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Don Rickert Musician Shop

Outfits and Setup Options for Violins and Fiddles

With musical instruments, an "outfit" refers to the instrument, plus a case. With violins or fiddles, an outfit also includes a bow.

Setup refers to the type of accessories, the heigt and arching of the bridge, type type of strings used, as well as how close the strings are to the fingerboard at the nut and at the edge of the fingerboard close to the bridge. Setup is what differentiates a "violin" from a "fiddle". A violin, for instance, needs to have the strings high enough above the fingerboard to afford technique used in violin playing, such as vibrato. A violin set up as a fiddle will generally have strings closer to the fingerboard and a flatter bridge arch so as to make it easier to play two strings at once, particularly when one of the strings is played "open" in a droning manner.

Fiddle setups vary widely according to the historic period that one might be recreating and the genre (Old-Time, Irish, Scottish Highland, etc.). For example, the setup for Scottish Highland fiddling tends to be rather close to that of Baroque violin, as Scottish fiddling makes extensive use of baroque ornamentation, as well as bowing techniques requiring some arch on the bridge.