I have a old fiddle with the word "Hope" on the back and was wondering if I could find out how old it is?
By Altia from Fort Bragg, CA
Take a flashlight and look inside the f-holes on the front. You should be able to see a label that will say the maker and the year. If not, the only way to tell would be to take it to a professional like a Luthier. Do not take it to a random music store that deals guitars, wind instruments and such. Trust me, those are not the people you want to talk to. Stringed instruments are an art, and must be studied for a long time to understand them. Sales people generally don't know enough. A good place to start would be to find a bowed stringed instrument specific store. If you live near a decent sized city you should be able to find one. They might have someone on staff that could help you with it, and if not they should at least know somewhere in the area to refer you to.
Do what bananarama said and if it does not state what year, then contact the company, they will have a record using the serial number which is on the label inside the f-hole. I used to make those "fiddles" at Sherl and Roth. Good luck.
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