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How I built my violin
How I built my violin
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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HiltsBilt
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November 16, 2017 - 11:59 am
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 So since I heard my Grandpa play when I was a kid, I have always wanted to learn to play. But I got distracted over the years with other instruments, Saxophone, Clarinet, Guitar, and harmonica. But for the last few years I have been watching videos of violin playing on and off, and finally decided to learn how to play. But since I didn't want to spend a lot of money and I enjoy building things, I built my violin.

I guess you can call it a cigar box violin but I built the box so I would know what kind of woods it had. I also now want to build a more "traditional" (will be more of a custom shape but will have arched top and bottom) violin but I want to get some tools for it first. In a few months, my mom will be giving me my great grandmother's violin so that will be cool. I plan to have an update video in a couple weeks when I get a set of fiddlerman strings and one of the carbon bows, but the violin already sounds better with a month of playing it, partly because I have improved a little (at least I hope I have lol) and because the wood has started to learn its a violin

Blog post of the whole build and some plans if anyone wants to give it a shot http://www.hiltsbilt.com/2017/.....ox-violin/

without further ado here is the first video.

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Bob
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November 16, 2017 - 12:11 pm
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Did you REALLY say "fret board"? D$@m gittar players 🙂 

Welcome to the forum. I think you'll be impressed with the nice and talented folks you'll find here (even some gittar players... me included).

The fiddle you build looks really neat, I haven't finished the video yet, but can't wait to hear it. Good luck on your next build and keep in touch.

Bob

Bob in Lone Oak, Texas

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Ferenc Simon
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November 16, 2017 - 12:54 pm
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Looool!

Now that's a violin that I couldn't crush by accidentally gripping it too hard :))) - Or could I? hmmmm.. 

Nice job! And welcome to the forums!

 

Ferenc

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zpilot
Kansas City, Mo.
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November 16, 2017 - 1:22 pm
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That's going to be super cool getting your great-grandmothers fiddle.

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HiltsBilt
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November 16, 2017 - 1:59 pm
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Thanks, guys, I didn't even notice that I said "fretboard" lol oops how about this fretless fretboard humm I think fingerboard is better.

I did forget to put the 2nd video up where I play it so here it is

 

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HiltsBilt
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November 16, 2017 - 2:02 pm
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Ferenc Simon said
Looool!

Now that's a violin that I couldn't crush by accidentally gripping it too hard :))) - Or could I? hmmmm.. 

Nice job! And welcome to the forums!

 

Ferenc  

LOL, I could probably drop it out of a moving truck and it would just scuff it up some, I probably way overbuilt it

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Ferenc Simon
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November 16, 2017 - 2:30 pm
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HiltsBilt said

LOL, I could probably drop it out of a moving truck and it would just scuff it up some, I probably way overbuilt it  

Yea.. the other day my Chinese VSO (violin shaped object) was falling out of my lap so I grabbed it quickly and it cracked lol... 

But you could probably use that thing as a tire-block... or.. or.. a battering ram! :)) It's like the Nokia 3310 of violins 🙂 

nokia.jpgImage Enlarger

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
November 17, 2017 - 9:08 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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HiltsBilt said
Thanks, guys, I didn't even notice that I said "fretboard" lol oops how about this fretless fretboard humm I think fingerboard is better.

I did forget to put the 2nd video up where I play it so here it is

No worries what so ever bro. You can call it anything you as far as I'm concerned. LOL

I can't believe that you've only been playing for 1 week. You sound fantastic and I know you said not to comment on your intonation but I can't help it. You have a great ear. You'll do really well.

Also, you actually quality for TWO!!!!! badges. One DIY and one, share a video.

Congratulations, and welcome to the wonderful world of violins/fiddles/fiddling/scratching.......

Also, "love the cigar box fiddle".

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

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HiltsBilt
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November 17, 2017 - 6:21 pm
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Fiddlerman said

HiltsBilt said
Thanks, guys, I didn't even notice that I said "fretboard" lol oops how about this fretless fretboard humm I think fingerboard is better.

I did forget to put the 2nd video up where I play it so here it is

No worries what so ever bro. You can call it anything you as far as I'm concerned. LOL

I can't believe that you've only been playing for 1 week. You sound fantastic and I know you said not to comment on your intonation but I can't help it. You have a great ear. You'll do really well.

Also, you actually quality for TWO!!!!! badges. One DIY and one, share a video.

Congratulations, and welcome to the wonderful world of violins/fiddles/fiddling/scratching.......

Also, "love the cigar box fiddle".  

Wow, thanks, Mr. Fiddlerman. I have always been able to hear when something is not in tune and that has helped a lot. I love your site BTW it has been a great help and I have been working on some of your "A Tune a Week" my oldest daughter loves Harry Potter so I keep going back to Hedwig's Theme when she comes into my office lol. 

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Fiddlerman
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November 20, 2017 - 10:28 pm
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Sounds great. Good luck with Hedwig's Theme. 🙂

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

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Cearbhael
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November 21, 2017 - 12:19 pm
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HiltsBilt said

Wow, thanks, Mr. Fiddlerman. I have always been able to hear when something is not in tune and that has helped a lot. I love your site BTW it has been a great help and I have been working on some of your "A Tune a Week" my oldest daughter loves Harry Potter so I keep going back to Hedwig's Theme when she comes into my office lol.   

Yes, I love running into people like me! I can always hear when something is out of tune too! I always get people looking at me and wondering why I am wincing. I tell them that there was an out of tune note, and they never heard it and can't believe I did! I get people saying I am claiming perfect pitch but I understand that perfect pitch is recognising a note and identifying it when you hear it! I can't do that and doubt if I could, but I am pretty sure I can recognise middle C. I can hear a piano plunking the note in my head every time I think of it (or I hear the main button on the accordion that is middle C.) I just have heard that note SOOOOO many times in my life. I agree it sure helps when tuning! I am hoping it helps with my fingering too. 

"Reality is an illusion, albeit a persistent one".- Albert Einstein 

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BillyG
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November 21, 2017 - 1:32 pm
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LOL @Cearbhael - oh - and of course welcome to the forum @HiltsBilt !   Great work and great project !  Well done and thanks for sharing - love the decision for the shoulder-rest.  Awesome.  Not a lot wrong with Oh Susanna and into double stops as well, not to mention pizzicato !   Seriously, WELCOME @HiltsBilt - you have come to the right place !!!!

Yeah - back to Caerbahel - the "perfect pitch" thing - that is so strange - I am becoming "accustomed" to A440 LOL - and OK - it's gonna be MORE than a "few" cents - maybe somewhat less than a semi-tone that I can pick-up on - but yeah - I do this when I pick up the fiddle - play the open A - and - I'll make a (an educated) guess - even before I play across the other strings to "get the fifths" to feel if the whole thing is in "relative" tune - are we low, high, spot-on to the A ?   

  Well - if, when subsequently checked with a tuner, then I find that within about half a semi tone I have got it correct - it's sharp, or it's flat.  Closer than that - and I can't tell, or, I get it wrong...

  That has most definitely ( in my mind ) got not a lot to do with "perfect pitch" - something, the concept of, I have never really understood.   To me, that would sort of mean that someone can say "Oh, that is 437 and a bit Hz" and is a tad flat for A440

  As I say - just me, as an engineer, never understood what "perfect pitch" really means ! LOL    And of course it gets worse if you decide to intentionally de-tune your instrument, just because you WANT to.....  yeah...

  As an aside - relative pitch - now, that make a HUGE lot of sense to me - pick a tonic and sing, or play on a fretless instrument any scale, starting from any frequency, or indeed, from ANY fingering start position, and play "do re me fah sol lah ti do" ( or a minor scale ) - that's "perfect relative pitch" and on a fretless, probably has more to do with finger-placement-recall ( I hesitate to use the term "muscle memory" as well - but - that, again, is just me ! )

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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zpilot
Kansas City, Mo.
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November 21, 2017 - 2:04 pm
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Truthfully, I figured this would turn out to be a joke.  But after hearing it I'm actually quite impressed.  Well done guy.

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Charles
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November 23, 2017 - 12:20 pm
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A lot of people think that perfect pitch has something to do with the ear, or a magical ability that a few people are gifted with. It's actually something everybody has: memory.

People with perfect pitch (by which it is usually meant perfect absolute pitch) can, after having a particular note, like middle C, identified for them, can recognize that note again later, comparing it to the one they hear and their head. 

I've never seen any research that talks about it, but it wouldn't surprise me that some people have to hear the note (and know which one is being played) before their memory becomes strong enough to be reliable, and a few can do it after one hearing.

Perfect relative pitch is a meaningful concept - it just means your memory for pitch intervals is good. You could have a violin that was tuned to a 427 Hz A (not one anybody uses intentionally, that I know of) and if all the other strings were tuned to it, it would sound fine to someone with good (or even perfect) interval pitch, but drive somebody with perfect absolute pitch about half crazy.

There are some elements that depend on the ear. You hear the same way you see. You have receptors (small hairs in the ear canal in the case of hearing) that react to a certain frequency.  They will still react, but less well, to a frequency that is nearby.

If (because of age or other problems), a lot of the hairs are missing or not sending a signal, it can be more difficult (even impossible) to discriminate between two pitches that are very closed.

Imagine a person with normal hearing, and lets say they have hairs that react at 420, 424, 428, 432, 436, 440, 444, and 448  (I'm ignoring a lot of others, obviously.)

At 440, the one hair will react quite strongly, and the 436 and 444 will react rather less strongly. That pattern of intensities is what the brain memorizes. A 437 Hz note will probably stimulate the 436 hair more than the 440, and the 444 more weakly still. That's a very different pattern, and the brain can tell that's a different note. (Comparing them to a previous memory is a separate operation.)

If someone like me, who is hard of hearing, has lost a lot of those frequencies, and has, for example, 420, 432, and 444.  To recognize either 440 or 437, I'd have to compare the intensities on the 432 hair and the 444. Since both notes are a fair ways away from either, that comparison is a lot harder to reliably get right.

(The numbers in all that are completely made up. I have no idea what the difference between the pitches that each hair reacts to is. The principle is valid, but the specific, concrete example may be thoroughly bogus.)

 

Given that it's basically memorization, perfect pitch might very well be a learnable skill. Most people who play violin certainly get better at relative pitch after a while. If you cared enough, you could probably train your "ear" to know certain pitches. (The 440Hz A would be handy one to have memorized.)

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BillyG
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November 23, 2017 - 1:37 pm
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That's interesting @Charles - I hadn't really thought about it that way - and yes - I guess there must be a "learned thing / memorization" going on because over the years I clearly have become "sensitized" to certain pitches, or, indeed on guitar, a full all-strings (say E) chord - which, having said that, has probably more to do with the overall correctness of the relative tuning of the strings.     Yeah, interesting feedback, thanks !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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HiltsBilt
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November 25, 2017 - 2:15 pm
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Wow, thank you all for your replies and the nice comments. I'm still playing the violin every day, I wouldn't call it practice every day, some days I just have time to run through the songs that I am working on and my muscles are still getting used to the way you hold it. I am excited to get my great Grandmas violin so I can compare the two on weight and sound, I already know that mine is heavier but just seeing the #'s isn't the same as holding it. I did make a short update video the other day to show some changes I made and a one month update on my playing. Thanks again for the support 🙂 

I am also going to get some Fiddlemans strings and the carbon fiber bow and some rosin soon, and Ill do a sound difference video when I get that since atm I have Daddario Prelude steel core strings.

 

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coolpinkone
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November 25, 2017 - 2:50 pm
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Amazing how to video... I have wanted one of those.  I have built 5 Cigar box guitars but never a violin... which is what I set out to do... I need to get moving... I have the boxes and the tools. 🙂

 

Cheers

 

@cdennyb check it out.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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HiltsBilt
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November 25, 2017 - 5:02 pm
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coolpinkone said
Amazing how to video... I have wanted one of those.  I have built 5 Cigar box guitars but never a violin... which is what I set out to do... I need to get moving... I have the boxes and the tools. 🙂

 

Cheers

 

@cdennyb check it out.  

Thank you, the hardest part of the build is making sure that the neck angle is right. I would recommend drawing a full-size picture of the violin with the box size you plan to use before you start the build. I have built about 30 CBG's and this was my most complicated build to date, just because of the pre-planning that I did. not sure if it made it easier making my own box or not, but at least I know that the top and bottom are not plywood and I could control the thickness of the soundboard since some of the cigar boxes that I have used for my guitars would probably be too thick. But I do know you can still get a good sounding violin from a cigar box just have to be a little more picky about the box choice.

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