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The Trials and Tribulations of a Beginner
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caeman
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Joined: 11 Dec 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:44 pm    Post subject: The Trials and Tribulations of a Beginner Reply with quote

Greetings.

My name is Chad, and I am now officially a beginner with a violin. A friend was gracious enough to loan to me her first fiddle for as long as I need it.

On the inside it reads:
Quote:
JOHANNES THEIR

FECIT IN VIENNA ANNO 1824


My friend has not played this violin a very long time, so it looks to need a little maintenance. She recommended I get the strings replaced as the first item. She has no idea now old they were.


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caeman
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Joined: 11 Dec 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:18 pm    Post subject: Tuning Reply with quote

I gently tuned the strings back close to something resembling in tune using my Korg Chromatic Tuner.
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caeman
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Joined: 11 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The old lady how has her layer of dirt removed. I polished her up pretty good tonight.

I replaced with the strings and installed 4 fine tuners...because I am lazy. At my local music store, they has Super-Sensitive Red Labels at a price I could afford. I carefully replaced each string and brought them back up to near in-tuneness before going to the next string. Let the stretching begin!

Now I need to address the two old bows that came with the fiddle. I am currently using another bow another friend gave me.
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Shirley
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Joined: 13 May 2007
Posts: 178
Location: West of Denver, Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Way to go, Chad! You are definitely on your way! Let us know if you do anything with the bows, or continue with the one another friend gave you. You are lucky to have such friends! Good luck!! Shirley
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caeman
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Joined: 11 Dec 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The fiddle came with the two old boys my friend used. One has a goodly portion of its hairs missing. I might have to repair this because the part where you old the bow has had a hexagonal sides cut into for better grip.

The second is in very good condition, hair and wood.

And then I have the fiberglass bow another friend gave me.

With the fine tuners in place, I am able to get each string into run in seconds. I like that. The Super-Sensitive Red Label strings did not cost me much and according to someone I talked Saturday, should be sufficient for my beginner needs, but mentioned that I'd probably wear them out in 6 months and to invest in a better quality string. Now, don't get me wrong, but I have read enough internet posts on the subject of strings to understand that string preference is akin to choice of religion. I simply nodded and thanked them for their comments.

I am also finding the fiddle to be quite comfy down against my chest. It hurts my shoulder to try and play from up high. The music I intend to learn is only in first position, so chest position won't be a problem.

So, a few days into this process, I can now bow the open strings clean and squeak free 95% of the time. And I am hitting the intended string without unintentional double-stopping most of the time, as well. I have also been working on eighth notes, 16ths, triplets and other rhythm patterns on the open strings.

I have also added a couple of cheat marks on the finger board to help me find some of the notes faster. Now I am working on the bowing pressure when playing the different notes and working on that consistency of sound.
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Shirley
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Joined: 13 May 2007
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Location: West of Denver, Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Caeman - you sure are into this business! I do believe that fiddles (and violas) were played on the chest in the 1600s - and I've seen old-timey fiddle players do the same thing. In first position, as you say, you shouldn't run into many complications.

Do you use a shoulder rest and/or the chinrest which came on the fiddle? If you have a chance, you might want to try different combinations of those to give more comfort for holding under the chin. Or not.

As for the strings, you may wish to upgrade after these wear out - or whatever!

Sounds as though you have at least one OK bow. It will cost about $50 to rehair the one, so you will probably be OK with the other goodish bow for a while.

Not hitting unintended "double stops" is a real advance! Continued good luck!

Shirley
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caeman
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Posts: 143

PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am putting at least 15 minutes a day of practice. That is my goal for all of the instruments I am currently learning: tin whistle, harmonica, bass guitar, bodhran...and soon, Uilleann Pipes and Banjo.

I try to make it a quality 15 minutes with specific goals of what I want to work on.
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caeman
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The bows appeared to be 'shedding', so I have them in the bathroom during the boy's bedtime bathes. See what a little reading of forums will learn ya?
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caeman
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Me pinky isn't like this, not in the least. I am asking it to do things it has not been requested to do before. On the bass guitar, I only use two fingers on the fret board. Not proper form, I know, but it gets the job done.
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Shirley
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Joined: 13 May 2007
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Location: West of Denver, Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Caeman: Keep at it!
As Darwin said, "Dogged does it"!

Shirley
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caeman
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Posts: 143

PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheat marks on. I muddled my way through Amazing Grace tonight. My fingers hurt. I think that means I was doing something right. Laughing My bass guitar never gave me callouses.
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caeman
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Joined: 11 Dec 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.vimeo.com/6059667

http://www.vimeo.com/6059621

http://www.vimeo.com/6059588

I've had the fiddle for less than a 7 days now, but feel free to be as honest as you wish at this beginning stage.
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caeman
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Posts: 143

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the songs I know on the whistle is Suo Gan. It is a lovely tune, even when I play it. Laughing I am using this tune as my second song on the fiddle. Amazing Grace is always the first song I learn on any new instrument.
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Shirley
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Joined: 13 May 2007
Posts: 178
Location: West of Denver, Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Caeman: You may well get callouses on your left-hand finger tips playing the violin - in fact, it is usual and beneficial.

You say you plan to play in first position only, so you do not feel the need to hold the violin under the chin so as to free up the left hand? Your unconventional method of holding the instrument may work for this.

One suggestion (I am not a teacher): to produce the type of repeated eighth notes you are attempting, you might consider moving only your right hand/wrist, not the entire forearm. You would have more control.

Also, you might consider placing the bow, at this time, more mid-way between the bridge and the fingerboard. You seem to be bowing straight already, which is good.

I wish a teacher would be here to advise you, but you will probably not find on who would help because the "chest hold" does not lend itself to the ususal methods of play. But you know so much about other instruments that you probably know what you want!

Good luck. And, I'm very proud of your little one for what he/she did in the potty!

Shirley
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caeman
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Joined: 11 Dec 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I tried the shoulder/chin placement and it hurt my shoulder and upper back to do so.

Check out this video of Truman Price playing St. Anne's Reel.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCsRNDFH-lg

I will work on using less forearm.
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