Carl Stroh's Amazing Violin

The other night, I saw a tiny bit of a terrible-looking film called Bloodhounds of Broadway. Madonna was singing in a 1920s bar. In the background was a violinist playing a violin with big metal horns poking out of the side. A bit of Googling reveals it was a Stroh Violin, invented in 1899 by Carl Augustus Stroh. It was developed for the early recording industry. Until around 1920, records were cut by the band standing around a large horn connected to a needle scraping the grooves into the master, and strings were hard to record. So Stroh removed the violin's sound chamber and replaced it with a brass (later aluminium) horn attached to the bridge. Later models also had a secondary horn, pointed at the player - probably the first monitor speaker in history. The Stroh should have died out completely in the '20s, but according to this page, they became popular in a small region of Transylvania called Bihor. Perhaps inevitably, Tom Waits uses a Stroh, as do The Kryonics. You can buy a new, Thai made Stroh for $408 from (or $315 from their eBay shop).They offer this [mp3] unpromising sound sample to prospective buyers. More pictures at Elderly Instruments.

the icelandic group Múm use something like this as well, with great results.
ive always wanted to know how to play the violin...
I HAVE ONE!!!!! mine was made in BIHOR Transilvania and I use it to play klezmer music!!!!I love it: its a real piece of sh*t in terms of construction, but stile, I love it!
About three years ago I took a ride service to the airport in SF and one of the ladies sharing the ride with me had the bell of a Stroh violin sticking out of her bag. We talked about it for the duration of the trip. Her's was brass in color and seemed to have a bigger bell, but otherwise it was similar. Wish I'd gotten her # to hear that thing played.
two places to here them played
---click on strings, then " Vioara Cu Goarna"
OR for a *real* Rom (gypsy) goto
I've always wanted to know how to play the violin...
I wish to play it someday!
The first time I saw one of these was in the Lark in the Morning music store catalog
Tom Waits employs one of these on his album 'Alice'.

A very unique and haunting sound!
Louise played on the Stroh Fiddle (Violin) by Corwin Zekley age 11. Made by Johannes Matthias Augustus Stroh in 1900. Recorded at a concert December 15, 2007 with the Zekley Family Band. The instrument is also called the Phonofiddle or Phono Fiddle.
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