For those who don’t know, I bought a new violin. It’s a French workshop violin from 1908 and is nearly full size at 352mm. At first it made me a bit tired to play because it is SO much bigger than my 3/4 (331mm), but I seem to have gotten used to it now. Playing the old violin now seems cramped, but I like it better for fiddle music. I haven’t decided whether to sell it yet. Adam at Four Strings is restoring an old German violin that is between my old one and new one in size that he is sure will outplay the 3/4. If I like it, I might sell the 3/4 and buy the other one, though I would be sad to let go of my first violin.
Here’s a picture of the new addition. I’m calling it Colette for now, but that may change.
It’s a Francois Barzoni, which is the brand made in Mirecourt for Beare and Sons in London. Like all “brand” name instruments, they range from beginner styles all the way up to exceptional. This one is one I would describe as “upper intermediate”. The nice folks at Brobst Violins were really helpful and let my teacher and I play as many violins as we wanted. I don’t know if they showed me anything out of my price range because I didn’t ask about prices until about four hours into the trial process, when we had narrowed things down to two fiddles and three bows. I wish now that I had looked at labels as we were going through the violins (we tried about 25), but at the time I didn’t want to be influenced. Along with Colette, I also purchased a Richard Grunke gold-mounted bow that is truly wonderful, and may be the only 7/8th size bow I’ve ever come across. All in all, with the new violin, bow, and a new case, I squeaked out of the shop only $300 over my budget. I call that a serious win.