It’s a bit dicey to get a viola-scale one, though — happily, they tend to be rather symmetrical without the normal internal complexities of a full-scale instrument, so the only change to be made as a lefty is to ream out the pegbox the other way around. We’ll see how it goes.
This is the one I’m looking at — a Mountaineer III backpacker fiddle from Adventurous Muse — and the maker Don Rickert has contacted me quite promptly and pleasantly and remarked that he’s made many a lefty fiddle, so he’s up for it. Tonight, I’m going to take a look at my own and let him know the free string length. (I’ve measured it before but forgot.) After that, we can talk budget. I’d really rather not go too far over $1500 but might have to go higher since it would not just be a lefty but also just larger. This does of course mean that my pochette would be more expensive than my actual fiddle, but it’s worth it to be able to travel with it, and I’m acutely aware of the fact that I am incredibly fortunate to be able to say that something that costs that much is “worth it.”
I’d also get a travel bow and a case as well. Imagine! Being able to fly with a fiddle! He decorates them too, and I would dearly love having a Journey winged scarab put on the side.
I have already purchased a tenor recorder for a travel instrument (I cannot handle one of those hideous squeakmonster things that I played as a freshman in high school, so a tenor it is), but a pochette would be a tremendous travel instrument and would go a long way to keeping me sane when I travel for work. To some extent, the current state of the economy puts the muscle in my corner when ordering one since most makers of these instruments are hurting financially. I hope that will help me pry one out of the makers I’ve contacted.
Update: No prying required, it appears! Again, he was happy to make a viola-scale lefty, so things are looking up, even though this does apparently have some internal complexities that will have to get mirrored.
I had also contacted another fellow who sells travel violins for about $315 and asked him; he was still uninterested. Oh, darn. I thanked him and did let slide that another more adventurous luthier is going to make roughly $1700 off me counting the case and possibly a new non-take-apart bow. Hey, if I have to get a new bow anyhow, I might as well snag it from Rickert. Snooze == lose. And since Rickert also makes other instruments and has demonstrated himself to be prompt and pleasant … who knows? I about died when I found out that he makes d’amores as well; I’d always figured that a lefty d’amore was never going to happen, but again … who knows?