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I've been learning a little over a year now, and it's challenging, but I enjoy a good challenge, even if I hate the challenge at the moment, lol 🙂 Are you going to take lessons, or learn on your own?
On a journey to learn the fiddle since July 24, 2015
Learning on you own is doable 🙂 Having a teacher take a look at your playing to make sure you're not developing any bad habits can be a good idea when you start out... bad habits could be hard to break. I started taking lessons with the idea in mind of just having a teacher get me started in the right direction, but so far over a year later I'm still taking my lessons, lol.
On a journey to learn the fiddle since July 24, 2015
LOL - yup - I would agree fully with Mandy ( @damfino ) - and I personally would love to have the opportunity to get some "structured" lessons - but unfortunately that's not possible here - well, at least not without a three-hour drive each way for a 30 minute or so lesson... which sounds like a wasted-day to me.... I can get "more" off the internet in the same time-span....
There ARE some fiddlers around here, but they are all self-taught (and pretty good I should add!) but they cannot teach ! ( LOL ) .... Sure - they can "demonstrate" what they do, but can't really explain what, or why they are doing what they do.... hahaha. Even I, at a couple of years in to playing, strangely enough, do some things which seem "easy to me" - and they'll say "wow - how do you do that?" LOL... we're all just amateurs making the best of it !!!!! And - well - there's not a lot wrong with that.
So I rely very VERY heavily on information from this site, not just about playing techniques - demonstrated admirably by Pierre - but also instrument-specific information ( SP, bridge, etc etc set-up, strings, bows, rosins and so on ) as discussed by many forum members.
I also follow closely a lot of other on-line stuff from folks like Vi Wickam and FiddleHed - oh - and many others who give extensive detail on technique... but without doubt http://www.fiddlerman.com is THE place to always come back to... LOL
Out of interest @Nathalie - do you have any prior musical background ? Any previous instruments played etc? Do you sing in tune ? Do you "pick up a tune quickly" and be able to hum-along to it ? Many people will disagree with me on this, but even if you have played piano, or better still guitar for instance - (just as an amateur with no formal instruction) then I believe that can be a HUGE help to get you off the ground on your violin journey, even if you don't know much about "music theory"
I rather suspect, until you have embraced violin / fiddle playing over a lifetime - there will always be more to learn... it's awesome !
Good luck with your journey !
I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh -
Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)
Although I did take lessons when I was a kid, that was a long time ago and I had forgotten almost everything over the 42 years since then.
I bought a Cecilio CVN-500, full-size, that came with a digital tuner and enough of the essentials to get me started.
I had never tuned a violin before then, my violin instructor had always taken care of that when I was a kid, but with a little effort, and persistence, I was able to get my new violin tuned with that tuner. The first time was the hardest. I think it took about an hour, and later, I would find that the E string was tuned to the wrong octave (the tuner did not tell me that, I found and app for that). I am now far enough along to change strings, realign the bridge, and get my violin tuned much faster, and I even removed all but the E string fine tuner. It just took some practice.
I have yet to mess with the sound post, but that is something I may tackle after I buy the tools I will need for that.
As for lessons, I bought a few different violin lesson books, and one came with my violin. My budget does not currently allow for taking violin lessons, so I have to teach myself... with the help of those lesson books, and a few online resources, like fiddlerman.com.
One thing about those first attempts to play a tune on a violin. It is mighty rough at first, especially without an instructor. But keep at it. Don't give up. Just keep practicing and it will start coming to you. Soon, you will be able to play at least a few simple tunes. Later, a few harder ones, and so on. At three months in, I am nearly ready for intermediate tunes, but not quite. I still need to work on some of the basics, like timing and not bowing two strings at the same time, by accident. I am getting better, but sometimes that G string, or that E string, just refuse to get out of the way. 😉
Hi and welcome MACJR, about the sound post you can set the post using a loop of thread through a piece of plastic straw. But get the $9 tool, it is much faster and having it takes away the fear of the post falling. Two options on strings: Preludes (steel) or Fiddlerman's (perlon). Put them on and then don't think about strings for an entire year. Bow: get Fiddlerman's carbon fiber bow and then don't think about bows for 5 years. The space between your shoulder and your chin will be filled with a shoulder rest, violin and the chin rest. If you have a thin shoulder rest, you will need a thicker chin rest. If you have a taller shoulder rest, then you will have a thinner chin rest. The option is yours.
I like the 92-D tuner and use the metronome everyday (in fact I just bought another one last week)but I also bought 5 clip-ons so I can keep one on each instrument without having to change. Get some Hill peg dope so that you will not have to worry about pegs (or just use a birthday candle and some chalk)
The violin you have is a really good choice and will serve you well for many years. It will take a couple of years for it to completely open up and when it does the tone will be even more silky and LOUD.
Then download the Wohlfahrt Etudes from here at the top under sheet music. Post videos of your playing so that people here help you adjust.
I am not normally so opinionated, but I wasted considerable time learning how to work on violins rather than spend the time learning how to play them. I hope you do not fall into that same trap.
Hello MrYikes, nice to meet you.
From what I have researched so far, my sound post seems to be at about the right spot, but I may want to see if adjusting it this way or that will help some at a later time. I would much rather wait until I have the proper tools for that, before I try anything.
My violin came with D'Addario Prelude strings, I had opted to pay a little extra to get the better strings. They were okay, but I wanted to try synthetic core strings, so I bought a set of Pirastro Tonica, with a Gold label E string, back in November. I am not quite sure if I like this set better than the Prelude strings, but they do sound a little softer. The problem may be the G string seems a bit fuzzy now. I am not sure if it was that unfocused before switching from the Preludes, or not, though. I had not been practicing on the G string before I swapped strings. Now I am almost tempted to change back to find out, but I am in no rush. It can wait. I am not sure if those Tonica strings are durable enough to be removed, and re-added again, later. They are already a bit stretched at the nut.
I do have a set of Fiddlerman strings on my list of items to get, but it may be a few more months before I buy a set.
I also have my eye on a Fiddlerman carbon fiber bow. That too will have to wait until I can squeeze it into my budget. There are still many things on my get list, and it will take a while to get them all. Since the bows that came with the violin work well enough for now, they will do for now... but I am looking forward to having better bows to play with.
As for chin rest, I have never even bothered to try out the one that came with the violin. It does not seem like anything I need. I really do not have much of a neck anyway. I also pump iron... which makes my practice sessions rather brutal sometimes, standing there practicing for about 45 minutes to an hour after I have ripped my muscles to shreds.
As for chin rest... I am not sure I like the strad style chinrest that came with my violin. I am starting to get used to it, but I am not sure I will ever find that thing comfortable. I my switch it to another type eventually. One like I had on that elementary school violin might suit me much better.
As for the pegs, so far I have not needed any peg solutions. I just pressed them in a bit, and they are more than snug enough. 😉
Yep, been doing my research. I still have a lot to learn though, so I welcome suggestions and feedback.
It will be a while yet before I feel ready to record samples of my playing, but I may do so at some point. Just not yet.
Okay, I think my G string issue is not with the Pirastro Tonica G string, or the violin. I just need to play that G string better. I was managing to bring out better sounding notes during today's practice session.
Overall, I like the Pirastro Tonica strings, but they tend to vibrate longer than the Prelude strings did, and that part I am not as fond of. I do like the softer tones though.
However, I may experiment with alternate E strings before too long. And I am interested in trying a set of Fiddlerman strings when my Tonica strings start wearing out.
I played without a chin or shoulder rest for about 6 months and loved it. The violin was so light. The problem I found was down shifting. The violin moved when shifting and I had to concentrate on that rather than the music. So I glued a small piece of wood to the top of the violin that my chin could grab when shifting. It worked. But then I found other problems and went back to chin and shoulder rests. (this was on a $30 plywood violin)
The Tonicas you have will last a year, so you don't have to think about strings. What you have is perfect. But you can take them off and put them back on. They will take it.
About the videos. Its not about being good. Its about having knowledgeable people helping you with form.
Just a note for all of you regarding the Fiddlerman Strings. If a string breaks within 3 months we'll replace it free. Just send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
We know that it is sometimes your fault but what the hay.....
Good to know.
Fortunately, 3 months in, and I still have not broken any strings yet. 😉
definitely adult learner here! 🙂 almost a year now. if you can afford to take some lessons, i would. there's just so much more to a violin than playing the notes - which i could have figured out on my own. but so much. it can be hard at times, but i also notice little 'light bulbs', and something will sound better and it gives me motivation to keep on going.
Welcome to the forum.
Adult beginner here. If you can get a handful off lessons, I believe that is great... if not, then you truly can learn to self teach yourself the violin.
Good luck and welcome.
Ask questions, listen to videos. There is usually more than one way to learn something, or a technique. Find out what works and make some music!
Welcome and congrats.
Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato
I think taking lessons would be ideal, but that is not in my budget.
So self-learning it is, for me. 😉
At least I did get some training as a kid. Not much of that stuck with me, but I think that early training did give me a head start and allowed me to pick up speed a little faster than the average person coming in with no experience at all. Not much of a head start though, 42 years is a long of time to build up rust and forget things. But maybe even just those few long dormant memories that stuck with me gave me just a touch of an advantage.
The lack of early training does not mean that other people could not pick things up just as fast, or faster, than I did though, on their own. If they do the research, find some good lesson books, watch videos, listen to audio tracks, and keep up with regular practice sessions, no matter how hard it is, or discuraging it may be at times. Just keep working at it and you will get better and better at playing the violin.
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