was bummed.

It just so happens that this weekend the Lincoln County Fair is going on and I glanced over the schedule online on Tuesday morning to see if anything interesting was happening. Lo and behold, Kelly is holding a workshop. In just four days. The fiddle was not quite ready, hadn’t been strung up, the nut still needed to be shaped, etc. but I was determined to take it to the workshop. The finish is not yet what I want it to be, and there are a million tiny things that will have to be dealt with later, but it’s done enough to play.

I’m still at the stage where I can play a few simple tunes, so a sound sample from me wouldn’t show off what this fiddle can do. I was hoping that Kelly would play the fiddle for me and tell me what he thinks. He kindly obliged –

Kelly was kind enough to play a few songs for me to record for instructional purposes, too. Thank you, Kelly!

If you recall, my objective was something more than a Violin Shaped Object (VSO) with this build, and I think I reached that goal. Already this blonde fiddle has a deeper voice than the Cheap Chinese Fiddle. The action is lower and the bridge flatter, more “fiddler” style.” It’s easy to play and stays in tune. So far I am very happy with this project.

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