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Thread: Got myself a fiddle

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    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Default Got myself a fiddle

    Picked up a cheap £15 violin the other day. It's pretty poor quality, Chinese made I'd guess, but it stays in tune and is playable, so I can't complain for the price. The only problem is I haven't tuned it up to standard violin tuning because it feels like something is going to break, so I've tuned it down a fifth to viola (which I would have got instead if I found a cheap one) tuning (C-G-D-A) for the time being. I might be being over cautious but the pegs start slipping when I get it within even a major second of standard violin tuning. Obviously, this means the resonant frequency of the soundbox doesn't match the strings, so the sound isn't as loud or as brilliant as it should be, but better than breaking all my strings. Slack strings over snapped strings

    I'll add I have no aspirations of actually being any kind of violinist, I just picked up the instrument to better understand how it works. Now I've got it I may as well pick up some basic technique so I can have a muck around.

    I've tried playing it the normal way and while it feels better bowing this way, I find my left hand struggles to move along the strings with precision. Instead if I play it upright (like a wee cello except the lower bout rest on my right thigh ) and bow using a German bow grip, my left hand feels more comfortable, although positioning the instrument like this is slightly more awkward it feels better on my neck and back. Is it feasible to play it like this?


    (That's a viola with an elongated neck by the way)

    I couldn't find my camera so here's some crappy phone pics.

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    Senior Member emiellucifuge's Avatar
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    I had violin lessons for a year so I know what you mean about the left hand. Try and keep your hand firmly against the head.

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    Senior Member Chris's Avatar
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    No offence, but sharing a house with someone learning the violin sounds like hard work

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    Senior Member Meaghan's Avatar
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    Here's somebody who holds the violin like a cello:
    [YT]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NseBdxfHk5k[/YT]

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    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    No offence, but sharing a house with someone learning the violin sounds like hard work
    Well I already play guitar, bass, lap steel, keys plus some other instruments, but I think nothing is as hellish as a badly played violin. And a well played one isn't much better sometimes.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meaghan View Post
    Here's somebody who holds the violin like a cello:
    [YT]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NseBdxfHk5k[/YT]
    It does look strange, but it just feels better to me. My wrists are straighter, the violin is more stable, my elbows are closer to my body.

    That guy's a cellist so it must just make sense to him.

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    Senior Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    We are all waiting for Argus to perform a Bach solo violin partita.

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    Senior Member Chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarpsichordConcerto View Post
    We are all waiting for Argus to perform a Bach solo violin partita.
    The D Minor please

  9. #9
    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    The D Minor please
    I'll get on that soon, say in the next 3-4 years.

    In the meantime, I could probably knock up a decent rendition of this, with a bit of multitracking/overdubbing:

    [YT]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB-9j9i_TAI[/YT]

    This is the kind of thing I'd (realistically) like to be doing with a violin:

    [YT]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yCHstLAChs[/YT]

    I doubt I'll ever acquire the skills necessary but Carnatic violin is lovely:

    [YT]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ2tyzrylxI[/YT]

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    The strings won't snap.

    And as long as the soundpost is still standing, the fiddle won't break either.

    Perhaps you should try to find an old viola d'amore or something, rather than trying to play a violin tuned like a viola with a cello technique...
    GG

  11. #11
    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GraemeG View Post
    The strings won't snap.

    And as long as the soundpost is still standing, the fiddle won't break either.

    Perhaps you should try to find an old viola d'amore or something, rather than trying to play a violin tuned like a viola with a cello technique...
    GG
    If I could find a dirt cheap one I'd snap up a cello or a viola d'amore, or even things like an erhu or sarangi, but there's also the problem with finding places to store all these instruments, especially big things like cellos. I've already got a couple of guitars and a keyboard stored away at my mum's house because I'm running out of room here.

    I think you might be right about tuning up. The low G which I have at C sounds quite muddy although the other strings aren't too bad. Also, the pegs slip by themselves when it gets up to pitch. I don't know what guage the strings are so unless they're really heavy ones it shouldn't snap (hopefully) I'll wait until I pick up a spare set before attempting, mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Argus View Post
    Picked up a cheap £15 violin the other day. It's pretty poor quality, Chinese made I'd guess, but it stays in tune and is playable, so I can't complain for the price. The only problem is I haven't tuned it up to standard violin tuning because it feels like something is going to break, so I've tuned it down a fifth to viola (which I would have got instead if I found a cheap one) tuning (C-G-D-A) for the time being. I might be being over cautious but the pegs start slipping when I get it within even a major second of standard violin tuning. Obviously, this means the resonant frequency of the soundbox doesn't match the strings, so the sound isn't as loud or as brilliant as it should be, but better than breaking all my strings. Slack strings over snapped strings

    I'll add I have no aspirations of actually being any kind of violinist, I just picked up the instrument to better understand how it works. Now I've got it I may as well pick up some basic technique so I can have a muck around.

    I've tried playing it the normal way and while it feels better bowing this way, I find my left hand struggles to move along the strings with precision. Instead if I play it upright (like a wee cello except the lower bout rest on my right thigh ) and bow using a German bow grip, my left hand feels more comfortable, although positioning the instrument like this is slightly more awkward it feels better on my neck and back. Is it feasible to play it like this?


    (That's a viola with an elongated neck by the way)

    I couldn't find my camera so here's some crappy phone pics.
    LOL, Why didnt you get a Cello?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saul_Dzorelashvili View Post
    LOL, Why didnt you get a Cello?
    Find me a mini cello for £15 and I'll get it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Argus View Post
    Find me a mini cello for £15 and I'll get it.
    That would be a daunting task...

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    Senior Member Meaghan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Argus View Post
    If I could find a dirt cheap one I'd snap up a cello or a viola d'amore, or even things like an erhu or sarangi
    If you went to my college, you could get a free viol (temporarily), as well as lessons, due to the school having a bunch of them lying around and one of the music professors (cellist/early music specialist) wanting to start a viol consort. It's a pretty sweet deal, actually.

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