Little travel fiddle

I gave up waiting for a thin-sided whiskey box to come along, so I built my own out of spruce.  I'll be putting the fingerboard on in the next few days  and installing the tuners (cut down 3-on-a-plates to 2-on-a plates).  Pyrography inspiration from Tom Lanford!

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  • This is always a problem with experimental construction, you don't know what you get until you are finished and it's too late to do anything.

    You could try to put a piezo violin pickup under the bridge and see what it sounds like through an amp?

    Best of luck with your next project.

  • And I strung it up, and it sounds - - - - - like crap.  I am never building another instrument again.  I give up.

    • Like Yellowbelly Flat mentioned, there are other things to try, if the poor thing hasn't been tossed into the kindling pile yet...I'm new to this website and group here so pardon the lateness of this post.


      Other things I'd try: 1) shaving the inside of the soundbox in opportune areas in an attempt to get it to resonate better. 2) drill / cut / sculpt bigger sound holes to let the resonance out 3) try different strings 4) shave parts of the bridge down thus affecting the vibrational tendencies.


      I assume there's a soundpost in this, correct? What is the diameter of the post? I am not a luthier and don't claim to be an expert about that which I type here but have been told those little things can make a difference. Get enough little things added up and it can sometimes promulgate a profound change. I've heard some of these little boxy violins and they were really nice...what, in your opinion, made yours such a turn-off to your ear?


      Once again, apologies for jumpling in so late. That was a neat fiddle and I hope it's not history. I also hope my post didn't come across in the wrong way. For all I know you could be a professional luthier and it wasn't my intent to come across as any sort of know it all. I just see that thing as having WAY too much time invested in it and it is way too cool looking to just toss aside and start anew. I'd personally be trying everything to salvage it, including, and this WILL sound stupid, gong so far as to fill the box with foam so I've got a permanently muted fiddle. As much as I travel, playing in hotel rooms and not disturbing neighbors IS an issue and that way the thing would still have use.


      So, I gues, let me know if it's for sale...

    • It is really quiet (maybe a plus in certain situations) and very nasal.  Yes, there is a standard violin-diameter soundpost.  Because of the weirdness of the instrument, it is hard-mounted inside with a drop of CA glue to hold it to the soundboard. Not a great solution but better than woodglue or hide.

      I, too, have heard some of these boxy ones sound pretty good.  The little pig-head travel fiddle on Youtube is an example, and that was somewhat of a model, only that guy has waaaaay more woodshop skill than I have.

    • Many of my crappy instruments get a second life. I made a gourd fiddle that sounded terrible and was impossible to hold. Off with the fingerboard and on with with a fretboard and it was a pretty decent sounding 4 string mandolin!

  • I really understand what you mean about "windows of opportunity". I am building a stick style electric fiddle that has remained partially built for several months due to my hobby of playing cigar box guitars in public. I'm planning to take a few weeks away from performing in order to catch up with sleep, get some relaxation and complete several projects.

  • Hey Diane in Chicago,

    this is looking really odlin and bang on. It looks clink an clean an I cud lewk on it all me born days. Oh, sorry I forget that some of you speak a different type of English..Translation The instrument looks very special and exactly right,it looks very well made and well worth a good, long, look.

    Looking forward to more pictures once the fiddle progresses.

    • I'm from New Jersey, I understood exactly what you said!   Thanks for the kind words. I am looking for a window of time to assemble the rest. I have used regular wood glue, which is a sin to "real" luthiers, to assemble the box, and I'm likely to use it again for attaching the fingerboard.  I want this to be able to be left in a hot car without it falling apart.  On the other fiddle on the bench, real hide glue all around.  (I bought it unfinished, built a tad taller in the ribs for stringing up with octave strings - to play low like a cello.  Now, that's some wood!)


  • Here is the head:305792492?profile=RESIZE_1024x1024305793423?profile=RESIZE_1024x1024

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