About that violin…

My #1 most frequent question on Instagram:

Can you tell me more about your violin?

 I get questions about my violin every day, either in person or online. It really means so much to me to have so many people interested in learning about my instrument. In this post, I am sharing the story of our time together and answering some FAQs .

So, here’s our story (so far): My grandfather introduced me to violin music at birth and I danced around his home to the beautiful music of Paganini (his favorite was Carnival of Venice) from the moment I could walk. I started Suzuki violin lessons (age 5), grew up, became a professional violinist, etc (that’s a separate story!!). Somewhere along the way, my grandfather bought this instrument at an estate auction for less than $300. It is marked Klotz 1795.  It has been looked at by many different luthiers and so far, they have all said something different and ultimately inconclusive.  We almost all agree it is definitely not made by any member of the Klotz family, it is worth significantly more than $300, and it is very, very old. I played on an expensive English violin throughout college and my brother played the fake Klotz in grade school.  My grandfather fondly called it the “Klutz” and we would all laugh at his silly joke.  When my grandfather passed away in 2005, I packed up the expensive English instrument and started playing on the fake Klotz. I have never gone back to playing the other violin, even after having lots of work done on it to keep it in top shape. I don’t know if it’s simply sentimental, I don’t know if it’s a miracle, but this old fake Klotz is my voice and my heart. I love it more than anything I’ve ever played and everyone who hears her adores her sweet, bright sound. Every time I perform on it, it reminds me of my grandfather and how he shared his precious love of classical music and violin with me.


Where has the “Klotz” been heard?  The fake 1795 Klotz hasn’t traveled much during my ownership.  Since 2005, it has been heard mostly in the Eastern United States, in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.  To hear this instrument in concert, check the schedule to find out more about Rachel’s 2017 performances.

What strings do you use? Right now, I use Evah Pirazzi and have used them consistently for almost 8 years on both of my violins.  I have a set of these strings on the way. I’m really excited to try them on my other violin because it has a very deep, dark, mellow tone and I want to try to brighten it up a bit.

What chinrest do you use? I use this one.  I LOVE it and will never use another one.  Because it is a hypoallergenic plastic composite, it is cleanable and does not leave a violin mark on your neck.  That’s A BIG DEAL.

Is there any other question I should add to this post?  If so, leave it in the comments!

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