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LyleA
Little Rock, AR
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January 14, 2013 - 4:19 pm
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Hello people,

 

I just purchased an August Kohr K550 from Fiddlershop.com.  I made this video as a review for the instrument, but I also do some playing at the end and am posting this here so I can get some feedback.  I have only been playing for about ten months, so I still have a long way to go to get even remotely good.

 

Feel free to watch the review, but if you want to skip ahead, I start playing around the 6 minute mark.  Thank you!

 

https://vimeo.com/57401200

Never mind maneuvers, just go straight at them.

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TerryT
Coleshill, Warwickshire
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January 14, 2013 - 4:34 pm
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Nice work for 10 months! Have you tried playing using the bow right to the frog. Not a critique, I just wondered.

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

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LyleA
Little Rock, AR
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January 14, 2013 - 4:45 pm
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Thanks Terry.

 

Yep, you caught me.  I start in the middle to upper parts of the bow because when I get down towards the frog my bowing gets nervous, bouncy, and unsure.

 

Some self-crtiques of mine:

Too much upper arm and not enough wrist flexibility.

Poor intonation, especially around the c/c# area on the A string.

Gripping the neck with my left hand and a poor hold in general.

 

Never mind maneuvers, just go straight at them.

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Picklefish
Merritt Island, Fla
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January 14, 2013 - 5:56 pm
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Self critique is a huge step forward in self study. You hit the nail on the head, but do you know how to fix the things you mentioned? Let me know if I can help- Pfish.

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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LyleA
Little Rock, AR
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January 14, 2013 - 6:03 pm
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Any suggestions are always welcomed.  🙂

Never mind maneuvers, just go straight at them.

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Picklefish
Merritt Island, Fla
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January 14, 2013 - 6:39 pm
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The first thing to do is look at your posture and how you hold the violin. Playing in front of a mirror is very helpful for this. The fiddlerman videos are great for this as well. For my critique, the end pin of the violin should be in contact with your neck. I see that in your case it appears to be in front of the neck. Also the chin rest isnt for your chin, its for the side of your jaw. In my opinion, this posistions your ear to better hear what you are playing. I do think it helps to be able to watch your fingers when you are first beginning but that should be trained out by the time you are performing it. Use your sidevision (peripheral) to check fingering, bowing, music, conductor etc....while you are playing. Once you get that down lemme know with another post of the same tune in critiques corner and we will attack any other "issues" those don't correct.

 

p.s. playing style can be generic and many styles are preffered by all players. My recommendation is based on what I think after experimenting and reading alot. Pfish.

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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scotty
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January 14, 2013 - 7:16 pm
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Oh cool I was glad to see that! I am excited about receiving mine in the next few days. I am glad to hear that you don't need fine tuners on every string, I was wondering if I should have bought some at first. Very nice demo. 

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LyleA
Little Rock, AR
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January 14, 2013 - 8:21 pm
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Thanks Pfish,

My posture is a terrible vice that is working against me.  I know it could be a lot better, but I don't actively work on fixing it.  Kind of like the guy that is drinking himself to death and knows it...

But thanks for you suggestions.  I'll work on posture for a while and post an update in a few weeks and we'll see if anything improves.

 

Scott: Yeah, the pegs vs. fine tuners issue was something I was nervous about, but if you just take you time and make small adjustments, it's no problem.  I hope you enjoy your K550 as much as I enjoy mine.

Never mind maneuvers, just go straight at them.

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Steve
Oregon
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January 14, 2013 - 8:47 pm
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Hi Lyle,

I say Well Done on your playing. For 10 months I think you are doing exceptionally well. Sure, a few notes not in tune, but other notes very much in tune. Good rhythm and flow in the songs. Already have a bunch of songs memorized, even some at good tempo. Are you totally new to the violin or returning to it after an off period? Self taught or taking lessons? (My guess is you're taking lessons, and or have played the violin in the past or possibly you already play a different instrument.) I'm in an adult beginning fiddler's class and the several who have never played the violin before are nowhere close to your level for the approximate same amount of time playing. I bet you practice regularly and daily too!

And an overall very nice Review on the instrument as well.

 

Steve

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KindaScratchy
Massachusetts
January 14, 2013 - 9:00 pm
Member Since: March 14, 2012
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Hi Lyle. I know you're looking for comments on your playing but I can't help but comment on the video.

Very well done. High Def, nice backdrop, good lighting, a variety of wide shots and close-ups, well edited, sound is good. I'm guessing that you do video production professionally. I'm I right?

Oh, and nice playing, too. :)

-- Diane

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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LyleA
Little Rock, AR
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January 14, 2013 - 9:07 pm
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Wow Steve, that's quite a compliment.  Thank you.  A slight self-esteem boost can go a long way.

 

I have never played an instrument before I start last March just before my 24th birthday.  I don't come from a musical family, so I was never pushed in that direction, but something about the fiddle draws me too it.  I learned on my own for a few months before taking ten 1/2 hour lessons last summer from a very gifted player about my own age.  I learned a lot from him.  Since then I have been on my own again, but am I thinking about taking some more lessons this coming spring.

 

As far as practice goes, I do put in a lot of hours.  I don't really set down a specific time allotment.  I just leave the instrument out and play it off and on all day when not at work.  I would estimate that I played/practiced for about ten hours over this past Saturday and Sunday.  It's strictly for enjoyment, however.  I have no plans of trying to play professionally.  If it ever became a chore, I think I would give it up.

 

Thanks again.

And Pfish, I just spent a half hour working on posture and proper arm mechanics.  It's like learning to walk all over again.

Never mind maneuvers, just go straight at them.

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LyleA
Little Rock, AR
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January 14, 2013 - 9:08 pm
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Diane,

 

I actually work at a production company and was able to shoot this in our studio today during some down time. 

 

Cheers!

Never mind maneuvers, just go straight at them.

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Mt. Fiddler
Adirondacks, NY
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January 14, 2013 - 10:08 pm
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I didn't have to listen to your playing much to know you got a great instrument there! I think you're doing fantastically well for not being warmed up and also for only playing 10 months!  Wow... you must have a passion for it behind your technical skill.  When do you start at Carnegie Hall??

 

great job on the video/lighting/audio.  Is it straight to digital?  The microphone is really really great.

 

The violin sounds warm and inviting, not shrill or harsh,  your playing encourages me to keep practicing.

 

Mt. Fiddler

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 14, 2013 - 10:34 pm
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Great job Lyle. I'm super happy that you like it. It's definitely the best overall instrument at that price that I have experienced. Most instruments that I test I ship back without ever doing any reviews. I am quite picky.

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

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LyleA
Little Rock, AR
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January 14, 2013 - 10:34 pm
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Thanks, Mt. Fiddler.  I am very happy with so far.  The only thing holding it back is me.  But how did you know I am applied to be an usher at Carnegie Hall?wink

 

Thanks about the lighting, etc.  It's awesome working at a place like where I work because A: Lots of down time and B: Lots of cool/expensive gear I can play with.  It's nice having a job that I look forward to going to each day.

The microphone is a Sennheiser brand shotgun mic.  I don't know the exact specs, but it's mostly for recording dialogue.  I actually think it did the violin little justice, but I believe this was more of a position issue rather than a technical flaw.  I had it point right at the point where the bow touches the stings and it picked up a lot of the nastiness that the player hears.  Of course, my playing didn't help much either.serenade   I will experiment.

Never mind maneuvers, just go straight at them.

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LyleA
Little Rock, AR
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January 14, 2013 - 10:36 pm
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Oh yeah, it's great FM.  Thanks for the site and all you do. 

Never mind maneuvers, just go straight at them.

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ozmous
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January 15, 2013 - 3:27 am
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i love how you review the violin, you did it like a professional reviewer, with close up shots, plain back ground, lighting, etc. etc. i like it a lot!

the violin looked awesome, the varnish and the flames reminded me of "le messie" or the messiah by Stradivari.

and for the playing, you did great! specially for a 10 month player.....but you need to relax your left hand, it's stiff, you need to be more relaxed...that will develop good intonation and vibrato. your right/bowing hand is great, smooth, yet you need to use the joint of yer wrist to make it more smoother, so that you don't need to move your whole arm a lot..

over all, you did great!

cheers! - ⁰ℨ

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Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
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January 15, 2013 - 8:33 am
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Great job, Lyle. My eye's opened wide when you started the play the first song, "Blue River Waltz", I love that song and fooled with it a couple month's back.

I love the sound of the K-550 and have been wishing I had gotten that one rather than the Concert Master I bought a couple month's back. Somehow I got talked out of it.

Excellent job. The audio and video were superb. Did you have to run it through "YouTube" ?

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LyleA
Little Rock, AR
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January 15, 2013 - 10:04 am
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Thank you, Ozmous.  I think I was a little long winded and could have been more succinct, but it was my first time...  

 

I definitely get tense when I play.  I guess it is because I am concentrating on so many things that I forget to relax.  This video made me realize how bad it was.

 

Thanks, Fiddlestix.  Yeah the "Blue River Waltz" is awesome.  Jay Unger can write a tune.  I've been attempting another of his pieces, "Ashokan Farewell."  It's a beautiful little number too.

 

I'm not sure what you mean by, "run it through YouTube?"

Never mind maneuvers, just go straight at them.

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Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
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January 15, 2013 - 5:14 pm
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Hi, LyleA! Welcome back! Haven't seen You here for a while =) 

Nice review! Ang good choice! I have this violin too, and happy with it either!

Great progress, by the way! Keep it up!

Happy fiddling! birthday_balloon

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