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Playing my new Cecilio CEVN-1BK
Learning to play new strings
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MACJR
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January 3, 2017 - 7:38 pm
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I had heard that changing violins means getting used to the strings all over again, or something to that effect. Turns out this is true, at least for me and my new e-violin.

The spacing at the nut is actually better on this new e-violin than the spacing on my Cecilio CVN-500, which cost a bit more than this Cecilio CEVN-1BK. Also, this e-violin has a better paint job, as opposed to a sloppy varnish job on the CVN-500, and there are no noticeable dings and dents in the wood with this new e-violin, again, unlike the somewhat battered before arrival look of my CVN-500.

I paid less and got a better quality product. Imagine that.

I had gotten used to the oddly spaced strings on the CVN-500, so now that I have properly, or more properly anyway, aligned strings, I have to get used to that. Some notes and cross sting action is easier now, other notes and cross string action is proving more challenging, as I search to find the new placement of the strings.

I also like the bow that came with my new CEVN-1BK. It feels lighter and has a better shape. I also find that I am bowing smoother with it. There is no trace of a bowing issue I had noticed in a previous recording sessions to be found in my latest recording session. It turns out that I was fretting over bad bows, not lack of skill.

I am still not ready to share a recorded practice session, because there are those getting to know my new stings issues that make my latest recording less than shareable, but maybe, once I get better at bowing just the string I want, and not that other one too, I will find the courage to actually post an audio file here, there, or over there, or somewhere.

MACJR

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MACJR
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One thing though, about playing my new EV, it seems odd to play an old French folk song, The Clown, and have it sound like a hard rock tune.  😉

MACJR

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intrepidgirl
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@MACJR : Sounds interesting! I would like to hear it, please try to post something.  I would love to hear a bit from each of your instruments, for example.  Sounds like a good new year project maybe? 

I agree about changing violins and the strings are different (just slightly).  So far I ahve three and they are all a bit different, which makes transitions interesting.  Gotta stick with one for best practicing, I find.

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MACJR
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intrepidgirl said
@MACJR : Sounds interesting! I would like to hear it, please try to post something.  I would love to hear a bit from each of your instruments, for example.  Sounds like a good new year project maybe? 

I agree about changing violins and the strings are different (just slightly).  So far I ahve three and they are all a bit different, which makes transitions interesting.  Gotta stick with one for best practicing, I find.  

Hello Intrepidgirl, nice to hear from you.

All in good time. I am still very much the beginner, working to refine a few of the basic skills. I am getting there, but I need a little more time and practice before I will feel ready to share a sample of my playing.

I do get some good playing in from time to time, but I have not reach a consistent level of good playing. One day, I can be fairly good, for a beginner, and the next, it was like I am back to week three again. :s

I have only recently started recording samples of my playing, and so far, I have not captured one of my better playing sessions yet. The very act of recording may be gumming up the works, at least until I get used to playing while recording.

The good news is that my bowing was much smoother in the latest recording session (it was pretty bad in my first recorded session), but I still flubbed up the tune a bit. I still need to work on a few transitions, like from middle C to open D. That move, and a few others, are still sometimes problematic when playing my acoustic violin, but I am finding these to be even more consistently a problem on the new e-violin. However, today was only my second day of practicing, and my first full practice day, with the new EV.

MACJR

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MrYikes
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January 4, 2017 - 9:06 am
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Good looking violin, Mac.  Is the volume quiet enough for you? and with the amp, loud enough for you?  The good news is that we seldom hear about transportation catastrophes anymore, so violins arrive unbroken, I'm glad that was the case with yours.  I made a post about tools for you to see.  And do you know about Audacity?  Posting violins sounds can be just open strings.  I used to do that, or maybe just a double octave g scale (though when recording I screwed that up pretty good).  And I'll say it again.  We are not here to judge or criticize, just help where we can.  And we are interested in you and your violins.

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MACJR
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It was just a right out of the box proof of condition photo, for just in case, but everything turned out fine. I will take a few better shots sometime soon.

I am still trying to decide if I was shorted on an extra bridge, or not. The item description is rather vague about included items, but does list "a bridge," but it does not say "extra bridge," so it is iffy. Also, the main item description says there is "a pickup" included as well, but no such item was included. I am guessing that was something included in an earlier package deal that someone forgot to remove from the latest offerings. I see that often enough at Amazon, where the top description does not match the bottom item description.

As for the volume, it is not silent, of course, but it is less loud than an acoustic violin with a mute on. I am not sure if the downstairs neighbors can hear me playing it, or not, but if they do, it should be much less of an issue. Well, unless I plug it into the amp, then that would indeed get their attention, even though it is just a small mini amp, it can pump out some volume. So, yeah, the amp is loud enough for me. I may buy a larger amp at some point, but this mini amp will do for now.

I had read a post saying something about a program called "Audacity", but I have not downloaded a copy yet. I may check into it later today. I just noticed I am already late for making breakfast right now.  😉

Yes, I hear you about posting samples of my playing. It is that I am somewhat of a perfectionist. It is hard for me to share something I feel is not ready... although I do that with my art sometimes. Go figure.

MACJR

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MACJR
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January 4, 2017 - 12:57 pm
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I did find, download, and install Audacity. I have only briefly looked inside and played my last recorded tune.

I will take a closer look and start testing things out soon.

It has been a long time since I played with an audio program. My first computer had one, a used Tandy 1000 TL, believe it or not. It was a 286 but it had a lot of bells and whistles for the time. This was back in 1992 and the Tandy was still in like new condition when I bought it.

It has not been since 1992 that I last used an audio program, but it has been a long while.

MACJR

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MrYikes
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January 4, 2017 - 2:31 pm
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Have fun with it,,,try the phazer.  That gets weird.

Only one bridge and your bridge sits on and in the pick-up.

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MACJR
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MrYikes said
Have fun with it,,,try the phazer.  That gets weird.

Only one bridge and your bridge sits on and in the pick-up.  

That is what I figured, about the bridge. It was just poorly worded in the item description when it came to included items. If it was not extra, why mention it? After all, they did not mention it came with strings, but it did (probably those cheap Cecilio strings, but they work).

"What you get," and "extras," are not always easy to tell in those Amazon product pages. Earlier Cecilio products had extras, while most of the newer/revised listings do not, but sometimes they did a sloppy job of updating those product pages when they were removing those extras.

Thanks for making that clear, MrYikes. Oh, so that's the pickup they were talking about. I didn't think they meant a GM, or a Ford, but it was not clear.  😉

I now know what "pickup" that item description meant. So I did get one of those, after all. Good to know.

There are a few features I have yet to play with on that mini amp. I am sure to get to them sooner or later.  🙂

MACJR

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coolpinkone
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January 4, 2017 - 5:52 pm
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Very happy to hear about your new violin.  Looks great.  I am glad you are already well acquainted with it.

I understand the drive to post something perfect, but in the event that you do, don't worry, everyone here is just so happy to hear and be with other musicians.

It gets a bit easier with time.

This is a wonderful community.

Cheers.

Toni

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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MACJR
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coolpinkone said
Very happy to hear about your new violin.  Looks great.  I am glad you are already well acquainted with it.

I understand the drive to post something perfect, but in the event that you do, don't worry, everyone here is just so happy to hear and be with other musicians.

It gets a bit easier with time.

This is a wonderful community.

Cheers.

Toni  

Thanks, Toni.  🙂

I did get more time to get to know my EV today. I also spent some time with my acoustic violin, to compare and contrast.

I now know why I am having an issue with the D string on the EV, it sits a little lower in elevation than the D string on my acoustic, giving less maneuvering room for bowing the D without hitting the G or A strings.

And here I was complaining about the D string not being high enough on the acoustic (not on this site, but I have complained about this issue elsewhere).

It seems to me that better shaped bridges, on both Cecilio violins, would help, but especially for the new EV.

One plus though, the elevation between the E and A strings is better on the EV than on the acoustic, making A easier to play... as long as I do not stray too close to the D string.

You can even see where the D should be seated higher on the bridge, but the luthier made an imperfect pass with the sander and took off too much right there where the D sits. It should be near the peak of the arc, I believe, not dip down, or flatten out slightly, in that spot. One of those "Oops" moments that should have been caught by quality control, but was not.

I am adjusting to it, but it will take some time and practice to get better at playing those narrowed playing angles.

MACJR

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MACJR
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January 4, 2017 - 8:10 pm
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Now that I think about it, I do have a spare bridge that came with my Cecilio CVN-500.

I will take a look at that tomorrow and see if it is shaped better, or see if I can shape it to what I would like better, and then see if I can use that bridge on the new EV, instead of the bridge that came with it.

MACJR

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MrYikes
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One of the best early purchases I made was a pack for $10 that contained: 5 sets of strings, 5 sound posts, 5 bridges, and 5 tailpiece straps.  Those things gave me the freedom to experiment.  Those experiments took a lot of time away from playing violin.  But if your bridge is not correct tell cecilio, they'll send you another.  They are good people.

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MACJR
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MrYikes said
One of the best early purchases I made was a pack for $10 that contained: 5 sets of strings, 5 sound posts, 5 bridges, and 5 tailpiece straps.  Those things gave me the freedom to experiment.  Those experiments took a lot of time away from playing violin.  But if your bridge is not correct tell cecilio, they'll send you another.  They are good people.  

Little by little, I am buying the supplies and extras that will give me the ability to explore options and test or fix things. Soon, I may end up with several violins, like you have, and be more willing to spare one for practicing more daring things.

I think at least one cheap violin, and one more expensive, are in my future. I can budget in a Fiddlerman Concert Violin at some point, and plan to do so. I might even go for that before I go for a viola.

First though, a Fiddlerman bow, and a few other supplies and things I need.

That idea of writing to Cecilio is a good one. That way, I can still have a spare bridge for future needs. I will write to them tomorrow.

MACJR

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MrYikes
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 It's pretty early for you to be thinking of another violin.  Is there something wrong with the 500?  I have a Mendini 650.  FM compared those two.  I love mine, its the loudest one I have, not the sweetest, but pretty nice.  It is more than 4 years old.  It opened up on Dec. 15, 2015.  Yes I can pinpoint the day.
What I have noticed is that on the cheap violins, I can plop my finger just about anywhere and get the note (I'm exaggerating) but as you get better violins, you have to be a better player, in that if you do not put your finger exactly where it needs to be, the violin won't help you, it forces you to play well.  That can be frustrating.  We can not buy a good tone.  Buying new stuff is always fun, though I can imagine playing well would also be fun.

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MACJR
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Perhaps it is early for that higher cost violin. However, it would take a several months to budget one in anyway. Holding off until my skills improve may be best though.

No, nothing wrong with the play-ability of the CVN-500. In fact, it was nice playing it a bit today after a couple days of playing with just the EV. I am looking forward to the time when its sound "opens up" but it is not a bad sounding instrument now... when I hit all the right notes and do not do accidental double stops.  😉

Actually though, until I fix the bridge on the EV, the CVN-500 is easier to play with fewer errors.

I tried to look up the Mendini MV-650, but it seems that no one has them in stock anymore.

You mentioned that "FM compared those two." I am assuming that you mean the CVN-500 and the MV-650. If so, which did he rate as the better one? I would guess the MV-650, but I would not know since I have never heard or played the MV-650.

MACJR

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Fiddlerman
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January 5, 2017 - 7:49 am
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Congratulations MACJR,
Electric violins can be very fun. I love playing with cool effects. If you have the budget for it, check out some multi effect processor pedals for the future. 🙂

Have fun playing beginner pieces on your rock n roll fiddle. 🙂

"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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Here is the link to the comparison of the cvn500 and the mendini 650.  I have always believed that this video caused them to stop making the 650.  Now the Mendini 500 is the top of their line.  I do not know if it is the same as 650 or not.  I bought this 650 because of what FM said in this video.  He was right.  He is always right.

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Fiddlerman
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January 5, 2017 - 9:50 am
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LOL, "He is always right", love it!!!

In any case, I doubt it's the same instrument. I have since then tested Mendini's that I have not been at all happy with. I decided early in the game not to make negative reviews. Only review the instruments that I believe in. However, if I review and instrument and they make changes, or it's not a typical example of what they normally sell, I have really no control over that.
When I made this video, Fiddlershop didn't exist and I wasn't in the retail business. From my knowledge today I can say that when you order 1 test instrument from China you get that instrument and try to evaluate it. When you get 10 instruments they may be a bit more consistent but when you order hundreds, they game changes. I think they try to meet the demand regardless of circumstances. We have about 6 makers that we deal with regularly and a few that make exclusively, instruments for Fiddlershop. Through trial and error we have learned a lot. There is no way for us to know how Cecilio gets their instruments or how they keep up with the orders. Although Mendini is made by Cecilio, we have no idea who is making them. Perhaps a partner factory in China.

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

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MACJR
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I would rather have to wait for a quality violin to be made than have a company cut corners, and quality, to meet my order sooner.

My Cecilio CVN-500 sounds nice, I love the tone quality. It sounds softer, like in the video, than the Mendini MV650 that was demoed. I may want an instrument with a louder voice at some point, but right now, I like them sounding a bit soft. I just wish they had done a better varnish job on my CVN-500, but even with that sloppy work, it is a nice looking, and sounding, instrument.

Like Fidlerman, I prefer the looks of the CVN-500 over that of the MV-650. I do not dislike the darker color of the MV650, I just like the lighter color of the CVN-500 better. Although, my CVN-500 looks a little different than the one demoed, the wood grain is not as prominently noticeable on mine, but the color is similar, but more silky looking.

I hope to remove the bad varnish job on my CVN-500 at some point, while trying not to lose the stain, and then re-varnish. I do not want to attempt that job just now though. I would rather practice doing that job on a lesser instrument first, since I have never done anything like that before. I have had carpentry training in the past, but I have no experience working with varnish. I was a carpenter, not a painter.

Thanks for sharing the link, MrYikes.

And yes, Fiddlerman, "multi effect processor pedals" are something I am looking into. They are not a priority just yet, but I may buy one or two of those not too far down the road.

MACJR

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