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The New Old Guy Re-Entering the String World
A personal view of the start of a journey into music and the viola.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (37 votes) 
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ELCBK
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May 10, 2021 - 10:58 am
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@JohnG -

🤔 Last I recently checked I still can't PM you, yet.

Think everything you do to keep yourself interested/motivated is wonderful. 

I was inspired by a few great Irish fiddle players I watched pick up a new tune in what seemed like seconds - just by listening/watching someone! 

So, new fiddle in hand, I had to figure out what would make sense to me & help me get there the quickest.  Got it in my head to start by finding the sounds on the fingerboard with my fingers - didn't even care what the notes were.  I could pick out notes to read on a staff from childhood piano lessons, so later used that and a tuner - but if you ask what note I'm playing, I'll have to stop and think much of the time. 

At 6 months in, I was really able to look back and gage the rate I was progressing... and very happy!  ...and I definitely tried to start learning, at least parts of, music that was way above me.

That's just me... been known to do things what some would say, the hard way. (lol) 

It's great you're using musescore!  You can slow the tempo way down to play along with. 

I want to be able to use it to transcribe & edit the music I hear/watch on YouTube.  Once I started to read about what that would entail (I'm not tech or even PC-savy), I at least realized I need a better laptop for music editing & also for personal video editing (looking at an ASUS right now).  🤔 Been thinking there's got to be an easier way to just use my phone to record the sound off the videos and use it, but I've got so much going on in my head right now...  So for now, I just find what scores are available on musescore to play along with. 😊  

Stick with it!

I Love Music Smiley 

Quite the adventure! 

- Emily

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JohnG
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May 10, 2021 - 11:50 am
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ELCBK said
@JohnG -

🤔 Last I recently checked I still can't PM you, yet.

...

Stick with it!

I Love Music Smiley 

Quite the adventure! 

- Emily 

@ELCBK 
Apparently 85 posts by me aren't enough to grant me PM capabilities! Just have to stay active, I guess! lol

It is an adventure, for sure. And, I'm enjoying it!

There are probably as many ways to achieve our goals as there people on here. One of my problems is that I have a terrible "ear memory" in that I can't remember a tune properly nor other than short phrases which is one reason I've been attempting improv with remembered phrases and not just relying on reading sheet music.

It's hard to believe the impact that the internet has had on musical learning. I grew up with cardboard keyboards, once a week instructors, and printed music. Today we have online instruction, the ability to share our progress with others, access to thousands of videos that instruct us in all facets of music genres, techniques, instruction, and excellent (sometimes horrible) examples that can guide our development! And access to thousands of free and paid for sheet music PLUS tools like MuseScore and electronic tuners.

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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May 10, 2021 - 5:27 pm
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Another milestone! lol Got my viola bracket mounted and hopefully will lead to more impromptu playing. We'll see.

rMiH2aD.jpgImage Enlarger

The old curmudgeon!

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ELCBK
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May 10, 2021 - 8:49 pm
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Oops! 

Already replied in your other thread. 😊 

Love it!

🧡💛💚💙💜❤

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JohnG
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May 10, 2021 - 11:29 pm
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Got my new StroboClip HD Official - High Definition Clip-On Strobe Tuner today and it's amazing! Got an hour of practice in concentrating on Song from a Secret Garden, and also Sailor's Song, Scales, Improv.

Decided to use most of my time on one piece plus one for the Hornpipe party.

Don't know about clipping on the tuner, though. This is what I came up with.

sNCvceu.jpgImage Enlarger

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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May 11, 2021 - 12:27 am
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Forgot to mention, I also picked up some hidersine rosin since I haven't been totally happy with my sound and rather than blame my technique am choosing to blame the rosin that came with the viola and I also got a small carrying case for my Kun shoulder rest.

The old curmudgeon!

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Irv
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May 11, 2021 - 8:07 am
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@JohnG and others.  Perhaps your best accomplishment to date is continuing to play given use of Mendini rosin!

There was a thread started a few years ago about suggested improvements to these instruments.  I think it was called a silk purse out of a sows ear.  You will likely get some suggestions from it.  As a first step, you might want to replace the originally provided strings.  Since the bow seems to work for you, replacement can likely wait for a “Black Friday” sale.

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed. —William Gibson

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JohnG
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May 11, 2021 - 1:20 pm
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@Irv - I'm assuming this is the post to which you referred? “purse from sow’s ear”?

I'm wondering if they are using the same strings on both the EV and acoustic viola? But your advice seems to be right on!

@ELCBK - Thanks for the tip in another thread about putting the tuner on the scroll, it works MUCH better!

The old curmudgeon!

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ELCBK
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May 11, 2021 - 3:23 pm
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@JohnG -

Don't go by that thread - your acoustic Viola shouldn't be compared to E/Viola (different properties, like mentioned). 

I waited until I played for 6 months before trying equipment improvements, but you've already played Viola previously. 😊

3 areas to improve an acoustic Viola and many threads with advice, but it boils down to what you want to hear & feel vs the sound properties of your particular Viola.  These are different for every musician (even within same model/brand) and requires experimentation.  Here's my approach - but, might want to weigh the overall cost with a whole better Viola outfit from Fiddlershop! (lol)

  1. Start with synthetic-core strings advertised as "warm", should find some that work for you recommended in threads here, the string chart or reviews at Fiddlershop.  Should find some between "Fiddlerman" brand on up to "Obligato". 
  2. Bow with good quality hair - many people start with the Fiddlerman Carbon Fiber.  Much depends on your feel/the response of each, the hair & tension, your strings/Viola & your ear - so, testing a variety of bows out in person is best. 
  3. Rosin needs to be matched to your bow, your strings, your climate (seasonal humidity matters, too) & your ear - start with a medium color variety recommended in threads here or reviews at Fiddlershop. 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/d8/5f/e1/d85fe146b2c4ae87264f7dd3813582ee.jpg

 

Glad you like the StroboClip HD (me too 🤗) - wish Fiddlershop carried it.

@Sasha was the one who mentioned she liked a strobe-type tuner.  Thank you, Sasha! 

- Emily

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Irv
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May 11, 2021 - 4:41 pm
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@JohnG and others.  I am pretty sure that Cecilio used the same strings through out their line up.

The last I heard, Fiddlerman does not make their own strings for viola.  Pity because they are nice strings for the price.

Regarding fear about referencing an electric violin thread for information on an acoustic viola, it is all physics to me.  You might want also want to frequent threads about the  Mendini MV 600.  No longer made and never made in a viola.  Those were lookers in the cheap trade category.

Regarding the 3D printed viola hanger.  Did you incorporate a reinforcement strut of material in the “v” between the post and the back bracket?  It would seem to be cheap insurance.

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed. —William Gibson

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JohnG
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May 11, 2021 - 5:03 pm
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Irv said
...

Regarding the 3D printed viola hanger.  Did you incorporate a reinforcement strut of material in the “v” between the post and the back bracket?  It would seem to be cheap insurance. 

No, it is a two piece and the post/fork is embedded into a slot about 3/8" deep and I think it could support a whole lot more than my viola! The PLA plastic used has proven to be very structurally sound (at temperature <200° C or about 392° F. Much warmer than I keep my house! lol

@Irv - Thanks for the further information!

@ELCBK  - As always, appreciate your comments (and humor).

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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May 11, 2021 - 5:20 pm
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@Irv - Fiddlerman sells the strings found on my viola, D'Addario Prelude Viola String Set for $26.99 which equates to the cheapest ones there. As of now, I really can't afford to buy a really decent set, so I'll hope the new rosin helps. In the meantime, my lack of technical expertise probably is a bigger hurdle to overcome. And just think, if I get that, when I replace the strings, it'll be a major step onward!

@ELCBK - no worries, all comments are appreciated!

The old curmudgeon!

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stringy
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May 11, 2021 - 6:35 pm
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Dont worry about changing strings, stick to your practice routine. I have already said, you have a good ear, thats all you need at the moment, the rest comes  wìth practice, not that I am qualified to give advice.

Watch fiddlermans vid of trying out a hundred dollar fiddle, and listen how amazing it sounds, which tells you something.

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JohnG
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Well, I left playing until too late tonight and was doing terribly, so only did 20 minutes. Did get a little on Song from a Secret Garden, Sailor's Song, Scales, Improv but was worse than last night, so decided it would only ingrain bad habits and muscle memory. Hopefully better tomorrow.

The old curmudgeon!

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Gordon Shumway
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JohnG said
@Irv - Fiddlerman sells the strings found on my viola, D'Addario Prelude Viola String Set for $26.99 which equates to the cheapest ones there. As of now, I really can't afford to buy a really decent set, so I'll hope the new rosin helps. In the meantime, my lack of technical expertise probably is a bigger hurdle to overcome. And just think, if I get that, when I replace the strings, it'll be a major step onward! 

I can sound professional, until I play in 7th and 8th position on the G string (violin). Then I sound like a Siamese cat whose tail is slowly being crushed by a steam-roller. My teacher merrily assures me it's entirely my fault, and the skill will come eventually.

Don't get hung up on equipment.

Andrew

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JohnG
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May 12, 2021 - 1:41 pm
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Gordon Shumway said
...

Don't get hung up on equipment. 

Sounds like good advice! Thanks! Actually this is one of the reasons I purchased an inexpensive viola. At my age, my time remaining to learn will probably be less than what is needed to exceed the capabilities of the viola.

The old curmudgeon!

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Fiddlerman
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May 12, 2021 - 2:13 pm
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I agree that people shouldn't get hung up on equipment but at the same time, better equipment makes playing easier. The question is, what equipment is better and how much of a difference will it make?

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

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JohnG
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May 12, 2021 - 10:33 pm
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Got an hour in again this afternoon and played Song from a Secret Garden, Sailor's Song, Scales, and Improv. and it was much better than last night! I have a couple of phrases in the Song from a Secret Garden that are giving me problems, but it's starting to get better. I fell in love with the opening phrases, which is why I'm concentrating on this piece, but the two others are driving me nuts (or is that nuttier?).

May try to get in more time so I can add the The Sailor's Hornpipe as suggested by Emily for her "Drag out a Hornpipe Party". This would probably be a separate 1/2 hour or so, focused only on that.

@Fiddlerman - I understand how good equipment can make a difference, but I think (hope) this viola is good enough to get me started without causing me too much grief.

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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Got another hour in again this afternoon and played Song from a Secret Garden, Sailor's Song, Scales, and Improv. and it is getting better! I still have a couple of phrases in the Song from a Secret Garden that are giving me problems, but I've added some fingering notation to help me along and it seems to help.

Maybe in another year or two (j/k) I'll be ready to share.

The old curmudgeon!

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JohnG
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Yet another hour of practice in, this afternoon. In addition to most of time on Song from a Secret Garden and then Sailor's Song, added a little Ode to Joy, just for fun in addition to a few scales and improv.

The two 4 bar phrases in the middle of "Song" are still causing me some problems, but repetition has gotten me to the point of being able to play them through with only minor timing and bowing issues, and the occasional finger hesitation.

The old curmudgeon!

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