Family Heirloom Fiddle

Last year I acquired from my Aunt Mabel (age 90+) an old fiddle that belonged to her father (my grandfather Clay Powers) and before that, her grandfather (my great-grandfather). Actually I didn’t know that any of our ancestors on the Powers side (my mother’s family) were musicians. I always assumed the music in my family came more from my father’s side.

The fiddle came in an old home-made wooden “coffin case” that was damaged and the fiddle was not in playing condition when I got it. Inside the fiddle body was an inscription “Antonio Stradivarius 1740” but it wasn’t really a Stradivarius violin. A google search confirmed that there were many Strad copies made in the 1800’s and almost all European violin-makers stamped the Stradivarius name on their violins.

Still, the fiddle looked nice (just needed repair) and it was a family heirloom. So I brought the fiddle home from Tennessee and had a luthier (violin-maker) in Bonsall restore it to playing condition. He also repaired the case. My plan was to give this treasure to my sister Mary (who plays fiddle) for Christmas but we didn’t get a chance to see her before Christmas this year … so I delivered the fiddle to her this past weekend and she was of course happy to get it.

The fiddle is not really in good enough shape to play regularly or in concert, but it sounds pretty good. Over the holidays I let the fiddle player in my bluegrass band, Tom Cunningham, play a couple of tunes on it just to see how it sounds. Marci shot a video:

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