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Don Rickert Musician Shop

NEW Mountaineer VIII Backpacker Fiddle

Contact us at 706-896-0909 for original pricing

NEW Mountaineer VIII Backpacker Fiddle

Contact us at 706-896-0909 for original pricing
0.00 LBS
Generally ships within 30 days

Product Description

A new variation on the Mountaineer series, our most popular travel violins and fiddles

The Mountaineer Backpacker Fiddles have been the most popular instrument we have ever sold. The NEW Mountaineer VIIs have curved backs, tops and sides; thus, increasing their girth in the middle of the body where the bridge sits. With their larger bodies, the Mountaineer VIIs are still tiny instruments with a full 4/4 overall length and, most importantly, a full 4/4 playable string length; about 13 inches, like a regular violin or fiddle. Further, the new Mountaineer VIIs still fit perfectly into the same 4-inch diameter case as their predecessors.

Introducing the new Mountaineer VIII

The Rickert Mountaineer VII Travel Violin is a really skinny (but full 4/4 length) travel fiddle that is extremely durable for the most punishing environments. This instrument’s predecessors have now been on journeys the U.S., Europe, Ireland, U.K., Canada, Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, North Africa and the African sub-continent, Israel and South Africa. The Mountaineer has also found its way onto to large seagoing vessels, including at least one on a nuclear submarine. Several airline pilots take their Mountaineers with them as carry-on luggage!

The instrument is just 2.5" wide and is standard 4/4 violin length (body is 14" and total length about 23" like a regular violin).

The Mountaineer VIII is very different from its predecessors, in that it utilizes a full size violin type bass bar AND a sound post. The sound post, necessary for damping shrill high frequency overtones while enhancing mid and low frequency overtones, is fixed in an optimal position. The sound post is held into position by a tiny carbon fiber rod running through a small hole in its center. The carbon fiber rod protrudes into the top and back of the instrument and is also held with a tiny amount of resonant glue. Looking at instrument photos, one can see a small black dot just behind the treble side bridge foot. That is the carbon fiber rod. The advantages of the permanently fixed sound post are twofold:

  1. It does a better job than then the internal framing that served double duty as a sound post we used on earlier versions.
  2. It will not become dislodged, even when the instrument is subjected to shock (e.g. being dropped from an aircraft overhead…this actually happened…that is a about a 5 foot drop!) and extreme temperatures and/or humidity (very low or very high).

The Materials

Earlier versions of the Mountaineer were available with various combinations of tone woods. The Mountaineer VIII is available ONLY with sides and top of Western Red Cedar with a Red Mountain Cedar (a hardwood from Peru). For this small instrument, the Western Red Cedar sounds much nicer (more warm and full-bodied and, overall, more sonorous) than spruce. The mahogany backs used on some earlier versions has been replaced with Red Mountain Cedar in order to comply with restrictions on most versions of mahogany when shipped outside of the U.S.

The Unique Chin Rest

Like its predecessors, the Mountaineer VIII uses an innovative Dov Schmidt tailpiece/chin rest combination. No longer does the musician have to fool with removing the chin rest in order to fit the instrument into it a round case, only to have to re-install the chin rest in order to play it.

Designer’s Note: The Dov Schmidt tailpiece/chin rest combination does not feel as comfortable as a full-size chin rest. You may wish to consider the Mountaineer VIII M2, which utilizes a removable slightly modified full-size Strad-type chin rest. While not as elegant from a design aesthetics perspective, the full-size chin rest affords the same instrument “hold” as used with a full-size violin.

Needless to say, the full-size chin rest must removed in order to stow the instrument in its tubular case.

Tuning Pegs

The instrument is fit with the innovative Wittner internally geared planetary pegs (i.e. Wittner Fine-Tune pegs), at NO CHARGE (a $120 value). These tuners are so accurate that fine tuners are not needed. They simply turn and lock into place just like high-end geared guitar tuners, but they look just like regular ebony tuning violin pegs.


Uses a Globetrotter 4" case. The case needs to be at least 24” in length to accommodate the instrument. In order to accommodate a ½ size, the case should be 27”. For a full-size bow, the case should be 31”. See Related Items.


Shoulder Rest

The Mountaineer VIII utilizes our newest Velcro-attached adjustable dense foam shoulder rest. The shoulder rest is included in the price of the instrument. The new shoulder rest is incredibly comfortable and is really easy to attach and adjust.

The Sound of the Mountaineer VIII

The Mountaineer VII sounds pretty good for a 2.5-inch wide violin. While such a small instrument could not possibly sound as powerful and full-bodied as a good full-size violin (those pesky laws of physics), The Mountaineer VIII has a surprisingly big and warm sound. In other words, it is rather sonorous. It is plenty loud enough to jam with other musicians.

See the demo videos.

Optional Pickup

Many customers opt to have a pickup installed. There are many pickup options. Please contact us if you wish to add a pickup.

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