Any violin players here?

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by Bertotti, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    Well, I did the deal. No hope for the ceo9 now but I really didn't need another guitar. Kids are vacillating whether they do or don't want to play, they will try but we will see. I called the shop and told them what I was looking for tonally the two instruments I was considering and the bows I was looking at. They down sold the bow but I went for the higher-priced of the two violins and a hard case wasn't an option it was hard or nothing. I won't get to try the bows but they have examples of the tone I am looking for and will try to match the bow to the violin for me. These guys have a good reputation in this regard so I am not concerned and they will work with me if it doesn't work out and I want a different bow. Finger crossed and now the wait. I hate youtube for tonal comparisons but this is as close as I can get in a youtube vid. Enjoy.



    and lets not forget this classic

     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
    knh555, mrfixitmi and MrWookiee like this.
  2. knh555

    knh555 Gretschie

    109
    Apr 22, 2019
    Massachusetts
    I found a nice sounding and handling pernumbuco bow for my violin for $900 about eight years ago. My favorite viola bow is an $1800 Arcus carbon bow, a material which I’d never thought I’d get until I used one. And different bows both feel and sound different. It’s half the instrument after all.

    Those are plenty for my budget and needs. The higher end Arcus bows definitely sounded better but were beyond my means.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
    Bertotti and mrfixitmi like this.
  3. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    Both the bows you mention are out of my budget. I got a bare bones pernambuco bow. Ebony fittings instead of silver and ivory and such. But we are just starting. I’ll upgrade if we actually get any good and don’t give up.
     
    mrfixitmi and knh555 like this.
  4. flip

    flip Gretschie

    110
    Jun 22, 2020
    Manchester UK
    Sorry about the play on words but power to your arm. I learnt a violin for about a year when I was about 9 and only gave up when I moved to grammar school where all lessons were private and we had to have our own instruments. That was economically out of the question for my parents so, no music until a pal made himself a basic acoustic guitar and I've never looked back.

    The problem with all 'single-note' instruments is that for kids especially they're not immediately satisfying - as most of us here know, playing a few basic chords is only a start but it's undeniably more enjoyable than practising scales and finger positions on the violin. That has to wait until you're proficient enough to join in with others.

    I think few people can enjoy the aural discomfort of a new violin learner practising alone. I'm eternally grateful to my parents for suffering but they were sustained by the hope that one day I might be somewhere on the road to Yehudi Menuhin's sublime brilliance. As I say, that never happened and of course, guitarists have to learn and practise scales just like all musicians. But we had the inestimable benefit of instant harmony and we should never forget that.
     
    mrfixitmi and Bertotti like this.
  5. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    I haven't played since 5th grade but I can say that more than any other instrument I've played, the violin needs to be of good quality, a meh one can easily become frustrating.Guitar tech hasn't changed in decades. Violin tech hasn't changed in as many centuries. there's not a lot of hardware, make sure it's good.
     
    Bertotti likes this.
  6. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    I'm pretty confident I got a good one coming, no Stradivarius but still a very good modern instrument. I chose the Soloist III from Stringworks. I was going for a maestro five string but I decided tone was more important than the number of strings. I can step up to more strings and an even better instrument if the kids or myself get proficient.
     
    mrfixitmi, Groutsch and Henry like this.
  7. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    Odd the link above was blocked but I can go back and relink it and it works. Why is that?
     
  8. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    oops post! I have no idea how to delete it.
     
  9. GlenP

    GlenP Country Gent

    Jul 23, 2019
    WA
    My daughter took lessons using the Suzuki violin books for a couple of years in elementary school. I got the teacher books and the guitar books, and going through the lessons and practicing with her helped me to learn to read music a little. I learned the teacher accompaniment parts for some of the songs on guitar and played with her at a couple of the recitals. It was a good program, she just got too busy to stick with it as she got into other activities. But I got some other beginner classical guitar books and was able to read the sheet music, so it really helped me as a guitar player being her parent coach.
     
    Bertotti, Groutsch and MrWookiee like this.
  10. 19MGB76

    19MGB76 Gretschie

    267
    Jul 31, 2018
    Minnesota
    I was a full time violinist, day job and night job for many years. I have the good stuff that you really do NOT want. I've had a $5,000 bow go from work of art to kindling with nobody even near it during a rehearsal. Yes, I still have the good stuff, but rarely use it.

    Disclaimer - I was brought up in the business and am a trained luthier.

    The last time I solo'd with an orchestra I used a good instrument for the performance, but I took a $200 chinese beater for every rehearsal. The beater was nothing special, but it was set up well and in good condition and fine for the purpose of rehearsing, and honestly probably would have been fine for the performance as well. A piece of junk is useless, but an OK instrument will get most of the job done in almost any situation a casual player will ever see. The setup and the player is more important than how much the instrument cost.

    How do you know if you need a better bow? If you don't know if you need a better bow, you don't need one, it is that simple. There will come a time then the bow is a hindrance to your performance and that is when you start looking for a different bow - note I didn't say better. While I do have some excellent bows I do most of my work with a bow purchased in the '70s for $1,000. It's not a cheap bow by any means, but not anywhere near a master bow and it does 99% of the repertoire just fine and the majority of a violinist's time is spent in section work and not that 1% where you need the special stuff. But there are pieces of music which NEED a different bow and some times that bow is only good for that one piece and similar sorts of things. That is why you may notice an artist fussing over which bow to use, it's not an ego thing but a right tool for the job moment. The room, the weather and other minute things can influence how a bow reacts at a given time and hopefully you will never get to that point because it is frustrating and expensive. A carbon fiber beater bow from ebay will give you many years of good service and take most of the abuse you will put it through without complaint, I use several of them with my electric fiddles as they are cheaper than a quality rehair and pretty consistent from bow to bow.

    Honestly, I've got complete electric violin rigs (violin, bow, case, amplifier, pedals...) that cost less than an entry level professional violin bow that are solid and giggable rigs that are a ton of fun to play. With the stuff out there now, if you have a competent person to set them up for you, you can get an extremely playable rig for very little money.
     
    Bertotti, knh555, bluenote23 and 2 others like this.
  11. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    I've actually thought about getting back into violin through the electric route.
     
    19MGB76 likes this.
  12. bluenote23

    bluenote23 Country Gent

    Oct 17, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    Congratulations on the decision.

    In case you are thinking of going the online video lesson route, I will suggest my video teacher Beth Blackerby at https://violinlab.com

    This is a subscription service. She is teaching classical violin but even if you want to play fiddle music, the basic stuff like how to hold the instrument, how to hold the bow, how to keep the bow straight, etc, is pretty much the same for a fiddler or a classical player and she covers these basics (and there are a lot of them) very well.

    Be patient and have fun with it.
     
  13. knh555

    knh555 Gretschie

    109
    Apr 22, 2019
    Massachusetts
    ;)
    This is one of the most sensible posts on the internet I think. ;)

    Do you any specific recommendations for an electric violin or viola? I’m thinking five string.
     
    19MGB76 likes this.
  14. 19MGB76

    19MGB76 Gretschie

    267
    Jul 31, 2018
    Minnesota

    These can be made quite playable with a good setup and some simple mods to the pickup. The pickup is actually not bad, but the electronics are nothing beyond functional. Pair it with this shoulder rest and a cheap carbon fiber bow and they are pretty solid. Those bows on ebay for a bit over $20 are really just fine for beginners and fiddle type gigs. Throw some Hill rosin on them and you are set. The bows, rosin and strings that come with it are trash. I think Helicore makes a decent cheap 5 string set.

    This body style is fairly robust and the cutaway makes it easier to approach the upper positions. (I have seen a number of different styles bend under the tension of strings and urge caution on the cheaper instruments. I've made some of these benders playable for broke players who needed them to work for a gig, but they are really not worth the hassle.) I personally have 2 of this style* and quite like them when set up and fitted with that specific shoulder rest.

    Acoustic 5 string - violin size - are a nice idea that is a compromise on top of a compromise and really not too practical. The viola is an undersized instrument for what is asked of it acoustically. I'm not a small guy and have 16.5 inch violas I use and they are considered big for violas, but are also undersized acoustically. I had a teacher have an 18" viola made and we had to have a case custom made for it as well as order custom strings to be made for it too. It was glorious sounding but you had to be in great shape physically to play it as the reach and stretch was very uncomfortable on the best of days. Any string player will tell you that on bad days even a violin can wreck your back. ( blah blah blah 5 strings need BIG bodies to make it acoustically.) My 5 string violin is on perma-loan to a local teacher for classroom use so she can play along on viola parts too.

    Why that specific shoulder rest? A traditional violin has top and back plates which overhang the sides of the instrument. Almost every shoulder rest out there uses this overhang to firmly grasp the instrument so the shoulder rest (unless you have no neck, you need one!) does not randomly slide off the instrument. This body style has no overhang as it is like the guitar body it is styled after. The Wittner is used in conjunction with the chin rest to clamp on to the body of the instrument and requires unreasonable amounts of force to be made to come off.

    I prefer solid body electrics as they are almost impossible to feed back, as well as they can be comfortably played very softly, which is an issue with acoustic instruments I've run in to in theater work. There were times I would have murdered for a volume pedal to get as soft as the director demanded.

    I prefer the inline guitar style tuners for a couple reasons on 5 strings:

    1, pegs at this price are pretty rotten and even when fitted well will not function properly very long due to their softness. Often the wood used for the neck is fine for the neck but not quite up to being used for a traditional peg box as the wedging will compress and the fitting fail.

    2, 3 traditional pegs on a side leaves very little room for fingers to get a solid hold on the middle peg, which can make for a miserable time trying to tune on stubborn days. With a little (LITTLE) lube the machines work just fine and seem pretty indestructible.

    I'm sure there are many good electrics out there, but I have first hand experience with this model, and I did seek out cheap instruments to find the cheapest usable violins a few years back and this was the minimum I found to be giggable.

    * I have a brown burst and a red burst and they are pretty sharp looking
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
  15. 19MGB76

    19MGB76 Gretschie

    267
    Jul 31, 2018
    Minnesota
    Oh yeah, running through one of these or something similar isn't a bad thing for most electric fiddles either. They add a bit of heft to the tone, the EQ is handy and they're cheap too.
     
  16. bluenote23

    bluenote23 Country Gent

    Oct 17, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    Did you ever try a Fishman Aura pedal with your electrics? I am not good enough to play out (like I said earlier, I sound bad) but I did hook an Aura up to my electric and it sounded more natural.
     
  17. knh555

    knh555 Gretschie

    109
    Apr 22, 2019
    Massachusetts
    Thanks for the detailed response! I think you just convinced me not to go too cheap, but to your original post above, one need not go overboard either. ;) I play a large-bodied 16 1/2" viola and am quite used to it. I agree about the body being small acoustically, but I think that's the charm of the viola, giving it its melancholy character. I recall seeing where Yoyo Ma had a 22" viola made with an endpin to be acoustically "correct" to perform a particular concerto. And it didn't sound like a viola really. It sounded too acoustically "correct". Thanks for pointing out the chinrest as something I might not have even noticed until I went to change it. Given my preference for a Dresden chinrest, I'll look for an instrument that allows me to change that out as normal.

    BTW, the reason I was drawn to the Arcus bow for viola was that it handled more like a violin bow due to the light weight, but still had the power of the heavier viola bows. It's the best of both worlds. I think they sound pretty nice too and prefer it to my pernambuco bows. I do have another decent advancing student bow for when I don't want to expose/risk more expensive gear.

    [EDIT] I see what you mean now my the shoulder rest. Interesting solution and similar enough the the Kun that I'm used to.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
  18. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    While I don’t think I went over board I don’t believe I cheated out either. I hope that isn’t the case.
    I wound up up selling myself to this Soloist III

    And this they down sold me to this Bow

    and again I refused a soft case and opted for a hard shell case
    Perhaps I could have fared better price wise on Amazon or eBay but I have been trying to avoid both.
     
  19. 19MGB76

    19MGB76 Gretschie

    267
    Jul 31, 2018
    Minnesota
    No country of origin stated = Chinese usually. Any instrument intended for a more advancing/serious player would not be caught dead with that tailpiece, also typical Chinese. I've set up many of these under another label and they are decent, but priced at Fender prices sourced from Squier. You could have done much worse new, but you could have done better with an honest shop in person. No Idea where you find one of them these days either. The old honest guys we dealt with and knew are either closed, retired or dead now. Not saying this shop isn't honest by any means, but if you knew someone you probably could have done better.

    A company rep did a showing at the store I used to work at. He brought in some of their mid/top line instruments. When he compared those against the entry level instruments I had setup for our inventory he was a bit put off as to how the better ones differed from the stuff we had. I knew the rep from before he had joined that firms employ so he talked straight with me in private. This would never be repeated in public within ear shot of other employees or customers. A little nicer finish and a bit more care fitting the linings, but same wood and same factory.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
  20. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    It is Chinese. They didn't hide it from me. Their luthier goes through them, maybe I'm rolling the dice but I have a good feeling and high expectations it will be a fine instrument. This place came highly recommended to me. I had a good conversation wiht them and was offered a visit and they were willing to record some instruments and then that instrument with different bows. I didn't need that. I explained with examples what I was after and got some of their recommendations. They are going through some bows in the line I linked to see which performs, to them, the best. I guess time will tell. You're in Minnesota? I'm outside Sioux Falls SD. Not too far away and working in Rochester this week. Thanks for the advice you've given so far!
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.