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SingingTree Tonewood

Interesting modern American fiddle

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A friend brought me a fiddle today he got at Goodwill, hoping he had a 'find'.

Interesting making style, to say the least, but it has its charm for sure.

The bottom bout had been re-glued a couple times, the wood may not have been quite dry enough.

Lower 1 piece rib quite distorted, and back has some warp. Slightly different way of neck attachment.

I couldn't find much on this country maker except a couple music jams featuring him, Larry Hopkins.

 

 

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The violin looks older than one might expect to have an email address and website on the label. I'd be inclined to guess that Mr. Hopkins just did some repairs to put it back into functionality, to be charitable about it. Did you check his website, or send him an email?

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Well, as opposed to being thrown in the trash or otherwise rendered unto it's individual molecules, I would say yes.

But all the same, it Is a verse, in a chapter, of American Violin making.

Would love to know more, of the Man/Fiddler/Maker, who made the effort, to produce a violin for  someone to enjoy. And I hope to see other violins from his hand. 

I always applaud a serious, heartfelt effort to make musical instruments for people to play.

A better use of time, than many things.

 

 

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I don't recall ever seeing a double screwed in neck like that. Or maybe I just haven't been paying enough attention?

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Other than the sheet rock screws, pressure treated corner blocks and American country style purfling, nothing else in particular.

That said, I still get a kick out of it. It has kind of an American Gothic/Tim the Tool guy meets Medio Fino feel.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Rue said:

I don't recall ever seeing a double screwed in neck like that. Or maybe I just haven't been paying enough attention?

Can't be a Strad.   He only used one dome headed screw.  

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On ‎6‎/‎23‎/‎2018 at 10:01 PM, heavymetalalfa said:

Other than the sheet rock screws, pressure treated corner blocks and American country style purfling, nothing else in particular.

 

Pressure treated wood? Sure looks like tulip poplar to me.

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11 hours ago, Wm. Johnston said:

Pressure treated wood? Sure looks like tulip poplar to me.

Tulip poplar? Cool, not familiar with it.

I was being tongue-in-cheek with the pressure treated comment

On 6/23/2018 at 11:37 PM, mood2000 said:

it is a Chinese violin (to me)

back plate is veneer from out side , but inside is boxwood 

the neck made as a baroque fabrication 

 

The back is not veneered, I looked very close. I don't see Chinese at all.

 

 

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I called the phone number on the label and just had a delightful conversation with his widow. 

She was very sweet and helpful. He passed away 4 years ago. She is sending me some photos of a couple instruments of his she has that sound interesting.

She said that many of his violins were made for kids who couldn't afford instruments.

She read to me from his notebook about the fiddle, there was more info than the archive.

Sounds like he was a cool old character, would love to have met him.

Nates comment makes me want to repair and play it!

I, for one, enjoy little tidbits of American violin lore.

 

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6 hours ago, heavymetalalfa said:

I called the phone number on the label and just had a delightful conversation with his widow. 

She was very sweet and helpful. He passed away 4 years ago. She is sending me some photos of a couple instruments of his she has that sound interesting.

She said that many of his violins were made for kids who couldn't afford instruments.

She read to me from his notebook about the fiddle, there was more info than the archive.

Sounds like he was a cool old character, would love to have met him.

Nates comment makes me want to repair and play it!

I, for one, enjoy little tidbits of American violin lore.

 

Cool! :) If it gets repaired and then passed on - it would be great to include the provenance with it!

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The OP's violin is totaled. There is hardly a thing on it that is not broken. You could buy two or three decent new Chinese or Romanian violins of equal or better quality for the cost of repairing that one, so what is the point of repairing it?

If one is interested in restoring violins for free, then there are much more worthy instruments than that one.

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I guess some people have too much time on their hands.

There are tens of thousands of interesting and or usable fiddles out there including some very decent amateur work. But to spend time on an instrument which has horrible arching, crude workmanship, no doubt odd measurements and is hammered to boot just doesn't make sense and to sell or even give away such a thing to some one who wants to learn to play is doing them a disservice.  I'm sorry if this offends anyone but I have seen too many people suffer for years trying to play instruments which will never reward their efforts and especially children who wind up turned off to music for life because some one decided that one of these  pseudo fiddles was "better than nothing". No matter how nice or well meaning the maker was this one is best kept on the widow's wall as a momento.

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Sir George and Sir Nate, I hear you both.

I know well when instruments are not worth the time to restore, as a violin, for someone to play.

I never said, repair to sell. I said, in essence, repair to experience.

I enjoy seeing American ingenuity in all forms, violin making in particular. 

In the 80's, I championed American made violins from Boston and New York, when most shops thought they were beneath notice.

I readily admit, this is not a great instrument, but it was made to help someone have a chance to play a fiddle, a violin, rather than not be able to.

My personal beginnings were very humble, from a great family, but no extra money for musical instruments or lessons. My first guitars, as a teenager, would be considered unplayable now- Tiesco DelRay, Kent, Silvertone if you had Some money. But they were a stepping stone for me, to becoming a lifelong professional musician.

Plus, I love I love American violin History, from George Gemunder, to JB Squire, to Friedrich, to Wilkanoski, to Jackson Guldan,, and all the way down to amateur fiddles made by people who had only seen a picture or drawing of a violin, but made one anyway. I love them all.

Will I sell or give this to a beginning player, no. But I want to celebrate a cool old Gent, who shared his Music and made instruments for people to play.

 

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Well...you know...as unlikely as it may seem...

It could actually sound okay, once repaired. ^_^

Just sayin'

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Having looked at the archived website that Bill dug up, the late Mr. Hopkins was a comparatively prolific and diverse maker who was asking $1600 for the last fiddles he posted for sale.  I'd like to know how it sounds when restored.  :)

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He wasn't without talent, I think.

I look forward to the photos of a violin his widow is sending.

It appears most of his instruments were much better than the one that found me.

She told me he made a violin, mandolin and guitar for each of his kids to play.

And some violins had donkey heads carved for scrolls, as they raised and loved donkeys!

Quite a diverse making history, including many 5 string fiddles.

 

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