From the Showroom: two 5-string violins by Peter Madill

July 25, 2017
in News

Some years ago, I reluctantly sold my beloved Peter Madill 5-string violin to a keen young fiddle player who took it overseas with her. Imagine my delight when it finally came home again!

By one of those bizarre twists of coincidence, I had a call shortly after that from the maker, Peter Madill, to say he’d decided, after several decades, to revisit the whole concept, and would I like to hang one of the results in our showroom?

Having the two violins side by side is fascinating. The one Pete made in 1981 has a nice long pegbox, with plenty of room to turn the pegs, a neck wide enough to finger double stops cleanly, and ‘f’ holes carved in Pete’s trademark “Amati” style, so different from the standard Stradivari ‘f’s we’re used to seeing.

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The new violin has the same long pegbox and wide neck, but Pete has transformed the head into an elegant curl – an open plan scroll with viola da gamba overtones.

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Pete has also taken another nod towards the viol with his widely spaced and strongly angled ‘f’ holes.

 

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The two violins have slightly different tonal characteristics, but share a rich and resonant sound, with a ready response. Thomastik Vision 5-string violin C strings boost firmness and fullness at the lower end.

Because both violins have been constructed internally to allow for a wider bridge, the result is much more successful than converting a standard 4-string instrument into a 5-string version.

And – especially for the improvising musician, the extra string is a real stimulus, whether you’re playing blues, jazz, country or rock.

http://www.madillguitars.co.nz/profile.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_string_violin

https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/455356212310300756/

http://hubertdelaunay.com/trade-secrets-making-a-viola-da-gamba-scroll/

http://www.thomastik-infeld.com/family-detail/Vision%20Violin

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