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TITLE
Donald Riddell, fiddle craftsman (10 of 17)
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_DONALDRIDDLE_10
PERIOD
1980s; 1990s
CREATOR
Donald Riddell
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
1923
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 talks about the time it takes to make a fiddle as well as the period required for that fiddle to mature. The image shows some of Donald's workshop tools.

'Aw, about a hundred and fifty hours' work is a fair estimate how long you can - you would take to really construct a fiddle. That's -, sometimes I make two or three at the one time: do a bit at this one and then leave it aside and go on and do a bit at another one, you know? Of course, the varnishing's a very slow process. We use an amber oil varnish, or an oil varnish anyway, and it takes days for each coat to dry and, even two years after it's varnished, the drying process is still going on. Oxidation is still taking place, you see. And, after a fiddle's made it'll be - it could be good, or a dud. But there's one thing certain, if it's not a good fiddle when it's made, a hundred years after this it'll still not be a good fiddle. But if it's good, it takes fifty years to bring it to its best - of hard playing. Lying idle that time does no good at all, it's got to be hard played. But two years' hard playing brings it about ninety percent there'

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Donald Riddell, fiddle craftsman (10 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 talks about the time it takes to make a fiddle as well as the period required for that fiddle to mature. The image shows some of Donald's workshop tools.<br /> <br /> 'Aw, about a hundred and fifty hours' work is a fair estimate how long you can - you would take to really construct a fiddle. That's -, sometimes I make two or three at the one time: do a bit at this one and then leave it aside and go on and do a bit at another one, you know? Of course, the varnishing's a very slow process. We use an amber oil varnish, or an oil varnish anyway, and it takes days for each coat to dry and, even two years after it's varnished, the drying process is still going on. Oxidation is still taking place, you see. And, after a fiddle's made it'll be - it could be good, or a dud. But there's one thing certain, if it's not a good fiddle when it's made, a hundred years after this it'll still not be a good fiddle. But if it's good, it takes fifty years to bring it to its best - of hard playing. Lying idle that time does no good at all, it's got to be hard played. But two years' hard playing brings it about ninety percent there'