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Quiet Playing
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Tyberius
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November 13, 2012 - 9:58 pm
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In another topic I repsonded by talking about a mute. Rather then clot that topic up more with questions I have, I thought I' d start a new topic on it.

In my household there are 3 people and a rather spoiled Jack Russel who tend to get annoyed when I play after 10PM, especially the JR happypug. Most of my practice is done in the morning, which is not a very condusive time for my learning and then again after dinner when I can manage. With family time thrown in the works my practice takes....second fiddle ;)  . I would love to play hours into the early morning so I need something quiet. I have tried a non-rosined bow and that works mostly, but my tone is not really clear so my fingering could and does suffer from inadvertant bad play.

 

I looked into mutes, but the Db reduction is not enough and in most cases almost non-existant in reality. The metal mutes, although seemingly able to dampen the sounds, be it brass, steel or aluminum appear to be a disaster in the making. Most of them don't go on easily, scrape as you slide them over the bridge or rub across the strings. I don't like the idea of metal block on my wooden bridge, but I really have no experience with them.

 

Playing on an electric with an ear piece or a muted acoustic violin would fit perfectly with what I need for more practice time. I tend to absorb and learn more when night time study is done. Does anyone have a viable soultion or option for this, or even real world experience using a mute with positives and negatives they can add from the experience? Thanks!!

"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader

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peanut_gallery
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November 13, 2012 - 10:15 pm
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From what I understand the quietest route would be an electric fiddle. I personally have no experience with them though.

 

I too practice mainly at night, I live in an apartment building and try not to disturb my neighbors to much. I use a rubber mute when the time gets late. It does mute it somewhat and found it doesn't destroy the tone to much but it does change it. I find if I do most of my practice with a mute on, I am slightly off without it and I notice it pretty quickly and adjust.  I haven't tried a metal mute yet but I hear they are the most effective.

 

If I really want a quite fiddle then I put on the mute, add a clothespin or two to the bridge and possibly plug a f hole with a paper towel. This give me the quietest possible fiddle but I rarely go that extreme.

A hoopy frood always knows where his towel is!

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Kevin M.
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November 14, 2012 - 1:30 pm
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When I want to be quiet I take out the electric. I don't bother using earphones,
I find I can hear just fine without them. The best thing here is that my wife and daughter both understand what playing the violin means to me so they never complain and at times ask me to play something for them.  There have been times when I had been playing for so long but no one bothers me because they know I am content as when they are doing something I won't bother them.  So maybe it's not the sound but the understanding of your family.  Convey to your family what it means to you to play the violin.

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Tyberius
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November 14, 2012 - 2:48 pm
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Oh, I do have alot of support from my family. It's actually the other way. It's my way  to thank them for the support. I do have all the time I like, to play. I just wish to convey to them that I also understand they like to check out long before midnight and my wish is to not disturb them.

 

I play after 11pm now with a bow thats not rosined. I can hear what I play, its very "tingy" and metallic, but it is also extremely quiet. The problem is I don't actually hear the tone properly and do start to play slightly off, usually flat. The metallic droning just doesn't convey the improper tones so you can adjust to correct bad position.

"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader

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Kevin M.
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November 14, 2012 - 5:14 pm
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If you can afford a solid body electric you can hear the tones very clearly without using earphones and yet they are very quiet.

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Tyberius
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November 14, 2012 - 5:28 pm
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Kevin,

 

So you're saying get an acuostic effect, from the non-powered, solid body electric. Is that right?

"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader

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Kevin M.
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November 14, 2012 - 5:32 pm
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you hear the strings vibrating and I actually prefer playing it that way since solid bodies only sound good amplified with some slight effects, echo or chorus.

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Tyberius
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November 14, 2012 - 5:37 pm
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can you record a small piece or even a 2 oct G scale so I can hear the sound?

I really don't want to have to set up and amp or be tethered to one if its entirely possible to just use as a late night practice instrument.

 

I saw the self powered open bodied violins. The head phone jack. How are those?

"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader

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Kevin M.
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November 14, 2012 - 5:43 pm
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Ty, no amp required

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Kevin M.
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November 14, 2012 - 5:49 pm
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I just tried to record using the mic on my laptop but it would not pickup the sound, it's that quiet. but you can hear it very well in your ear.  I can play with my wife and daughter sleeping and not wake them or the dogs.

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Tyberius
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November 14, 2012 - 5:53 pm
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I just listened to fiddlermans recording on youtube of the cililio. I see you said no amp required. I think he just used it to show the effects.

 

They do sound metallic, but then, you are getting just string pick-up. Kevin, thanks for the replies. If they are in fact that quiet, I might be seriously looking into one. My main concern now is, are you losing the ability to keep and tune a purely acoustic violin playable to fifths?

"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader

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Kevin M.
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November 14, 2012 - 6:07 pm
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OK here is my electric with no amp recorded with audacity frm my laptop.

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Tyberius
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November 14, 2012 - 6:25 pm
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Thats great Kevin. It really is amazingly quiet. It deffinately beats the idea of a mute. I also think just playing that at night and my acoustic during the normally awake hours of the day might fit the ticket precisely.

 

I certainly appreciate the effort to help me out on that. I think I might seriously be looking into one after the holidays.

 

Cheers!!

"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader

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TerryT
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November 14, 2012 - 7:30 pm
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The irony of playing "silent night" to demonstrate! Lol

I was born with nothing,
and to my surprise I still have most of it left!

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Robyn.fnq
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November 14, 2012 - 10:19 pm
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I agree with the above.  I have an electric, and I also value my relationship with my neighbours.  I often play the electric without the earphone and it sounds very muted, but still discernible.  The ear piece (ordinary earbuds will do) help a lot to hear the tone and volume of your playing.

I bought a Cecilio electric, it's very cheap.  I changed the strings from the cheap ones supplied.

Hope this helps.  There's nothing worse than having the urge to play the violin, but can't due to noise.

sleep

If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're probably right.

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Tyberius
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January 16, 2015 - 2:47 pm
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Ok this was a long time in coming. Here is the video of the "silent" bow.

Its a bow that has never seen rosin and it has had talc powder rubbed on the hairs, then wiped off for several minutes. After playing, I wipe down the strings. I have been doing it on my violin for over a year when I play at the bright and early hours of .. oh say...1AM. I don't even disturb the dog. THATS saying a lot. ;)

"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader

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Fiddlerman
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January 18, 2015 - 12:36 pm
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Well, playing with the "Silent Bow" is probably not that beneficial for your technique as you are not actually getting the strings to vibrate. What do you feel that you get the most benefit of off your "Silent bow"?
Perhaps to exercise the fingers when everyone is sleeping?

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Tyberius
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January 18, 2015 - 6:54 pm
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well, since you can hear it, however faint, the strings are vibrating - somewhat. Enough so I can tune the violin. I figured if you can tune it, it certainly is playable. For me, its an alternative to not playing at all late at night.

"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader

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Shell
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January 18, 2015 - 7:11 pm
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If there's ever been a topic here I can comment on it's this one.   :)  I've been struggling with this too, as the walls in my rental unit are paper thin and I have unreasonable neighbors.  

I use an electric, with or without headphones.  I've done recordings for this site on my unplugged electric and you could hear it enough for the recording, without it being tooo loud for the neighbors.  

I also play my acoustic violin with a metal mute.  Pierre recommended it as the best for my situation.  It's louder than the unplugged electric, but I generally play softly, with less dynamics.  It's fine and no louder than a conversation.  For the physical use of it, I don't find it as bad as it seems per your description.  I gently, but firmly, place it on the bridge, and have had no issues.  I was also worried it would fall off if my violin is tilted, but that hasn't happened.  It did take some getting used to no being able to see my bow on the strings due to how high it sits, but only a few practice sessions later I didn't notice anymore.

When I really, REALLY want to be silent, I've played my unplugged electric with a mute, as a doubly whammy of silence.  I think someone sleeping 10 feet away wouldn't even hear that.  It's best to use headphones if you go that route, to make sure you can hear yourself adequately.  The sound won't be as nice, but it gets the job done for a very quiet practice session.  

Blogging my beginner journey and progress...Diary of a Fumbling New Violinist:  http://learningviolin.ca/

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kylesito
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January 19, 2015 - 7:48 am
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I have only ever played on an Cecilio EV with a pair of headphones.  As I have progressed, I have upgraded the headphones to a good over the head pair but cheap ones worked OK till I had a tone I wanted to hear better!

 

I've practiced in the room next to my wife and hasn't heard me at all!  I often practice after everyone goes to bed.  There is some sound - the sound of the strings vibrating - but no projection and so it doesn't pass through walls or floors easily.

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