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Hi- I recently came into possession of a Skylark MV-005 student violin outfit, and it appears to be in pretty good shape (by that I mean it's all there and no one has sat on it). I cleaned it up and tuned it- and adjusted the bridge like I'm supposed to- and rosined (is that how you spell it?) the bow and generally treated it like a baby because it just looks so small and fragile in my hands.
In any case- and armed with a disclaimer that I have absolutely no training whatsoever in playing this thing (or any stringed instrument other than a guitar) so far- I tried my hand at making some sound, any sound, that sounded reasonable. As I noted in my introduction post, 'scratching out a tune' doesn't even begin to describe the horror of what came out that thing.
Eventually after a few minutes of threatening my fingers with amputation I was able to pick out a few notes and a grim version of 'twinkle twinkle'- yay. The problem now is that no matter how smoothly I draw the bow on any string, it's very, very thin and well, scratchy. I took a look at the strings and I noticed a pretty good accumulation of rosin on the 'bowing area' (if that's what you call it) on the strings themselves- is there such a thing as having TOO much rosin on a bow? If so, how do I clean the thing and get it back to a point where it sounds better? Or is it pretty much a matter of just using the bow until all that wears off and starting over again?
Any tips or advice on this would be very much appreciated!
Hey, another noob here. The way I start my practice every time is with bowing practice. At least 5 minutes if not more. I try to do a couple of things during this. 1. Even bow strokes. I try to make sure my speed is consistent throughout and keep even pressure at the same time. Both up and down strokes.
2. Work on string interchanges. I try to make it sound smooth going from one string to the next. Doesn't happen alot right now but I get it right once in awhile.
3. Arm position. I try to make sure my arm is in the right position depending on what string I am on. I have a tendency to roll my wrist instead of lifting my arm for the G string. Working on it.
Learned everyone of these tips here. Watch videos and read the forum. Lots of great advice if you ask me. Working my way down the videos listed on the left. Follow 1-12 and it seems like I should have a pretty good base.
Oh how I wish threatening my fingers would work. They seem to have a mind of their own sometimes.
I used to put a ton of rosin on my bow > thinking this magic powder would make it better. > I just rosin up about 6 times or so across the bow now. I keep my strings clean after I play and before > Sort of get them ready for more magic dust. What I have found very helpful to alleviate me with the Cat Scratch thing has been using the metronome and drawing the bow very slowly over the strings full stroke and back. Still have a bit of Cat Scratch Fever in there but it is getting better.
Thank you all for your replies and suggestions! One more for now: the rosin that I have is rather dark (almost a heavy beer color), but it's what came with the violin. From what I've been reading here and there on the web the stock stuff is pretty bad; but, being new to this I don't know any better!
Is there a decent 'beginner grade' rosin that might improve things a bit? Does rosin 'dry out' after a time? I actually have two bricks of the same stuff; one is still shiny all over and the other appears to have been roughed up a bit for use (that's the one I've used so far). What rosin would you guys suggest I take a look at using?
The rosin that comes with inexpensive violins is almost always not as good as other rosins you can buy. It will be adequate but will almost always produce quite a bit of rosin dust. Treat yourself to some better rosin, then you'll be amazed at the lack of rosin dust, plus you'll be assured of knowing you have better rosin. And the rosin will last for years usually, so the somewhat higher price you pay for it is more than offset for how long it lasts and the convenience of not having to wipe the rosin dust off the violin after every practice..
One good rosin would be the D'Addario Kaplan Artcraft sold in Fiddlershop.com. I don't find any difference between dark or light versions, but the dark is what Fiddlerman usually recommends. I really like it!