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Equipment advice?
Headaches/Warm strings/Electric violin for practising
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miguelpitti
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May 10, 2018 - 6:39 am
Member Since: March 28, 2018
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Hi! I registered here about a month ago. I'm an amateur player who tends to get migraines. I play on a Yamaha V5 strung with Dominants and a Wondertone solo E. and I want to ask you a few questions: 

1. I can stand my current setup, but I still find it a bit too bright and shrill at times. What string set would you reccommend me for achieving a quieter and warmer sound?

2. I usually practise at home with a heavy mute. Would an electric violin be worth for practising late, or would it be an "expensive mute"? I was thinking of the Yamaha YEV, which I find aesthetically pleasing.

3. Regarding the YEV, can you plug headphones on it while you practise? Would I need a headphone amp? If so, has anyone done it?

 

Thanks!

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Irv
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May 10, 2018 - 10:26 am
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Hello miguelpitti (and others).  You offer some interesting problems.

Playing a violin with a migraine is a challenge.  Your string selection is good in my opinion.  You may want to have a luthier adjust the sound post more toward the bass bar and away from the bridge for a warmer sound.  A little goes a long way.

I have put violin strings on a 14 inch viola, which produces a very warm sound indeed (and does not alter finger spacing).

You may want to experiment with wearing musician sound protection plugs (about $20) which I found useful when playing in a community band with the brass section behind me.  MrYikes advocated the use of a rubber pad on the violin's chin rest, which may reduce sound caused by induction.  Try using dark rosin on the bow.

Regarding the Yamaha YEV.  From what I have read, it uses a passive pickup and you would need to use a pre-amp for headphone use (perhaps a Digitech RP360 that would provide you with effects).  

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miguelpitti
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May 10, 2018 - 11:59 am
Member Since: March 28, 2018
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Thank you for your fast response, Irv. I always wear a musician protection plug on my left ear, and play with a centered and slightly elevated chinrest, which lets me increase a bit the distance between the ear and the f-hole. Otherwise, I wouldn't stand the violin. I'm not sure if this violin is worthy of being taken to a luthier, considering that it's an entry-level one and my teacher said that I will need to "upgrade" it in a relatively short period of time. But it's good to know a new solution. 

 

Are there any "pocket-sized" pre-amps for headphone use that I could plug to a YEV? Excuse the question, but I'm completely new to electronic instruments, and want to know a bit more before I decide on purchasing one... (or not).

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Irv
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May 10, 2018 - 6:28 pm
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I believe that you would still get a lot of sound through the chin rest even if it were located away from the f hole through bone induction to the ear.  That is why I recommended that you try a rubber cushion on top of the chin rest.  

There are number of good Youtube videos on how to move the sound post, such as the one producted by Fidderman.  You may want to try this yourself.  Fiddlerman has a nice sound post setter (I believe that it is on sale for about $12).  I can tell you how to make an accurate sound post height gage out of an telescopic mirror handle (a few dollars) and a couple of 5 mm steel ball bearings (a few cents).  For about another $5 you can purchase something that magnetically attaches to the 5 mm steel balls to determine the angle that the sound post needs to be cut to match the curve of the top and bottom plates.  Moving the sound post a few mm can materially change the tone of the violin.  

I generally practice on an upgraded Cecilio electric violin (Fiddlerman strings, new bridge, Wittner Isny shoulder rest, Knilling Perfection Pegs and old flesch chin rest).  I would not recommend that you purchase one new but if you watch eBay you should be able to get one in a month or two for something like $30 to $50 US plus another $10 for shipping.  This violin has a 9 volt battery operated amp and has a head phone jack.  It does produce enough sound that you may not need the head phones.  The yamaha is certainly nicer but if you are not going on stage with it, the Cecilio may make more sense.  

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Irv
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May 10, 2018 - 6:45 pm
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No longer on sale but the item I think you need is called a violin sound post inserter/remover that goes for $14.95.  Send me a PM and I will be glad to send you a couple of roasted spruce sound posts for free.

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Irv
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May 10, 2018 - 6:51 pm
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You may want to ask you teacher to assist in moving the sound post.  It is not glued in and many young people dislodge the sound post during transit to and from lessons.  

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Fiddlerman
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May 11, 2018 - 8:48 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 13169

Some instruments are bright and painful to play for some people. I am one of those people who find it painful to play on bright instruments. The problem is that a bright instrument can be darkened slightly, but not all that much. We do what we can to darken the bright instruments when a player desires but everything is relative.
At this point, the least expensive alternative would be a good practice mute. We have two that I would recommend and the Ultra Practice mute will actually darken the sound of your instrument. You won't get much projection from it though. The brass mute is better for night time practice.
https://fiddlershop.com/products/ultra-practice-mute-violin
https://fiddlershop.com/products/brass-practice-mute
The best option for you is to save up for a dark and great sounding instrument. If you need guidance, I'll be happy to help.

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

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miguelpitti
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May 11, 2018 - 10:41 am
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Irv: Thank you very much for your interest on helping. Don't need to send anything, thanks. I live in Europe, which would increase the cost for you, and I don't really know if I dare to mess myself with the soundpost on my only violin. But I may ask my teacher on next class, as he tinkers pretty well with violins. And I'll definitely try the rubber cushion on the chinrest, as the reasoning makes sense. Maybe I'll wait for getting an electric. I think it makes more sense to spend money on a better bow and a better and warmer instrument. Maybe sooner than I expected.

 

Fiddlerman: I've got a brass mute which I use for night time practising, and for those days when I just can't stand the violin. The rest of days I practise with some kind of little rubber mute that pins on the bridge. It doesn't dampen the sound very much, really. But it eliminates a bit of shrillness. I don't need lots of projection by the moment, so it's fine. As I said to Irv, I think the wisest is to save some money, and getting a new bow and a better and warmer instrument. I'll contact you if I need further advice. Thank you.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
May 16, 2018 - 9:43 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 13169

Warmer sounding violin and bow would probably be a huge relief. Let me know if you need help.

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

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Kody
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May 16, 2018 - 1:19 pm
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I would definitely recommend the rubber Ultra Practice Mute. One came with the Master outfit I got a while back. I have roommates so it's really helpful during the day. It darkens the tone quite a bit.

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Irv
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May 22, 2018 - 9:53 pm
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I was wandering around the internet tonight and came up with a potential partial solution to your problem.  Consider tuning the violin to A=415 HZ.  Detuning a semi tone would reduce the tension on the system and should provide you with a softer and more mello tone.  This could be a problem if you play with other people, but should be fine for practice.  I don't think that it would cause any fingering problems.

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localguitarist
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May 24, 2018 - 7:13 pm
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I've recently been taking violin lessons in San Jose and been really enjoying it. I can't wait to be a part of the community!

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Mark
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May 24, 2018 - 7:27 pm
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Localguitarist,

Welcome to the forum.

Mark

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