Frank’s Fiddles was started when Frank Daniels retired from 30 years of federal service and began pursuing his dream of making violins. The seed for making instruments was planted at an early age as Frank’s father, Sam Daniels, made 156 instruments.
It was many years later when Frank decided to try his hand at making instruments. Frank had the privilege of making one fiddle with his father over a 3-year period in the 1980s, but basically learned to make instruments by reading, attending workshops, experimenting, and through lots of trial and error.
Throughout the year, Frank and his wife, Karen, travel around the country to bluegrass festivals and other music events where they can be found vending Frank’s instruments and accessories.
Frank feels so fortunate that each day he is getting to do something he thoroughly enjoys whether it is making instruments or traveling around meeting great people. Making the instruments provides Frank a great deal of satisfaction, but hearing his instruments played by accomplished players is “the icing on the cake“. Frank gladly shares his passion for making fiddles with young students in the hopes they will have a greater appreciation for their instruments. Who knows, one of them may choose to become a luthier one of these days!!
If you are interested in learning more about violin making, Frank belongs to the Violin Makers Association of Arizona, Intl. (VMAAI). The VMAAI members are willing to share their knowledge about violin, viola, cello, and bow making.
“As a maker, my goal is to craft great sounding instruments that will be played and enjoyed by many throughout the years to come.”
Award Winning Fiddles
In 1999 at the Violin Makers Association of Arizona, Intl. annual competition, Frank had the prestigious honor of his 34th instrument, a steel-string violin, being judged best in tone (by playing and listening judges) out of over 80 gut-string and steel-string violins.
Over the years, Frank has won numerous tone awards for his instruments – in 1997, 1999, 2005 and 2006 competitions Frank’s 11th, 34th, 113th and 120th steel-string fiddles placed first in tone. In 1998 his 23rd violin placed 2nd in tone in the gut-string category. At the October 2009 competition his 174th violin placed 3rd in tone in the first round and in October 2010 Frank’s 180th violin tied for 4th in tone in the first round and 5th in tone after the third round. In 2012, his 193rd fiddle tied for 4th in tone in the first round. In 1999 and 2000 his large violas placed first in tone and in 2005 his 7th viola placed 3rd in tone and in workmanship.
Frank has now exceeded his goal of making 200 fiddles/violins and will soon be starting on #217, a 4-string with a Carolina Poplar back, sides and neck.
In addition to selling his handcrafted 4-string and 5-string fiddles/violins, Frank does repair work and sells used instruments and accessories. If you would like more information about Frank’s handcrafted instruments after exploring the web site, or if you are interested in visiting Frank’s shop, please click here to contact him.