I made this instrument to have a good reason to learn to play fiddle tunes. I loosely applied elements of violin protocol such as scale length and some proportions to make the instrument seem reasonable to someone with violin training.
I built it while living at Sandhill Farm in Rutledge Missouri in the hot, humid Summer of 2014. Their partially subterranean workshop provided a cool respite to tinker in my free time.
Here's a video of me playing it with fellow Sandhill people Jon and Darien.
Halfway through building it, I learned that Instructables was running a contest specifically for musical instruments. I documented my work there, and somehow managed to win the competition.
A real fiddle player tries it
Rich, an experienced self-taught fiddle player, graciously tried out the instrument I made:
it's like flying a plane I haven't flown before.
I got similar feedback from other fiddlers also. They picked it up quickly, but it felt unusual to them. I understood this to be due to the following: - the neck is longer than a standard neck. Fiddlers use the neck-stop as a reference location, similar to the 12th fret on a guitar or middle-C on a piano. - the strings are unconventional, made of fishing line instead of wire-wound nylon.