One thing about me as a violinist is that like a lot of my other possessions, I don’t take care of my instrument. They exist to serve me, not the other way around, though I am well aware that if well taken care of, our possessions serve us better.
The violin needs tender loving care. My violin doesn’t get TLC. I don’t wipe it clean after I play it, I don’t change its strings regularly, it’s like my phone, my car, my bag, my clothes, my shoes. It’s purely functional and I have little idea about the technicalities (like how to raise or lower a bridge).
At about $2,000 plus, it’s also a cheap buy, a violin made in 2011 which I selected for its loudness because I needed a gig violin, and which fit my budget and (care-less) mode of usage. It’s hardy.
But when higher-order sound is required, it doesn’t fit the bill.
For an upcoming concert with a very small posse of violinists, where each individual is larger than the sum of its parts, I needed a better sound. A rounder, richer, higher-class sound.
To my great fortune and delight, I was very kindly offered a couple of old violins, and a bow, to try out for a fortnight, and perhaps use in the concert.
It’s like being given a Maserati or some such equivalent after chugging away on a Chery QQ.
I was somewhat paranoid about both violins, made in 1885 and 1934, handling them like I’d handle a new baby, but it was a beautiful experience. Easier to keep in tune, softer to press, louder and sounding so much richer than my cheapo violin, it was an aural elevation and revelation. And there was one of the two which really sang to me, the 1885.
I know I will have to go back to the Chery QQ very soon. But I will treasure the memory of the Maseratis.