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Raspy fuzzy sound on Violin?
After applying rosin (maybe too much) my bowing sounds raspy possibly even fuzzy.
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Ziyue W
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January 6, 2017 - 5:12 am
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First of all, I'm not 100% certain this is an unnatural sound. I recorded a bit for you guys to hear:   https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwekvqJTTqukY0hfYWdnbXljMEU/view?usp=sharing

 

Secondly, if you guys think it is an unnatural sound, what is it caused by? I went through the common troubleshooting stuff that I found online, all of which did not solve the problem. I only get this weird extra vibration on the top half of my bow, which is what leads me to think that it's because of the rosin. I've checked the violin thoroughly and cannot find the culprit. Any advice will be very much appreciated. 

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Jim Dunleavy
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January 6, 2017 - 7:40 am
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Sounds like a perfectly normal note played on a violin to me.

Am I right in assuming you're a beginner?

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Ziyue W
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January 6, 2017 - 8:23 am
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I've picked up the violin again after getting to ABRSM grade 4 about 6 years ago. Been playing for about half a year now. I thought there was an underlying rasping noise, maybe even hoarseness. Honestly I'm not certain so I came to ask here. 

 

EDIT: Just a followup: if the rasping sound is actually there, would the sound only occur when I bow? When I pluck the open string I don't hear that sound I hear. 

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damfino
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January 6, 2017 - 9:22 am
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I can't play the audio since I'm at work and the file won't work on my phone... There is always going to be some contact noise there (usually heard under the ear and not to other people) but typically if I start thinking of my sound as being raspy, it's usually lack of rosin on the bow, or too much rosin built up on the strings. They both give off their own type of raspiness. 

The rasp would not be there from plucking the strings, since it would have to do with the contact of the bow to the string.

I can weigh in more when I can give the audio a listen 🙂

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Jim Dunleavy
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January 6, 2017 - 9:40 am
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SInce you're obviously familiar with how it should sound, maybe it just isn't coming across in the recording. Or is it maybe more the feel of it that you're noticing than the sound?

Either way, it could just be the combination of instrument, strings, bow and rosin causing the anomaly. I've noticed (as Damfino said) that if the strings become caked with rosin it produces a harsh sound.

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Ziyue W
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January 6, 2017 - 10:25 am
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Yeah probably I think I will just keep playing until the excess rosin on my bow comes off. With regards to the recording, I can hear it when I play it back. 

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damfino
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January 6, 2017 - 1:12 pm
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I got a quiet moment to give it a listen, and it sounds normal to me. I turned it up and could hear what might just be my speakers or slight buzz, but not a rasp, why I'm thinking it's my speakers.

When you're hearing it, is it something that just started? If it's something that just started, I would just recommend giving the strings a good wipe down, and then try again. 

If the buzz is what you are hearing, still clean off the strings, and if you have fine tuners make sure they aren't loose anywhere, and make sure the ends of your string in the peg box aren't touching the peg box anywhere. My A string was a culprit in causing a vibration buzz that way when I first got my fiddle. Snipped off the end and it was all good after that.

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Ziyue W
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January 6, 2017 - 3:07 pm
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Yes it is that slight buzz! I can't find anything loose and I've tried the tests of softly applying pressure to parts of the violin. Could it be the strings? I did swap in a new set of strings the day before yesterday. Also, is the fact that I can't hear this buzz when I pluck the strings relevant or not? 

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damfino
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January 6, 2017 - 3:37 pm
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No, usually when I have that kind of buzz, I don't hear it when plucking. I think plucking doesn't give the body of the violin enough vibration to cause the buzz.

I've had that happen when changing to new strings. Usually it ends up being my E string fine tuner got a little loose during the switch over (the nut part that touches the tailpiece). 
 
I would check the individual strings, make sure they aren't sitting funny in their slot or on the fine tuners. Put your finger on each one to see if that stops the buzzing. 
 
Look that the bridge and make sure the feet are good and flat, that it didn't tip forward slightly during the string change.
 
Another thing to check is to be sure anything your wearing isn't making contact with the violin and making a little buzz. 
 
I just carefully go through a process of elimination until I find something that stops the buzz, and then adjust whatever I find.

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MACJR
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January 6, 2017 - 5:06 pm
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I was just talking about an issue I was having with an A string. I was blaming the fact that it was hard to get a good tone on that A string because they are just the cheap Cecilio strings that came with the violin.

Then, I remembered that when I was looking at some of the pictures I took of my new Cecilio EV, I had noticed something, the ball end of the A string is at an odd angle, where it sits in the fine tuner. That is probably the cause of my hard to get good tone issue. I had failed to see it before looking at the pictures probably because my eyes are not as good as they used to be, and I often miss seeing the fine details these days, unless I pay special attention to them. I will be paying more attention to strings attached to fine tuners in the future though.

I had not bothered to fix that misaligned ball end of the A string yet because I will be upgrading the strings soon, and when I do that, I will be removing all but the E string fine tuner anyway.

MACJR

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Ziyue W
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January 6, 2017 - 5:09 pm
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I did recently change my strings, and back again. I'm now on my old strings (the ones that came with the violin, turns out they were dominants - long story) and the buzz is there, but now it sounds much more natural, as if it was always supposed to be there. But still, the buzzing is there. My friend said when her violin buzzes, it normally goes away after a couple of days of playing. I'm going to keep practising and go to my local luthier next Wednesday if the problem persists. Any other advice will be much appreciated. Thanks for the help so far! 

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Uzi
Georgia
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January 8, 2017 - 5:48 pm
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I listened to your recording.  It sounded "normal."   A couple of things to keep in mind is that, at least to me, a violin sounds very different next to your ear than it does on a recording.  Otherwise, it sounded like a heavily rosined bow, played with quite a bit of pressure.  

This might be an excellent time for you to experiment with your bowing.  Learning how bow speed, bow pressure and the bow contact point between the bridge and the fingerboard change the quality of the sound produced. 

Most of what make violins sound beautiful is not the left hand, which is only responsible for playing the correct notes and sometimes vibrating them,  but rather the right hand which is responsible for producing the violin's rhythm, volume, tone and expressing its emotion.   

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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Fiddlerman
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January 10, 2017 - 11:44 am
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Check that the tailpiece is not touching the chinrest.
Check that the tailpiece adjuster is not loose.
Check that there are no loose fine tuners.
Hit the instrument with your knuckles hard enough to get it to vibrate on all edges and corners to see if there is something loose inside.

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

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