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The violin of my dreams

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Ten years ago I met a luthier named Jonathan S. Franke and was completely blown away by the violin he let me try. Of the hundreds of instruments I've tried over the years, none has impressed me more than Jonathan's. I resolved on the spot to buy one if I ever had the opportunity.

At that point Jonathan was getting, I think, 4-5K for a fiddle, and with a gold medal or two under his belt, his prices have climbed along with his reputation. Current violin price is 8K -- way out of my range.

But I kept looking, and this week I got lucky. A nice lady in Idaho was selling Jonathan's #16 for an absolute steal. Having done a lot of successful wheeling/dealing with mandolins the past couple of months, I was actually in a position to buy it ... and it'll be on its way to me shortly. I'll have to do some soul-searching and a lot of comparison with my current axe, which is not a beauty to look at, but sounds great and has served me well ... and is in all likelihood the best fiddle anyone ever bought for $460 ... and could sell on consignment for as much as I'm paying for the Franke.

Every fiddle is different, of course, and I have no guarantee that #16 will impress me as much as the violin from my previous encounter with Jonathan. But this may be the only chance I get to own one of his. Somebody pinch me.


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