Okay, I've been navigating around the forum for a few months now and I haven't gotten even a hint of another member owning a 5-string fiddle.
Aren't there ANY? Hasn't anyone intentionally bought a 5-string violin other than me?
I don't understand, why not? I think they're GREAT - I LOVE mine!
It is so enjoyable to be able to capture some extra depth - if nothing else, just to be able to change the key of a tune down in lower notes is worth it! Extra string means extra harmonics you can hear, too!
I have to admit many months went by with me wondering if I'd ever get my "C" string to sound like it belonged with the other 4 strings. Come to think of it, I felt the same way about my "G" string when I first started... all 5 strings need to be bowed differently. I also admit I still need to be mindful as to not try to grind the lower strings through the fingerboard with too much finger pressure (it's easy to get carried away). Vibrato is also a little harder on the "C" string, when starting out (so what?).
I've almost got 16 months under my belt, stronger fingers (with better control of them) and my brain is getting the hang of making each of my upper extemities do their different tasks, simultaneously. My ear training is paying off and I still have a fair memory for tunes even though I'm getting OLD (that was hard to say).
Now I have "Mortimer", with the right strings, the right bow, the right rosin and a little co-operation from my body parts - I'm in Heaven and still continuing my adventure!
My question is why haven't more seasoned fiddlers tried a 5-string?
Surely, all you Fiddlers who have been playing for several years shouldn't have any trouble gathering a "C" into your "family fold" of strings...
Anyway, if you're looking to broaden your horizon - you might want to try a 5-string Fiddle!
I've tried a 5-string viola, which has strings tuned the same as a 5-string violin but on a viola body. I chose not to buy it. Playing in high positions is more difficult because the string heights are closer together and the finger pushes the string down more. For the same reason, there is less room to really dig into the string.
I can picture it being useful for fiddlers, if you have good wrist control. Quick string crossings are probably easier, and the disadvantages aren't nearly as pronounced in fiddle styles (or even Baroque/Classical) as they would be for Romantic and post-Romantic music.
I wanted to mention that NOT ALL 5-string violins have the same spacing between strings - some do have exactly the same spacing as a 4-string violin.
Also, NOT ALL bridges of 5-string violins are shaped the same - worth checking out, so to fit your needs!
There's a good article that talks about the string spacing (also see bridge shapes), "Transitioning from a 4-string to a 5-string Violin (and back)" and another discussion that addresses whether a 5-string is harmful or beneficial to technique, but it's at a Fiddlershop competitor, so I'm not linking to it.
Oh, I forgot to mention I still haven't even plugged in my Glasser AEX, yet!
I'm really looking forward to it, but just starting to get comfortable with some wrist vibrato and double stops, so maybe around the 1st of the year (after all the craziness with Holidays & the Grandkids) might be time to experiment. Nothing wrong with my Grandkids remembering me by my ZZ Top or Ted Nugent!
I'm intrigued enough to want to buy a YEV105 one day, but it won't be soon. Maybe some time next year.
Michael Cleveland often plays a 5-string, but not always.
Effect Processors - I've barely started to learn about these and I finally have a good reason to bother my Son-In-Law (he plays electric bass & guitar)! Plus, when I'm ready, I'll be right here asking questions because of the great advice!
I shied away from learning on a purely EV - because I believe how well I hear what I'm playing = how well I can train myself to play by ear.
My Glasser AEX can definitely get loud! I originally chose it (instead of a straight acoustic) to cover "potential" issues I'd read about, like "you can't get good sound from the C-string with only a violin body" (phooey) - supposedly not an issue when electrified. Plus, the thought of using effect processors in the future was intriguing.
there isn't anyone else (besides me) enjoying a 5-string fiddle?
Gordon Shumway -
The YEV105 is a very cool looking 5-string EV, but why not an A/E?
Forgive my ignorance, but what is an A/E? (acoustic electric?) Basically, I wouldn't expect it to be very good acoustically, and if I wanted to play acoustically, I'd use an acoustic violin. One thing that does all jobs well is a rare commodity.
I've got a Hidersine HEV1 electric violin ($250) and a couple of cheap effects units - a Zoom and a Digitech (and a cheap 15W bass amp which does the job OK).
Yes! Acoustic/Electric - that's what my "Mortimer" is.
It took a lot of tweaking between the bridge position, strings, bow tension, rosin and "me"(lol) - but I'm very happy with the sound, acoustically. More than I thought I would be!
And here's the kicker... it's Carbon Composite, too!
My "Mortimer" does have preferences for certain keys, but sings sweetly for me and gives attitude when I need it... so I don't need more.
Don't get me wrong. If I had the opportunity to play an expensive, high-end violin - I'm sure I would go for it - like THAT'S going to happen (lol).
Fiddlerman - didn't I see a "Fiddlershop" Carbon Fiber violin prototype on Clearance - no 5-string?
btw... Michael Cleveland's 5-string is A/E.
Yeah, well I probably still hit a "few" other strings!
The worst problem is if I've been playing double stops (intentionally) on one tune, then go to play another tune that doesn't have any.
Been trying to deal with my new challenges of grabbing the droning strings & bowing/timing of "H-Moll Valsen" - and in different keys! Whew!
This will all get better, in time.
Sorry for my redundancy - really appreciate all your input!
My thoughts on the difficulty of playing a 5-string - figured it would be easier to learn on one right from the beginning instead of trying to switch over later.
Hope maybe a few more fiddlers decide to "kick it up a notch" & consider trying one!
Here's my message to all you NEW Fiddlers out there!
If you are just starting out & serious about learning to play the violin, but really love the lower notes, too - challenge yourself with a 5-String Violin (there are 5-string violas, also)!
As you learn a violin tune or a lesson from a teacher, you can simply begin by trying the same fingerings moved over a string or 2 (you'll be playing the same tune, just in a different key).
Later, you may wish to learn about the Alto Clef if you'd like to be able to play from "viola sheet music" on your violin.
You can start learning with a 5-string instrument or switch to one later, but I have found creative ways to include the 5th string (C), adding depth to most of what I play.
There are many examples of great Fiddlers who use one.
So, consider trying a 5-String - I'm feeling lonely here!
Aah ha, I see there's a 5-string here!
I've seen many 5-string Violins & Violas, but just found one that's been kicked up a notch... not surprised!
A Hardanger D'Amore - 5 playing strings (instead of 4) and 5 sympathetic strings underneath.
"Caoimhín Ó'Raghallaigh demonstrates how the Hardanger d’amore works."
Nobody else get a 5-string, yet?
...still love mine!