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Hi all. I'm a self taught flute player, and I played the piano as a kid, but have only been "torturing" the violin for 3-4 weeks. I saw bits of progress early on, but seem to be slipping now, and it's pretty discouraging. I can't practice every day due to my work schedule, but I will keep poking in here and keep trying. After seeing some of your videos, there is hope!
Welcome. I'm a newbie also. Do you have a teacher? There is a lot that can be learned from YouTube videos and the like but, at this stage, there is no substitute for the feedback from a teacher who will get you started with the correct fundamentals. Even having intermittent lessons when you and a teacher are both available is worthwhile. A teacher will get you over those obstacles in much less time.
We all have those days (weeks) when we think we've lost all the progress we thought we had made 🙁
Don't be discouraged. Keep at it and there will be days when you think "was that me playing, it sounded good".
Because of this forum and the great support of the people here, I've started recording my playing. Unfortunately, the first time I played my recording back I felt the way you did... how can I sound so bad! At least I know when I'm making mistakes and playing out of tune and can put the effort to correct specific flaws.
Welcome to the forum and let us hear from you often.
Bob in Lone Oak, Texas
Welcome to the forum! I always found recording myself a big help, especially in the beginning. That way I could hear and see what I needed to work on, but I could also then compare to how I sounded a week or two ago and see that I did make progress when I felt like I didn't 🙂
World's Okayest Fiddler
Thanks, all, for the encouragement. I developed an infection in the tip of my left middle finger that is just healing, so I haven't been able to play much in the last week. I'm sure I will have to take a few steps backwards when I get back to it.
I will try to talk myself into recording myself, but no promises. I'm my own worst enemy about most things in my life, but I hope to be able to return here often for inspiration and encouragement!
I am a newbie to violins. I just bought a violin and I am wondering about tuning. My "E" string kept slipping and went from a really high note to a low note on it's own. I am a guitar player and when I tune you just turn the peg. I was wondering if when you tune a violin do you push the peg towards the center as you are tuning to keep the peg in place? I don't want to mess up my new violin.
One extra note on tuning with the old-style pegs - you need to turn the peg as you're pushing it in or pulling it out (you have to pull it out some to be able to turn it again). So don't get to the note you want and then start trying to push it in. You'll be either high or low (depending on which direction you were going). You want to shoot for having it pushed all the way in right as you hit the note your aiming for. (if your violin has fine-tuners (on the tailpiece), just get within a quarter tone or so in the beginning, and use the fine tuner for the rest of it. Tuning a violin with the traditional pegs is a skill you have to learn. Not getting it dead on at first is normal.
Also, always turn it towards a lower pitch when you're loosening it, and whenever you can, sneak up on the note from below it. Most string-snapping that happens when people are tuning violins are well above the target note.
I don't know what ratio guitar gears are at, although a quick browse of the Internet show a range from 14:1 to 18:1.
Here are the ratios for the the various tuning options for a violin:
Traditional pegs: 1:1
Perfection pegs (geared): 4:1
Wittner pegs (geared): 8:1
Fine tuners: 20:1
I prefer the Wittners, myself. With a violin that has the pegs and peg holes properly carved and lubricated, a violinist with much experience can tune as fast or faster with the traditional pegs. (Pierre (aka Fiddlerman) actively prefers them.) I don't want to deal with 5 years of frustration building up to that skill level. 🙂 Although, to be fair, when changing strings, the traditional pegs are a LOT faster (4 to 1 or 8 to 1 times faster, depending on the brand. 🙂 )
@Charles I am coming back to violin just the last couple of months, and working with a violin that is over 100 years old and with a E peg that my grandfather whittled, probably because it was sticking. Only took me a week to consistently and fairly quickly tune my violin using Fiddlerman's violin tuning app. I feel that the fact that I was breaking in new FM strings, probably affected the time it took. It is not that hard to nail the correct tone and lock it in with traditional pegs. Like previously mentioned, start just under the correct tone, move it up and push it in when you hit the right tone. Only peg that occasionally doesn't cooperate is the E string, but it is my grandfather's fault for whittling the peg. I suppose someone who has trouble telling when two tones are the same or different may have trouble, but the Fiddlerman tuning app actually uses tones of actual bowed violin strings which really makes it much easier for people who haven't got trained ears. Not sure about people that are tone deaf, but never met a tone deaf musician. I do have to admit that I have an excellent ear and can hear errors in recordings and live performances. I can also tell when a turntable drags and speeds up even if it is a minor fluctuation. Maybe I shouldn't expect the average ear to nail stuff as fast as I do. I have people tell me that, it means I have perfect pitch, but to have perfect pitch you need to know the notes you're hearing. I am just relearning sheet music and am retraining my ear, so far from it! I am pretty sure though, that Fiddlerman has it!
"Reality is an illusion, albeit a persistent one".- Albert Einstein
@Cearbhael, I'd say that conclusively proves that you're (considerably) more coordinated than I am. 🙂
@Loretta, I sit corrected. It takes some people a long time to learn how to do that. Obviously, there are also some who can learn it much more quickly. I hope you're lucky and am more like Cearbhael than me.
@ Charles @ coordinated? Me? HaaHa... You wouldn't say that if you saw me the first couple of days! I busted my new E string 4 days after I got my violin set up. Bought FM strings to replace the D'Addario strings, switched the A and E pegs (the whittled peg was in the A slot). Once I switched the pegs and carefully strung the FM strings. I started working on tuning. I had plenty of trouble with slipping, especially the first couple of days, but it got easier very quickly. I am basically considered a bull in a China shop since I have nerve damage and loss of feeling in my left hand fingers, and I am left handed! Keep in mind, I played violin for 2-3 years when I was 11-13 years old (in my late 60's now) and played in the school orchestra so I tuned violin with traditional pegs a lot back then. Yes, I am relearning but some parts are like riding a bicycle, and it is possible tuning, for me, may be one of those parts. Not sounding like a dying cat is one of the parts for me too. (I remember it from my first lessons). I do remember how to to get a clear note out of a string. I also, give more credit to my ear than my coordination, and a lot of credit to FM's awesome tuning app for being so easy to use and being the actual sound of bowed open violin strings.
"Reality is an illusion, albeit a persistent one".- Albert Einstein
I'm new to the forums! I started playing a couple of months ago, mostly self-learning through online communities. When I start getting serious about improving my technique (for now it's just playing basic notes and not giving my neighbors a reason to murder me), I'll look into finding a private teacher. For the most part, I'm not in an English-speaking country, so I thought I'd find a place to post questions and share my experiences. So, hello. 🙂
A little bit about myself: I wouldn't say no to getting more "classical" training or studying classical pieces in the future, but I really like playing film and video game music. I mostly play around with soundtracks, like Game of Thrones and Star Wars. The songs are recognizable when I play them, and with a whole bunch of time and practice, they might even start to sound decent. 🙂 But I'm just taking my time and enjoying for now.
My current situation: I've gotten rid of scratchy notes (for the most part), and my notes have gotten strong and consistent. The problem is that now, there is like zero variation, haha. So for softer songs, I sound super imposing and angry because every note has the same intensity. Now I'm working towards more variation. I'm making some progress, but it's all about practice. 🙂
Nice to meet everyone!
Yes, welcome to the forum. I think you'll find a lot of helpful folks here. What non-english speaking country are you in? I'm in one too... Texas 😉
As far as all the tune sounding the same, don't be too upset. For me one of the hardest parts of learning the violin/fiddle is bow control. Fast bow, slow bow, edge of hair, full hair, press hard with index finger or lighten up.
I have "warped" left hand fingers because of arthritis, but still find bowing the thing to control. The bow is where all the dynamics come from.
So keep practicing and playing with bow pressure and speed and you will eventually get what you want out of your instrument.
Bob in Lone Oak, Texas