Hello, I am wondering about the possible valuation on a Bearden violin and whether it can be used for either fiddle or violin?  I understand I need to visit an actual string shop to get a true valuation, I am just looking for a rough idea.  I am not familiar with the instruments, so I thought I would ask an expert.  Thank you!

Hi S,

Thank you for your question.  Bearden violins is a small shop in Missouri.  They sell violins in a wide range of qualities from a variety of makers.  If it's a student level instrument, it could be worth anywhere from nothing up to several thousand dollars.  If it's a professional level instrument it could be worth more.  Even if I were to make the assumption that this violin was actually made by their shop, I'd really not be able to give you even a ball-park valuation.  But, I'm sure you could get some specific information by calling them directly.  They list their phone number as 800-443-2342.

As for being used for either a fiddle or violin . . . Aside from some minor variations in string preference, bridge fitting, and setup, any violin can be used for playing both classical and folk/bluegrass/jazz fiddle music.  The instrument itself is the same.  It's just called a violin if you're playing it in a concert hall, and a fiddle if you're in a pub, spilling beer on it.  The real question is, what is the condition and quality of the instrument?  If it's been sitting under the bed for a while, it will probably need new strings, and the bow will need new hair.  And, if you are unsure about the quality of the setup, it's generally a good idea to take it to a reputable dealer and get a tonal adjustment - checking of bridge fitting, post fitting, etc - to make sure the strings are the right height off the fingerboard and that you're getting the best tone you can out of the instrument.  If you do plan to play fiddle music, then you should choose strings for that purpose, and possibly have the bridge adjusted accordingly.  Ditto if you plan to play classical music.  I'd be happy to elaborate on those recommendations, if needed.

Best of luck with it!

Jim Fisher


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James S. Fisher


Please Note: For an accurate appraisal of your instrument's value or history, I must advise you to take it to a local luthier or string shop for an evaluation. It's really not possible to do this with any accuracy via email.

However, I am happy to answer other questions about violins, bows, violin playing, and violin/bow repair. I can also talk with you about what bows, rosin, strings, cases, shoulder rests, etc. might work best for you and your particular instrument. (There are some great new products on the market.) I've taught violin and fiddle playing for the past 18 years and will answer questions about playing and technique.


I've been studying the violin for over thirty years. I started teaching in 1996. In addition to my training at Lebanon Valley College and at the Violin Institute, I handle violins, bows, and customer questions of all sorts on a daily basis in my shop - J.S. Fisher Violins,


I hold a Bachelor of Music degree from Lebanon Valley College, as well as certificates in violin repair, violin maintenance, and bow rehairing from the Violin Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

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