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brand new to violin
I'm teaching myself
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (4 votes) 
October 25, 2014 - 9:15 pm
Member Since: October 18, 2014
Forum Posts: 3
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 Hello All!!


I've had my violin for exactly one week...I practice everyday and have watched many of the videos on this site. I have the fingerings down for the G string and have moved onto the D string, but I am having trouble playing this string on its own. I am unable to keep a constant sound, I am not sure when the bow should be up or down or straight and I am getting very frustrated. Any suggestions and tips or other videos would be greatly appreciated. I don’t want to keep practicing my mistakes.


Fort Lauderdale
October 25, 2014 - 11:44 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16063

Hey Don,

Congratulations on your new violin and first steps at learning to play. Also, welcome to the forum.
Look at playing the four separate strings as four different elbow height positions. Don't practice playing between the G and A but rather see how perfectly you can position angle of the bow so as to have equal distance from both strings. It's like not trying to get the ball in the green but rather see how close to the hole you can come. :)
Once you find that perfect angle, take a mental picture of it with your arm and try to memorize it. It will take time to be able to do it automatically but each practice session will bring you closer. Also, if you hit the G string while playing on the D just lower your elbow. If you hit the A string when trying to play the D just raise your elbow. :)

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


October 26, 2014 - 4:21 am
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
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Welcome aboard, donross.

Hopefully Fiddlerman's reply is all you needed, and everything is going good now.  He's really good at this stuff.

But if not... The forum is a great place to get help, but you can get more help if you give a bit more for folks to work with.  Some pictures of your violin, showing the bridge so we can see if the string heights are good, for example.  Or an audio recording so folks here can hear how the sound on the D string isn't constant, and there's a good chance that someone here may have run into exactly that problem before and can help you out. 

Just a thought for you, there.

Oh, and welcome to the delightful madness that is violin!  


"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

Honorary tenured advisor

October 26, 2014 - 11:49 am
Member Since: January 19, 2014
Forum Posts: 973
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Like Daniel said, without a recording, we can't be sure what you mean by "constant," but I can guess.  First, review the videos here on bowing.  Second, practice playing the different strings without placing the left hand fingers on the strings -- just practice playing the open strings.  Like FM said, changing from one string to the next is a matter of raising or lowering the elbow.  The other thing that can cause the sound not to be constant is moving the bow at an inconsistent speed and/or downward pressure on the bow.  Additionally, inconsistent sound can come from changing you sounding point (the distance that the bow contacts the strings between the bottom of the fingerboard and the bridge.)  The solution is to practice playing the open strings, bowing in both directions until you get those three things figured out.  

1. Height of elbow

2. Consistent bow speed and pressure

3. Constant sounding point. 

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


October 26, 2014 - 12:54 pm
Member Since: September 21, 2013
Forum Posts: 492
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welcome to the wonderful world of violins! The boys have pretty much covered what your problem could be without seeing it so i hope some of those helped. Don't be afraid to throw up a critique video :D they are wonderfully helpful when working through though spots!! 

Lead me, Follow me, or get out of my way!

             ~General George S. Patton

King for a Day, Peasant for many

October 26, 2014 - 2:09 pm
Member Since: February 13, 2012
Forum Posts: 1816
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In addition to all of the above... I have found over the years that bow speed has a lot to do with your resultant sound achieved.

Trying to watch all the various things when first getting started is a real can of worms. LoL Ain't it fun!!??

In addition to all these things that affect the bow position, you'll find the angle of the violin itself influences the angles and your mind will need to automatically adjust to that scenario.

The good thing is... it all comes together eventually, and usually it's all a function of the amount of time you consistently put into it.

A common problem many new players have is they practice every day for the first few weeks and then don't seem to realize they are really improving so they tend to loose interest and then slack to once or twice a week and then try to make a 3 hour session on the weekend make up for missing 5 days during the week.

Don't work that way... pace yourself and just continue to put in the time. You'll be amazed how crazy good you'll sound after the first 6 months are over and you devote good practice time consistently over that period of time.

Pretty soon you become addicted to practicing, it's like a drug trying to achieve that perfect sound. I've been on here from the beginning and I'll tell ya... it ain't easy... but it's a whole lotta fun! banana

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

Brora, North-east Scotland
October 27, 2014 - 3:20 am
Member Since: March 22, 2014
Forum Posts: 3741
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Nothing to add to what has been said, just to say WELCOME, Don !

Enjoy your voyage with the violin !

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

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

California, the place of my heart
October 27, 2014 - 1:55 pm
Member Since: January 11, 2012
Forum Posts: 4180
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Hello and welcome:

It is a blast to learn to play the violin.  I would recommend a few of the FM videos and     I personally think the more you bow, the better off you'll be.  The open string bowing is something I missed in the beginning and I think it makes all the difference in the world. Keep on doing it and you will notice changes for the good.   ;)

In one of the beginning vids Pierre has bowing across the strings and recommends we do it as long and as slow as possible.  

So much to learn and have fun with. 

Welcome welcome.  I don't think anyone in the history of the forum has had a worse or squeakier first 3 months than myself. :)  

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato


October 27, 2014 - 3:38 pm
Member Since: September 30, 2014
Forum Posts: 1726
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Welcome aboard, relax and enjoy the journey of learning to play the Violin.



Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons


October 28, 2014 - 2:42 am
Member Since: August 28, 2013
Forum Posts: 993
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Yep, welcome home.  We've all been there and for most of us, it's been fairly recently. 


Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.


Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North Country

October 28, 2014 - 11:56 am
Member Since: October 18, 2014
Forum Posts: 3
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Thanks so much for everyone's recommendations!! I am quite addicted to "getting it right" and my husband says that he's noticed an improvement just in the short time I've had my violin.  My problem is that I have never been one for practicing all the technical stuff with any instrument I've learned....I want to get straight to the songs! :) I have to learn to practice my patience more I think!


October 28, 2014 - 12:55 pm
Member Since: February 11, 2014
Forum Posts: 633
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Your jar is filling up but I'm gonna throw in my 2 cents anyway.
5 minutes open bowing, full long strokes then quarter notes, then eighth, then triplets,then 16th ,,80 bpm
5 minutes finger dexterity (fm's sheets)
5 minutes 7 major scales
5 minutes break, get up, walk around.
10 minute working on some detail.
Then play your songs.
The above must be done while smiling.

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