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Possibly unplayable bow?
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 

May 22, 2016 - 10:57 am
Member Since: July 7, 2015
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The way you describe the position of your chin rest sounds right to me.  I think I would have a problem holding up my violin without some support from my left hand.

have you watched all these videos ?

I swear- someday I will be playing as well as my imagination 

California, the place of my heart
May 24, 2016 - 1:29 pm
Member Since: January 11, 2012
Forum Posts: 4176
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Sometimes when I am not bowing parallel I get that scratchy.

And bow speed helped to get rid of the scratch.

Good luck with our bowing and bow.

You got this!

You are asking the questions and obviously putting in the work.  Good Job!!!

Love Love to read everyone's adventures and journey into violin.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

Brora, North-east Scotland
May 27, 2016 - 7:20 am
Member Since: March 22, 2014
Forum Posts: 3521
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farmboy said ...

Anyway my violin sounded so bad because it was tuned one octave below. I now put it in tune and it's much better. Strings are new and they need to be stretched

Aye, well that would do it! LOL.  There is no need to be shy about posting anything - you have nothing to "prove" to anyone, and that would have been spotted immediately....   Glad you are now on-your-way !!!

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

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


June 17, 2016 - 5:17 pm
Member Since: June 8, 2016
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Hey @farmboy I too am a beginner and also have the scratchy bow sound which is terrible. Some days it's worse than others but I just started this month and am pushing forward. I try different amounts of rosin to see if that's the problem.  Still playing around with that if I may use that pun.  🙂

Fort Lauderdale
June 18, 2016 - 7:26 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 15213
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See if you can test another violin with the same bow. It might be the violin or where you are making contact on the strings with the hair. Possibly your bow technique.

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

Berlin, Germany

July 5, 2016 - 3:31 am
Member Since: June 26, 2016
Forum Posts: 573
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The player in the video obviously had SOME bow hair left. I can tell as my own bow maker of 1600s style bows, that 120 bow hairs are certainly not necessary. I read, in the Ottoman-Turkish empire they put under 30 hairs on their bows. Personally, I came to the conclusion, 40 hairs are right for me. Of course you can smear sirup (that's how they invented primitive string instruments in stone age) on whatever stick and get some sounds out of a violin, but the quality will be very poor. I experimented with monofil too, which was extremely difficult. It worked best with my a very cheap monofil thread from my sewing box--the response is good, but the sound is not as nice as with horse hair. Generally, it's said on the net, synthetic bow hair sounds rougher and not as sweet as horse hair. I am supposed to believe that after my personal experience.



The problem with cheap bows is mainly the weight. Making a modern bow as light as possible, takes more afford, which will certainly make the bow more expensive. I started with a 79.00 Euro violin and found the bow awfully heavy. If you rehair such a bow with high quality hair, the sound will be great, which wouldn't solve my problem. Baroque bows are even more expensive than normal bows, so I became my own bow maker. The HAIR is the most important part of the bow! Low quality hair is bad, but if you use high quality hair too long, that's bad as well. Some people never have a rehairing for years and insist they wouldn't need to, but frankly I think these people are crazy.

Generally it's a good idea, to suspect the bow and the bowing first, if the sound is not right. I have been suspecting my fingers on the fingerboard for months, assuming, I wasn't pressing down the strings hard enough. Some self-declared violin tutor on YouTube told a commentator, "Your're probably not pressing down the string enough." Unfortunately, I took this seriously which was fatal for it makes playing a painful cramp, and if I cramp my fingerboard arm so much, my bow hand will cramp too. My whole body was not relaxed, which is always good for producing nasty scratchy sounds. I think, scratchyness is a question of not playing in a relaxed fashion. Too much rosin will make scratchyness likelier. Maybe a professional player will play without scratches, using too much rosin--but that's certainly not me. From time to time I even wipe rosin dust of my strings, for it gets scratchier, the more dust builds up there. People have been asking me, "Why the heck are you doing that?" Well, call me crazy, but I find the tone sweeter and cleaner after wiping the dust off.

Frankly I know my limit and quick pieces are not involved there. If you take time, to experiment with slow, long notes, you will likelier produce a nicer tone. The faster the tune is, I'm playing, the less I will be able to relax. To a beginner, a medium tempo is probably already too fast. So, if you force yourself into fiddling Tom Dooley in a medium tempo, this might be rushing yourself too much. I would rather think of an extremely depressed Tom Dooley, who is singing very-very slowly. Which always was my strategy at the start: playing as slow as possible. After all you have to solve several problems at one time. Keeping the bow in the right place, hitting the right sting at the right place and finding the right bow ankle without touching strings nearby. In the hour when I started I was certainly able to get single sounds out of my violin, which were quite nice. But I was not able to play clean phrases. Which was a long-long waiting game over weeks and months to come. It slowly gets better, but not by forcing myself into progress. We have to take time and relax before playing a note or a phrase.

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

Berlin, Germany

July 7, 2016 - 9:50 am
Member Since: June 26, 2016
Forum Posts: 573
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Accusing bow or violin of the players own's how I accused my violin of the mistakes I made:
These days give answer to my most anxious question. When I bought my new violin in October, I told the seller, my cheap old STAGG violin had "gaps". Especially the G on the D sting was weaker than other notes. So I thought, this was a mistake of the instrument, which of course was bunch of hooey. Now, that I'm not anxiously focusing on the right spots on the fingerboard, I have time to watch myself: The ring finger on that G is certainly weaker than index and middle finger and the weaker ring finger effects my bow arm too. Whenever I was desperately focusing on the suffering ring finger, my bow arm was slowing down. Both arms where kind of scared of that ridiculous G and even more so of the G#, because the pinkie is weaker still. The solution is, to look at the bow while playing that G, which fixes that problem right away. Suddenly I can even do trills, involving the ring finger, which was impossible before. It is harder than with index and middle finger, but the trill is not fainting into nothing, if I focus away from the trilling fingers and watch the bow instead. The ring finger is getting stronger every day.

Playing the violin means doing a couple things at one time. Until the fingerboard hand is able to move without focusing on it, there is simply not enough time to focus on the bowing. The goal is, to move fingers on the fingerboard without even knowing what I'm doing there. I'm not completely there yet, but I can more and more defocus from the fingerboard, which improves my bowing. I'm pretty sure, it works with the lousiest bow as well. But learning to move blindly on the fingerboard cannot be learned just in a couple weeks. It gets better bit by bit and takes more than a year. Until then the bowing cannot be free of mistakes, because the brain focuses at one thing at one time only. Multitasking is when the brain switches fast from one thing to another. A beginner can hardly switch his focus away from the finger board, otherwise there will be a lot of false notes. It is unlikely the bow which makes the violin unplayable, it's being a beginner. Which is especially hard at the violin--I have been very desperate in my first 3 months.

My violin is a 3/4 violin, made for right-handed players, though I play it left-handed. As I felt she was the best in the shop of all 3/4 violins I tried and the luthier agreed. I prefer Obligato strings together with Eudoxa E string. Self-made bow, weight: 24 g / 0.85 oz

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