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Just picked up my Realist RV-5 from Fiddlershop.com down at the post office. Packaging was in good shape. Lots of Fragile stickers all over the box. Inside, the case that comes with the instrument is top notch. The instrument itself was packaged with foam and cardboard blocks to keep the fingerboard, bridge, and tail piece from moving around. After unpacking everything, I tuned it up and played with it for a bit.
Acoustically I think it sounds wonderful! Compared to the instrument I've been playing, a nice 26+ year old student violin, the realist sounds clean, deep, and mellow. I think that there are added ring tones and sub-harmonics added by the C string that really make it sound deep and rich, colored in chocolates, reds and purples rather than blues, greens, and yellows.
It is going to take a little getting used to. I tried playing a couple things and while most of the time it went OK, I did notice a bit of fat finger syndrome that resulted in some unwelcome squeaks and squawks. I'm still a less than 1yr beginner so having something new to get used to is pretty much an every day thing.
Practice amp arrives later today. Can't wait!
The really good news... my teacher plays a 5 string exclusively and has done so for many years.
How are you coming along with that Realist 5 now that you've had it for awhile, Joe?
I'm still interested in that, but I'm 'scared' of the 5 strings. Of course there is the 4 string option but the 5 is enticing. I recently picked up an excellent deal on an electric, an NS Wave, but really have not been playing it because I don't have an amp yet. Also just a few days after I purchased it, the travelling fiddle arrived, so I was neglecting my new purchase in favor of that. What kind of an amp did you get?
I am really happy with the Realist. As I get better with my bowing, it just continues to sound better and better. I could not be happier with my investment in the RV5 and my Coda Bow.
I don't use the C string much, other than when I want to switch to Viola parts. As I get better I suspect I'll incorporate it more into improvisations and ornaments.
BTW, when you are ready to buy and AMP I would highly recommend that you call the folks at the Electric Violin Shop or contact them via email. I'm not sure how the NS would work, but I wasted money buying a guitar combo amp. I could never get the guitar amp to sound good with the instrument. A PA type amp works great.
On the recommendation of Adam DeGraff, I ended up buying a Fishman SA220. It has way more power than I need and was quite pricey but I justified it for use at a couple outdoor weddings and a block party... weak justification but what the heck