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TITLE
Donald Riddell, fiddle craftsman (9 of 17)
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_DONALDRIDDLE_09
PERIOD
1980s; 1990s
CREATOR
Donald Riddell
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
1922
KEYWORDS
fiddles
violins
violin
craft
crafts
audio

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The late, great, Donald Riddell BEM, from Kirkhill near Inverness, was a fiddler, composer, and fiddle maker. He was also a Pipe Major in the Lovat Scouts. His pupils include Duncan Chisholm, Bruce MacGregor and Iain MacFarlane.

In this audio extract, Donald considers the varnishing process after the fiddle is constructed. The image shows Donald outside his workshop.

'After the body's made, of course, the neck is grafted into the top of the fiddle and the finger board goes on and strings are fitted up, and eventually it's varnished. Now, the varnish has an effect on the tone. But there's no such thing as a wonderful concoction that you can put on a fiddle and you've got a Strad. No, no. As long as you -, any good, very pure thing, pure material, is all right. It's the application of the varnish that's important because of the amount you put on: you can have a fiddle which is just quite good and make it better by giving it one coat more to maybe the front or maybe the back. It's a case of - when you're applying the varnish, you've to think of, again, vibrations, because one coat more to a back or front alters the vibrations of that plate and you've got to bring them, keep them - all the time you're varnishing - still in that certain relationship. And always if I make a pretty good one, that's my favourite until it's supplanted by perhaps another one that comes along'

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Donald Riddell, fiddle craftsman (9 of 17)

1980s; 1990s

fiddles; violins; violin; craft; crafts; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Donald Riddell

The late, great, Donald Riddell BEM, from Kirkhill near Inverness, was a fiddler, composer, and fiddle maker. He was also a Pipe Major in the Lovat Scouts. His pupils include Duncan Chisholm, Bruce MacGregor and Iain MacFarlane.<br /> <br /> In this audio extract, Donald considers the varnishing process after the fiddle is constructed. The image shows Donald outside his workshop.<br /> <br /> 'After the body's made, of course, the neck is grafted into the top of the fiddle and the finger board goes on and strings are fitted up, and eventually it's varnished. Now, the varnish has an effect on the tone. But there's no such thing as a wonderful concoction that you can put on a fiddle and you've got a Strad. No, no. As long as you -, any good, very pure thing, pure material, is all right. It's the application of the varnish that's important because of the amount you put on: you can have a fiddle which is just quite good and make it better by giving it one coat more to maybe the front or maybe the back. It's a case of - when you're applying the varnish, you've to think of, again, vibrations, because one coat more to a back or front alters the vibrations of that plate and you've got to bring them, keep them - all the time you're varnishing - still in that certain relationship. And always if I make a pretty good one, that's my favourite until it's supplanted by perhaps another one that comes along'