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Thread: I Just Bought A Violin

  1. #1

    Question I Just Bought A Violin

    I just picked up a Fiddlershop Concert violin (#2 in the video below), my first violin. I'm just assuming that I can use my scales, chords and arpeggio books for mandolin with the violin?

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    Fiddlerman Concert Violin

  2. #2
    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    Sure, that’ll work. But those bluegrass chop chords might be problematic. And then there’s that bowing thing
    Not all the clams are at the beach

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    To a degree, but you can only play two notes at a time on violin, so chording is limited pretty much to partial chords, doubles stops. One can dramatically drag the bow quickly over four strings for a full chord and a dramatic flourish, as is sometimes done in "long-hair" and French-Canadian music. This technique doesn't come easily to a great many of us, and should be used sparingly by those who master it. There are considerable technical differences between playing mandolin and violin (I moved the other direction). Unless you are someone who picks up new instruments more easily than most folks, I'd suggest that you find a teacher, preferably of the style in which you want to play, to give you a few lessons in left-hand position, bow angle, and technique just to get you started.
    Last edited by Ranald; May-13-2022 at 1:15pm.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  4. #4

    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    When I first bought a violin, I signed up for an inexpensive group class, and worked the heck out of my bow technique. While it seemed everyone else was chomping at the bit to learn tunes! tunes! tunes!, I practiced bowing, asking for exercises,books, and determined to get the most out of my $12.50 a week. I'd go over the tunes once a day, *after* numerous intermittent bowing technique drill sessions. In class, while everyone just wanted to play the tunes over and over, I worked the various bow techniques on those tunes. Once that month was over, I did four more private lessons, spread over a few months, to build vibrato, slides, and so on.

    This was pre-internet, but even with classic bowing technic books now to be found free for download, I was glad to have that real-time feedback to correct mistakes before they became ingrained and fossilized. Scales and double stops can be practiced and judged with a tuner, but bowing really benefits from a live in-room teacher.

    Just some thoughts. Good luck!

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  6. #5

    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    Thank you for the responses. I do plan to find a teacher but not right away. The real-time feedback is very good but I like to approach an instrument in my own way for a period of time until my ideas need outside assistance. Although I immediately researched proper holds for both the violin and the bow.

    I go through phases regarding cover songs/material. For now I prefer to work on the ability to share what is inside me and improvisation. The popular music will come but I think it flows better once I have found a basic footing of my own.

    There are so many styles I would like to get into: Bluegrass, Celtic/Irish, Classical/Baroque and so on but the one that currently has a pull on me is Gypsy Jazz and Gypsy styles in general. The moment I knew I would eventually get a violin though, was when I was watching a vampire movie. Yep, a vampire movie. Not the best one but it had the seen below which grabbed me. In all fairness though the violin in Schindler's List was the first one to really speak to me.

    I tried to share this to start at 1:10 but it isn't working.


    Just amazingly great music...
    Last edited by ryevick; May-13-2022 at 2:52pm.
    Morris A4
    Morgan Monroe MMS-5W
    Fiddlerman Concert Violin

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  8. #6
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    Well I have been playing fiddle for almost fifty years and I can say it is a very demanding instrument. I can let mandolin sit in its case for a week or two and then pick it up and play pretty decently. Fiddle requires daily playing to keep up with the instrument. Certainly you should try and I assume you have been playing mandolin for some time so you would have some of the left hand knowledge of where notes are and how to achieve dynamics and phrasing. Nothing wrong with following your own path but I also think it useful for the later unlearning phase to get some periodic feedback from a good teacher before the terrible and harmful bad techniques will entrench themselves. It is a very wonderful and expressive instrument once you get to a certain point.

    BTW Jason Anick on the second video teaches online I believe. Of course you canít expect to play that style of music out of the gate. Best of luck in any case.
    Jim

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    Chief Moderator/Shepherd Ted Eschliman's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    Attempting to learn the violin was one of the biggest failures in my musical career. The bowing was just too much for me to get. I tried playing in our church orchestra for Easter service, and when I saw the sound man tactfully sliding the overhead mic as far from me as he could, I knew it was over.

    My 7 year-old daughter took to it like a duck to water and played well for 9 years. Not Dad.
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    My attempt was similar Ted. In my book there's no justification for resorting to violins.
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; May-14-2022 at 8:42pm.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    I started fiddle and mandolin at the same time I my twenties having played guitar since early teens. I got more and more info old time music and stuck to that style of playing. More recently gave been working on all the bad habits for decades and fine tuning bowing and working on my intonation. It helps to have a community of players for any instrument but especially for bowed ones. If you have the stamina to stick with it it can be fun but there is always the challenge. I say stick with it if you can. OTOH you always have a wonderful instrument in our beloved mandolin.
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  16. #11

    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    Take lessons, learn the nuances of bowing and how to intonate.
    Sorry, I am no longer suffering fools

  17. #12
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    I started fiddle and mandolin at the same time I my twenties having played guitar since early teens. I got more and more info old time music and stuck to that style of playing. More recently gave been working on all the bad habits for decades and fine tuning bowing and working on my intonation. It helps to have a community of players for any instrument but especially for bowed ones. If you have the stamina to stick with it it can be fun but there is always the challenge. I say stick with it if you can. OTOH you always have a wonderful instrument in our beloved mandolin.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  18. #13
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    These videos do have inspirational fiddling. There is something about violins that other instruments can't make. Tone, tamber, sonority, call it what you might. But they have a special place in the sonic world.

    Trouble is, (and I can tell you because my wife has taught violin for adults for about 40 years now), violin is not an easy instrument to play. It is darned sensitive and unlike plucked instruments, it amplifies your clumsy moves. And to get to that wonderful tone, like in these videos, you'll have to a great deal of determination and humility.




    There are so many styles I would like to get into: Bluegrass, Celtic/Irish, Classical/Baroque and so on but the one that currently has a pull on me is Gypsy Jazz and Gypsy styles in general. The moment I knew I would eventually get a violin though, was when I was watching a vampire movie. Yep, a vampire movie. Not the best one but it had the seen below which grabbed me. In all fairness though the violin in Schindler's List was the first one to really speak to me.




    Just amazingly great music...
    [/QUOTE]
    Decipit exemplar vitiis imitabile

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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    I added fiddle to my arsenal about 6 years ago. I took it into the band about two years from the start.
    But I had about 26 years of 'cello & 10 of mandolin behind me there, so a lot of groundwork had been done.
    I also kept things very simple & only used it for backing with the odd solo at first. I still prefer to lead a tune on mandolin even after this time.
    Every year seems to be "this year I'll really get things going on the fiddle" ...... maybe it'll happen this year, who knows?

    One thing I'd use as a guideline is; keep the bow on the strings & keep the bow moving sideways all the time unless you want an effect.
    It's amazing the difference always keeping the bow moving makes to your tone. I think many of us at the start think we'll play that down-bow, then play the up bow & we end up separating things too much. The trick is not to stop, aim instead for accurate timing of the direction change. As much as possible don't stop the movement of the frog across the strings. If you can get that slippery slidey constant sound you'll sound like a fiddle. Then you can chunk it up or separate things afterwards.

    To save yourself the grief of having to unlearn habits or mis-interpreted instructions, I'd try to get a couple or 3 starter lessons in first.
    Focusing on stance (sitting & standing) & instrument position, bow hold & movement across all the strings, then bowing movement (angle /speed/weight and control across all the points during travel)
    Those would be three pretty full on lessons, but will set you up to begin to teach yourself.
    Without that you'll be oblivious to what you don't realise matters, won't be aware of what you're not spotting, & could actually cause physical issues going forward.
    Because of the extended and more open & weight bearing arm positions we get away with a lot less poor technique.
    It tells much more on the body as well as in the sound.
    Buy a mirror to practice beside (yep in front of on cello, beside on violin) & be brutally honest with yourself about what you notice.

    Playing the fiddle is a great thing to be able to do & I reckon it's worth the grind if you can just get over the first couple of years going "aaargh, not like that dangit, try again"
    Eoin



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  22. #15
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    Quote Originally Posted by Beanzy View Post
    One thing I'd use as a guideline is; keep the bow on the strings & keep the bow moving sideways all the time unless you want an effect.
    It's amazing the difference always keeping the bow moving makes to your tone. I think many of us at the start think we'll play that down-bow, then play the up bow & we end up separating things too much. The trick is not to stop, aim instead for accurate timing of the direction change. As much as possible don't stop the movement of the frog across the strings. If you can get that slippery slidey constant sound you'll sound like a fiddle. Then you can chunk it up or separate things afterwards.
    You're clearly not a Cape Breton fiddler. That's why I suggested "a teacher, preferably of the style in which you want to play" in Post #3.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    No, definitely not something I'd be aiming for here.
    I do mostly backing & solos for folk songs, otherwise It's Irish trad tunes, which although they sound separated, rely on constant movement, then you decide which style gets applied like I mentioned, where you can separate it after you get the pin point timing of the bow change right, or go for the 'floating bow' styles.
    I was always taught it's easier to make the separations than learn how to hide the joins.
    The phrase my teacher used to use was, "You can always make the gaps but you'll not paper the cracks" Which sounded kind of funky as she never speaks like that normally, but had obviously got it from someone who did.
    Last edited by Beanzy; May-15-2022 at 1:17pm.
    Eoin



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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    Watching those videos, I'd say you'd better prepare for years of classical and swing training before you'll sound even close to these musicians -- unless you're brilliant musically, and highly co-ordinated besides. In fact, unless you're brilliant musically, and highly co-ordinated, you'll never sound close to these musicians, who may have started on violin as children. But perhaps you are. Anyway, enjoy the violin journey. Can I assume you're familiar with Stefane Grappelli? If not, check him out.
    Last edited by Ranald; May-15-2022 at 5:05pm.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    Oops. I posted the same message twice.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    I don't know if the original poster is still here. There are a lot of youtube videos available on violin technique. How to position your hands and arms etc. One has to use their arms and hands for all fiddling. So keep an open mind about where the information comes from.

    Violin is like a super sensitive mic, it will 'crush you' every time. One has to have a light, loose and sensitive use of the fiddle, or awful sounds come out. (probably for many years).
    Decipit exemplar vitiis imitabile

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  30. #20

    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    Quote Originally Posted by DougC View Post
    I don't know if the original poster is still here. There are a lot of youtube videos available on violin technique. How to position your hands and arms etc. One has to use their arms and hands for all fiddling. So keep an open mind about where the information comes from.

    Violin is like a super sensitive mic, it will 'crush you' every time. One has to have a light, loose and sensitive use of the fiddle, or awful sounds come out. (probably for many years).
    An example of the differing approaches is the plethora of info on how to change strings. Bow grips are also subjective. There are so many and everyone's physical state is different. You need to learn the basics and then adapt your body and your abilities to playing.

    I began playing fiddle in 2017. The only way I made any read progress was to take lessons from some great teachers, and attend some really well-run workshops. Then I began playing with other folks. It's really the only way to learn where your skill set is regarding intonation and timing.
    Sorry, I am no longer suffering fools

  31. #21
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    I started playing the violin in 1963, and although I took a long break during my unrelated career, I always wanted to return to it. To have any chance of relearning the instrument when I finally took both of my violins out of the closet, I had to find myself a good violin teacher. Technique is so incredibly important to producing the sound you want that I highly recommend that you bring a teacher on your journey. It's a beautiful instrument and wonderful to play, so I do wish you luck.

    As much as I love the violin, I discovered the mandolin more than five years ago and have been thrilled by the fact that so much that made me a decent amateur violinist was directly applicable to playing the mandolin. I must admit that I find the mandolin so much more relaxing to play and it has now become my primary instrument. It is fun to know both instruments, but I do enjoy being able to just sit and play for hours on the mandolin.

    Good luck on your adventure!
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    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    When I started on violin at age 10, we had a back Labrador puppy and a white cat. After the second day of practice they would start scratching at the door to be let out of the house whenever I opened the violin case. I transitioned almost exclusively to guitar 6 years later, because it was "cooler". 10 years later I got the old violin set up and discovered that my wife and child scratched at the door to go out whenever I opened the violin case. At that point I decided that I'd stick with plucked instruments!

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  34. #23

    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    Look - you can learn the fiddle even as an adult. But you must be committed to proper technique, as exemplified by Doug Kershaw:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AQvUPN1jAk

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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    OK I bought one about 20 years ago. This is some of what I learned over the last two decades.
    1. A bow is not a pick. Practice bowing with something simple so you may concentrate on bowing.
    2. Play scales and arpeggios with a backing tone from a cello. Your intonation will improve. Especially when you are playing double stops .
    3. Take some lessons to avoid poor habits and posture.
    4. Play daily. The violin is a jealous mistress.
    5. Tune it each and every time you pick it up. If it is even slightly out of tune your intonation will suffer for it.
    6. When you think you may be ready for a new fiddle buy a better bow first.
    7. Store it in the case with a hydrator. Fiddles dry out quickly and begin to screech.
    8. Buy a quality rosin and use it as needed. It is too easy to over rosin a bow and get it sticky.
    9. I am guessing that your fiddle is well setup as you bought it where you did. I had to learn ALL about poor set up violins by playing one.
    10. Play scales and arpeggios in the keys that they work together in. Work on pentatonic and blues scales. These are the gateway drug to successful jamming.
    11. Enjoy the process and find some folks to jam with as soon as you may. That increases the fun factor. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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    Registered User Elliot Luber's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Just Bought A Violin

    Violinists play the first half of the chord, then the second, hitting all four strings in the process. It's not perfect but it works.You get a "build."
    Eastman 605, Strad-o-lin, and Kentucky 300e mandolins.

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