What is the difference between a fiddle and a violin?

A conversation with Mountain Ride’s classically trained fiddle player extraordinaire, Scott Matlock

It’s an old joke, with multiple punchlines. What’s the difference between a fiddle and a violin?

Some say it is that nobody minds if you spill beer on a fiddle. Others say it is the number of teeth the guy playing it has. 

My personal favorite — about $10,000. Or as a similar version goes, when you are buying one it is a fiddle and when you are selling one it is a violin.

Scott Matlock has heard them all. He has been on both sides, too. A classically trained violinist, he endured the predictable taunts and bullying as a kid, schlepping his violin case to and from school. But like many high school music nerds, he has gotten his revenge.

Every girlfriend he ever had, including his wife, he got through playing music. These days he has budding rockstar status as the fiddle player in the up and coming Pennsylvania bluegrass outfit Mountain Ride.

We had a chance to have a chat with Scott in January between sets at an intimate house show in Harrisburg. In this beer-infused interview, originally streamed live on Facebook as intermission filler while streaming that entire show, Scott explained the real difference between playing classical violin and playing bluegrass fiddle and talked about how he came to be a bluegrass fiddler.