My first fiddle is an instrument which was given to my brother by our grandfather when my brother was a young boy some 60 years ago. It’s a German copy of a Maggini instrument. It’s loud and brash and to not put too fine a point on it, this fiddle doesn’t sound great. I played it until I became good enough to realize an upgrade would be great. I bought a lovely old refurbished French fiddle which I really love, and now that I’m playing all the time, the “family fiddle” hasn’t seen much use.
I read recently that there something you can do to sweeten up the sound of a rough and ready screecher of a fiddle. The recommendation is to attach something to the bridge, such as a paperclip or a wooden clothes peg. I read many reports about how doing this can help tremendously, so I tried it.
I was really surprised at how effective this hack is. A single paperclip on the bridge sweetened up the sound of this fiddle tremendously. It still has plenty of volume but the paperclip seems to have done a great job of taking the edge off the sound of this fiddle. I haven’t messed around with different clips or position of the clips yet, but I will try different things to get the best sound I can out of this fiddle.
The strings on the family fiddle have not been changed in some time, so I’m going to try a set of synthetic core strings on it soon in an effort to optimize the sound even more. I doubt I will be able to make the family fiddle sound as good as my French fiddle, but as it stands now, the instrument is quite playable and sounds pretty good. What it means is I’ll play this fiddle a lot more over time. Great hack!