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libraquarius
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September 27, 2019 - 7:13 am
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Hi all,

I'm an adult learner (late middle-age) from the south coast of the UK; I have a fiddle I found at a jumble-sale (0.5 GBP cost) which looks old, makes beautiful noises and which I've put aside until I'm happier about my technique. Even muted, it's powerful. I have in the interim built a solid fiddle using the old 'un's dimensions, and while this is almost certainly the nastiest musical device ever created, it is quiet and my confidence is building as I progress.

I'm capable of a stumbling Gmaj scale, I can fumble around a couple of simple tunes, and I'm trying to avoid getting too involved in the technical side of fiddling (I'm building a headphone amplifier to integrate into the solid object), and concentrate on freaking out the local squirrels with fake alarm calls.

The old fiddle has a tatty label under the bass f-hole marked 'Johannes Cujpers..' etc, but I doubt the thing is 250 years old; it's likely just a pleasantly-made copy.

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cid
September 27, 2019 - 7:23 am
Member Since: December 26, 2018
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Welcome to the site.

There are many knowledgable people here that are more than happy and eager to help. Don’t forget that there are also great videos and information provided by Fiddlerman, In the dark header at the top of the page, there is “Sheet Music” you can download, and next to that “Videos and Tutorials”. 

Welcome!

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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libraquarius
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September 27, 2019 - 11:20 am
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Thank you, @cid for the welcome.

I've already availed myself of some of @fiddlerman's exercises, and will be using them this weekend.

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Pete_Violin
Utah
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September 27, 2019 - 11:28 am
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libraquarius said
Hi all,

I'm an adult learner (late middle-age) from the south coast of the UK; I have a fiddle I found at a jumble-sale (0.5 GBP cost) which looks old, makes beautiful noises and which I've put aside until I'm happier about my technique.

The old fiddle has a tatty label under the bass f-hole marked 'Johannes Cujpers..' etc, but I doubt the thing is 250 years old; it's likely just a pleasantly-made copy.

Hi @libraquarius and welcome!

A half a quid is extremely cheap for a violin.  Is there damage?  Was it playable when you purchased it?  That seems amazing to me.

I did look up Johannes Cuijpers and he was a Dutch violin maker from very early.  Are you sure there is no date printed on that label?  Johannes Cuijpers made fine violins from the mid 1700's to the early 1800's.  They are well sought after, and some are particularly rare.  You may want to check into the origin of your violin.  It may be a treasure you're holding, especially for what you paid.

How long have you been playing violin?  Do you plan to take lessons?  You should work on the other scales as well.  It will be very helpful.

- Pete -

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
September 27, 2019 - 12:03 pm
Member Since: March 22, 2014
Forum Posts: 3038
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Welcome to the forum @libraquarius !

Awesome work on the home-made solid-body devil's instrument !!!!  Jut wait till you get it amped up - forget about "freaking out the local squirrels" - I'll probably hear it all the way up here in the north of Scotland !!!!

Yup - as others have said - great forum, no nonsense here (well, apart from some hilarity when an occasional thread just seems to go-off-at-a-tangent.... and when it does, it's always written in jest and with respect), and with folks of different levels, background and experience all happy to share their violin journey.

Keep us advised of your progress, and above all, enjoy !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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libraquarius
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September 27, 2019 - 2:09 pm
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Hi @pete_violin,

The violin has a couple of nasty fractures along the table, and it was when I took the table off that I could finally read what was left of the label. The readable script is: "Johannes Cujpers fecit s'Hage..." - the date is not legible, but my wife has enhanced photographs of it and her experience of old handscript suggests 1780. The bass-bar is very thin and does not extend away from the table very much. There are no corner blocks, an observation which has widely differing opinion when searching on the Internet. The neck is a full-length post 1840 item (130 mm nut-to-body), with no graft evident, and the pegbox has worn but usable pegs.

I've seen valuations ranging from 25 GBP to 50,000 USD for Cujpers violins in good order, but I just want to play it. It's now a family heirloom, whatever its provenance and value.

Until I tore off the fingerboard and table, it played sweetly (even in my innocent, clumsy hands), in spite of the cracks and the cheap strings.

I plan to repair the cracks and put it back together myself. Admitting that may draw me a lot of opprobrium from purists, but it's my fiddle, and I choose to take personal responsibility for its care and feeding.

I had a brief dalliance with a cheap Japanese violin in my youth, but circumstances forced its sale, and it wasn't until I bought the present violin that I felt I could take another stab at the infinite art of the fiddle. I cannot justify the cost of lessons, but I am no stranger to hard work and commitment, and even at my advanced age (I'm not far off retirement), just the thought of sounding okay playing a Vaughan Williams piece or getting some swing going in a ceilidh makes it all worthwhile. I've been working at it for just two weeks, and I won't be stopping.

Thank you for your interest!

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libraquarius
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September 27, 2019 - 2:23 pm
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Hi @BillyG,

Thanks for the encouraging thoughts.

The solid-state violin is a work-in-progress, but it's playable. It has quite a story to it, and I may post that story if there's any interest. The main sustain beam is a section of pine bedstead one inch thick; I've carved out the pegbox and fitted tuning machines cut down from an old acoustic guitar set. The fingerboard is perhaps unique: it's cut from two segments of a bamboo-fibre compostable coffee-cup. It took some work to get that right, and the result is a segment of a conic frustrum instead of a regular cylindrical section, but the mean radius is fair at 80 mm. The bridge is an ordinary maple job with its feet cut off, and a single 25 mm piezoelectric transducer sit under it. This gives a little less output than a regular guitar pickup, but the tone is lovely and bright (through a guitar amplifier). I'm in the process of integrating a headphone amplifier in what passes for the lower left bout, but for now it's a nice, quiet practice fiddle. The tailpiece is made from 2.5 mm aluminium sheet, curved in the normal fashion. It has lots of other details, but I should wait until it's finished until I put up any photos or extended specifications.

The other main criterion driving the design was portability. Having no scroll or body, it's tiny, and tough enough to be popped into a day-sack and carried on a bicycle.

Yes, I'm looking forward to seeing what this forum has to offer.

Blessings, from the other end of our fair isle!

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Mark
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September 27, 2019 - 11:00 pm
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libraquarius,

Welcome to the forum,  and your violin journey. 

 

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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libraquarius
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September 28, 2019 - 12:01 pm
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Hi @Mark,

Thank you. I plan to have fun, and it may get a bit intense; I'm now way too old to do anything with half a heart.

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bocaholly
Boca Raton, Florida
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September 28, 2019 - 3:04 pm
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libraquarius said
... I'm now way too old to do anything with half a heart.

This!

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 3, 2019 - 12:04 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 14708
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libraquarius said
Hi all,

Hey there and welcome!!!

I'm an adult learner (late middle-age) from the south coast of the UK; I have a fiddle I found at a jumble-sale (0.5 GBP cost) which looks old, makes beautiful noises and which I've put aside until I'm happier about my technique. Even muted, it's powerful. I have in the interim built a solid fiddle using the old 'un's dimensions, and while this is almost certainly the nastiest musical device ever created, it is quiet and my confidence is building as I progress.

Sounds like you might have lucked out. Powerful old fiddle. 😁

I'm capable of a stumbling Gmaj scale, I can fumble around a couple of simple tunes, and I'm trying to avoid getting too involved in the technical side of fiddling (I'm building a headphone amplifier to integrate into the solid object), and concentrate on freaking out the local squirrels with fake alarm calls.

LOL, poor squirrels. Great start. scales will teach you to put your fingers down in relatively the correct spot. The more you practice them the better your intonation is likely to be. 🙂 That is the theory in any case.

The old fiddle has a tatty label under the bass f-hole marked 'Johannes Cujpers..' etc, but I doubt the thing is 250 years old; it's likely just a pleasantly-made copy.
  

One never knows for sure but you can always hope and have it checked out later. Provided you find a reasonable and competent appraiser. Usually it will cost you but someone might tell you it's approximate age without changing as long as they don't need to provide you with an appraisal.

Thanks for your introduction. Looking forward to hearing about your progress.

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

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starise
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October 3, 2019 - 1:26 pm
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Welcome @libraquarius

That's quite an interesting violin adventure you've been on. You are quite industrious to have made your own instrument. 

Pleased to meet you here. Good luck with the other violin!

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libraquarius
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October 4, 2019 - 3:29 am
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Hi @Fiddlerman,

Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I'm a raw beginner and I notice my practice sessions are five minutes of fumble, five minutes of oh-so-close to sounding 'on the money', and then it all falls apart again. I expected that, and I'm confident that I'll steadily bulk-out that warm middle section. This forum has proved of great value to me already; I had a concern that my fat fingertips would be a problem, but posts addressing this feature (I now know it's not a fault) have been very reassuring, and they also offered good workarounds for the ham-fisted among us.

Hi @starise,

Yes, it's been quite a ride so far. I'm quite chuffed with the home-brewed solid fiddle; I'll find a way of uploading a couple of photos of it, and if anyone's interested I will give them the technical details. It's not perfect; it's susceptible to taking off on the second harmonic sometimes, especially on the D string. It may be a resonance which I can tune out by removing mass from under the high end of the fingerboard, but more like it's a feature of my bowing technique, since I can usually bring the thing back to the fundamental by moving up or down the string a little.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 7, 2019 - 2:27 pm
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libraquarius said
Hi @Fiddlerman,

Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I'm a raw beginner and I notice my practice sessions are five minutes of fumble, five minutes of oh-so-close to sounding 'on the money', and then it all falls apart again. I expected that, and I'm confident that I'll steadily bulk-out that warm middle section. This forum has proved of great value to me already; I had a concern that my fat fingertips would be a problem, but posts addressing this feature (I now know it's not a fault) have been very reassuring, and they also offered good workarounds for the ham-fisted among us.  

Exactly. There are many big time soloists with thick fingers. 😁 

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

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libraquarius
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October 9, 2019 - 4:03 am
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Hi @Fiddlerman,

Yes, even in recent days I've got the knack of moving my second and third fingers into a better place in those narrow intervals. I'm guessing the technique will get slicker as I play faster, over time.

Thank you for all that you do; this is a great place to learn and exchange information and ideas.

Best wishes,

Peter

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 9, 2019 - 9:47 am
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You're welcome. 😁

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

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