Here’s my violin. I love it. It was made in 2006 by Sebastian Maria, who works at Viseltear Violins on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Buy local.
This is the fiddle I grew up playing. Last year I restrung it with Baritone Fiddle strings, and I use it mostly for recordings now. It covers a range roughly between a viola and cello (strings are F-C-G-D, M9 down from standard violin).
I got this rabeca on my first trip to Recife, Brazil. You can hear me play it on all the Nation Beat records. It has a rustic keening tone that lacks the thickness of a violin which allows it to sit in a mix more gently. Sounds really good doubled on a track.
I got this kemance in Istanbul. Its goat-skin top and orb-shaped body give it a light, haunting tone. Tuned like a western violin or to any of various open tunings (G-D-G-D, A-D-A-D, etc) works on record as a suitable analogue for skin-topped fiddles of West Africa, India, or the Middle East.
My Mandolin is nothing to write your uncle Mike about, but it’s got a sweet tone. I am particularly fond of finger-picking on it.
Guitars are cool.