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re-learning
dull sound on A string
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Martian_fiddler
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February 2, 2015 - 7:03 pm
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I played Violin from age 9 to 12 and then put it on the shelf to play the Clarinet & Bassoon. After 23 years of storage I have dug out my old student Lark Violin. It has new strings, a decent bow, bridge/sound post are in check. It sounds better than I remember except for one thing. When I am playing on the A string it sounds great, but when I play a C# it sounds dull and even worse when I play a D. Anyone have a thought on what would cause those two notes to sound so dull and almost muted compared to open A?

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coolpinkone
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February 2, 2015 - 7:10 pm
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Welcome to the forum.

I dont' know the cause for those two dull notes.   I just wanted to say  hello!

Cheers!!!!!  

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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mischa91
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February 3, 2015 - 8:52 am
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Welcome!

 

I really have no insight into the dull sounding notes, i'm sure someone more experienced will be able to help.

 

Just wanted to say hi and i played a lark student violin in high school, it sadly didn't survive the journey from the UK to the US but it served me well for 5 years. 

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Uzi
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February 3, 2015 - 10:40 am
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Welcome to the forum.  

First, comparing the sound of fingered notes to the open string is not a fair comparison.  Strings are always going to resonate a lot more on the open strings.  How does the C# sound compared to the B, for example?  Does the sound get progressively worse as you go up the fingerboard?  What kind of strings do you have?  Are you sure the string is seated properly in the nut and the bridge?  Can you post a video or sound sample?  

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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Martian_fiddler
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February 3, 2015 - 3:58 pm
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@Uzi

To answer your questions, The D is by far the worst sounding note on my instrument. It doesn't get worse after the D though (it doesn't get better either.) All of the other strings tend to sound as expected when played within the range of a beginner. High up on the neck it sounds like a sick cat. My strings are steel Stravilio strings. Everything on the nut and bridge checks out. I will see if I can get a video put together so you can hear what I'm hearing. 

@mischa91

Thank you for the welcome! I wish my Lark wouldn't survive a trip. I would like a good excuse to buy a new instrument. 

@coolpinkone

Hello to you too!

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Martian_fiddler
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February 3, 2015 - 4:01 pm
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I have run into one more issue with my E string. After I have played for a while, I begin to get a dip in tone when I use the whole bow. It starts slightly flat and then works it's way up to a clean sounding E. It sounds like I'm sliding my finger up the board a half inch even though it is an open string..... very annoying. It could be junk strings. I have never heard of the Stravilio strings I am using.

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Uzi
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February 3, 2015 - 5:43 pm
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Martian_fiddler said
I have run into one more issue with my E string. After I have played for a while, I begin to get a dip in tone when I use the whole bow. It starts slightly flat and then works it's way up to a clean sounding E. It sounds like I'm sliding my finger up the board a half inch even though it is an open string..... very annoying. It could be junk strings. I have never heard of the Stravilio strings I am using.

That's why I asked what kind of strings were on the instrument.  Perhaps you could swap them out for something like the D'Addario Preludes (about 15 bucks) if you like steel core strings or D'Addario Pro Arte (about 30 bucks) which are inexpensive but pretty good sounding nylon core strings, if you would like a warmer sound. 

It's pretty amazing how much small things change the tone a violin so profoundly.  

Lastly, one doesn't need an excuse to get a new fiddle -- at least not a good excuse. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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Martian_fiddler
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February 3, 2015 - 10:08 pm
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Uzi said
Welcome to the forum.  

First, comparing the sound of fingered notes to the open string is not a fair comparison.  Strings are always going to resonate a lot more on the open strings.  How does the C# sound compared to the B, for example?  Does the sound get progressively worse as you go up the fingerboard?  What kind of strings do you have?  Are you sure the string is seated properly in the nut and the bridge?  Can you post a video or sound sample?  

 

Here is a video of the beginning of my warmup this evening. I never thought I would post a video of me stumbling through a scale warm up and twinkle twinkle but here it is in all of its glory.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9IMBVjhqbWETmFsdGc4UXpVaDA/view?usp=sharing

After watching the video myself, I noticed that I was playing close to the bridge and the fingerboard a few times.

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ElisaDalViolin
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February 4, 2015 - 10:42 am
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Hello @Martian_fiddler, welcome to the forum.

Thank you for posting a video sample.

I don't hear major problems (maybe due to the video quality) but the sound that you are describing imo it's the result of the bow going back and forward, specially close to the bridge. Other things that may cause it are lack of bow weight or the strings being worn out, didn't settle in yet or simply being bad quality strings. If you can, try to change them and see if the sound gets better. Try Uzi's suggestion. D'Addario Pro arte were my first replacement set ever and I loved the warm sound.I don't use them anymore but they are great quality for its price. Good strings can bring the best out of your violin.

Also, check if the strings aren't carving in the nut or the bridge. It can produce an unpleaseant buzzing.

Hope I helped and enjoy the forum  :)

 
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Fiddlerman
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February 4, 2015 - 10:57 am
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I didn't notice an obvious problem either after listening to the video. If you focus on the bad sounding notes we might hear it more. Yes, playing close to the bridge without adequate pressure will give you a bad, scratchy, ponticello sound. Great idea to record yourself and analyze it.

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

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MrYikes
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February 4, 2015 - 11:59 am
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I believe you mean that the d sounds like it is in a bowl (far away sound), like it has no presence as the b and the e have.  That is the violin.  You can bring it out by playing to the point that only you will notice, but it will never be the same as the other notes.  My violin does the same thing.  Your e string flat sound is coming from your bow hair.   The hair is pulling the string like a guitar player bends his string.  Your hair needs just to be played enough to have the rosin blend throughout the hairs.  This problem will correct itself.  But don't over rosin the bow.  Less is more kind of thing.
But of course, I could be completely wrong.

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Martian_fiddler
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February 4, 2015 - 3:46 pm
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MrYikes said
 Your e string flat sound is coming from your bow hair.   The hair is pulling the string like a guitar player bends his string.  Your hair needs just to be played enough to have the rosin blend throughout the hairs.  This problem will correct itself.  But don't over rosin the bow.  Less is more kind of thing.
But of course, I could be completely wrong.

Thank you MrYikes. I have no idea how old the bow is or what type of playing it received before I got it. I had a feeling it was the bow that was causing it though. I'm doing what I can to learn on this violin before I purchase a Fiddlerman. When the money is there I will upgrade. 

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Martian_fiddler
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February 4, 2015 - 3:50 pm
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ElisaDalViolin said
Hello @Martian_fiddler, welcome to the forum.

Thank you for posting a video sample.

I don't hear major problems (maybe due to the video quality) but the sound that you are describing imo it's the result of the bow going back and forward, specially close to the bridge.  Try Uzi's suggestion. D'Addario Pro arte were my first replacement set ever and I loved the warm sound.

Thank you for the suggestions. I'm sorry about the poor video quality. I had to record in a VERY low quality in order to get it uploaded. The first recording was going to take 2 hours to upload so I had to scale it down. My internet is extremely slow where I live. I have never used anything other than steel strings so I will have to give the arte's a chance and see how I like them. Thank you again for your comments. I'll post another video when I have a new set of strings on.

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Martian_fiddler
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February 4, 2015 - 3:53 pm
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Fiddlerman said
I didn't notice an obvious problem either after listening to the video. If you focus on the bad sounding notes we might hear it more. Yes, playing close to the bridge without adequate pressure will give you a bad, scratchy, ponticello sound. Great idea to record yourself and analyze it.

Thanks Fiddlerman! I am going to practice my bow placement over the next few weeks. That is part of my practice challenge/goal. I am also going to order some synthetic core strings to see how I like them. I will post another video soon that focuses on the problem notes before I make any changes. Then I will record again after the string changes. 

I did find that watching myself on video helped quite a bit. Being able to see the other angle and hear myself without the violin in under my chin made a huge difference.

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