Dick’s Forum – No. 8
Lester Bardin lived in Arlington, near Riverside, California for many years. During his working career he was a bailiff in the Riverside County Courts. His life long hobby was collecting and working on violins. He knew many of the major violin dealers and collectors in California during that time.
I was living in Riverside and working not far from his home on my day job, playing the fiddle at night and on the weekends. I met Lester because he rehaired bows and I had frequent need of his services. In addition, he understood that as a working fiddle player I had to have my bows back quickly, a service he always provided me without complaint or extra charge.
He loved to talk about violins and I enjoyed listening, as I learned at great deal from him. He had made a few violins and he began showing them to me and I played them and other violins he had while he sat and listened and made various comments about the sound of each violin.
He was well into his seventies when I met him and as he turned into his eighties he was diagnosed with cancer. Our visits became more frequent and I bought from him two of the violins he had made, one of which I still own and will not part with.
He made eight to ten violins and his label has a picture of a church on it. It is the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah. A devout Mormon, Lester made more than one gracious attempt at converting me to his faith during our visits. Though we never came to agreement, he was tolerant of my views and we became good friends.