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Don Rickert Musician Shop

Strad Copy with Bearded Man Finial (Scroll): Southern Mountain Classic Fiddles Collection

Call for pricing: 404-828-0136

Strad Copy with Bearded Man Finial (Scroll): Southern Mountain Classic Fiddles Collection

Call for pricing: 404-828-0136
0.00 LBS
Generally ships within 21 days, depending on setup options

Product Description

Probably the best-known fiddle with a “Bearded Man” finial (i.e. scroll) of this type is the customized antique fiddle played by Vassar Clements, one of the fiddlers who played with Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys (the group that defined Bluegrass as a genre with its first album for Decca Records in 1949). Some sources speculate Vassar Clement’s instrument was built by the Gaspar Duiffoprugcar in mid to late 1500s. Most agree that Clements’ fiddle was at least 300 year old, regardless of the maker.

The name often associated with “Bearded Man” violins is Carlo Bergonzi (21 December 1683 – 9 February 1747), an Italian luthier who apprenticed with Hieronymus Amati, collaborated with Joseph Guarneri, and is considered the greatest pupil of Antonio Stradivari.Bergonzi apprenticed under Stradivari and eventually was made head of Stradivari’s repair business. Since Bergonzi’s repair services were in high demand, he was unable to devote the time to producing many of his own instruments. Bergonzi violin designs were based on the Stradivari and Guarneri templates, but often featured elaborate bas relief carved backs and, of course, Bearded Man finials.

While many of the early Southern Mountain fiddles with Bearded Man finials were locally made, the better ones were made in either Markneukirchen (Saxony, Germany) or nearby Prague (Bohemia, Austria-Hungary). The Carlo Bergonzi “Bearded Man” Copy by D. Rickert Musical Instruments replicates the Saxony/Bohemian type.

The setup and varnishing is done by D. Rickert Musical Instruments in our WildRock Studios, Hiawassee, Georgia…located in North Georgia Mountains on the border of North Carolina, the birthplace of Old-Time fiddling.

The sound is quite Strad-like, full-bodied, focused, balanced with good projection volume. The default setup is contemporary, with modern strings (choose strings at checkout) and fine tuners on the tailpiece.  We can easily set up the fiddle to earlier periods.

Features of this fiddle

Of course, the instruments are:

  • 100% hand made
  • 100% hand varnished
  • Made from the finest woods that are dried at least 12 years

And have…

  • Genuine ebony fingerboard
  • Genuine Ebony fittings
  • Inlaid (rather than painted) double purfling on front and back
  • Celtic Trinity Knot inlay decoration on back

The best part is that the fiddle is in one piece and has NO cracks, nor has the neck settled so much over the last century or more that your bridge has to be cut ridiculously low. It is a new replica! We know from comparing the replicas in our Golden Age series with the scores of originals we have owned, repaired or set-up, that this fiddle is made from better wood (e.g. better grain matching of the two back halves) and has a better varnish job than the original.

Comes with a great suspension case and pretty good brazilwood bow.

Plus, the instrument comes with a good quality suspension case and decent Brazil wood bow. If you are an advanced player, you will want to use a better bow. If you need a new bow, check out the selection of bows we have, which includes a number of pernambuco bows in the $400 to $1,500 range. If you contact us when you buy, we can quote you on a great discount on a pernambuco bow.

Don’t let the low sell price fool you.

This is a superb instrument so close to an original that a fake label could fool most. Note: We do not do fake labels. The label identifies this instrument as a replica. If you are not okay with that, you will have to make your own label. We believe in identifying an instrument for what it really is.


No Extra Cost Options (Brash, Bright and Harsh!)

We don’t like the sound (i.e. nasty) of any of these strings, nor do we sell them except as options for these fiddles; however, many fiddlers love them. We suggest you consider some of the better strings.

  • Super-Sensitive Red Label
  • Super-Sensitive Old Fiddler
  • D’Addario Fiddle Strings
  • Black Diamond Vintage Violin Strings

No Extra Cost Options (Good Strings)

  • D’Addario Helicore medium gauge:
    • Better than any metal string that was available in the 1920s, so their use could be cheating a little (but we won’t tell anybody)
  • D’Addario ProArte synthetic gut core strings
    • Play like gut
    • Slightly dark sounding
    • Replicate the metal wound gut strings of the early 20th Century pretty well, but they stay in tune and don’t break for no apparent reason at all.

Other Options that Cost a Bit More

The extra cost we charge as part of setup is substantially less than the actual cost of the strings.

  • Thomastik-Infeld Vision stark (heavy) gauge (replicate silver-wound silk strings)…$15
    • Quite powerful and full-bodied, verging on dark
    • Our favorite string for all fiddles, including those in contemporary setup
  • D’Addario Zyex (dark sounding metal wound synthetic gut core with a steel E string…play and sound like real gut)…$20 extra
  • Pirastro Eudoxa traditional wound real gut strings with a silvered steel E string…$50 extra
    • A very plausible replication of the type of strings used from the 1890s until well into the 20th Century.
    • Still the favored string for many contemporary classical violinists
  • Gamut real gut strings with a silver wound gut G string…($50)
    • The best real gut strings we have ever played. The only authentic choice for 19th Century replication.

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