Gordon Shumway said
If you've got a Fiddlerman bow and you've been playing for 4 months, I'd say stick with the Fiddlerman bow. Rather, since it's a kit, stick with the kit. Buying new gear will just be a symptom of frustration with the slowness of the learning process. Maybe plan an upgrade for your first anniversary, but don't dive in now.
Good advice, new bow after four months is pointless.
@Ash Telecaster -
Fiddlerman bows have been recently improved - VERY nice, but don't know if you received one of the improved ones in your kit, or not - ask them at the Fiddlershop.
Should be all you need, for now. How you hold & use that bow, allow flexibility, is more important - many subtle nuances you never experienced as a guitar player. And don't use a light colored rosin right now - also, too much is as bad as too little.
If you've been playing several hours, with a lot of pressure, every day - you will probably benefit from new strings within this next couple months.
Yes, you can try warmer or brighter strings, but you might be better served with a YouTube search for "how to get rid of beginner sounds, or how not to sound like a beginner on Violin & Viola" - there are quite a few available to watch & learn from.
Please just give yourself some time, a year or 2 is certainly not unreasonable. Everyone you've been listening to has probably been playing their instrument for MANY years.
The only way you are really going to be able to add good Viola sound "quickly" to the rest of your music is to use a DAW and plug-ins from some database of experienced string players.
Think you'll find learning this instrument very rewarding in the end. I love playing the lower register of my 5 string violin - which is your strings, only a little smaller scale.
Stick with it!
Thanks again to everyone for your responses.
And thanks Fiddlerman! Love your store, the service has been exceptional!
I thought it might be a good idea to record a minute or two and see if what I'm hearing picks up on the recording. It does very well. Its like my bow doesn't pull smoothly across the strings, it stutters.
Is this a technique issue or an equipment one?
Warning: Not for the faint of heart, pitchy and timing and blech, but gets job done.
@Ash Telecaster -
Sorry, it's just you. 😊
But, I don't know why you are questioning anything - you sound GREAT for 4 months, GREAT for 6 months... even 1 year!
Search for those videos I mentioned, to learn where you might tweak your sound - not that you need to, but we always strive for better.
Just keep up the great work!
PS. I forgot to mention you can experiment a little with bow hair tension - try a half turn more or less - see what you like best.
first of all thats good progress for a few months you should be happy with yourself.
Nothing wrong with your bow its practice and technique, your intonation sounds very good, are you using tapes on the fingerboard? if so I wouldnt use them for long because in my opinion they become a crutch and a hinderance to training your ears, others on here think differently,, but we all have our own opinions. I have never used them myself.
Post a video of yourself playing and people on here will try to give any help they can , its difficult from just hearing rather than seeing, I am no expert we are all learners apart from one or two who have been playing a very long time, but you do pick up things along the way which could save you a lot of trial and error.
No one will give snide comments or laugh, we all go through the same struggles, and everyone tries to help everyone else.
Keep at it, good work, dont waste money on new equipment it would be of no benefit to you yet, much better to practice.
I appreciate the encouraging words.
Hi Emily, I will definitely check out the videos. I watched a few today already. I Will also play with bow tension.
Stringy, I do not use tape. I was determined not to even watch my left hand so that I would more quickly get a feel for it. I don't want the crutch of needing to watch my fingers.
I have an advantage of already being decent on another instrument but honestly thought I would advance faster than I have on Viola. I thought the skills would translate. It's hard going back to grade school level musicianship! That's okay, I just have to learn to be patient and keep working at it. It's a very challenging instrument! That makes it all the more worth while.
@Ash Telecaster -
Since motivation is so important, hope you will check out our "Party Room"!
All Parties are ongoing - you just have to be able to record yourself playing and post it (unlisted YouTube, or Google Drive, etc...). Encouraging comments are welcomed.
The person who starts the Party describes what it is to try to play - anyone can start a Party, hint... hint! Even if you can only play part of a tune or make it your own version - any participation is A GOOD THING.
It's all just for fun, where we can get some encouragement to try new things out - which helps to keep us all motivated.
Can't wait to hear more of you & your Viola!
James I had exactly the same idea, I thought my playing of other instruments would help, but it didn’t do anything, lol. I actually took up violin as a challenge though, just didn’t realise what a challenge and an obsession it would become, hope you get the same pleasure out o fit as I have, never get discouraged it’s a long road, but very enjoyable.
its always a shock when you first watch yourself, all violinists record themselves playing, so they can see were they are going wrong and hear also. dont worry post the vid I told you no one on here will judge I have posted some appalling vids an gotten good advice. no one can be expected to look and sound like pagannini, everyone gets wandering bow as well, one of the things you learn very quickly is that if yOu dont concentrate all the time you quickly lose it, trying to concentrate on everything at once like bow hold sounds, intonatìon is very difficult , I spent an hour and a half tonight wworking on smooth bowing and arm movement, as well as an hour on scales and arpeggios, and still sounded awful after, but this is how you gradually get better, it happens very slowly, like a snail racing down a hill
Ash Telecaster said
I recorded a video as somebody suggested. However, when I watched back I learned something. I thought my bowing was pretty straight and right in the middle. When I watched the video it looked like I was in a light saber battle with Darth Vader. Not good at all. I'm not posting the video.