I just started violin and have been playing metal guitar for years. I can actually get a better vibrato on the violin. I think the motion is easier. On the guitar, it is a slower bending of the string.
I've played a fretless guitar and had no luck. Trying to get multiple strings fretted in exactly the correct position was a pain.
However, I don't think I would purchase a fretted violin. It just seems wrong.
It is neat to see though.
Late bloomer said
Hey, how about a guitar with out frets
Or a saxophone that you don't blow in , you just bang it on the ground.
Or maybe a banjo that you blow in
Sounds like opposite day at bikini bottom.
I am not entirely sure how he's getting the vibrato in that video. It looks more like a standard violin vibrato than anything else, but with the angle we're seeing it from, I can't tell.
But I would agree with Jason that it would not be even a particularly fast vibrato on a guitar.
The thing is that, like violin from what I understand, there is more than one way of doing vibrato on a guitar. Leaving gadgets like "whammy bars" out of the conversation, what is usually shown in most books I've seen is basically finger vibrato. Which is where only the movement of the finger stretches the string and is about the slowest. But you can also use wrist to vibrato and you can also use forearm. They all accomplish the same basic thing, sliding the string along the fret (across the fingerboard) to change the pitch. I recorded a quick sample including each of those. The first is finger, the second is wrist and the third is more forearm but also has some wrist while using very little finger muscle. For me, the third is my faster option.
No argument on that point. The only way a guitar would get much of any vibrato from a movement parallel to the strings would be if it had a scalloped fretboard or maybe one could get a little if it had *very* high frets. There it would be from changing the tension on the string by pressure though, not bending in the usual way. Still different than violin.
Violin, however *could* vibrato with either type of motion. I don't think it would be very good for the fingerboard, though.
Still, I'm not quite sure how he is getting vibrato off that fretted violin. On a side note, it is easy enough to vibrato with a fretless bass guitar (I got to play one of those once), or I would assume with a fretless guitar. And either parallel or perpendicular motion to the string length works on those. The motions can even be combined.
Yeah, I think it boils down to just how tall the frets are in relation to how high the strings are above the fingerboard. The shallower the frets, the more variation you can get in the pitch between frets since there will be room for the string to float just above a fret without touching it if you're fingering off the position. Also, in the higher ranges where the frets are closer together, they'd really need to be even more shallow, but in that range, just the difference between fingering on the front of the fret and the back of the fret yields a noticeable pitch difference. Since you're fingering right on the fret unlike a guitar, this is quite useable.
You look at a guy like U Srinivas, who modified the 5-string electric mandolin, he made similar changes to the fret layout, and he plays vibrato with slides alone, never pulling. In this version where he's a lot younger, he hadn't yet shaved down the frets to the extent he does nowadays (this video is probably ~30 years old), but even here, he's not pulling.
I do find, though, that pretty shallow frets are more than adequate for the violin. I happen to keep 3 finger tapes on my board -- just perfect 4th, just perfect 5th, and octave. I derive every other position from those. The thing is that simple tape strips are far thinner than any fret, but they're still not flush with the fingerboard, and that thickness is enough for me to get a tactile feel for their presence and catch the note with my eyes shut.
@Daniel : I agree about the straps. I found about the Wood Viper some time back, and I've always found that strap with the chest pad thing. It pretty much solves so many problems. I've been working out some designs on paper to try and do something like that for a regular acoustic as well, but it takes some trial and error.
I seriously wish I could afford one of those things, but I got a quote for a 4-string fretless with the "default no-extra-charge" finish and the Wood standard pickup (is it just me, or do other people find the Barbera pickup a little rubbery-sounding?), and it still ran about $1885. Adding frets brought it up over $2k, but I also was trying to inquire about fretting according to alternate intonations. I might be willing to spend that kind of scratch when I have about double the cash in the bank as I currently do and about 20x the skill that I currently have, but not before.
Thanks so much Sara! In the past week I've watched about a hundred demo vids of various electrics; everything from the Bridge Aquila, Cecilio, Fender FV3, Foreness Fuse (too $$$), NS WAV4, NS NXT, Wood Viper (too $$$), Wood Stingray SV4, Yamaha 250,,, and I've not seen the vid you put up; that guy did a great job of describing a lot of the questions on this thread.
A lot of these fine manufacturers offer a fretted version now but I still don't know about taking that plunge (remember, I had a difficult time putting fine tuners on my decent violin). I'd have the same concern I had about becoming dependent on finger charts and not really learning/owning the violin as it was intended to be played. But, like the guy in the vid said, "why not". And then, would it be a great learning tool, or make it more difficult to go back to my unfretted.
This has been a great thread though; like I said, I was just dumb founded that I'd never seen them before, when apparently EVERYONE and their dog is making fretted violins now.
Mark Wood, the creator of the Viper fretted violin, seems to be pretty well respected.
Fred, it couldn't hurt to try and write Mark Wood for an answer to your question.
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