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Trapezoidal Fiddle

Michael J King Savart style Trapezoidal fiddle 2003/4

Savart violonThis instrument is based on the work of Felix Savart 1819, He was a scientist who developed a "rationalised Violin" this  met with approval of the academy in Paris (in the Post-revolution climate people were open to a re-appraisal of everything including the violin!), However this violin didn't replace the normal violin and it shifted into folk music use.

In 1975 Ronald Roberts a Craft teacher from Exeter (Uk) published a book called "Making a simple Violin and Viola, IBSN 0 7153 6964 4" featuring Savarts design with additional sizes.

Ronald Roberts made a few Design alterations,  adding normal tailpieces and inside re-introducing the sound-post and offside bass bar of the standard Violin. He also included linings

These instruments are simpler to make than the regular Violin or Viola and sound better than a lot of cheap student Violins.  designed for classical use and not taken up, They have found there way into folk use, in Ireland for example Michael Dinan makes and plays these instruments.   I have also found reference to them on the Internet as "Russian"  or American Fiddles or just Folk Fiddles (see here)

The audio file on this page was removed as it had been corrupted by noise but you can hear again:  (apologies in advance!!!  take care listening to this as the crackling is bad)
I am not really a violin player, but these give a rough idea
Savart mp3 sound sample

On the example above I have used the rounded shoulders of the Paris Conservatoire example, with the interior of Roberts, Ie: normal bass bar/sound-post and linings.   My next instrument will most likely be a  5 string Violin/viola 

If you are interested in commissioning one of these please contact me for further details.

Prices from £600 to £1100,  lots of options. violin, viola, 5 string models,  email for more info.

Links/notes for making your own:

The original plans by Savart are here:

The Paris museum has this original on display:

Blog article on making one:

From my notes I have these details from the Ronald Roberts book:
The spruce top is 4.5mm thick but tapers to the edge to about 2mm, the back is 4 to 2mm
the ribs are 2.5mm with linings about the same.(The Savart original model had thicker side wood and no linings)

Violin lower width 216mm
body length minus button 326
top of body 77mm
top block 25mm thick

It has a bass bar like a normal violin and a soundpost 5mm dowel
the neck can be like a normal violin or have guitar tuners(buy these before designing your spade head.)

Some modern interpretations:

Do message me if you would like to purchase a set of Savart fiddle plans,   If I get at least 10 people interested I will take a few days from my practical instrument making work to draw it out!