The weekend before last, Brian brought his Dad's fiddle to our Gaspé tunes session and I had the distinct pleasure of getting to play some of his tunes on this instrument. Needless to say, it was a very special experience for us to hear his Dad's tunes played once again on this fiddle.
The fiddle was made in 1967 by Anton Wilfer, a locally well-known luthier in Montreal. He was born in 1901 in Luby, Czechoslovakia and immigrated to Montreal in 1951 where he made about 75 violins as well as cellos and string basses. Erskine had this fiddle made for him by Anton and is the one he used in the later part of his life. Here are some nice photos Brian took of this fiddle, check out the beautiful brown-red finish and flamed maple 2 piece back:
When playing this fiddle, the first thing we remarked on is just how loud it is. I mean it seemed nearly twice as loud as the two fiddles I use! As well, it had a really tight sound and great projection. It had been strung up with a set of cheap old-style Black Diamond strings which made it a little harsh, but I'm excited to try it out with a nice set of Prims.
Here is a picture of your's truly testing out one of Erskine's tunes on this fiddle:
Finally, just for fun here is a track with Brian and I playing Erskine's Drops of Brandy on this fiddle recorded with my little digital recorder at our session. When we first recorded this track, this fiddle was so loud it was causing my recorder to peak and so the track was distorted! However, Brian EQ'd it and smoothed out the sound so that it shouldn't hurt your ears too much....