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Hello from the land of rain!
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Jason
Portland, OR, USA
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July 24, 2012 - 1:12 pm
Member Since: July 20, 2012
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Hey everybody. My name is Jason (yeah, not just a clever screen name. ha!) I live in Portland, OR with my wife and two young kids. I'm a stay at home dad.

After many years of curiosity I've finally gotten my hands on a violin. Woo hoo! Ordered a rental from Shar Music, their Franz Hoffmann \"Prelude\" model. Just got it yesterday and \"fiddled around\" with it late into the night. All I can say is... what a humbling experience! I had thought my 15 years of guitar noodling would have prepared me quite nicely for the coordination involved in playing the violin. Not so much!  Before it arrived I'd already watched every video Fiddlerman has made, so I feel intellectually prepared. My body just needs to catch up.

The first hurdle I need to deal with is the stock chinrest. It just doesn't work for me. I spent a couple hours researching chinrests and shoulder rests last night and I'm suspecting I may do better with a Flesch, as I'm having a tendency to want the violin to fit more to the left. Luckily there are quite a few violin shops in my area, so I can go try a bunch of rests out. This is a huge priority, since I woke up with a slightly bruised collarbone, neck, and a MAJOR headache this morning.

I want to do this right. One of the main reasons I decided to pick up a new instrument is that I've been practicing bad habits on the guitar for half my life. I'd like to get out of this rut. I chose the violin because, with the many different left and right hand techniques, it seems to be far and away the most dynamic and expressive musical instrument. In skilled hands, of course!

So, anyhoo, here I am! I'm looking forward to learning from and with you all, and sharing beautiful music!

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Picklefish
Merritt Island, Fla
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July 24, 2012 - 1:23 pm
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Hello, and welcome to the site. The best advice you will ever get is to start slow. Work on the intonation and the bowing first. The FM videos will get you off to a great start. Glad you are here.hats_off

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

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KindaScratchy
Massachusetts
July 24, 2012 - 1:29 pm
Member Since: March 14, 2012
Forum Posts: 1651
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Welcome Jason! You've come to the right place...lots of us beginning fiddlists and violiners here. I think you'll like here; folks are not only helpful, but they're friendly, too.

BTW, I also thought that my guitar experience would give me a leg up on the violin. The only thing that helped was having callouses. :)

Looking forward to hearing about your progress and experiences with your new violin!

cheerleaderdancingdancinbunnybananacheerscoffee

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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TerryT
Coleshill, Warwickshire
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July 24, 2012 - 1:37 pm
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Hi Jason, and welcome, you've probably already seen that you will be with a great bunch of enthusiastic and helpful beginners in this site, of all age ranges.
So good luck and happy learning!

I changed my chinrest to a Flesch after trying the one on my teachers viola. Was the most comfortable one I had come across.
Even though the one I ordered turned out to be a new style, and the one my teacher uses is the 'old' Flesch which has a bit more of a hump in the middle. mine's great, but for personal comfort I would have preferred the old version.

Happy fiddling hats_off

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

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Fifi La Fume
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July 24, 2012 - 2:06 pm
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Hi Jason,

Welcome, I bet you have fun here!

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DanielB
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July 24, 2012 - 4:39 pm
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Welcome aboard, Jason.

I could also be described as a stay-at-home dad with guitar background.

The time you put into guitar won't be any "easy pass" for violin, but it *does* put you a bit ahead of the game.  Your fingers will already be used to moving on strings and any theory you picked up over the years is all to the good. 

However, yes.. you will still go through sounding like a noob again for a while.  But not a clueless one.  You'll at least know if you are sounding bad, so you'll correct it quicker than some might.  The ear you have developed in 15 yrs of playing will be of great value to you.

Practising violin also does good things for your guitar playing, in my experience.  Though I haven't been playing violin long, just over 3 months. 

Ok, rather than going all into differences and similarities, I'll opt to just give a bit of advice.

1.) Chinrests and shoulder-rests.  Yeah, if they aren't comfortable, get ones that are.  Your chin/jaw won't be changing shape any time soon, so you won't "just get used" to ones that are very uncomfortable.

2.) You'll likely have at least a few weeks of "newbie fever" where you want to obsess over the violin and play it a lot.  Do it.  It's good for you, and will get you going faster.  Use that inertia while you have it.

3.) (This one may get me lynched a bit, since it is not the more popular viewpoint here) Consider the tapes noobs use to mark the places for fingering in first position or one of those violin fingerboard stickers they carry at music stores or I think there's a print-out here on the site somewhere.  You will probably only need it for a few days or a couple weeks, but it will help at least as a "security blanket" to make the fingerboard a more friendly concept to your brain.  You may hear that "even small children can learn to play violin without such things.." but small children didn't usually put in a decade or more of learning a somewhat related instrument with frets.  The muscle memory and fluency you already worked to develop for guitar are not things to just ignore, and can be used on violin.  They will make some things easier.  Something that sorta looks like frets can help your brain make the transition, turn the violin fingerboard into familiar turf.  It *is* familiar turf, it just doesn't look like it at first.  

For the record, yeah.. If Violin was someone's first instrument or at least their first string instrument and they never worked with fretted strings, probably best for them to skip such "helps" entirely.  But with some years on a fretboard, making the violin fingerboard look like a fretboard can help for transferring the skills your fingers already have. 

The other thing is that those small children mentioned are learning a lot of things as small children.  They are more likely to be content with playing exercises or just working on bowing and etc at first.  As an experienced musician, your expectations of your own playing will be higher than theirs and you'll be trying to play recognizable songs almost immediately, and even getting ticked off when they don't sound as good as you know they should.  A small child where this is perhaps their first instrument wouldn't be putting those kinds of demands on themselves.  If it takes a couple months for them to sound good on "Twinkle Twinkle" they're usually fine with that.  Not likely you'd be happy with that, though.

"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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Jason
Portland, OR, USA
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July 24, 2012 - 10:43 pm
Member Since: July 20, 2012
Forum Posts: 10
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Wow! Thank you all for the warm welcome and much appreciated advice!

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gkeese
Amarillo, Tx
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July 24, 2012 - 11:17 pm
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Hey Jason...good to meet ya.  I had a Franz Hoffman Prelude as well. (called him Hoff)  I loved it.  Great sound and just had that new smell.  But I recieved a free violin shortly after, so i sent my Hoffman back.  (I miss you Hoff!!)  You'll really enjoy it.

Glad to have you around here.  You'll enjoy it and we are a good class of people.  Good luck and Keep us posted!

"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing that it is stupid." -Albert Einstein

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
July 25, 2012 - 12:40 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11702

Welcome Jason,

We are happy to have you here and look forward to getting to know you as well. Always feel free to post your progress if you like.

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

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Jason
Portland, OR, USA
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July 25, 2012 - 10:51 pm
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Thank you, sir. Great place you've got here, very friendly. I've made a bit of progress. I can actually hold the instrument now, albeit not in the most relaxed manner.

The shape of the chinrest still feels stupid, but I can kinda make it work... Just have to avoid the top of my jaw bone... man that smarts! I can at least get the violin up there and bow a few notes. Scratchy ones at the moment. I think I over rosined my bow. Broke a string already too. Oh well! Can't be afraid to make mistakes! Luckily my somewhat trained ear is helping me find notes pretty darn well. Damn this is fun.

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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July 26, 2012 - 9:47 pm
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If you over rosin the bow it will only make a mess but shouldn't effect the sound.

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Jason
Portland, OR, USA
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July 27, 2012 - 4:19 pm
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Well, it's the cheap rosin that came with the outfit. I don't know if that makes a difference. The first couple of days the bow grabbed really well and made some nice solid notes. Whatever is going on now, the hairs are just not grabbing very well. I was getting a really scratchy sound, which I mostly resolved by wiping the rosin off the strings. Now it's very inconsistent, grabbing and slipping. When I add more rosin it grabs better for a bit, but quickly starts sounding scratchy again. It seems like the rosin has kind of "melted" on and become a thin and smooth layer on top of the hair. I could be wrong, but that's what it seems like to me.

I actually washed the hair with soap and water last night, being very careful not to get any on the wood or in the frog. Seems like it made a slight improvement in friction, but it's still pretty bad.

I'm going to see if I can find a set of Zyex strings this weekend, and maybe some better rosin. If I try new rosin I'll probably grab some denatured alcohol to clean the hairs thoroughly before using it. Can't afford a better bow just yet.

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Kevin M.
Nicholson, Pa
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July 27, 2012 - 5:46 pm
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I would just syart with a better rosin.  The darker ones seem to be stickier to me and the stuff that comes with the violin are only there so they can say they include rosin with the violin. It's like some violins send you an extra bridge.  They shouldn't break. Or they send two garbage bows, why not one decent one.

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springer
Honorary tenured advisor
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July 27, 2012 - 10:02 pm
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Welcome Jason. I would vote for better (dark) rosin.cheers

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Jason
Portland, OR, USA
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July 29, 2012 - 7:05 pm
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Well it is dark rosin, actually. It's a tiny little piece in a woodblock with a plastic cover that just says "mini rosin".

The bow is terrible, either due to materials or due to me screwing it up with this resin. It's very slick and any resin I add just sits on top and very quickly comes off. The amount of pressure I have to use to grab anything cramps up my hand and hampers my technique.

I could continue speculating on the issue or I could just sell one of my guitars and buy the Fiddlerman carbon fiber bow and some good rosin. Yeah, I think I'll buy the bow and rosin!

Oh, I did change the strings to Zyex yesterday and they make a huge improvement (when the bow decides to grab anyway).

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PenguinViolinist
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August 7, 2012 - 8:04 am
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I have a carbon fibre bow and it's very light so you may have to apply more pressure for many violin techniques such as double stopping.  However it is a cheap one and i'm saving up for a nicer one.  Just something you might want to think about.

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