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Bowing the A and E strings
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Cab
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August 9, 2011 - 5:10 am
Member Since: July 29, 2011
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Hello fiddlers!

 

I have recently (a couple of weeks ago) started learning this instrument, and am enjoying the experience quite a lot! I have played the piano since childhood and have picked up guitar a couple of years ago, so I found I was quickly able to pick out the notes on the violin fingerboard. After practising for a few days I was able to bow kind of consistent notes on the G and D strings. I am still having trouble with the higher strings though.

I have browsed some method books and I see the tendency to start on the high strings, yet I find them much harder to play than the lower strings. Then again maybe that is the whole point?

What happens is when I try to bow the A or E strings like I do the D or G, I get a much more shaky note. Adding a little more weight or speed helps, but I don't know if that should be needed. Those strings seem harder to get started vibrating than the lower ones.

Any thoughts? Is this just a question of technique or might this be caused by strings / bow / rosin?

 

/Daniel

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David Burns
Winfield, Missouri
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August 9, 2011 - 6:37 am
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Hi, Cab.

I have only been playing for a month, so take this with a grain of salt, or your favorite tasty mineral. It could be a lack of rosin, I use too much myself. Rosin the bow a bit more and see if the sound improves. Try bowing in a different spot on the strings...closer to the bridge...closer to the fingerboard, see if that helps. Has the instrument been locked up in a case for years and you are the first one to play it for a while? It may need new strings. Another thing to look at is the soundpost inside the body. I don't remember the exact (and it must be exact) placement for the soundpost, but I know it is slightly forward of the right foot of the bridge. Right under the two strings you are having trouble with. I would  not mess around with repositioning the sound post. And I could be completely wrong about the rest as well, try the free cures first, and listen to people with more experience. Good Luck

 

Dave

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Cab
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August 9, 2011 - 7:10 am
Member Since: July 29, 2011
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David Burns said:

Hi, Cab.

I have only been playing for a month, so take this with a grain of salt, or your favorite tasty mineral. It could be a lack of rosin, I use too much myself. Rosin the bow a bit more and see if the sound improves. Try bowing in a different spot on the strings...closer to the bridge...closer to the fingerboard, see if that helps. Has the instrument been locked up in a case for years and you are the first one to play it for a while? It may need new strings. Another thing to look at is the soundpost inside the body. I don't remember the exact (and it must be exact) placement for the soundpost, but I know it is slightly forward of the right foot of the bridge. Right under the two strings you are having trouble with. I would  not mess around with repositioning the sound post. And I could be completely wrong about the rest as well, try the free cures first, and listen to people with more experience. Good Luck

 

Dave

Thanks, I will try rosining a bit more. It's a new violin, and I was afraid of over-rosining at first but realised after awhile that I needed to take the cake for a shake quite a bit more, since I had to push the bow into the strings to make sound. Since I'm new it might very well be that I STILL have too little rosin on that thing. Time to go cake shaking again; piece of cake, oh yeah!

 

/Daniel

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Cab
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August 9, 2011 - 7:43 am
Member Since: July 29, 2011
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More rosin sure helped a lot. I still feel the top strings to be very sensitive compared to the others. I guess it's a question of technique.

Here is a D major scale. Sounds much better now, but the four top notes which are on the A string are still a bit shaky: http://www.box.net/shared/4j49.....d2i1t9v4gv

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Oliver
NC
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August 9, 2011 - 12:19 pm
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Most students under-utilize the bow, using too little bow to properly sound the strings.  Also, bowing speed and pressure is a factor.  You will almost certainly discover all that being you are now aware of what is going on.

Also, keep the bow at right angles to the string(s).

"A" and "E" frequently have a different character of sound than "G" or "D".  That may be a factor(?)

coffee2

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Cab
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August 9, 2011 - 12:40 pm
Member Since: July 29, 2011
Forum Posts: 8
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Oliver said:

Most students under-utilize the bow, using too little bow to properly sound the strings.  Also, bowing speed and pressure is a factor.  You will almost certainly discover all that being you are now aware of what is going on.

Also, keep the bow at right angles to the string(s).

"A" and "E" frequently have a different character of sound than "G" or "D".  That may be a factor(?)

coffee2

Thanks. I am going to experiment with bowing some more. I just noticed playing A and E too close to the fingerboard makes them very hard to control.

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Oliver
NC
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August 9, 2011 - 2:09 pm
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Incidentally, you might have someone watch and see if your bowing is straight.  You may be surprised.

I have tried this often looking in a mirror but that never worked well for me.  I needed an observer.  

coffee2

Tried this.  Helps a little.

 

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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