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My Violin Arrived Last Night!
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LindaK
Huntsville, Texas
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November 28, 2012 - 10:22 pm
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My Violin Arrived!
It was promised yesterday and I looked outside probably 20 times throughout the day and, you know it, nothing. I had a commitment at 2:20pm and arrived home about 5:00pm; still no violin. Then about 7:00pm I went to the grocery store and when I got home, there it was!!! 

I can't tell all of you how excited I was, but I was also extremely tired. I have terminal cancer and am in remission now but I have zero energy.  I carried it to the bed and went back to make a cup of coffee and then crawled into the bed with my coffee. I took a pain reliever and sat there about 30 minutes listening to my husband practice guitar (he's pretty good and plays mostly southern gospel).

Then, finally I was rested enough to open the box and take a look. 
I had already prayed there would be no damage. The violin was beautiful other than being a little too glossy. I much prefer a matte finish but hey!  I'll not complain at the price I paid. There was no damage whatsoever.  I admired it all and put it all back up except for the book. I was delightfully pleased with the book. It is "The First Lesson - Violin" by Cecilio and it begins at the very beginning on a very elementary level. I would say their emphasis is on teaching sight reading along with learning to play. I studied it a while and by then my husband was asleep. So what did I do?  LOL, you know it, I got the violin out again and admired it again before going to sleep. 

Now for the weird part! I got up this morning and didn't even rush to get it out. I watched a couple of old episodes of Criminal Minds and then wondered why I wasn't chomping at the bit (I live in Texas you know) to play. After a little self analysis I realized I was afraid!  Why?  Of what?  I was here alone so there was no pressure. I giggled at myself like a little school girl in Band about to play her first notes. 

Hey!  What came out really surprised me. There were obviously some scratches and screeches but there were some notes too!  Yippee!  I didn't expect any notes yet. Now, they weren't consistent or anything, but I'm just sayin' it was fun to hear any at all. 

Now, all my teachers out there, please help. 
1.  I tried to hold the bow correctly but ended up with my right hand hurting quite a bit after about 45 minutes. The thing I noticed was that I could not keep my thumb bent outward. Could that be why?
2.  I think I absolutely have no neck at all. I ordered a shoulder rest in addition to the chin rest that came with my violin. I can certainly return that, I think. My question is whether I need either. Are there people that go without either and how short are their necks?  If I look straight ahead and measure from my collar bone to my chin, it's about 2 1/2 inches. 
3.  I realize this question is relative, but do you reapply rosin during play?

Thanks advisors!  Your help is so appreciated. coffee1

The most beautiful things in life cannot be touched or seen. They must be felt with the heart. ~Helen Keller~

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ratvn
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November 28, 2012 - 11:01 pm
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Hi LindaK,

I so happy for you that you've got your violin. I was in the same shoe a while back. I'm a beginner as well so not really in position to give much advise as there are members here that are more appropriate for those, especially Pierre (Fiddlerman).

I just would like to wish you the best and have strength to go through and enjoy everyday. I really empathized with you as I've survived a major cancer and still trying to recover, for now it is. Tomorrow, I'm not sure.

There are lot of tutoring videos that PM made for beginner, from bow holding, violin handle, rosin...etc and make sure that you're going through them.

Best wishes to you,

Robert

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ozmous
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that's great! congrats on yer new violin! it would be lovely to see some pictures!

now for some answers base on my experience;

1. the bow hold can be developed over time, but if you really can't do it, you can try different violin holds; first time i hold a violin, my first bow hold was the russian grip(here's  pic i found on the internet), it's a bit stiff, the pinky's always straight, it is less flexible, and more on push and pull, you might think it's an amateur's bow hold, but no, one of the greatest violinist, Jascha Heifetz uses it, so does Nathan Milstein(click their name to see their bow hold), the other, w/c is very common, is the italian/franco belgian, w/c is more flexible and more springy, i am currently using the italian.

2. yup, there are many violinist who doesn't use any shoulder rest(including me, i don't like having one attached to my violin)...many professional  violinist doesn't use any as well, specially Heifetz, he forbade it in his classes...and as for chinrest, there are some people who doesn't use one, but it's kind rare, well, many baroque violinist doesn't use any chinrests(since it wasn't invented yet at that era...and current baroque violinist still uses the same culture)....

3. i don't generally re-apply rosin every time i'm done playing, it might be over rosined and will make the strings sound screetchy, maybe re-apply it after playing for three to four hours.

cheers! - ⁰ℨ

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Fiddlestix
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November 29, 2012 - 6:01 am
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Hi, Linda.  So glad you got it, I think everyone here know's the feeling of anticipation while waiting for that special package to arive.

There is another member here in the forum who also claim's he has no neck and this was one of he big concern's when he first started. I myself only have about 3 inche's of neck so there's not a whole lot of space for a shoulder rest or chin rest. I made a shoulder rest with some old material I had laying around and stuffed it with foam, added a couple strip's of velcro (the hook half) to keep it from slipping and used a rubber band to attach it on the underside of the violin. One of my violin's has no chin rest, I just stretched a rubber band across it for the grip. Chin and shoulder rest's play a huge roll in how you play your violin. You need to be comfortable, you should be able to hold the violin without support with your left hand. In my opinion, comfort will determine how well you will play.

As "ratvn" say's, there are great video's that Fiddlerman has here on the basic's of holding the violin and bow. It's possible that your hand is hurting because you may be squeezing to tight. While holding the bow, your finger's should be relaxed, not a death grip on it. There isn't a lot of room near the frog for the thumb, this is why some people grip the bow an inch or two in front of the frog.

You say you've gotten screeche's and even some note's, but I say, they are all note's even with the screeche's, open string's are note's, so you're well on your way to being a star.  smile

I wish you well, Linda. I went through prostate cancer surgery this past February and it was contained to the prostate gland so i'm free of that now.

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Fiddlestix
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November 29, 2012 - 6:06 am
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Picture-040.jpgImage Enlarger

Here Linda, is a photo of one of my fiddle's without the chinrest.

 

Can anyone tell my why I can't upload a photo in the original post. I've tried in several different thread's and it just doesn't work for me.   red_cursing

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DanielB
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Splendid!

I had been worried that it wouldn't come on the day it was supposed to, when you were obviously looking forward to it so much.

I think all of us are like that, by the way.  Worse than kids at xmas when there is something like a new violin on the way.  I know that I am, definitely.

I don't think that not being "chomping at the bit" to try out the new violin was entirely about "being afraid", though.  Maybe a bit, but I think some of it was probably also just trying to get the most out of a rather grand moment in life.  A little gloating time.

Not surprised to hear your hand was hurting a bit after 45 min.  LOL  It will take a couple weeks for your hands to "muscle up" to the unaccustomed positions and movements.  During that time, shorter sessions, like maybe 15 min now and then throughout the day.  Don't want to push it too hard at first or you may get sore joints or tendonitis and it will actually take you longer to get going.

Besides, the lack of energy from the cancer is going to make short sessions through the day instead of one long session once a day maybe a better choice anyway.  I haven't been through it personally, but my wife was going through ovarian cancer last year and it was seriously scary to see how much it knocks the stuffins right out of someone.  Just play long enough for it to feel like a bit of a workout and then play some more later when you feel up to it.  Being gentle with yourself but steady is the way to go with any musical instrument, in my opinion.  Keep it fun, and just push the limits a bit when it comes to endurance, and your endurance will build up and you'll soon be able to play longer comfortably.

Books and etc do tend to focus quite a bit on learning to read music, because it is the easiest way to instruct someone through printed media.  But it will work, and as you are probably figuring out, it isn't as hard as it may have looked. 

Shoulder rests and chin rests.. well.  Most people do use them.  Not everyone does, though.  There are actually plenty of good reasons both ways, and in some places the issues of whether to use a shoulder rest are hotly debated.  Chin rests are debated less often, but there is still some differences of opinion on whether they are necessary or good.  

I am not an expert on the matter.  I don't use a shoulder rest with my acoustic violin, and I don't like the chin rest, but I am trying to give it a fair trial before taking it off my newest acoustic.  I don't actually have anything against them.  I use both on my electric, because it is heavier and on that instrument it is both more comfortable and easier to play with both a shoulder rest and a chin rest.

But on acoustic violin, it has never felt really natural or correct to me personally.  My first acoustic, the chin rest was I think poorly made and tended to dig into just the wrong part of my jaw, so I took it off fairly early on.  I never used the shoulder rest with that instrument after giving it a brief try and finding it not to my liking.  Played it for months "bare" like that.

Then I got a violin that was a bit nicer.   The chin rest is nice smooth ebony, fits under the jaw comfortably isn't too high.. And I still don't really like it.  As a matter of discipline, I am giving it a bit longer so that I know I have given it a fair try, because folks say it is very helpful.  But I don't like it, and it may yet end up taken off.  When I had it off for a little bit when I was putting a leather tab on it to cushion that dumb metal clamp that has an appetite for my collarbone, I played for about an hour with it off.  Mmmm.. much nicer, at least in my opinion.

Anyway, folks will most likely tell you the chin rest and shoulder rest are absolutely necessary and their reasons why.  But if you do some research, you can also find arguments against both, especially the shoulder rest. LOL  The folks in this particular community tend towards using both, from what I can tell.  If you went to other places though, like the famous Julliard music school, as I recall they strongly discourage shoulder rests.  They have turned out some fine players, though.  

I think it boils down to this.. The shoulder rest and the chin rest are attachments that were invented for your comfort and ease of playing.  Neither of them were an original part of the instrument.  If they don't add to your personal comfort or ease in playing the instrument, and especially if you don't like them, then take them off.

I don't know about people having short necks or etc really.  Doing the standard thing of standing up straight and looking straight ahead and measuring vertically from collarbone to the jaw bone, I get about 4 inches.  I don't know if that is long or short, never thought of myself as being particularly one or the other.  But I still don't really care for either the shoulder rest or the chin rest on my acoustic.  They feel perfectly fine on my electric, and it definitely would be uncomfortable to play the electric without them.  I think it is a personal thing and a matter of comfort and what works for you, and it may vary from violin to violin as well.

Your mileage may vary.

But anyway, great to hear that your new violin made it in ok and you are having some fun and enjoying it!

thumbs-up 

"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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wanabfidler
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November 29, 2012 - 11:38 am
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I just got mine as well. I was tracking it every day then it showed up when I was 20003 miles away I also got a CF FM bow the new bow and acrylic violin didn't make my playing any better but I look good sucking. Congratulations to you enjoy the fun of learning

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Fiddlestix
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wanabfidler said
I just got mine as well. I was tracking it every day then it showed up when I was 20003 miles away I also got a CF FM bow the new bow and acrylic violin didn't make my playing any better but I look good sucking. Congratulations to you enjoy the fun of learning

Too funny.         roflroflroflolrofl

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DanielB
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wanabfidler said
 ...the new bow and acrylic violin didn't make my playing any better but I look good sucking.

 

That;'s halfway to being a star!  Rock on!

jimi-hendrix

"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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ratvn
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LindaK said
I tried to hold the bow correctly but ended up with my right hand hurting quite a bit after about 45 minutes.

You're doing well, LindaK. When I first started several months ago, I could not go longer than 10 minutes and not only right hand, my shoulders, hands, back and neck are all in pain, sometimes, till the next day or longer. It's now improving a bit.

Like "DanielB" said, be gentle with yourself and build up your endurance slowly.

We don't want you to be in pain but have fun and something you enjoy enlightening your day.

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ratvn
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Fiddlestix said
...a photo of one of my fiddle's without the chinrest.

 

That is a nice fiddle you got there, super fine and straight grain spruce top.

When I first saw that picture I asked myself, where the stick is, thinking that you would not post your fiddle pic without a stick. At a closer look and there it was, and yet.... no hair?

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DanielB
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If you click on the photo to see all of it, you can see the hair on the bow.  The forum "crops" pics a little in the forum view.

"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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LindaK
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November 29, 2012 - 9:34 pm
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OMGosh what awesome replies.

Robert, I've already watched FM's beginning videos over and over. I have found a wealth of info that I am already using (thanks FM). Thaws were my problem areas that I hadn't figured out yet. But thanks for reminding me it's very accessible. I will continue to use it. I'm thankful you survived cancer. Tomorrow is always questionable for all of us cancer or not. My Mom was so upset when I was told I was going to die within a year (4 yrs ago). I told her to stop worrying, that I never had. I told her that God will take me when he wants to and not before, and Mom, I could get hit by a car tomorrow and die. She stopped worrying and has not worried to that extent since. So "tomorrow will take care of itself."

Oxmous, thanks for your info on bow holding and rosin. I think I was definitely overapplying rosin. I will check out these references. Thanks!

Fiddlestix, I already took the chin rest off and I can hold the violin much more comfortably. I must really have no neck at all, LOL. I will try your idea though. Sounds like a great idea, so I especially appreciate the image you posted. LOL on the screeches being notes - I love your positive attitude. You are very blessed to be cancer free and I'm so thrilled for you. Let's live life to the fullest (you too Robert)!

DanielB, how sweet of you to worry for me. I can already tell you're a sensitive fellow and I like that. I love your idea that I was gloating rather than being afraid I just wouldn't be able to "do" anything with the violin. I don't know if I agree with you but nice try, Lol. Thanks for your info on slowing down. I didn't know not to practice for 45 minutes and, believe me, I couldn't even move today. My bow arm and hand could have disappeared today and made me happy if I didn't need them for the bow in the future. I did practice twice today: first time for 3 minutes and the second time for 2 minutes - hehehe. How is your wife doing now? I'm so happy for you that you were able to get a better violin. Me too IF I am able to ever play reasonably well.

Wanabfidler, LOL but I know it wasn't funny to you at the time. I definitely want one of FM's bows one of these days. Maybe about February I can swing the cost. I've read so much about them. I imagine the same will happen to me but at least I'll be able to rule out a cheap bow causing sour notes - LOL. sleep

The most beautiful things in life cannot be touched or seen. They must be felt with the heart. ~Helen Keller~

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KindaScratchy
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November 29, 2012 - 9:41 pm
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Congratulations, Linda! Sounds like your experience getting your violin was very much like mine -- and like most everyone here. You just want to look at it and hold it because it's such a beautiful instrument. Playing seems almost secondary, but, believe me, that will grab a hold of you, too.

:)

I still like to just look at my violin and hold it. I even have a photo of it on my phone so I can show people.

Best wishes with your health challenges. Enjoy getting to know your new fiddle!

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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Fiddlestix
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ratvn said

Fiddlestix said
...a photo of one of my fiddle's without the chinrest.

 

That is a nice fiddle you got there, super fine and straight grain spruce top.

When I first saw that picture I asked myself, where the stick is, thinking that you would not post your fiddle pic without a stick. At a closer look and there it was, and yet.... no hair?

That violin, ratvn, is a $90.00 Chinese special I bought about 7 or 8 yrs ago. I've had to do work to it like, moving the sound post 5 or 6 time's until I got the sound I was after, different string's "Zyex" strings, had to move the bridge back to get to 328mm. I've got a little time in it, it sound's real good, but I bought a new Concert Master about 6 weeks ago now that's the only one I play. Thank's for the comment on it though. I was getting ready to tear it apart and make a cigar box fiddle using just the neck, until I started moving thing's around. 

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ratvn
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Fiddlestix said 

That violin is a $90.00 Chinese. I've had to do work to it like, moving the sound post 5 or 6 time...different string's "Zyex" strings, had to move the bridge back to get to 328mm...I bought a new Concert Master about 6 weeks ago now that's the only one I play.

Wow, you're really good. I've heard some of those violins are made with good materials, but they're picky, especially with bridge quality/thickness/fitting, sound post placement, string open/after length. I can barely do a bridge, and even getting myself a set of sound post adjusters but still afraid to move it around.

Congrats on your Concert Master and very nice to know you like it. Over the years, I came across a number of instruments but none of them feels so dear, so close to my heart as holding my violin.

Well, even back then with all my strength playing piano, I did not hold it ether...haha.

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cdennyb
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Linda... love your enthusiasm and spirit... you're going to do fine both here on the forum and with your new addition to your life.cheers

You did know it'll be a relationship like a new mate... an introduction time, a learning time, a practice and tolerate time and then comes the really fun times...cheerleader

I've had one of my violins for over 50 yrs now and another for the past 10-12 yrs and just recently got a brand new one from FM and each has its' own personality and tone. I work on them (violins in general) from time to time and find each to be as individual as the owner(s).devil-violin

My three are quite a handful and you'll find yourself looking in new places for yet another one to add to your collection... like pawn shops, thrift stores, swap meets and the like. You'll also start frequenting yard sales and estate sales looking for an old one... one to use as your steady partner...coffee

You'll find yourself protecting them like your new born baby and not allowing anyone to touch without a careful eye on them... you'll also take them from the hot car when parked in town and the same in winter, keeping them close to you and each day becoming closer and closer in your everlasting musical relationship...doublekiss

 

enjoy the ride... it's hella fun! thumbs-up

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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DanielB
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cdennyb said

You did know it'll be a relationship like a new mate... an introduction time, a learning time, a practice and tolerate time and then comes the really fun times...cheerleader

   Well, then there's the other side of the coin.. The days when you're pretty sure that as far as that violin is concerned, you just aren't doing anything right.  When you can tell that it figures you couldn't even hit the ground with your hat if you tried..

LOL

 

@Linda:  My wife is doing much better, but still recovering.  We lucked out, and though the tumor they took out was about the size of a football, they got it out intact and she ended up stage one.  Her blood tests have been clear and so long as the next one is good, she will go to checkups once every 6 months.  But she still tires easy and gets annoyed that she can't do things she used to do just yet.  Scary stuff.

Now, so far as worrying about not being able to do anything with the violin, I don't think that is unusual.  I've been a musician for years and still I worried a bit about that when my first violin was on the way.  I was quite delighted to get some notes out of it, instead of just the awful sounds I'd been kind of expecting at first.  Same thing with the friend I gave my first acoustic violin to.  He said he expected to get "nothing but screeches for the first couple years".  

I'll still hold out for the notion that you were gloating a bit, though.  I mean, how many times in life do we get to be a beginner once more?  To tackle something new and see what we can do with it, ask (sometimes silly) questions, and gradually have something that we work at get better until it finally starts to turn into something we enjoy the results of?  That is worth some gloat.

With just sitting and admiring your violin?  Well, sure.  Even the humblest of violins is made of wood prettier than most furniture and other objects around us.  Maybe I'm a little odd, but I have always considered violins as one of the fanciest looking instruments.  Objects of art.  Luxury.  I have spent some time admiring all three of the ones I have owned. 

"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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