True Lefty Violins, Made Properly from Scratch
What's the difference between a true left-handed violin and one strung backwards?
The inner workings of a violin, like the bass bar, soundpost and the way in which the plates are carved, are what support the various frequencies and give a violin the best tone.
So a violin with the strings reversed without being MADE to play left-handed is like rewiring your stereo to put low frequencies through the tweeters and the high end through bass woofers. The sound is no good, not to mention the right-handed angle of the neck makes playing more difficult.
These true left-handed violins are just like the regular models, but made from scratch specifically for left-handed players. Reversed bass bar and soundpost, reversed chin rest, reversed strings/pegs/bridge and neck angle all make for a custom instrument without a huge custom price tag.
Some makers will take a right-handed violin and alter it to be played left-handed. But even if it is done properly from the inside-out, sadly this means the violin has to be taken apart at the seams and the plates regraduated (carved out). Since one cannot add wood back to the plate (front or back of the violin), the plate will still be too thin in some areas. It's really not adviseable to do this to a violin and is better to build it right from scratch.
As for our slightly increased cost to have lefty violins built for our customers, this is due to the fact that making a violin "backwards" properly is not as easy as it would seem. When a luthier has trained for many years to make a violin one way so automatically, it's really not the simple matter of just reversing the process it, despite what some makers may claim. Making a lefty violin takes longer and has to be checked more frequently as it is made to assure the quality is the same.
When we commission special lefty violins from our makers they are aware of the tedious process involved in doing it properly and not just stringing it backwards or taking more wood off an already carved plate. They also have to start from scrach, not using a violin which is already on the way to being completed in the workshop, just for Fiddleheads, so we pay a higher price for each one. In fact, a few of our lefty makers have decided it is not worth the trouble for a rare few orders and are not taking the projects anymore even with the upcharge.
Even with the small rise in price for a lefty, it is nothing compared to the costs of having a regular violin altered by a luthier and knowing it is being done correctly without any harm to the instrument.
We hope this information is helpful to players who require left-handed violins and that we will earn your business and trust.
**Note: Left-handed people do not have to purchase a left-handed violin. We offer lefty violins for people who, usually due to physiological reasons (nerve damage, missing digits, damage from stroke, limited wrist rotation, etc), cannot play violin the traditional way, with violin in left hand and bow in right hand. Remember that many, many musicians are left-handed and play the violin the usual way just fine. There are countless examples of lefty musicians, and they almost always play the usual way unless they, by accident, picked it up and played backwards because they didn’t have formal instruction.
Fiddleheads carries violins in a Left-handed model!
Other makers' instruments may be custom-built into a lefty violin by request: click here for details