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With less than four weeks 'fiddling' around on the violin and with no formal instructor, do I have what it takes to learn to play the violin? As my resources are very limited, I can not afford private lessons so I turn to Youtube, forums and people like The FiddlerMan. Here is my small rendition of Silent Night I posted on Youtube so people can critique me on my playing.
I've come to learn that the violin (and other fretless instruments) isn't something you learn to play well in one month, two months, six months or a year. How well you can learn to play, ultimately, depends largely on what you're willing to put into it, and how long you stick with it. The 4 P's: 1) practice, 2) patience 3) perseverance 4) proper technique are the key to learning to play any instrument well.
Learn proper technique, practice a lot, be patient and don't give up and you can learn to play the violin. Welcome to the forum.
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright
Thank you Uzi, I am falling in love with this instrument and will have a lot of fun learning. I know this is just a small example of my playing ability, but is there anything I could work on. I do practice the chromatic scales 5 times daily and plan on putting positioning markers on the fingerboard soon. I will also be reviewing a new set of strings and the carbon fiber bow I bought from FiddlerMan as soon as I get another set of strings as a back up set.
Hey! I believe you're doing a great job. In 3 weeks and you're already doing vibrato? wow!
I do second what @Uzi said, though - it's not a matter of "being born with a gift" but rather a matter of practice, patience, perseverance and proper technique.
If I can make a small critique on your playing -
First of all, you shouldn't worry about getting a thing or two wrong. You can already play a tune and that is awesome. I suggest, however, you count your tempo and fingering positions a bit further.
Other than that, great job, keep it up and welcome to the forums. There's a bunch of nice people here.
Skype: augustoad Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone number/whatsapp: +55 42 9861-4084. I'd be happy to talk anything fiddle-related to anyone! :)
I'm not sure if I'm doing vibrato correctly and I do plan on putting on those stickers for positioning. At the moment I'm using a tuner app on my phone to work on my intonation. This is going to be fun! I love the violin and wished I could have started at a much younger age. In high school I experimented with the guitar and played drums,tuba and baritone in the school band. So, reading sheet music is not as hard as it could be I just need to memorize where the open strings are on the staff and legers.
Hey @outoftune; you are doing good. Much like me...I'm learning this instrument with a whole lot of passion but very little time or money! Coincidentally, I also have a Cecilio electric I practice with and just recently purchased a Fiddlerman CF bow - which was a nice upgrade from the one included in the set. One other purchase that helped my tone-death self was a snark electric tuner. It's like $8 on amazon but I didn't realize how out of tune my ear was until I got this. Surprisingly, having the appropriate amount of tension on the strings to get it properly in tune also had a significant impact on my playing - almost like the strings respond better under proper tension. I also use the 'don't fret' stickers to get proper finger positions. You will hear some back and forth about the use of these stickers. In my opinion, if you are coming in without a music background (or at least one that's been dormant for many years), and are learning on your own, you can't get a better leg up to help get you started than these stickers.
Good luck and keep going. There are some great tunes available on this site and even better people to help get you through.
You sound great for just four weeks! I admire you for accomplish that without any private lessons. But I may say be careful with that "vibrato". Vibrato isn't pushing the string in a vertical motion (up and down) but rather in a horizontal motion which can take years to master it. It's a tough habit to break once you are really used to it. Try to focus on finger positions, intonation and bow first before giving that big step.
Some people already answered to your question, it isn't about "talent" but work, and you are doing a great work so far! Keep going and enjoy your stay here
Hello there! I enjoyed you playing that song. MUCH better than anything I could do after that period of time. I think you are on your way... What a GREAT start.
Keep posting and playing. Many of us are learning via the internet.
I think what Elisa mentioned about vibrato is important. The bit that you showed is nice to show that you are keeping that hand relaxed. Good job. From what I have learned relaxed hands are just so crucial to mastering. Relaxed fingers, and relaxed bow grip.
Yahoo... keep it up.
Way to go!! Happy to have you here on the website!
Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato
John Rafeek said
Is that a Fitness EV
I am using a Cecilio CEVN-1NA. This may seem a little crazy, but after I get used to playing it for a few months, I am thinking of doing a few upgrades and mods on it. Being a geek, I am no stranger to a soldering iron and know my way around circuit boards. I find that the best audio signal to a recording board (or software) is a direct path. Well, since I have a beefier external preamp, there is no need for an internal one. Having 1/4 inch jack in my opinion provides a better contact point than 1/8th inch jack. That is however way down the line and I need to concentrate on my basic technique before I can discover my perfect sound. After I did some research on the Cecilio, I have read that others suggest switching to a better bridge. I opted for a German made AubertTeller 9145-44 U-insert bridge. Does anyone have any experience with this bridge? My other equipment includes a ARTS Dual Preamp, an Everest Shoulder rest, a Stagg violin stand and the carbon fiber bow I bought from FiddlerMan. Oh, I also bought a cake of Hill's Original Dark rosin. Not using that until I do the FiddlerMans Bow review. I will do the heavy mods once I have the funds to replace the violin if I do screw up. Would changing chin rest and tail piece affect the sound of an electric violin? Doubtful.
Fiddlerman, I am originally from Alabama,but have recently moved to Vermont. It is COLD here. lol Still not used to the weather or all this snow. The house I'm in is over 100 years old and a bit drafty. I don't trust the electrical system to put a space heater in here,so I have to adapt. Thank you for your suggestions, and I will be using a guide for a bit. What I've been doing was using a tuner app on my phone. Once I find the right intonation I close my eyes and just play that note of a couple of minutes listening to the sound. I also watch all your videos and that of The Piano and Violin Tutor on Youtube. Being a Lindsey Stirling fanatic and listening to her music 24/7 helps a little to. lol
Well, it doesn't look like violin is your first musical instrument, so you likely actually know you're doing fine for how long you've been playing.
I am using a Cecilio CEVN-1NA. This may seem a little crazy, but after I get used to playing it for a few months, I am thinking of doing a few upgrades and mods on it. Being a geek, I am no stranger to a soldering iron and know my way around circuit boards.
No, not crazy. The electronic "guts" are probably one of the worst parts of any inexpensive electric violin. And from what I've heard, maybe not just the inexpensive ones. If you're comfortable with doing some modding to the circuits, it's probably one of the best ways to improve the sound fast.
Some thoughts for you on what you're dealing with and some possible ideas for approaching it.. I'll put it in a box, so those that do not "speak geek" can skip it easily.
ART preamps seem to work pretty well for EV. I use one of the older single channel "TubeMP Studio" models, and I like it.
But the problem with EV is you're dealing with a piezo pickup. They put out enough signal, but they are such a high impedance device that the mismatch going into almost any preamp or amp (including the ART ones) is hideous. So you'll probably want to use something like a small FET circuit in the actual violin, even if the main preamp in the usual sense will be the ART.
If you've got a design in mind already for the circuit, cool. If not, I'd suggest at least taking a peek at some of Tillman's ideas..
Considering the ART preamp has phantom power, you could use that variation to eliminate the need for a battery inside the violin. In fact, you could eliminate pretty much all the existing circuitry currently inside the violin. LOL
Even the volume and tone controls.. I think having them is kind of a holdover from electric guitars. But usually you're going to set "tone" at the amp or mixing panel. The eq on an amp or mixing board is considerably more versatile than any single knob "tone control" anyway. Volume? Well, it could be nice, as a concept.. But the violin doesn't leave you with a free hand to fidget with a volume knob while playing. So consider not bothering with a volume on the EV either and use a volume pedal instead.
Electric violins have a bit less dynamic range than acoustic ones anyway, so a volume/expression pedal helps to make up for that little shortcoming. I have an old Morley pedal that I use. If maybe you haven't used volume pedals before, they don't take hardly any getting used to, and they're easy enough to homebrew, if you don't want to run out and buy one. I think if you try it, you'll be glad you did.
Basically, chopping and discarding all the stock manufacturer's circuitry and replacing it with something essential that will just do the impedance match and enough drive to get a good signal to your ART preamp may be the best way to go. It will save weight, and a tiny simple circuit inside the EV that doesn't even need battery replacement is a lot less that can mess up at a gig or recording session.
I would suggest the small preamp inside the EV, though, since with that impedance mis-match you get without it, you can get some noise in the signal before it gets to your ART. If you run it off the phantom power, you can forget it's even there most of the time.
Ok, back to regular forum talk. I wouldn't worry about the hoodie. Shivering in a chilly room is more of a distraction than most clothing items will ever be. Besides, it is a "look" as it is. Maybe get a brown or black one, and work on "Misty Mountains Cold" from the Hobbit movie as your next song/piece. That way people will think it is a "costume", and can compliment you on it. LOL
I also live in a house over a century old and in the northern part of the country, so "I feel your pain", my friend. Currently, it is still "sweater weather", but when it gets seriously cold it is not unusual for me to practice while wearing a leather bomber jacket with a wool sweater underneath. LOL But that is just a reality of drafty old houses in colder weather, especially if you end up practising in the colder and more remote rooms because the rest of the household is sleeping or watching a movie or computing in the warmer rooms. LOL
Tuxedos and suits always looked to me like they'd be uncomfortable to play in, personally. But maybe things are not always as they look. I know I get used to playing in whatever clothes I wear. Can't let little things like that stop you.
Anyway, I think you're doing good, outoftune. Keep going, you'll get better.
"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
welcome to the forum!
I can say i know exactly how you feel. I'm currently living in a stone house in greece while its beautiful its rather drafty and it doesn't have the heating systems like the houses in modern homes do. so other then a fire in the fireplace and the occasional use of my somewhat adiquite heating system i pretty much live in hoodies. You'll see in most of my videos i'm wearing a hoodie of some sort or another. the hood does seem to get in the way sometimes but over all meh its better then being cold!
Anywho...you are sounding good to me! everyone has hit on all the major stuff to be focusing on. I do think you are working well for a month in. I wasn't even to the stage of playing any songs by then. Though i got kinda stuck in a rut trying to learn scales. lol. If you follow the above advice i think you'l be on your way in no time, and i do think you have talent to play! Keep up the good work!!!
Lead me, Follow me, or get out of my way!
~General George S. Patton
Thank you everyone for the encouragement. I find that the violin is more fun to play than the guitar and I do look forward to many years of enjoyment with this instrument. I'm also interested in building violins. A couple of years ago, I wanted to build something for a web series on Youtube, so I chose a Les Paul copy. Thought about it some and wanted to do an acrylic glowing guitar, so I Google for examples and on Youtube seen a lot of really cool guitars. Well, among the many videos was this kid you home built this really neat acrylic light up electric violin, and I was like whoa, they make electric violins? Super cool! That I have to build. So I got parts and built a couple of 2x4 violin bodies, lol, I did not know what I was doing and build them completely wrong! Until recently I did not have a chance to pick up an electric to study. So, I'm going to be learning how to play for a couple of years before my third attempt at building one. I wish to know the violin inside and out. Again thank you all and I hope to have some improvements in my playing to show after the holidays
Cool! @outoftune - and welcome ! I can tell, it's gonna be a mix of the practical, and the aesthetic - the science and the arts ! (not to mention the many days of experimentation ! ) .... Nice one - I wish you success in both your playing and EV construction / modifications ! Spot on !
And to answer your original post - I would not for a minute "question your ability to learn violin" - I'm somewhere between 9 months and a year in to it - and I just KNOW if you do not practice regularly, like virtually daily, you regress. (Well, the occasional day-off doesn't hurt - but don't let it extend to more than a week - LOL )
Keep up the good work, and watch out for that vibrato - great tips on the site from FM regarding that. Don't make it an immediate goal and get annoyed if it's not right - it "will happen" for you !!! ( Honestly! ) LOLOL - for vibrato - I kind of started doing the "sideways" pitch-bend thing like I was playing my guitar - hard habit to break after 40 years...! ( Although, I suspect it may have its place in baaaaad rockkkkk ! I have two acoustics - one a real nice FM Concert, one a cheap oldie - re-tuned as a viola and I also have the EV. When I get good enough for baaaaaad rockkkkk on the EV, I'll post and let yah all know - ROFL )
Once again, welcome !
I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.
Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)
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