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First off, Dennis Havlena is my hero. Here's his page on instruments he's altered/made/unmade. One of them is a hardanger conversion from a beater fiddle:
Here are blogs from two builders who've documented their process for us all:
I've just purchased a raw fiddle and have removed the fingerboard to make a channel for the sympathetic strings to run through. I'll post photos as I go along -- not much to see yet!
Likely I'll stain it green!
Dennis Havlena does have a great site and lots of super home mades. I like the hang drums.
Can anyone tell me how playable a 2 string fiddle would be? The 2 center strings.
You'd be pretty limited to the tunes you could play in 1st position. If you are comfortable with shifting into higher positions, you can get a bit more out of it. But add one more strings and you're much more versatile.
The middle two strings are the D and the A. That means you're mostly playing in D. Almost all the D fiddle tunes I know go up to the E string. So I'd guess lots of other songs do, too, when played in D.
Do you still have that fiddle? Give it another go. Bowing takes a few weeks to get smooth enough to enjoy, but after that fiddling is really fun. Also, if you are playing G tunes, it is okay if you kiss the low G string by accident, it just drones along. The E string, not so much!
If you are playing a violin set up as a "fiddle" often the bridge is really flat so you CAN play those drones. Those are too flat for me, I have more of a classical arch on the bridge so I can hit the strings more cleanly.
Some people tune their fiddles AEae or GDgd so they can hit any string any time and it sounds great. Or D'DAd. Maybe it will be more fun if you play in those tunings to start.
Thanks for the pics. A very useful reference for my own attempt at this sort of thing:
Well done! Really enjoyed your fiddle tune at the end there. That's a new one for me!