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Ryan & Brennish Thomson

Updated Feb 2, 2024

Captain Fiddle Music 

Ryan and Brennish 


Fiddle and Violin Buyer's Guide

The Fiddle and Violin Buyer's Guide - $19.95

Second Edition*

by Ryan J. Thomson,  32 pages, 8.5" by 11", comb bound, soft cover, illustrated, includes: a detailed discussion of each part of a violin; locating good instruments; choosing between a

new or used violin; selecting the proper bow; determining the quality of construction; selecting an instrument by its sound, buying on eBay vs buying from a dealer, special section on 

how to buy a left handed violin, more. 

ISBN 978-0-931877-11-7, - $19.95 


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front cover of the Fiddle and Violin Buyers Guide by Ryan Thomson

Click on the image below to enlarge it.

Reviews of The Fiddle & Violin Buyer's Guide:


American String Teacher's Association (ASTA): "It does provide a handy introduction to the world of instrument dealers and the process of selecting an instrument. Thomson adds references to standard periodicals and resource guides, catalogs, and articles, reproduces photos of violin labels, supplies, and the like. He describes basic equipment and gives diagnostic tips for spotting the problems underlying a buzz in the fiddle."


Tennessee Folklore Society: "Now the area of greatest need for this book obviously would be with all the beginning fiddlers. Also, the intermediate violin students who have reached the point where they feel they are ready for a better instrument will find the advice contained here to be invaluable. In addition, I feel that a lot of the knowledgeable ("old pro") violin makers and players who know exactly what to look for in a new or used instrument will want this book for reference purposes. It also is a fascinating book which will allow one to "compare notes and opinions" on this fascinating subject. In short, there is a wealth of material presented here. It is all most useful and clearly presented."


Folk Legacy: "Whether you now play, or want to play the violin or fiddle, they are essentially the same instrument. This book is packed with unusual and useful information about how to purchase a good instrument and a good bow. Choices and alternatives are offered: will it be new or used? (And what to look for in both); handmade or factory-made? price range and what you get for it; looking for flaws, judging the finish, what to look for in the bridge, the f-holes, sound post, strings, tailpiece."


Bluegrass Unlimited: "What will help you on your fiddle-hunting expeditions is to take along a knowledgeable friend and a copy of the Fiddle and Violin Buyer's Guide. Ryan Thomson, the author of several other fiddle-related books, wants to help people find the best fiddles that they can afford, and to that end, he's packed a wealth of information, advice, and insight into this handy little book." 


Victory Music Review: "The Buyer's Guide is valuable for all fiddlers, giving specific tips on locating, selecting and caring for an instrument."


Dirty Linen: "I have never seen another publication that assembles so much useful information on violin buying and maintenance."


Sing Out!: "A very practical little book, it explains the many details of violin construction and repair. The author gives simple tips for buyers and players, providing a reliable manual on the construction, attributes, features, qualities and selection criteria to consider in evaluating instruments. Included are also helpful hints on the care and repair of the fiddle and a limited discussion of price ranges and brands. A short bibliography leads the reader to more detailed information."


From happy customers:


I received the " Fiddle and Violin Buyers Guide " and am very pleased with it.



Hi Ryan,

I just purchased your fiddle buyer's guide. Good book and thanks again. I managed to pick up a nice Schweitzer copy at an auction recently. 




Hi Ryan,

I just wanted you to know that I received the book (Fiddle and Violin Buyer's Guide) and am very pleased with it. I started reading it almost right away and had a hard time putting it down. Very interesting! Thanks a bunch

C. B.


Hello! Ryan,

Thank you for sending the two books. I received them yesterday. Your books are exceptionally impressive....FIDDLER AND VIOLIN BUYERS GUIDE BOOK, and THE FIDDLER'S ALMANAC. Thank you for your autograph, too. I am truly impressed with the way you run your business. Truly.





The Fiddle and Violin Buyer's Guide arrived safely today. Thanks! I enjoyed

reading it.



 * the first edition of this book is out of print

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