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mute or electric violin for practice
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (7 votes) 
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stringy
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August 15, 2021 - 4:04 pm
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What are peoples thoughts on this subject, is a mute better for practice or Electric  fiddle which can be listened to on headphones or turned down. I have new neigbours, and though they havent yet said anything, I have heard them start banging about when I practice, obviously annoyed.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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Gordon Shumway
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August 16, 2021 - 4:39 am
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"Silent" solid electric violins are not silent. You can hear them easily, and you can produce good acoustic tone on them. You don't need phones or an amp. (your neighbours won't hear it, though)

However, electric/acoustic violins are a different matter. They are, I suppose, as loud as a regular violin.

Yehudi Menuhin swore by the value of practising with a mute. I have never bothered.

But a mute is a good way for a beginner to develop good tone, as they can develop the confidence to hammer away, as they should, without causing as much annoyance as they would without a mute.

Andrew

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Mouse
August 16, 2021 - 8:18 am
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@stringy So sorry your situation has changed like that. I have a used Yamaha Silent violin. I am not talking about an acousic electric kr solid body electric that can be heard without an amp. This is a Yamaha Silent violin and needs the amp plugged into it to distribute the sound. It is super quiet because it needs to be hooked up to an amp. However, as the violinist, I can hear it clearly. The tone is clear. The sound, however does not travel far and I believe a truly silent violin would work. 

I am not very knowledgable of the electronics or proper terms, so please be kind with any corrections, but with my experience with this violin, in a smallish single floor ranch style house, I can play it in my livingroom and it cannot be heard in the kitchen. There is just a living room doorway, pretty much right beside where I play, a maybe 3 foot wide hall, and then the doorway to the kitchen/dining area. There are no doors to help prevent the violin from being heard. The livingroom doorway and kitchen/dining room doorway are directly across from each other, just an approximately 3 foot wide hallway separate them.

I would think that this would be a good alternative. You, as the violinist, can hear the violin just fine, but without being connected to an amp, the sound does not travel. I bought mine used. 

I think, and remember I am not techy about this and my terms may be wrong, but the gist is probably pretty accurate, with this SILENT violin, there are no pickups on the violin. The amp cord needs to be plugged in to send the sound to an amp to get the actual sound. When played without the amp, the string sounds are natural, they just do not travel much beyond your ears that are right at the violin. I hope this helps and that I am not too far off with m description.

Sure, it is not ideal or perfect, as will probably be pointed out, but, but when face with obstacles, you just do the best you can.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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Gordon Shumway
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August 16, 2021 - 8:39 am
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Silent electric violins have a piezo-electric pickup under the bridge (quartz emits a tiny electric voltage when compressed). You use ordinary strings.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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August 16, 2021 - 10:14 am
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How Often Do You Have To Practice Thread

In this thread, Fiddlerman recommends a heavy metal mute if you need to play quietly. 

Seems you might want to try that first and if that doesn't work out - then invest in your 2nd option. 

Tough decision... especially as we get older, so much depends on the joy we get from playing - how it sounds is everything. 

Sad situation. 😔 

Maybe you could talk to your neighbors to find out if they could be accepting of a certain time of the evening that you could practice normally? 

There's a chance you might be pleasantly surprised. 🤔

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Fiddlerman
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September 3, 2021 - 2:33 pm
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Yes, the only problem with those heavy steel mutes is that they need to fit your bridge. If they don't fit very well, IOW, the bridge is too thick, they can fall off if you're not very careful and damage the top.
I usually give them a nice tap downwards to secure them.

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

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Gordon Shumway
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September 3, 2021 - 4:20 pm
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Bare metal - forget it.

Artino - a pig to get on first time, and there is a risk that the fight will damage your violin; and if you need visibility, that is impaired too.

I'd suggest that a so-called "ultra heavy rubber practice mute" is adequate. They vary a lot, but often you can get an idea of the weight from the listings (not that there's a 100% correlation between weight and muting) and they are cheap.

Andrew

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Fiddlerman
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September 7, 2021 - 12:34 pm
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Though I know that they were not great for my bridge, the thick metal one is the one I used the most simply because at times, I would play in the middle of the night.

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

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Gordon Shumway
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September 7, 2021 - 12:41 pm
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Fiddlerman said
at times, I would play in the middle of the night.  

Andrew

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Mouse
September 7, 2021 - 12:43 pm
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@Fiddlerman said
Though I know that they were not great for my bridge, the thick metal one is the one I used the most simply because at times, I would play in the middle of the night.

  

I never heard of "in the middle of the night." How does that go?

The Bumblebee Flies!

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ELCBK
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September 7, 2021 - 5:16 pm
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Reminds me of The Fly, "help me... help me!" 

Oooh - Maybe I should find a mute to use on Halloween, for my 5-string. 

 

I could scare everyone! 🤗😈 

- Emily

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Fiddlerman
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September 8, 2021 - 11:20 am
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We include the big rubber mute in a lot of our outfits. Just remind me and I'll make sure we give you one Emily.

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

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Tim317
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April 11, 2022 - 1:44 am
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I'm not the end all of end all's but it seems strange that no one has mentioned this or at least I've not read any post on the subject of full on solid body electric violins.

Its good to know I'm not the only one who had the idea of using one as a muted instrument but mine at least pretty much defeated that purpose by design.

The bridge on mine is set in a saddle that can not be moved and it is several millimeters closer to the nut than where you set bridges on acoustic violins this equates to having to re-learn finger placement to produce a note.

So in the end I rarely play it as I certainly don't need to create more problems with progressing my abilities seeing I'm 11 years in on my journey and as late as 3 years ago the stars finally aligned for me to the point to where I have the proper instrument and bow match to where I finally enjoy playing instead of fighting with the usual "what wrong now! " stuff. 

If my neighbors don't like me playing a 2 A.M. I'll set my cat lose on them!

violin-1267moony-2173rofl 

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ELCBK
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April 11, 2022 - 3:04 am
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@Tim317 -

Can't believe you resurrected this thread. 🤣 

 

@Fiddlerman -

I must've missed your post!

Do they even MAKE a mute for a 5-string Violin or Viola? (not that I need one)

 

Now, why can't people just learn to play softly when it's necessary? 

OR, wipe the rosin OFF the darn bow!

So... does anyone really HAVE to play loud when practicing?

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Mouse
April 11, 2022 - 7:38 am
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Now, why can't people just learn to play softly when it's necessary? 

When people are learning it is quite difficult to control the bow, let alone the loudness or softness.

 

OR, wipe the rosin OFF the darn bow!

It is quite difficult to play if there is no rosin on your bow.

 

So... does anyone really HAVE to play loud when practicing?

People, when learning, do not have the control of the bow to be able to control how loud they are playing when practicing. It is not that they HAVE to play loud. They play at their ability level.

I was using a Yamaha Electric for practicing. When I bought it from the previous owner, the shoulder rest was broken. It is a special shoulder rest. I was able to keep it attached by jerry-rigging it, but that no longer works. Unfortunately, the shoulder rest is not for sale in the US. I contacted Yamaha and they also said the shoulder rest is not available in the US, very weird. I suspect here is some patent issue or dispute, but not sure. Consequently, I can’t use it any longer. I need the shoulder rest. I keep it tuned, but that is about it. But, it was great to use until I got a little comfortable with a piece and then switched to my acoustic. I find it takes me a little longer now. 

The Bumblebee Flies!

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Doc-Ivory
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April 11, 2022 - 10:52 am
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I use a heavy mute and it works just fine cutting the volume WAY down.
I will say though, that to my ear, the tone I get with the mute on is POOR at best.

-Jim

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stringy
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April 12, 2022 - 5:20 am
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My hearing in my right ear isn’t great anyway but when I use the mute, which I eventually decided on I really struggle to hear the ringing notes.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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Gordon Shumway
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April 12, 2022 - 8:30 am
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Yes, mutes require specific practice. I find that playing the Ravel Berceuse, which explicitly demands a mute, requires more care and attention than I expected. Yehudi Menuhin said he always practised using a mute. Perhaps using one also benefits one's unmuted technique?

And yes, mutes reduce the "ringing tones", aka "sympathetic resonances". That takes a little while to get used to. But it might in fact be a good thing, as ringing tones are very important for beginners to hear, but it might get them into a Pythagorean rut - right now I'm finding out how important it is to get those F#s and C#s sharp enough!

I've got a selection of mutes, including Tourtes for one string or two, and some extra heavy rubber ones, but mostly at the moment I use a shield or Menuhin mute because I saw one on telly, and it's pretty convenient. Beware of heavy rubber mutes - I have about 4, and they all sound different. There's only one of the four that I actually like, but I don't think it has any markings on it, so I wouldn't know how to recommend it.

I've also got a solid mahogany mute which I bought in a shop because it was beautiful, but it's pretty impractical, and I never use it.

And I have a rubber one with a metal core which I have mislaid at the moment, and I used to have a solid metal one which I threw away because I hated it. 

Andrew

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stringy
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April 12, 2022 - 10:12 am
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Very interesting about Menuhin, certainly didn’t do him any harm anyway.

Those one string mutes you mention, are they any good at softening the sound.

Probably I would imagine using one must make you listen more attentively.

I was going to order a vioweiss (think that’s how it’s spelled) one from America, but after shipping they come to thirty odd quid which is a bit steep, but they are supposed to be very good.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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Gordon Shumway
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April 12, 2022 - 10:45 am
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stringy said
Those one string mutes you mention, are they any good at softening the sound. 

Yes, they are fine. Originally I bought them because my C#s never sounded good, and two afterlengths resonated at C# and I bought a couple of mutes to detune them. But you only need one such mute to soften the sound. Too much water has flowed under the bridge since then for me to know if the result was meaningful or not. Prolly not. I moved my bridge back a few mm too to sharpen the G-string afterlength to D ('cos there had been some people on VCom gabbling on about it). But recently my C#s have beeen fine with the bridge returned to its original position - I decided to trust where my luthier had put it - and with my shield mute. Like I say to people, don't blame your gear, blame yourself. I just need to find a gentler way to put it. Yesterday and today I put on my first set of Zyexes, so everything is up in the air. I vaguely recall Viowiess mutes being mentioned on VCom. They are fugly.

Andrew

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