I bought my first violin, a Mendini MV 300, nearly a year ago (I didn't think it had been that long, but I just checked, and online order histories don't lie!) and played it for maybe a month or two, then didn't touch it for quite some time. In the last month or so, however, I discovered that I really wanted to get back into it, so this video is the result.
It's hard for me to upload a video of myself doing something that I know is flawed, but I figured I needed to let go of my need to hide myself away until I decided I sounded "perfect" enough (because I know that day will never arrive!).
So here it is, warts and all. My version of Ashokan Farewell. At some point in the future, it will hopefully be a great reminder of where I started.
EDIT TO ADD: I am playing my new Mendini MV650 in this video.
Well, DSO, had you posted to "Critique Corner" here in the forum, I could maybe give some help, but since you didn't, I'll just say, "good job".
Thank you, Ken. And yeah, I wasn't feeling quite brave enough to post in Critique Corner yet. I certainly will in the future when I have something a bit more, um, polished. This video was just to get my feet wet.
I really do appreciate you taking the time to respond, though. And I look forward to posting in the Critique Corner and getting specific feedback from you and everyone else.
Thanks, coolpinkone! Oh, hey, did you hear my vibrato? No?
NEITHER DID I!!! (ha ha ha)
Mr. Yikes, there's really no comparison between my MV 300 and my MV650, lol. But I will try to be more specific.
One of the most obvious *visual* differences (besides the finish, which hardly matters) is the fine tuners. The fine tuners on the 300 are not particularly responsive, and the little knob that you turn feels pretty insubstantial, as though it might break (though none of them have, to be fair). I ended up hardly using them at all, tuning almost exclusively with the pegs.
As for the sound, the MV650 has a much more resonant tone. When you bow an open string, the "ringing" effect takes longer to decay than on the MV 300, which sounds muffled in comparison. The MV 300 does have *some* ring to it (the sound doesn't immediately stop the moment you move the bow off the string) but it doesn't last as long. Some of that may be due to the strings (the 650 has Zyex strings, while the 300 has Pro-Arte) but I can't help but think that a great deal of the difference is due to the construction of the instruments. Who knows?
The strings on my MV650 are also much closer to the fingerboard, which makes playing a lot easier, but that is due to the fact that I had the nut filed down and a new bridge installed. I never played it before that, so I don't know how good or bad the string action was when I first received it.
Bottom line: I love my 650, but I'm hanging on to my 300, too. In fact, at some point I may even have a luthier put a new bridge on my 300. The 300 is perfect for a "beater" violin that you don't have to worry so much about getting bumped or dinged. And for $59, I don't regret purchasing the 300 for a moment.
But my 650 is my shiny little baby, and I want to help her sing the way she was meant to.
I didn't say anything the other day when we met because I didn't want to influence you in any way. But now that you've had a chance to get acquainted, I'm sure you noticed the weight difference, the 650 is going to be full, robust, not thin and whinny. Some day, not now but some day, you may want to sand paper the neck just a little to get rid of the "ridges". In about three months you may decide to take off the three fine tuners, that will have a positive effect on tone,,,,be sure to record a before and after, just so you can check. I hope the zyex works well for you, they did not for me, sounded brash, raspy. Do make sure to wipe off the rosin, especially in the c bout. When changing strings, lay a cloth under the tailpiece; if the bridge falls the fine tuner legs will dig in to the finish, a cloth would help stop it. If you are going to remove the chin rest for any reason, put a real bend in the wire you use to untighten the clamp. I failed to do this and now have a scratch on the finish. And this violin really does open up with age, so record some simple tones that you can compare next year. I really don't mean to sound bossy, I'm just eager to hear about your journey with your new violin.
Hey MrYikes , thanks so much for all the advice. Not bossy at all, I really appreciate it.
If you don't mind my asking, did you find strings that you thought worked well for the MV650? So far Zyex are the only strings I've tried, so I have no basis for comparison. What are you using at the moment?
As for the chin rest, I'm still using the the one that came with it, but I put the impressionist chin rest on top of it (the one that you heat up in water to soften and then make an impression of your jaw to customize the fit). I really like the impressionist, but I'm still not sure about my shoulder rest, which is the Wolf Secondo Forte. I'm thinking about trying the Bon Musica, and if I do, I'll likely have to reheat and remold the impressionist again for the new configuration (no big deal).
Again, thanks for your perspective!
I remember when I first got the violin, I played without a shoulder rest and the violin was wiggling all over the place. I thought it was great when I put on a normal rest, then 9 months later, I took it off and used FM's red sponge and then I found the rubber shelf liner that I use now. I used the stock chin rest and discarded it also and tried playing without one, just last month I put one back on. I have a couple cheap ones coming that I can hack up to be able to see what I want and then try to find it or more probably make it.
My journey with strings has been a long one. I have twenty different sets and have thrown out several others. But most of those have been the really cheap varieties. I wanted to know for myself if they were bad and what bad really sounds like (that's why I posted those 6 sound files so people could hear for themselves without having to buy them.) We each have to decide what we want to hear. I practice a lot and I want a soft, not loud sound. If I ever get good enough to torture anyone other than the cats with my playing, I can then change to a string with volume.
To me the perlon strings all have a sandy, sh or ch or s sound in front of their tone. But that is in my ear, it may not sound that way 5 feet away. I can't yet talk the wife to come into the music room, let alone play the violin so I can hear it.
As for what's on Vanessa right now, it's Alice G and D strings from different sets, and Warchal A and E. I will play them for two weeks and then decide if I want them or not.
@Daniel_Shaped_Object Playing the violin will cause a person to do things wwaaayy out of character!!
Nice job on Ashokan!!
Violinist start date - May 2013
Fiddler start date - May 2014
FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius. BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.
Good job on posting a vid. I know just turning the camera onto record makes me mess up. But it's not as bad now as it used to be.
Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.