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Scratchy Noises
My violin makes scratchy noises when I'm bowing.
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
July 6, 2014 - 1:30 am
Member Since: July 4, 2014
Forum Posts: 5
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So I'm a brand new violinist with one of those starter kit violins. While I'm bowing the strings make this horrible scratchy noise sometimes. I'm not sure how I'm playing wrong. Is there something I need to do to make the note pure and not like it's nails on a chalkboard?

Thank you!


July 6, 2014 - 9:55 am
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
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Did you rosin the bow or did it come ready to play?   Maybe too much rosin on bow (or strings?).   I take a few light strokes over a pencil to remove some rosin if I want.

If you can scratch up some rosin on the strings, you need a rubbing alcohol string cleaning but PROTECT the violin from the alcohol!!

OR, you are pulling the bow very crooked (maybe).

There's more to do but do the simpler things first.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Honorary tenured advisor

July 6, 2014 - 11:12 am
Member Since: January 19, 2014
Forum Posts: 973
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There are very few ways to make a violin sound good, but there are countless ways to make it sound bad. 

Step 1: Fiddlerman Lessons  

Look at Fiddlerman's video tutorials on 1. holding the violin, 2. holding the bow, 3. drawing the bow across the strings 4. how to properly apply rosin to a bow, 5. Learn to play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Practice those until you can make the notes sound right.

Step 2: YouTube Lessons

Go to YouTube and search on:

1. Violin tone production, 2. Violin tone quality.

Watch some videos

Step 3: Practice

1. Practice for the rest of your life. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

Fort Lauderdale
July 6, 2014 - 11:11 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 15611

Welcome to the forum originalpinkpeep,
We'll be happy to help you here. Be gutsy and post a youtube video and we could probably answer your question pretty accurately. :)
Experiment with bow pressure, speed and the contact point. Make sure you are drawing the bow as straight as possible.
There is a lot to think about.

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


July 7, 2014 - 5:05 pm
Member Since: April 22, 2012
Forum Posts: 450
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Hi originalpinkpeep,

Assuming everything else is fine, fiddle, bow, rosin, etc, here's a little article from my fiddling colleague Graham Clark. He does a very good explanation of 'the scratch' :

Mr Jim dancing

California, the place of my heart
July 7, 2014 - 5:54 pm
Member Since: January 11, 2012
Forum Posts: 4180
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Welcome and congratulations to making your debut on the forum Originalpinkpeep!

I think your answers have been delivered to you.  hearttreble-1226

I am Toni, from Cali, been playing about 2.5 years.  Glad to meet you and hope to play and make music with you!!!

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

Byron Bay Australia

July 7, 2014 - 9:38 pm
Member Since: April 22, 2012
Forum Posts: 1575
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Hi Kirsten

We all sound like that at first. It 'will' get better :)

Its a matter of bowing a straight 90 degrees to the strings, the right pressure, and the right speed. All very easy to say but a little difficult to actually do.

Watch all of the violin 'how to' videos that you can and practice.

It all comes down to practice. Please don't let these first difficulties put you off continuing. It's all worth it.

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

July 16, 2014 - 1:13 am
Member Since: July 4, 2014
Forum Posts: 5
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Thank you to everyone who responded!

After some experimentation and implementation with the suggestions provided I came to the conclusion it was a) bowing at and angle and b) failing to apply enough pressure with my left hand fingers on the string.

I'm already getting better!

Thank you again! :3 


Fort Lauderdale
July 16, 2014 - 3:50 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 15611

Very nice to hear OpP :)

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

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