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 VIIIs 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 VIIIs 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 VIIIs still fit perfectly into the same 4 inch diameter case as their predecessors.
The NEW Mountaineer VIII M2 Travel Violin is designed to meet a very specific requirement of some players, the ability to attach a full size violin chin rest. With our new Velcro-attached adjustable shoulder rest and full-size chin rest attached, the instrument is held and feels EXACTLY like a full-size violin.
Unlike the other Mountaineers, the Mountaineer VIII M2 utilizes a full-size over-the-tailpiece side-mounted chinrest (called a “Strad” chin rest) and a Velcro-attached ajustable adjustable shoulder rest (supplied with the instrument at no extra charge). Both the full-size chin rest and the shoulder rest are removed for stowing the instrument in its padded 4” tubular case.
The playing experience is very different from the tiny center mount chin rest used on our standard Mountaineer VIII Travel Violin.
Introducing the new Mountaineer VIII M2
The Rickert Mountaineer VIII M2 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 and VIII M2 are very different from their predecessors, in that they utilize 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:
- It does a better job than then the internal framing doing double duty as a sound post we used on earlier versions.
- 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).
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 Chin Rest
In order to afford the same instrument “hold” as used with a full-size violin, a slightly modified removable Strad-type chin rest is used. Since the instrument would be too narrow to accommodate this type of chin rest, a small chin rest “platform” is integrated into the tail end of the instrument. This tiny platform can easily be seen in the photos of the instrument. For aesthetic reasons, this platform is made of dark walnut, the same material used for the instrument back.
Needless to say, the chin rest must removed in order to stow the instrument in its tubular case.
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 26”. For a full-size bow, the case should be 31”. See Related Items.
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 VII
The Mountaineer VIII M2 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 VIIIs have a surprisingly big and warm sound. In other words, it is rather sonorous. It is plenty loud enough to jam with other musicians.
Watch the videos to get an idea of the sonic capabilities.
Many customers opt to have a pickup installed. There are many pickup options. Please contact us if you wish to add a pickup.