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celticveil
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June 11, 2013 - 12:56 am
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Hi everyone. I've been browsing this site for a few days and it seems really interesting.

 

Some year ago I tried unsuccessfully to learn guitar. Exactly why I'm not certain, but it gave me trouble like you couldn't imagine.

 

Recently I picked up a Shimro St. Antonio violin setup, to include bow, violin, case, rosin and a separate Korg tuner. All totaled came out to about 170 USD which to me seemed decent as the same kit in America sells for upwards of 350 (I did some research into the specific model, but not much info available). As I am with the military and stationed overseas, I work with what I can get.

 

I had some initial issues getting sound from the instrument due to issues with the rosin, so I got some new higher quality rosin and the problem fixed itself. The strings on this model aren't particularly impressive but the sound is decent and it tunes easily. My biggest issue is transitioning from D to G and back without hitting the other string in the process. If I focus intensely I can do it, but it doesn't seem to be coming naturally. Any suggestions as to method on this?

 

I'm just looking to amuse myself with this instrument and play some pieces I find interesting. No delusions of grandeur here. My wife's family has some old violins I may take a close look at when I'm home to see if any are workable and might make a good 'next step' as I learn.

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EJ-Kisz
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June 11, 2013 - 1:05 am
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Hi celticveil!

First off, welcome to the forum!  Great people from all levels of playing, great advice.....you came to the right place!  

I had somewhat of a similar problem when I started last year.  Slowly, but surely it did go away!  I had to slow down.....I have a tendency to get ahead of myself.  I just took one sting at a time with slow bow strokes making sure I went the length of the bow.  I also had to remember to draw the bow with my elbow, not my entire arm.  Once I kept my elbow in the right place, the muscles started remembering where they needed to be.  

After I practiced each string, I began to recognize that I needed to lift my elbow higher to hit the G without hitting the D.  

You'll get it!  I'm sure of it!

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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celticveil
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June 11, 2013 - 1:10 am
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That makes me feel better, knowing I'm not alone in experiencing this.

 

I've read all sorts of warnings about Chinese violins, but so far other than some tuning issues this violin has itself been nice, and sounds good too. I do want to upgrade strings though, but that's more for preference as opposed to performance.

 

in regards to the tuning issues I have to retune it every time I pick it up, but I'm noticing the amount of tuning required is getting less and less and I've only had it a week. By less I mean the strings now stay in the general vicinity of the pure tone, but usually to the left or right of center requiring just a minor adjustment. I figure this is due to being new strings.

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EJ-Kisz
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June 11, 2013 - 1:24 am
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Yeah, I've heard some bad things about some Chinese violins (or VSO's...violin shaped objects).  But, there are some REALLY good ones to!  I have a mid-level one that's been pretty good to me so far!  Although, I did have to have a few adjustments made to the sound post and bridge.  Overall, it's done it job by helping me learn!

Typically, violin strings can take a few days of playing to finally "break" in.  That may even last a couple of weeks if you are a beginner and are just learning the ropes.  It sounds like you're just experiencing the strings stretching!  Meaning, your pegs are doing their jobs well!  Also keep in mind that temp & humidity change can also cause you to be out of tune.  Those factors can even affect your tone depending on how dry or humid it is.  

When you get to the point where you need new strings, don't be afraid to try different kinds!  I went through 3 brands before falling in love with Zyex's by D'addario. It's a fun experience!  

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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celticveil
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June 11, 2013 - 1:30 am
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Haha, I'm well aware of the VSO issue. Luckily the shop I frequent here is pretty reputable and the salesman has been upfront and honest with me in areas we're able to communicate. He warned me about the rosin being low-quality. And while the bow isn't a Strad, it's sufficient to my immediate needs. The pegs definitely hold the string in place and are not wiggly at all.

 

Since Korea is a hotspot for orchestral instruments I figured I'd spend my last remaining months here taking advantage of that. They seem to take pride in their instruments and accessories. I have a harmonica made locally which has tones better than the Hohner (spelling?) ones I've been exposed to in the past.

 

I think I will take my instrument to a luthier once I get home and see what they suggest for mods, if such are even necessary at the time. If nothing else when I upgrade, this will be a nice piece to add to my remembrance collection on my wall of the places and things I've experienced while being in the Army.

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EJ-Kisz
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June 11, 2013 - 1:55 am
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celticveil said

I think I will take my instrument to a luthier once I get home and see what they suggest for mods, if such are even necessary at the time. If nothing else when I upgrade, this will be a nice piece to add to my remembrance collection on my wall of the places and things I've experienced while being in the Army.

That would be awesome!  That actually reminds me of a conversation I just had with my brother-in-law the other day!  He's stationed at Ft. Lewis in Washington, near Seattle.  My wife keeps bugging him for coffee samples and which coffee's are the best!  The funny thing is, he's not a big coffee drinker! LOL  So much for being near the coffee capitol of the US! 

You'll have to keep us all up to date with the kind of instruments out there!  And the culture as well!  I heard it's beautiful out there!  Traveling fiddle pics? :D  But most importantly, come home safe!  

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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celticveil
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June 11, 2013 - 2:05 am
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Well as far as pics go...noooot likely from me. I'm a photojournalist and am honestly sick of cameras at this point, but that's another topic for another discussion lol.

 

I have a humidifier as this place is notorious for widely varying conditions. It's just a basic in-case oasis brand one. I got it a few days ago and need to get some distilled water to actually put it to use, but that's more complicated than you'd think. but I have my sources and some should be here shortly.

 

The instruments here are decent pieces, asian made in most cases but I notice they steer clear of Chinese made ones unless it's Korean-owned. There's a lot of Yamaha and some names I don't recognize, but they have entire stores dedicated to certain piano brands inside their malls. They also love electronic violins which is what I think I may pick up next. One brand of piano, can't recall the name off hand, also makes modular bicycles, as in they fold sideways for transport and storage.

 

Beauty is also in the eye of the beholder here. Thanks to American influence a lot of the traditional designs and colors are rapidly becoming relics. There are still places where you can find cultural aspects, but they're getting rarer. The predominant color/texture here is gray concrete. The people are very nice comparatively, and are respectful even if you know they don't like you. I go out of my way to be nice and respectful to everyone I meet as I'm the visitor in their country, but sadly not many military personnel act that way. I've had to verbally jump many of my fellow Soldiers when I see or hear them getting out of line with a Korean. Just disgraceful behavior.

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EJ-Kisz
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June 11, 2013 - 2:26 am
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celticveil said

I have a humidifier as this place is notorious for widely varying conditions. It's just a basic in-case oasis brand one. I got it a few days ago and need to get some distilled water to actually put it to use, but that's more complicated than you'd think. but I have my sources and some should be here shortly.

That definitely is a more complex set up than mine!  ....I just have a sponge in a ziplock bag tossed in my case! LOL  I want to eventually get one that goes into the F-hole.  Mainly because I keep my violin out of the case in my living room.  This way, I can grab it every time I get the urge to play.  

That's a shame that some people still treat others that way while in a foreign country.  The worst part about it is that those are the memories that last the longest and are the hardest to forget.  

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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celticveil
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June 11, 2013 - 2:33 am
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EJKiszenia said

That's a shame that some people still treat others that way while in a foreign country.  The worst part about it is that those are the memories that last the longest and are the hardest to forget.  

 

It seems to be becoming more prevalent with my generation and the younger ones coming after. Its gotten to the point where I am very discerning who I will be seen with in public as people have unpleasantly surprised me with their actions without warning.

 

I like keeping my violin in it's case as I'm a clumsy person apparently intent on destroying my nice things. I've had this violin barely over a week and managed to make a tiny nick in the front by accidentally dropping the butt of the bow on it while fumbling for the tuner. Luckily it didn't penetrate the varnish, and I figure it was bound to get marks on it eventually.

 

I don't get a lot of time to practice though. I feel accomplished if I get about 30 min in a night (with a break on Sundays to handle other issues) but about 15-20 mins is average for me. So far I'm working the open strings well and have even picked up a bit on reading sheet music, so there's that.

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Fiddlerman
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June 11, 2013 - 6:29 am
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Welcome to the forum celticveil,

Great advice above from Eric. Remember that when you play on the G there is no string to it's left so lifting the elbow higher will easily solve that one. Playing on the D and A is another problem of course. Obviously it comes by itself with time but you can make a mental note of your elbow hight when in the best position for each of these strings using the full stroke from the frog to the tip. Sounds like you are only having trouble with the D too.

There is a slight possibility that the angle of your bridge is too flat. It happens all the time. These less expensive instruments are set up quickly and not necessarily optimally.
Take a closeup picture of your bridge and we might be able to tell just by looking at it. Otherwise you can measure the curve for us.

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

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celticveil
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June 11, 2013 - 8:08 am
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Hi Fiddlerman! Yep, Eric is definitely giving useful info! At my current entry-level stage I'm trying to soak up as much info as I can.

 

I attached a pic of my bridge. Pardon the low quality, as I don't have a specific macro lens setup so I had to make due with less than optimal setup. I mostly take pics of outdoor things so this up-close-and-personal look isn't familiar to me.

 

What does my bridge tell you by it's angle? Should I purchase a new, better one? If so that will be at least 6 months out due to me returning home then. It's difficult to get things customized here due to the language barrier.

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Mad_Wed
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Hi, Celticveil! I always admire when a military person puts his hands on violin. It's great!

Welcome to the forum!

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celticveil
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June 11, 2013 - 6:04 pm
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Thanks for the welcome reception, Mad Wed. Interestingly enough I've been fascinated by American Civil War era music and that's part of how I ended up getting a violin and a harmonica as well.

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EJ-Kisz
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June 11, 2013 - 6:11 pm
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celticveil said
Thanks for the welcome reception, Mad Wed. Interestingly enough I've been fascinated by American Civil War era music and that's part of how I ended up getting a violin and a harmonica as well.

Now you're REALLY speaking my language!!  I'm a CW reenactor and absolutely love to play period tunes!  I just posted a topic about my recent experience at the last event!  It's so much fun!!  Camp life, canon's, the smell of spent black powder, period fiddle tunes......what can be better? LOL cheers

 

http://fiddlerman.com/forum/li.....-musician/

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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celticveil
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June 11, 2013 - 6:25 pm
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That's pretty sweet. However from personal experience I can say modern combat dwelling isn't near as fun lol.

 

I'm not a big fan of playing with groups with my instruments, at least not as of yet. I don't even particularly see me playing for other people either as I'm a fairly reserved individual at home.

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EJ-Kisz
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June 11, 2013 - 6:27 pm
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Mad_Wed said
Hi, Celticveil! I always admire when a military person puts his hands on violin. It's great!

Welcome to the forum!

Mad_Wed

Pssst.....Naska, are you aware that you're only 6 posts away from taking the lead from Oliver in "top posters?"

birthday_balloondancingbanana1st-placecheers 

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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EJ-Kisz
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celticveil said
That's pretty sweet. However from personal experience I can say modern combat dwelling isn't near as fun lol.

 

I'm not a big fan of playing with groups with my instruments, at least not as of yet. I don't even particularly see me playing for other people either as I'm a fairly reserved individual at home.

I started out like that on violin.  I didn't even let my wife hear me practice!  At the first few events I brought my fiddle to, I hid behind the tents to practice.  One thing I did learn is that everyone is fascinated and drawn to a violin!  I couldn't quite keep it a secret for long.  It all worked out though!  Hell, I brought my violin to the park one day just to practice outside and the next thing I knew, I had 12 little kids huddled around me! LOL  But hey, it introduced them to violin as well and I found out later that one of them started taking lessons! I think that was worth the little embarrassment I felt! :D

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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celticveil
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June 11, 2013 - 8:00 pm
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I've noticed a lot of kids today just aren't introduced to instruments like I was as a child, and I thought I was isolated from them at the time!

 

There's this growing detachment from instruments (and other things) as kids are getting more and more hooked on electronic entertainment.

 

EJ, did you check out my bridge photo on one of my posts above for a look at the angles on it?

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EJ-Kisz
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Just took a look at it!  It looks just about normal for a student model.  It's almost the same shape as my Palatino.  The only difference between ours is that mine has a ton of graphite/pencil marks from trying to lubricate the string grooves and my E string has the sleeve on it to protect the bridge.  ......just from a different brand of strings.  

I do have a flatter bridge on my Stainer which takes a lot of concentration to hit individual strings.  Yours doesn't look like that at all.

Where is your bridge lined up in relation to the notches in the middle of the F-holes?  I can't tell with that angle.  Each violin can be set up slightly different, depending on the position of the sound post.  Usually, most bridges will line up with that little notch in the F-hole.  Mine is just an 8th of an inch above the notch.  But that's only because my sound has been adjusted.

That can change the sound of your violin as well.  It could even affect how high the strings are in relation to your finger board.  

I'll post some pics of my 2 bridges when I get home tonight.  I don't have them saved on my iPad! LOL   

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin

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celticveil
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June 11, 2013 - 8:29 pm
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I'll have to check when I get back to my room later and see how it's aligned...I can't recall off the top of my head right now.

 

::EDIT: I checked my violin and the bridge does line up with those notches in the f holes::

 

I know if I were to replace it I would need a luthier to adjust the feet to make it sit correctly. I'm going to be looking into new strings this weekend when I visit seoul and one of their music shops there.

 

I'm also considering an electric pickup as I have a guitar amp and would like to experiment with my metal foot pedal and see what I can get from doing that.

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