Most popular travel violin/fiddle
The Rickert Mountaineer IV Backpacker Fiddle is a really skinny (but full 4/4 length) travel fiddle that is extremely durable for the most punishing environments. This instrument and its predecessors have now been on journeys in the U.S., Europe, Canada, Middle East, North Africa and the African sub-continent.
The instrument is just 2" wide and is standard 4/4 length (body just under 14" and total length about 23").
The Mountaineer utilizes an innovative internal bracing, which performs the critical functions of the sound post (damping shrill high frequency overtones while enhancing mid and low frequency overtones). The advantage is that the Mountaineer IV can withstand shock and extreme temperatures without the risk of the sound post falling out of place. The new Mountaineer IV, unlike its predecessors, uses a separate bass bar. We’ll get into this when talking about sound below.
The Unique Chin Rest
Like its predecessor, the Mountaineer IV uses an innovative Dov Schmidt tailpiece/chin rest combination. No longer does the musician have to fool with removing the chin rest in order to fit the instrument into it a round case, only to have to re-install the chin rest in order to play it.
The instrument is fit with the innovative Wittner internally-geared planetary pegs (i.e. Wittner Fine-Tune pegs), at NO CHARGE (a $120 value). These tuners are so accurate that fine tuners are not needed. They simply turn and lock into place just like high-end geared guitar tuners, but they look just like regular ebony tuning violin pegs.
Uses a Globetrotter 4" case. See Related Items.
Shoulder Rest Adaptor
The whole idea is that the Mountaineer IV, when fully assembled, has all of the critical ergonomic dimensions of a full-size violin or fiddle. We now offer two shoulder rest adaptor options:
- A simplified birch aircraft plywood (very strong and warp resistant) cross-piece, which is used to hold the player’s preferred shoulder rest.
- We got rid of the cumbersome track mechanism on the back of the instrument and now simply employ industrial strength Velcro™.
- This option comes with the instrument at no extra charge.
- Phantom™ Adjustable Shoulder Rest
- This clever device, which can be easily formed to perfectly fit one’s shoulder, simply clips onto a slightly modified endpin.
- We supply this option at about the same price we pay for the Phantom shoulder rest. Some of the photos show the Phantom shoulder rest in use.
The Sound of the Mountaineer IV
The Mountaineer IV predecessors sounded pretty good for 2 inch wide violins. The Mountaineer IV takes things to a new level. The BIG sound that emanates from the Mountaineer IV Backpacker Violin is nothing short of astounding.
How did we do it?
- Combinations of wood used for the top, back, sides, back and even the end blocks. After much experimentation, we discovered the magic combination
- A state-of-the art separate bass bar instead of a “bass bar” that is part of the bracing scheme
- The right strings: We have found that Thomastik-Infeld Vision stark (heavy) gauge synthetic core strings are the icing on the cake, as it were.
With the Mountaineer IV, we may have come as close to the sound of a regular violin as possible…but who knows?