I've just made a huge push to get on top of all the jobs needing doing then I can get into the studio in peace; yesterday after 35 years hard graft working on the bungalow and in the gardens I finally caught up; no mintenance jobs now hanging over me; I've been working flat out often in dire weather; wind; rain and cold.
Lots of jobs completed including repainting garden bench taking a week because I stripped it in order to do a top class job.
Metal railings derusted and painted.
Both garden huts repainted using top quality American Benjamin Moore Exterior Aura Satin at £102 per US gallon; three gallons used to give each hut three coats of paint; in effect it was like painting six huts taking a lot of time and effort.
The pace I was working at I ticked off six jobs one day. I'm at last clear to spend time in the studio which is hard won but eagerly looked forward to.
The balalaika is now with me and it's a lovely instrument; I've briefly tried to play it but the strings sure make for sore fingers; no doubt it's something I'll get used to; I've ordered a set of new strings from Ukraine these being steel and nylon; the original steel strings could well need replacing; the middle E string sounds quite dull.
I've enjoyed at least two hours today practicing playing my violins; it's been interesting to compare the Hidersine Vivente and the Gernan violin side by side and play back through the monitors; I'm starting to settle down with the violins and new kit.
Kind regards, Colin.
Free at last to spend time in the studio so now I'm making a bit of progress with my violins. I can now play this;
Somewhere my love there will be songs to sing
Although the snow covers the hope of spring
Somewhere a hill blossoms in green and gold.
I've not found it to be easy but I've gone over and over just learning about four notes at a time; eventually I'll play the whole song.
Kind regards, Colin.
After my lovely wife treated me to the Hidersine Vivente violin for my 74th birthday then having a luthier set it up I bought a "Rainbow" metalic green full sized violin through Gumtree this only costing £25; it only had two strings and the bow needed rehairing the case being very tatty too; I bought this just to play around with and restrung it with a £20 set of Hidersine strings but it was useless even whilst playing it with my new carbon fiber bow so it's been sitting in the studio.
A couple of nights ago I thought I'd give this Rainbow away so pulled it out and played around with it a bit; my electronic tuner showed it to be in tune on all four strings but it had virtually no projections and although showing in tune the strings didn't appear tight enough.
Out of curiosty I started to experiment a bit with string tension; please bear in mind my age and I'd never touched a string instrument before; I was amazed as I adjusted one of the strings against the tuner; it was the G string and as I carefully tightened the string I noticed the notes go from G to A then B then C then D and back to G; I was amazed by this discovery but even more amazed when I played it; it's a lovely violin for very little money and now I'll keep it.
I'm also feeling more relaxed and settled in the studio; this morning I enjoyed two one hour practices on my German violin; a new desktop music stand arrived yesterday and I'm finding this a great help because now I can easily see the numbered charts I've made whereas previously they were laid on the bench and I was seated.
Suddenly it's all coming together; I've also just bought a 48V phantom power transformer so I can use the Rode mic without needing the Tascam; I want to connect the mic to the powered monitors so am now doing some research how to connect up; it's wonderful to be free at last without lots of must do jobs hanging over me; the work around the bungalow and gardens has been seamless for the last 35 years; whoopee; studio here I come.
Kind regards, Colin.
Thanks for your reply @Mouse .
Whilst practicing playing my German violin; occassionally the D string would sound very harsh indeed; it would sound like I was using my hacksaw not the bow no doubt due to my inexperience; whilst reading The Strad I noticed a number of violin soloists like the Thomastik Vision titanium solo strings so I bought a D string and fitted it. What a tremendous difference in sound; not what I expected; the Vision string appears much quieter; the full set fitted are Obligato and these are loud; I've put the Obligato D string back on and perhaps I've learned a valuable lesson; strings need matching to the violin for best sound?
I didn't expect the new string to suddenly make me into a top violinist but I was curious; it was worth a try though. Mix and match strings are best left to professionals not a novice like me.
I'm practicing more now I can get into the studio; some days are rubbish but then I'll really enjoy a practice which goes well and encourages me to try harder.
Getting more into music and still setting up the studio I've decided to buy a laptop to use in the studio; I have an old desktop computer but it would take up too much room; the problem now is finding a laptop; there are so many to choose from it's bewildering; I'm also interested in buying an electric violin; too many new toys all at once but I might as well jump in because I don't see me quitting learning to play a violin; when I start something I always see it through however long it takes; metal spinning and tig welding aluminium were difficult to learn but I can now do both.
Kind regards, Colin.
occassionally the D string would sound very harsh indeed; it would sound like I was using my hacksaw not the bow no doubt due to my inexperience; whilst reading The Strad I noticed a number of violin soloists like the Thomastik Vision titanium solo strings so I bought a D string and fitted it. What a tremendous difference in sound
But your diagnosis isn't the only possible diagnosis.
The Dominant D string is low tension and will sound atrocious if one bows it sul tasto with too much pressure.
If Vision Titanium Solos are much higher tension, or for some other reason, it may simply be that they are being kind to one's bowing technique, rather than being a better match for one's violin. If this were the case, the strings would prevent one from improving one's bowing technique.
My advice would be to stick with cheap Tonicas until one can confidently and knowledgeably bow anywhere between the fingerboard and the bridge. Then one will be in a position to choose the right strings for one's violin.
(ha, I altered all the "your"s to "one's" to make it general advice, and it looks horrible )
Thanks @Mouse for your interesting and informative reply; I'm still very much a violin novice but am now starting to make decent progress and noticing things more; I've just enjoyed an hour's practice.
Thanks Andrew for your reply and useful information; I fully agree with you regarding my diagnosis not being the only one after all I have a great deal to learn. I did however notice immediately the difference in sound when I replaced the D string with a different make of D string even when playing lightly or with more bow pressure; I don't have enough experience to put forward an expert opinion I'm just writing up my story as a novice for other novices to compare with and to accept all information kindly and generously given by much more experienced members such as you Andrew and Mouse.
I have three violins and each sounds different and are different to play but I'm finding I can now quickly adjust to each; I've just been recording a bit of practice on the Tascam and playing back using the new Rode condenser mic; this mic sure is highly sensitive and what I think the violin sounds like being played on my shoulder is a great deal different to hear on playback through an amp; recording like this though I find useful it picks up absolutely everything.
I bought a laptop yesterday and it's due to arrive from tomorrow; I also bought a remote 18V phantom power allowing the Rode mic to power up without being connected to the Tascam but now I have yet another problem; connecting the mic to the phantom power and through to the amp produces no sound at all so now I'm looking at pre amps and interfaces; a fool and his money are soon parted but I have funds to indulge myself in my hobbies after all I don't smoke; touch alcohol and haven't had an holiday from home for 45 years. My wonderful wife and I prefer to remain home where we're both content.
I think I'm pushing myself too hard with violins and the studio so I'll ease back a bit and spend a bit of time in the garden but I'm as keen as ever regarding learning; I'm not in a hurry but it's now nice to have all the heavy jobs behind me allowing me to choose what I do rather than what I have to do.
Violins are here to stay and I'm also looking forward to playing around with my balalaika. It's a beautiful day today so I want to get outdoors and make the most of it because such days are rare here.
Kind regards, Colin.
Thanks Andrew for your sympathy; I'll most likely need it; setting up a computer can be real fun. It's quite a while since I wiped the hard drive on mine to install a fresh operating system. My lovely wife yesterday suggested I buy a brand new laptop and I browsed quite a few up to around £500. I then browsed YouTube for reviews and even new computers often have problems; it quickly becomes a nightmare; what RAM; what hard drive; how many sockets and of what kind etc.
Having wasted lots of time getting nowhere fast I eventually bought a used laptop with a very good spec; I bought this for only £130;
It comes with 3 month warranty; the eBay seller has 100% positive rating and has sold 88 of these so I'm pretty safe. It will do more than I ever want to do; it's already loaded with Win10 so should be ready to plug and play; I'm better with computers than violins. I've already reaceived an email to say the laptop will be here tomorrow double boxed to avoid transit damage; the price included P&P.
Good luck Andrew with your endeavours; I used to use a walkman with CD to play my favourite 60's songs but hooked up the walkman to one of my vintage valve radios; the downside was the CD's only held about twenty songs; I've now got two new but cheap 12V car radios; one in the studio the other in the workshop; I run these through a 240VAC/12VDC adaptor each the adaptors being very cheap; each is connected to a Sony midi hifi speaker and now I can use memory sticks to hold hundreds of tunes I've loaded to stick as MP3. I have a few versions of Lara's Theme on the stick in the studio and I can select "repeat" this is very useful indeed and the total cost was small for each set up; I think each radio only cost £12 brand new through eBay so I bought two of these. I also used a very basic ipod for a few years in the workshop connected to the Sony mini hifi through the Sony input.
There's so much technology these days it's impossible to keep up with it; I don't have a mobile phone welded to my ear not wanting one.
I've got the free Audacity to play around with; so far I've copied a bit of my violin playing from my Tascam to computer but couldn't load onto YouTube but I've loaded onto YouTube previously; I'm a bit rusty; here's me driving our Skoda Yeti to the Holme Moss Summit (Yorkshire); this is one seriously dangerous road especially at night in rain and fog at the summit;
Kind regards, Colin
You can't have too many USB sockets - this Acer Aspire has too few, but you can get extenders. It's a generation 6 Pentium, and I think you need gen 8 for Win 11, but it goes up to gen 11???? So if I wanted a new laptop, I'd think of forking out for a gen 11, but I assume they will be closer to £1,000. No idea, and I suspect an iPad or similar is the way forward. For years I mainly wrote text and needed a good keyboard - I've got a Classics and Anglo-Saxon blog, but I haven't touched it much now for a couple of years. Windows is rubbish, really, and Apple are seriously overpriced.
I'm just playing with Audacity now, but since I last used it the recording levels have all dropped - no idea why!
Thanks Andrew for your interesting reply; using and buying computers can drive anyone round the bend; it's difficult to know up front what's needed whilst buying a computer; my desktop is marked Gamemax and I bought it through eBay years ago at just over £300 it being a gaming computer and it's still pretty fast although I've never played games on it; it's done and is still doing a good job; I wonder if new computers are better but whilst browsing for a laptop I see some are made of plastic? Who wants a Tonka Toy as a computer. SSD's are now cheap enough to buy and much better and faster than the HDD I still have on this desktop although I do have an extrenal SSD I use for backing up.
My first computer bought about 22 years ago cost £1,000 it having a huge 8 gig memory; it's a joke now of course but back then it was dial up at 1p per minute and Win 5? I don't need masses of memory on a computer because I keep deleting stuff I no longer need.
Paying £1,000 now for new laptop it would be outdated as soon as it left the store; whilst browsing eBay I saw quite a few used already loaded with Win 11; normally I'd buy new but for little money a really good used high spec can be bought all it takes is to spend time browsing; the laptop I've just bought for £130 will be fine for my needs and if it decides to play up I can return it in up to three months so the seller must be pretty confident.
I've not used Audacity for a while but as I start to settle into the studio I'm sure I'll be using it. Audacity is well liked on the web by the reviews I've seen of it in fact you might have recommended it to me.
Another free download I've used for years is "emachineshop" CAD; I used this to draw 45 spur gears which I then made in my home workshop.
This link is different to the one I use which I locate through their main website but I'm registered with them free of charge.
This AVO Wave Winder took a lot of time to fully restore and when I bought it it was seized solid with rust also parts were missing and it didn't have a single gear so a lot of research was needed but once I start something I'm too thick to know when to quit.
I was honoured with a top restoration award for this back in 2009; I successfully made all the 45 cast iron gears using a new way of indexing on the lathe and I also made the bespoke wooden box together with brass nameplate; having completed it I then sold it to a guy who would actually use it not charging much for it; my enjoyment was in the challenge of doing the restoration but I'm used to this kind of work.
I've rambled on enough but I enjoy lots ove very diverse and interesting hobbies; violins are now top hobby and I think one to stick with.
Kind regards, Colin.
I'm now spending more time in the studio and still kitting the studio out; this interface has just arrived; Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD so another bit of kit to play with.
Yesterday I played all three violins and made a bit of progress with the balalaika; the new strings have also arrived for the balalaika these from Ukraine 2 x nylon and 1 x steel which I need to fit.
Kind regards, Colin.
Thanks @Mouse yes always very busy indeed; retired 21 years and still out of bed before 7am with not enough hours in a day.
When I first adopted violin as an hobby last August I'd no idea what I was letting myself in for; I'm still making progress playing Lara's Theme on my violins but I'm now getting more heavily involved with studio with so much to learn.
A couple of weeks ago I bought a 48V phantom Power supply thinking I could connect this between Rode mic and powered monitors but when it arrived I was disappointed it didn't work as expected; not a sound out of the monitors so I thought the supply was faulty and contacted the seller who has kindly and generously sent me a replacement which is to arrive shortly informing me to keep the original one.
I think I'm at fault because perhaps I expect the power supply to do a job it's not meant to do; I've been doing lots of web browsing and it appears I need an interface which I mentioned earlier but even with the interface I still haven't got what I'm after so now I need to connect up to the laptop which involves downloading the interface drivers; life sure quickly gets complicated.
I've been using the Tascam 48V phantom power for the mic but I would like to listen directly to my violin playing without having to record first hence I bought the power supply. When the replacement supply arrives I'll contact the eBay seller with an apology and I'll pay for the replacement too; my mistake so I'll put my hand up and make good.
The weather is glorious at the moment so I'm making the most of it working in the gardens but I'm as keen as ever to learn not only how to play a violin but also how to run my own home recording studio; I'm well on my way with both and lots of problems yet to resolve but I'm sticking with it.
I'm unsure which way the strings are fitted to my balalaika; I've got the new strings but I believe a balalaika can be strung for either left or right hand playing; as usual I'm complicating things and I've browsed the web but not got the answer I need; E E & A but which way; I take absolutely nothing for granted hence I ask all the silly questions before jumping in; I'm right handed. I admit I'm trying to run before I can walk but once I lock into a new project I don't jump in half way.
Kind regards, Colin.