The Rickert Model 70 Violin is made for us by Revelle and set up to customer specifications by D. Rickert Musical Instruments. This model works well either set up as a violin or a professional performance/competition fiddle.
It is one of the nicer violins we have seen, regardless of price range. As an orchestral violin, it is unquestionably an advanced instrument. The woods are beautiful: close-grained spruce top and well-flamed back and sides. The workmanship is first rate. The pegs work flawlessly.
The Model 70 is a hybrid of a Guarneri pattern and Stradivari pattern. The body shape is clearly Guarneri and, is indeed, a bit smaller than a Strad, as a Guarneri should be. It has the rounder shoulders and lower bout of a Guarneri. With its one piece highly flamed back, it clearly looks more Guarneri than Stradivari. It is not quite so dark sounding as some Guarneri type instruments can be, and has the sonic power (loudness) consistent with a Strad.
The varnish is perfect. I suspect that it is spirit varnished; however, it has the look of hand rubbed Italian oil varnish, including the rub marks of what looks like a pigment glaze in one or more of the layers rather than dye-based stain used in spirit varnishing. These hand-rubbing marks are part of the beauty of Italian varnishing. So, it could be oil varnished after all.
When set up as a fiddle, the Model 70 is without peer. It is an all around better instrument than its well-known and popular competitors (will not name them in order to avoid nasty emails, letters and phone calls). The tone is full-bodied, balanced and powerful. It is quite loud and focused and responds beautifully to the bow, probably more so than the intermediate player would prefer…the instrument is, metaphorically, a racehorse rather than a workhorse. The really good players will pay twice as much for the Model 70 than for the Model 60. It is an instrument for a player who knows what he or she is doing and wants to be heard.
Instrument only: Not an outfit.
See the various setup and outfit options for this instrument.
Standard tuning pegs: Wittner FineTune pegs
Tailpiece: Hill tailpiece (ebony)
Strings: D’Addario Zyex synthetic core
Default Championship Fiddle Setup:
- Moderately arched bridge, carved to produce a fairly low (not ridiculously low) string height.
- Very low string height at nut
- Basically, the default setup is optimized for Scottish Highland, Irish or Old-Time genre; however, some Old-Time players may want a flatter bridge arc and even lower action.