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El Cheapo violin-o
Help me inprove this little cheapie thing!
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (6 votes) 
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gkeese
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June 28, 2012 - 2:32 am
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Ok... First off, let me say I have a challenge on my hands.  I recently told everyone about my aunt calling me and giving me her son's old violin.  I was thrilled.  The only thing better than a second violin is?  A FREE second violin.  So I was thrilled to get it, however, upon recieving said violin I was a bit dissapointed.  It appears that this violin is not of very good quality.  If I was guessing it isn't even a $99 violin, but something cheaper.  For starters, the pegs are all a cheap sounding plastic.  Ugh!  This is making it really hard to keep the three strings tuned.  And no I did not mistype that.  It has only three strings.  One of the strings, the D string, busted the second I tried to tune it.  My bridge is freaking thick, (compared to my Hoffman's bridge anyways.)  And my bridge doesn't even look to be the right shape.  The E string side is equal to the G string side.  I finally managed to get the 3 strings tuned, but it is way off whenever I pick it up the next day.  The bow is also of a cheaper quality.  The hairs on the bow are drooping in spots.

I am waiting util next Friday and ordering some Zyex strings from Fiddlershop.  And I am needing a new bridge, but how do I go about getting the right bridge for this thing?  I know I can order one from Fiddlershop as well, but what do I do with it once I get it.  I know nothing about fitting the bridge.  But what has me worried is the pegs.  They look like something on a $10 guitar you get at a gas station with the little plastic strings.  Y'all know the ones.  What do I do to get the pegs to fit right if I order a set? 

Fear not, I am also posting pictures of this little gem.  And do not think me ungracious for this fiddle.  In fact, because it came from family, I actually really like it.  My Hoffman is going to go back to the place I got it, (after I post a vid of the sound for Cdennyb,of course, hats_off),  because I have fallen in love with the Concert Master.  I just need to save up a bit more so I can get it in the fall before my classes start.  I love this little gem and look forward to turning it into a quality sounding instrument.  Any suggestion would be appreciated. 

Pics to follow.

"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing that it is stupid." -Albert Einstein

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gkeese
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June 28, 2012 - 3:10 am
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El-cheapo-violin-011.JPGImage EnlargerEl-cheapo-violin-012.JPGImage EnlargerEl-cheapo-violin-013.JPGImage EnlargerFearfulEl-cheapo-violin-003.JPGImage EnlargerEl-cheapo-violin-004.JPGImage EnlargerEl-cheapo-violin-005.JPGImage EnlargerEl-cheapo-violin-006.JPGImage EnlargerEl-cheapo-violin-007.JPGImage EnlargerEl-cheapo-violin-008.JPGImage EnlargerEl-cheapo-violin-010.JPGImage EnlargerEl-cheapo-violin-001.JPGImage EnlargerEl-cheapo-violin-002.JPGImage Enlarger

"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing that it is stupid." -Albert Einstein

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cdennyb
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June 28, 2012 - 3:39 am
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OK Big Guy... what you have there is virtually identical to my 10+yr old Chinese student quality violin I bought off e-bay long ago. Same beautiful color, thick varnish... etc.

I also worked over the bridge and put on different strings. It had some aweful steel core things on it that made it sound horrible. I bought some preludes and it helped.

As far as the bridge goes, if it's a thick one, yes it needs some work. I put together a nice pdf you can download, print out and follow step by step to get your bridge fitted to your instrument.

Here's the link to the whole thread.

http://fiddlerman.com/forum/th.....ridge-pdf/

 

Mine sounds pretty good so I expect the same from yours. Too bad it isn't some 100 yr old German or Italian classic huh? Oh well... the price was right...banana

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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DanielB
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June 28, 2012 - 4:56 am
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Definitely at least a good "project" instrument.  Learn how to fix the main problems it has like the bridge and etc, and then you'll know just what to do if anything goes even slightly wrong on your nicer one, like the bridge falling or something.  After tuning up the cheapie, keeping the nicer one in tune will be like a walk in the park.

"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

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
June 28, 2012 - 10:13 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Barry said

May be a good wall hanger if anything

I just pictured that, with a plant growing out of the f-holes. LOL

Great ideas from everyone. Hope you can get it to sound and play decently. The bridge work will definitely help and the strings will probably make a big difference as well.

I really don't think that the pegs look that bad but the wholes are definitely too big.

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

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gkeese
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June 28, 2012 - 12:11 pm
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I appreciate all the input, guys.  Cdeenyb recommended the Prelude strings, but I was thining the Zyex.  Would there be a better option for this type of VSO?

And also, thanks @ Cdennyb for the PDF of the bridge.  This sould save me a lot of work.  I'm going to make a "3 string" sound video so that after I get the strings and bridge set up, I can have a comparison.  That is is Cdennyb is up to the challenge.  lol

"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing that it is stupid." -Albert Einstein

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cdennyb
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June 28, 2012 - 4:57 pm
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Keep in mind that any recording you do with only 3 strings on it will be worthless. Like test driving a car with 3 tires!

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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gkeese
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June 28, 2012 - 5:06 pm
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Yea...I was sending in my Hoffman vid first, then once I get my D string...then i was going to get you a sound sample on my cheapo AKA Ole Roy.  (Yes I named my Cheap Ole' Roy...like the cheap Dog food.  Gives him character. :))

"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing that it is stupid." -Albert Einstein

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eoj02
mooresvill, in
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June 28, 2012 - 5:11 pm
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I got a $20 violin from a buddy.  Just like that only with about an inch thick black paint job.  The black is off of mine.  Well almost.  I did a lot of drimming and slimming of the bridge.  I also tried the "drill holes up through the feet" thing.  It does sound better.  I too need to get new strings but my real problem is the sound post.  It is about 3/4 of an inch too far back. 

How is yours?? 

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Mad_Wed
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June 28, 2012 - 5:12 pm
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Nice looking violin! Like mine Chinese =) At least your bridge is straight, LOL!

birthday_ballooncheerleader

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gkeese
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June 28, 2012 - 5:24 pm
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@ eojo2- Well when i got my violin, my bridge was back about 1 full inch from the notches on the f-holes.  I lined it back up with that and tuned it, now I am making little adjustments for quality sound and re tuning.

@Mad_Wed- Luckily my bridge is straight, but it needs some tweeking.  I am going to get a new one anyways, as well as the strings, but that'll have to wait a week or two.

CoolPinkOne, (who is super awesome!!!) was chatting with me earlier and is going to send me a Cecilio D string to replace my missing one until I get some Preludes.  So this is a MAJOR shout out and THANK YOU to CPO for helping this noob out.  Thank You, Thank You Thank You!!!!! thumbs-upthumbs-upthumbs-up

"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing that it is stupid." -Albert Einstein

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Fiddlestix
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June 28, 2012 - 5:38 pm
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From what I can see in the picture,,, look's like the bridge needs to be turned 180 degrees.  The G side is where the E side should be. 

Don't get discouraged just yet.  Put a set of strings on it that matches value, "cheap".

I wouldn't put on Zyex, as of yet.  You know that old saying, "you can't make a purse out of a Sow's ear.,,,,,, something like that .

But like was said, you can't beat the price.    dancing

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Kevin M.
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June 28, 2012 - 9:40 pm
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Fiddlestix said
From what I can see in the picture,,, look's like the bridge needs to be turned 180 degrees.  The G side is where the E side should be. 

Don't get discouraged just yet.  Put a set of strings on it that matches value, "cheap".

I wouldn't put on Zyex, as of yet.  You know that old saying, "you can't make a purse out of a Sow's ear.,,,,,, something like that .

But like was said, you can't beat the price.    dancing

 

If it's a big Sow you can.  You should see what I have a wallet made out of. The guy told me it was made out of oysters from the Rocky Mountains.

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coolpinkone
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June 28, 2012 - 10:08 pm
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One cheap D string in an envelope on the way tomorrow. 🙂  Good  luck!

 

ps..give Ole Roy a kiss and a prayer from Toni and Violetta!

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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gkeese
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I will give Ole Roy a kiss and dedicate the first video to you CPO!  I can NOT gaurantee it'll be any good...but, it will all be thanks to you!!  Bless ya Pink... I owe you one soooooo much.  Maybe, some time in the future, something awesome, in a box marked Fiddlershop, may just wind up on YOUR doorstep?  -hint, hint- One good deed deserves another!

 hats_off

"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing that it is stupid." -Albert Einstein

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cdennyb
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June 29, 2012 - 2:56 am
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i was thinking of donating you a set of strings but I can't remember what kind they are or if I replaced them because they sounded worse than yours. LOLdazed

 

Hey, it's the thought that counts and I just figured I'd spare you the grief by not saying anything...

oh wait... I just did.roflol

 

facepalm

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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DanielB
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June 29, 2012 - 3:21 am
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Ole Roy may surprise you a bit yet, Gkeese.  You get that bridge trimmed and a set of "ok" strings on.. Looks to at least be made of maybe something like maple and spruce.  There may be some voice lurking in there.  Oh, not at all likely a "concert" sort of voice, but maybe an interesting and likeable "back porch" or "camping trip" voice or something. There's just no telling.

Once you get all 4 strings on it, you'll be able to check the fingerboard and start working on the bridge and getting some sound out of Ole Roy there.

I can tell you that with my acoustic, when I first got it I wasn't too impressed with it as an instrument.  It was a gift from family, so it came with sentimental value already attached.  But when I first tuned it up and tried playing it a little.. Well, the action was like a cheese slicer, the string spacing was just whacked, and I honestly think I could have maybe gotten better sound out of stringing up the cardboard box it came in.  But after putting in some work and fussing over the bridge and tailpiece placement a few days, she's not so bad and has a sound I rather like.  At least, her sound fits some songs rather well.  Fun to play, anyway.

But you can learn quite a bit from an instrument that needs some work.  So far as understanding construction and knowing what to look for in a more expensive instrument later, you can probably learn more than most folks who start on something better where everything is all set up right.

Now, on the constructive side.. About those tuning pegs.  Both my electric which has plastic pegs in a plastic pegbox and the acoustic where it was painted wood pegs in bare wood holes in a wood pegbox, I have them both holding tune quite well.  With the painted wood, I scraped off the paint.  And with both of them, I took some fairly rough sandpaper, like 150-200 grit cheap stuff.  I just pinched the sandpaper around the shaft of the peg and pulled it through several times until they had sandpaper scratches running down the length of the peg shaft.  Both instruments were a little stiff at first on tuning, and got to turning nice but holding well within a few days.  Well, the acoustic still is a little stiff on the D peg, but it will smooth out over time, I'm pretty sure.  Didn't use any peg drops or compound on either instrument and it isn't real hard to tune either one from just the pegs.  It is a simple cheap fix and so far over two months I have never had to repeat it.  I did the same thing when my oud was new and had some pegs that slipped a bit and in the 3 yrs since, they have never been a problem.

Just a thought for you there.

"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

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SaraO
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June 29, 2012 - 9:39 am
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Kevin M. said
 

If it's a big Sow you can.  You should see what I have a wallet made out of. The guy told me it was made out of oysters from the Rocky Mountains.

Oh dear, Kevin. facepalm

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coolpinkone
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Hahaha... Just got it @ Kevin. Google is my friend.....I also learned cooking techniques.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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