Posted on February 17, 2019
This is as much a review of the Fiddlershop as it is yet another try at fixing my cheap Ebay violin. When my new Bunnel student violin arrived, the very first difference between that and the old violin I saw was that the action (the height of strings) of the cheap violin was very, very high! I mean, I wondered how I even played it at all once I saw what a real violin action should look like.
I noticed that the bridge I chose to replace the stock bridge that came with my Ebay violin was, while nicely self-adjusting, noted to be “medium.” Which means it actually raised the strings even more. So, I gave one last shot to try and see if I could improve the cheap violin by picking up a “low” bridge.
I did some research, and while there were more expensive options for fast shipping on Amazon, I decided to pick up the Self Adjusting Aubert Mirecourt Violin Bridge from the Fiddershop. This is the first time I’ve purchased from the Fiddlerman site, though I highly considered buying my student violin through them when I was shopping around.
A quick review of the Fiddlershop experience – ordering was easy and the item was shipped and received surprisingly fast. Sure it’s not Amazon Prime speed, but I wasn’t in a super rush to get the bridge, and the turn around time was excellent.
I was also delighted to see that they gifted me a free Fiddlershop cleaning cloth along with my order. Who can’t use another cleaning cloth? I’ve been using it and have to say I’m very grateful for this gift… since it ended up the only part of this order I could use.
The good news: The bridge is fantastic! Great quality product, nice adjustablity, and exactly what I hoped it would be. Nothing at all to complain about with the bridge I ordered.
The bad news: It didn’t fix the action on my cheap violin. After putting on the new bridge, the strings were still too high to be comfortably played. I think the issue is in the curve of the nut or the angle of the fingerboard. These are both things I have no desire to put money into fixing since that means I’d have to take it to a proper luthier to replace… which would cost several times the cost of the violin originally ($36). I’m not that dedicated to this kit to do that.
In fact, all of the additions I’ve tried to add to it to make fixes cost far more than the kit itself. Thankfully, I was able to transplant the more comfortable, flatter chin rest to my Bunnel. The new Prelude strings are a sunk cost, but they weren’t that expensive. The peg compound I can keep for if I have any issues with pegs in the future — but this Bunnel holds tune very, very well compared to the Ebay violin.
The low bridge I bought from the Fiddlershop, I’ll keep as a backup. The medium bridge I also kept… just in case. Who knows what other instruments I might dabble with in the future?
As for the poor Ebay violin, I’ve put it back in the case for now, along with the cheap bow and rosin. It was a great kit for experimenting on, but I’ve surrendered the hope that I can upgrade it enough to fix what’s wrong with it. When experienced folks tell you to go for a quality instrument from the start, please listen to this advice!
Maybe I’ll donate it to the local Goodwill (though I’d hate to frustrate a new student with the squeaky string issues the high action causes). Or maybe I’ll turn it into a wall decoration. Not sure yet. But I feel bad not doing something with it. Any ideas?
Followup: It became a wall decoration. :)