The Devil’s Violinist

Niccolò Paganini who today often goes by his far less pimp, but arguably more metal nickname of “The Devil’s Violinist” was a violin virtuoso with such a mastery over his instrument, he was capable of feats on the violin hundreds of years ago that masters of the instrument today can’t manage.

Like most heroes, especially the really cliché ones, Paganini came from humble beginnings, being born in 1782 into a poor Italian family. By the age of 5 Paganini was reportedly shredding away on the mandolin with such ferocity he was composing Dragonforce songs in his sleep. By 7 he’d moved past the need for such an instrument and turned his attention to the Devil’s own personal instrument, the violin.

To ensure that his son made something of his life, Paganini’s father supposedly locked him in a room, forcing him to play and practice the violin upwards of 15 hours a day. Something that probably had nothing to do with the fact that Paganini’s father played the mandolin for a living. We’re sure he felt no ill will towards his freakishly talented, 5-year-old son showing him up in public and his unquestionably dick move of locking his son in his room to play a different instrument was almost certainly a completely unrelated event.

This was back when violin was the electric guitar of its day.

This was back when violin was the electric guitar of its day.

As proof that being a sucky parent works as long as you’re consistently sucky, Paganini was playing solos on stage by age 11. By 13 he was considered a virtuoso on the instrument. Today he’s playing a crystal violin in the belly of an exploding star for God’s own personal amusement, but we’re getting too far ahead of ourselves.

Though his skill on the violin was beyond question, his status as a “poor person” meant that his instrument was less than suitable for someone with the considerable pool of potential XP that Paganini possessed. For one concert in the city of Livorno, while Paganini was still an annoying oily teenager, a local businessman recognized his talent and lent the young virtuoso a violin of legendary quality made by the Hattori Hanzo of the violin world, Giuseppe Guarneri. After watching Paganini shred on the violin exactly once, the owner refused to take it back. Some say the previous owner was fearful handling the instrument after Paganini because of the supposed “supernatural” source of his skill, we say it’s because the violin would have immediately burst into flames in lesser hands.

We weren’t joking either when when we said the violin was of legendary quality, as it’s still around 400 years later in almost perfect condition, safely stored behind a glass box. And like all the legendary weapons in Skyrim, it even has a unique name, “Il Cannone Guarnerius,” in his lifetime Paganini referred to the violin as “the cannon” because his penis already had a nickname.

Again, we’re not joking, despite his gaunt, almost alien appearance and the fact he often looked like a giant-ass bat when he played on stage, Paganini scored endless amounts of tail purely because of how good he was at playing the violin. Some actually called Paganini “the greatest womanizer of all time” and when he played, entire audiences (women especially) were said to be so spellbound that nothing could rouse them until he stopped playing.

"I call this next one, 'La Danza di Pollo.' Ladies, get your second set of underwear ready."

“I call this next one, ‘La Danza di Pollo.’ Ladies, get your second set of underwear ready.”

When he played, Paganini was famous for his erratic movements and his almost trance-like state. This, coupled with the fact audiences literally couldn’t move when he played led to rumors he got his powers directly from Satan. Which would insinuate that Satan was metal enough to keep up with Paganini, and that is obviously not true, we’ve heard him play the fiddle in “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.” It’s not even in the same league.

Seriously, Paganini’s skill on the violin bordered on the insane. He was able to play across three octaves at once, a feat that is considered next to impossible by all known standards. When he was playing a concert in which one of his strings broke, Paganini improvised and played the rest of the concert on three strings, without stopping! When he realised how boss this made him look, he went out of his way to play with worn strings so that it would happen in more of his concerts. He even composed an entire song on one string just to truly prove how great he was:

Even when racked by ill health, the last thing Paganini ever did on Earth was to feverishly (yes, literally) improvise songs on his violin, none of which anyone could note down. That many fingers moving that fast in one room would have been seen as a declaration of war against every vagina on Earth.

"I figure I've got 40 minutes left to live, and I'm already in bed, so..."

“I figure I’ve got 40 minutes left to live, and I’m already in bed, so…”

In the end, Paganini died the way he lived, shredding the $#!+ out of a violin surrounded by explosions and people who weren’t worthy of his skill. Just like a real hero.

Dude, you've got a gorgeous girl on your arm -- show no fear.

Dude, you’ve got a gorgeous girl on your arm — show no fear.

Karl Smallwoodis a freelance comedy writer that you can hire! His work has been featured on, and you should probably click those links to make sure he isn’t lying. He also runs his own website where he responds to the various pieces of hate-mail he’s gotten over the years, in fact, he got so much hate-mail that he wrote a book about it that you can buy on Amazon. When he isn’t writing, Karl also Tweets and uploads pictures of himself drinking on Facebook.


Karl also documented The Most Hilarious Overreactions to Scary Movies. For a more political motivated ass-kicking athlete, check out Karl’s article on how Abe Lincoln wrestled his way into the history books.

More from Karl Smallwood

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