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Beginner with inexpensive electric
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DanielB
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May 4, 2012 - 4:38 am
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Ok, so there I was doing some shopping on amazon after getting paid for a little bit of work.. and I had about 80 bucks left.  I saw an electric violin set going for about what I had left to spend.  Well, I always kind of wanted to try playing violin, if I ever got around to it. 

 

I was looking at that electric violin, and it looked like a round tuit to me.  LOL So I bought it.  I have this belief that if you have some money and you see a musical instrument you'd like, it is a "sign" and you should just get it.  I've done a bit of that over the years, and I have yet to really regret it.

 

Don't worry, this isn't a "horrors of cheap violins" post.  I like it.  It came in the mail about 2 weeks ago, and I've put in a bit of time on it and get some sounds out of it that I like.  I am sure that it is not the best instrument in the world, but I like it and it has gotten me going.  My first "upgrades" on it have been a set of Rotosound strings and a set of fine tuners.  I'm actually ok with peg tuning, but fine tuners are nice and I wanted to replace the junk one that came on the instrument and since a set of 4 didn't cost that much, I just went ahead and did it. Rotos probably aren't the best violin string out there, but I know them a bit.  I usually string my bass with them, and sometimes electric guitar for some styles of music.  They usually hold tune fairly well, sound decent, and hold up.  And they were amazingly cheap at that moment, so I figured they'd at least feel a bit nicer and sound a bit better than what came on the instrument from the factory. 

 

So, violin/fiddle beginner.  Not a complete beginner at music, though.  I have an AA degree in music, and have been playing assorted instruments since I started back in the 70s with guitar.  Yup, I'm that old.  Other instruments I play include guitars, bass, keyboards, flute, oud, autoharp, dulcimer, and pretty much anything I can lay my hands on.  I've played in rock, punk, metal, country, blues, and jazz bands over the years. 

 

Goals for violin.. Well, I don't really have any yet.  I'm just exploring and having fun with it.  When I pick it up during the course of the day, I usually run a scale or two to warm up and then tinker with one or more of the songs I've sort of worked out so far.

 

Ok, that's probably enough to get the dreaded "Introduce Yourself" forum post done with unless there's any questions.

 

Daniel

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Fiddlestix
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May 4, 2012 - 5:35 am
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Welcome, Daniel, to the Fiddlerman Forum. Sound's like you have a very musical background. I'm sure you will enjoy it here and it sound's like you are pleased with your recent purchase, that's what matter's. You didn't state your age but you're never too old to learn.

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DanielB
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May 4, 2012 - 5:47 am
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For anyone wondering what that 80$ (actually 70-something) electric violin sounds like, I figured I'd post a quick sound sample. 

The "catch", though, is that you also end up being subjected to hearing my playing, and I've only been playing for two weeks as of yesterday. 

But the bright side is that it is only about 20 seconds long, so the pain and flinching should pass quickly after you've heard me having a quick go at "Whisky You're the Devil".

Other than a little reverb, this is pretty much what it sounds like even through the headphones it came with.  Tone is set in about the middle, volume low because the little preamp in it is pretty loud and distorts the computer's mic input if it's turned up too much.  Which isn't a *bad* sound, mind you, but I'm trying to show the basic clean sound here.

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"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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DanielB
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May 4, 2012 - 5:54 am
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Thanks for the welcome, Fiddlestix.  I am 51 this year, started playing guitar when I was about 14blink.  And yes, I am pleased with my little electric.  I'd say I've had at least 80$ worth of fun out of it already.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Fiddlestix
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May 4, 2012 - 6:24 am
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That 20 second's of playing sounded pretty darn good for only playing 2 weeks.

As far as what the fiddle sound's like, I can't tell what a electric violin is supposed to sound like, I don't own one, but what I heard was nice.

I started violin when I was 4 yrs old and played till I was 10, then bought a guitar (mail order) for $7.00 from selling flower seeds. I bought and played several guitar's over the years. I played organ and piano, all self taught. I played guitar in a couple band's during the 60s and 70s and also sang. I did have the privelidge of singing with a band in Tootsie's bar in Nashville in 1978, but that was just for a weekend, great experience there. I did pick up the fiddle several time's over the years, but never stayed with it. Now just a couple month's ago, I found Fiddlerman's web site and am enthused once again. I'll be 69 in September and more interested in relearing again than i've ever been.

So like I said, you're never too old.         dancing

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DanielB
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May 4, 2012 - 7:10 am
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I agree, Fiddlestix.  Never too old to learn.  And if I ever get too old, I figure I may as well just dig a hole, hop in, lie down and work on holding my breath forever, because its all over at that point. LOL

I'm pretty much self-taught too.  I took some piano and guitar in college, mostly just to learn to read music and to see if I'd missed anything important.  When I was a kid, my family couldn't really afford lessons.  So I'd get given an instrument for xmas or save up and buy it and set to figuring out what I could and pester people who knew how to play it, if I could find anyone. 

I didn't expect a cheap electric violin to sound just like a nice acoustic one, but I was pleasantly surprised that it can at least sound pretty nice.  For being basically just plastic.  But I can just plug it into my little mixing board that is hooked up to the computer, tweak the settings a little, and record it.  With an acoustic instrument, I'd need to figure out mic placement and getting the house real quiet and all that. And I can play it at 3 AM without it being likely that the neighbors would call the police. LOL

This is what it looks like..electric_violin.JPGImage Enlarger

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"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Fiddlerman
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May 4, 2012 - 7:48 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Hey Daniel,

Thanks for the interesting introduction. Sounds like you are going to learn quickly and fit right in here. We are happy that you bought your fiddle and joined in.

I listened to your demo and agree with Fiddlestix. You learn quickly. Having all that experience with other instruments has a tenancy to help.

Also, it really helps to have a good amp and even effects if you want to get a good sound with an electric. The amplified sound of plain strings are nothing special without acoustics or effects.

See you around. coffee1

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

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NoirVelours
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May 4, 2012 - 8:45 am
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Welcome in, that violin looks funky! I would not like to hear my strings amplified lol, though some mixing to make them sounds good .... nah no cheating :p I stay with my acoustic. It gives...er.. character! yes. *tries to believe it*

"It can sing like a bird, it can cry like a human being, it can be very angry, it can be all that humans are" Maxim Vengerov

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DanielB
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May 4, 2012 - 9:17 am
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Hi Fiddlerman.

I found your place here from hunting tutorials on youtube.  Looks like a great range of tutorials and etc.  The beginner ones are being the most use to me at the moment, for how to hold the bow and the violin and etc.  Very clear, lots of good sense, and you seem to have great fun playing, so this is the place.

Experience with other instruments does help.  Every instrument I ever even tried learning, I at least got some tricks and sounds to use on the others. 

I have good amps for guitar and bass.  But they're gig/jam gear, and I figure it is kinder to the world if I stick with headphones until I sound better.  LOL  So right now I mostly use my little mixing board with a reverb/delay multi-fx unit so I can run it directly into the computer to record practice and just plug headphones into the board when I want to play a bit.  But exactly so, electric instruments don't usually sound like much without at least a little reverb and eq. 

Anyway, great site you have here.  It has a lot of the things I was having trouble figuring out from other sites that were not quite so clear and didn't really start from ground zero or that seemed to be on a mission to make things that should be simple into something very complex.  Very comfortable place you have here, and it seems like a great bunch of folks to hang out with.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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DanielB
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May 13, 2012 - 11:25 am
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I felt the need to add an update to this thread just to mention that this inexpensive instrument is actually holding tune well.   Now that the instrument and the new strings have had a chance to settle, it needs usually only a slight touch-up on the tuning each day. 

Usually with inexpensive instruments, tuning and stability are some of the worst problems.  But this little thing is being quite a champ so far.  Considering it is mostly plastic, I have to admit to being very surprised (though pleasantly so).

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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kujo313
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May 15, 2012 - 5:58 am
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Once you've gotten your inexpensive electric violin, save some money and get some TOYS!

Pedals that work on electric guitars also work on electric violins!

 

I have a ZOOM G1X Distortion Pedal that I'm experimenting on.

I also have a Digitec Whammy Pedal that let's me play an octave or two higher or lower.

Finally, I have the Wood Wah.  Designed by electric violin maker, Mark Wood, this wah pedal sounds GREAT!

Go to a guitar store WITH your electric violin and see if you can "sample" some of their toys.

serenade

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DanielB
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May 15, 2012 - 7:10 am
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Oh, absolutely, kujo313.  You are preaching to the choir there.

I already have assorted distortion pedals, delay lines, chorusers, flanger, compressors, and so on.  Also have some amps and speakers that can do some serious thunder when the occasion calls for it.  And yes, I've played with the toys a bit. Good for mad bad crazy musical fun.

But at this point in time with the violin, I'm learning the instrument mostly just plain to work on getting the technical skills, because we want effects to extend what we can do, not cover up what we can't. LOL

There's a neat toy you may have missed though.. If you get something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Maxell-U.....38;sr=1-13

... you can plug it into the earphone jack of an electric violin and play through the FM radio.  If you have a spare stereo or boombox with a line-out or headphone jack, you can patch that into your fx toys and its a very cheap way to go wireless.

As an electric instrument, the preamp in this particular electric violin goes into overdrive nicely if you crank it up and the tone control does more than the ones on most electric guitars.  It has very good potential as an electric instrument with effects, and could be used pretty well for a lot of sorts of music from blues to metal to techno.  Or leaving the sound clean with just a little reverb and maybe some eq, it seems to do ok for straight violin and fiddle sounds.  Lots of possibilities.  

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Joe
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