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Hi gang: Well, I began attempts at playing when I bought my first fiddle on March 16 of this year. But within a week I upgraded to a Carbon Fiber fiddle I saw at a Bluegrass festival I attend. However, the CF fiddle proved to be a bit heavy for me as a beginner plus I didn't know how to fit the violin to my person--how to put on a shoulder rest, which shoulder rest was best, what about a chin rest, etc? I have a very long neck, so fitting was a big problem at first. I tied the CF to myself and that helped stabilize "Stormy". After a month of the break-in pains of using new muscle groups (I am a flatpick guitarist), I finally find after 3 months my muscles are calming down now and no longer complaining.
Once I realized I'm planning to play fiddle until my dying breath, I saved up the money to buy the Fiddlerman Soloist outfit. WOW! That fiddle is so playable....so user friendly! I'm in heaven when I practice now. It practically plays itself! I named him "Precious"! I keep "Stormy", the Carbon Fiber fiddle, for those bad weather days when I'm out jamming or at festivals. "Precious" gets put in his case whenever I'm not practicing. "Stormy" sits out next to the TV for when I watch movies or the news. My flat picker guitarist friends told me the best way to prep a tune you're playing for getting it ready to play for the public is to play it while watching TV while you're distracted. If you can play it then, and also play it with a metronome, you're good to go!
I am so happy that I found Fiddlerman.com and can participate and be a part of the Fiddlerman family. It's the most awesome online support system with the best service and fabulous pricing for instruments and gear.