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absolute beginner violin

bluesbaby 2 03 Feb 09 - 06:56 PM
Leadfingers 03 Feb 09 - 07:22 PM
wysiwyg 03 Feb 09 - 07:26 PM
Zhenya 03 Feb 09 - 09:41 PM
LilyFestre 03 Feb 09 - 10:49 PM
Will Fly 04 Feb 09 - 04:44 AM
bluesbaby 2 04 Feb 09 - 06:15 AM
wysiwyg 04 Feb 09 - 06:45 AM
GUEST,BanjoRay 04 Feb 09 - 07:25 AM
Jess A 04 Feb 09 - 07:33 AM
Zen 04 Feb 09 - 07:55 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 04 Feb 09 - 08:52 AM
GUEST,BanjoRay 04 Feb 09 - 11:33 AM
romany man 04 Feb 09 - 01:46 PM
GUEST,Lilyfestre 04 Feb 09 - 02:45 PM
Zhenya 05 Feb 09 - 01:38 AM
Zhenya 05 Feb 09 - 01:52 AM
davyr 05 Feb 09 - 05:02 AM
Megan L 05 Feb 09 - 05:22 AM
Megan L 05 Feb 09 - 05:25 AM
bluesbaby 2 05 Feb 09 - 07:08 AM
GUEST,KP 05 Feb 09 - 03:20 PM
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Subject: absolute beginner violin
From: bluesbaby 2
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 06:56 PM

I am searching out some advice on buying a violin for a beginner,have no experience whatsoever.Any particular make?? what size would be good ?? Where would be a good place to buy one?? I have some problems with arm mobility,slight paralysis which comes and goes,am thinking lightweight and reasonably priced!!...Any advice at all on this would be very welcomed :0) Currently living in Glasgow,would even consider buying second hand.Any good basic beginners books also to recommend ??

Cheers

Maria BBaby 2


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: Leadfingers
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 07:22 PM

I am NOT a Violin Basher , but would reccomend a used instrument rather than new , as you will get more for your money , and IF you decide to sell on , you wont lose out on the price . Now I will leave it to the real players to fine hone the information .


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: wysiwyg
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 07:26 PM

For SURE, a used one. From a shop you trust, you will get a better instrument for the money at any price point you're considering. Just be clear with them what you can pay for fiddle and bow, and ask them to set it up with Dominants plus a Pirastro high E string-- NOT super-sensitives. Ask also for an orchestral-style bridge, not a bluegrass-style, until you learn the difference and can handle the flatter bluegrass one-- faster bowing but too easy to hit double stops when you hadn't meant to. Better to learn on an orch bridge to teach your arm the movements from string to string.

Invest not in the fiddle, but in fiddle MUSIC to listen to in a critical, learning way.

The next upgrade from there is a good case. After that, a better bow. Next, a flatter bluegrass bridge of you like. THEN, when you're hooked, a better fiddle. A lot of folks keep that first fiddle instead of trading up so they always have a travel spare set up like they like it that they don't need to worry over in rain, heat, flying.

The best book is the one that makes you want to play. The best case book is the one people around you are playing out of for sessions, jams, etc.

The best lessons are to play with others as often as you can in as many different settings as you can. Learn chord notes and fiddle positions for common chords played in hyour area-- all the possible chords for the keys your area's folks most often play in. (Learn to arpeggiate those chords for fills and harmony lines.) If that makes you nervous, get a mute and play from the outer far side of the jam/session to just hear yourself.

Accompany quietly on songs whenever you are allowed.

Get as many ways to play as you can so you will be well-rounded when you discover your "favorite" ways to play.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: Zhenya
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 09:41 PM

Some people (myself included!) have started out by renting an instrument for several months. This wasn't expensive, and I probably got a better quality instrument to start learning on than I would have been willing to pay for at that point.

What type of music were you interested in playing - classical violin, or some type of traditional fiddle music? There are many styles and many approaches to learning, depending on what you want to do with the instrument. Maybe post a bit more, and I'll check back and see if I can give you specific recommendations for books, on and offline videos, etc. that might help. I've learned mainly Irish style fiddling myself, but I like to listen to many styles.

By the way, best of all, if you are able, would be to take a class or lessons.


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: LilyFestre
Date: 03 Feb 09 - 10:49 PM

I started out renting a violin too...kept it for maybe 4 months. When I knew I was actually going to play it on a regular basis, I picked out a cheap violin on eBay, took it to a nearby music shop and had them set up the bridge and strings for a nominal fee. A year passed by and I was playing daily, absolutely in love with my play time so I bought a really nice instrument. I kept the other fiddle and had it fit up with octave strings creating a *chin cello* that has the most wonderful tones!

Enjoy!!!

Michelle


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Feb 09 - 04:44 AM

Hi - I'm almost in a similar position, havng just acquired a violin by chance. I used to play viola many, many years ago and had vague hankerings to play a violin or viola again. A friend of mine in the village was moving to France before Christmas and asked me if I knew someone who could value a violin he was getting rid of (he couldn't play it). The violin was labelled inside "Frank Penny fecit, London, 1925". I took it to a local restorer/maker and he told me that it was a typical production by an amateur English maker, inspired - as many amateurs at that time were - by Edward Heron-Allen's classic text on the violin (written in the 1880s and still in print). His verdict - not a bad instrument, worth about £250 and in need of repairs costing £50.

I paid £200 to the seller and £60 to the restorer to do the work: re-glue a loose seam or two, replace two strings, make a new bridge and tailpiece. The result, to quote the restorer, is a "nice little instrument, just right for a beginner".

So, after all that waffle: second-hand seems a good bet; £250 or so for a nice s/h instrument is not unreasonable; a check-up and setup from an experienced violin maker or restorer is a good idea and worth the cash.

Just my two-pennorth - good luck!


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: bluesbaby 2
Date: 04 Feb 09 - 06:15 AM

Good morning ;)Thanks to all for your valuable input,i now have a much clearer idea of what i am aiming to look for :o)
*Susan you certainly know your 'stuff'~ just the kind of advice i needed to know..
*Michelle that sounds like an idea,renting a violin for a bit,at least to get the 'feel'and find my way about *chin cello* sounds real sweet..
*Zhenya~ As i am a complete beginner, i would be looking for a good comprehensive book,starting from the 'very' basics,there are so many books out there and i am a bit bamboozled as to the best one to buy~
My main interest would be Cajun/Bluegrass --country/folk..Having played guitar since i was 12,not on the 'circuit' or anything like that,simply for pleasure,and house get togethers,i taught myself and don't really read music'..more an instinctual 'feel..:o)..Having been recovering from a head trauma 5yrs ago, i'm finding playing guitar a bit 'heavy'as i have slight on/off paralysis....so would be looking to start nice 'n' slown, down and easy.
A few lessons to start with sounds like an idea! ;)Please feel free to
pm me if you wish ~

*Will Fly~ How lucky was that!! sounds like a sweet wee instrument!
hope you enjoy :o)

Maria BBaby 2


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Feb 09 - 06:45 AM

:~) I know my HUSBAND'S stuff. :~) He's the fiddler in the house.

~S~


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: GUEST,BanjoRay
Date: 04 Feb 09 - 07:25 AM

Yes - buy second hand from a GOOD dealer in second hand instruments, such as Mannings Music in Bradford. Don't buy until you've heard it played - if it doesn't sound really good, forget it or you'll end up bashing it against a wall before long. Ask about its history - who made it? When? Make a note and Google it. Any repairs? If so get them pointed out. A good repair is OK - you'll get a good sounding fiddle for a lot less than you you'd pay for an undamaged one. I bought one with a solidly repaired crack down the front which you can still see for £250 and it sounds as good as one you'd pay much more for.

Don't buy a brand new violin for less than £500 (or maybe more)- it'll be a total waste of money - you'll end up with something you won't be able to bear, but there's a lot of good old stuff around for the £250 mark.
Ray


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: Jess A
Date: 04 Feb 09 - 07:33 AM

Hi Maria,

welcome to the wonderful world of fiddle playing! I thoroughly endorse everythig everybody else has said on this thread, especially with regards to hiring for a little while and buying a second hand instrument not new (fiddles tend to sound better as they age, and new 'budget' violins tend to be factory made and set up badly...)

Given that you're in the UK, once you have a little bit of an idea what you're looking for, check out Glen Titmus Violins Glen is a lovely guy and I've bought instruments and accessories off him before. I'm sure if you mailed him he'd have lots of useful advice.

Also worth a look once you have your hands on a fiddle is Tri-Folk which is a cd & booklet package aimed at learning folk tunes with or without the ability to read dots. I've not tried it myself but I've chatted to the guy who developed it and it seemed like a great idea.

Other thoughts....

You asked about size & weight. Fiddles tend to be fairly standard sizes, with some weight variation but not much. A full size violin is not a stretch for your average adult, smaller sizes tend to be aimed at children. That said I have met one or two adults who choose to play 3/4 size instruments. My advice - try a full sized one first but if it doesn't suit, there are smaller ones around. Probably less choice as far as age & quality of 3/4 sized instruments though.

Shoulder rests. Some people love them, some hate them. I get a stiff neck & shoulder if I don't use one, but then I have a very long neck. There are lots of different styles around, some more adjustable than others. Your average second hand fiddle probably won't come with one. I suggest experimenting with different ones (a large music shop should hopefully have more than one style in stock) til you find something you like.

I'd seriously recommend having at least a couple of lessons when you start off, particularly to help with posture & how to hold the bow & instrument. It's often tricky to interpret books & videos and to know whether you are doing it right, and if you've got some mobility issues you may need to experiment a bit to find a way that works for you. Posture and hold not only affect how easy it is to make a nice sound, but if you get into bad habits they can cause physical discomfort and problems. (Standard classical hold is usually a good place to start, but it's not the only way of doing it!)

Best bet on finding a teacher who suits you (not all teachers are good!) is to get out and about (dunno what the session scene is like in Glasgow?), find some local player(s) whose style you like, and ask them to recommend somebody.

Another suggestion - check out http://www.fiddleforum.com/, a helpful and friendly place...

All the best
Jess
www.cruciblemusic.co.uk


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: Zen
Date: 04 Feb 09 - 07:55 AM

Hi Maria,

Good luck with the fiddle. I don't know the Glasgow shops well (I live in Perthshire) but Vintage Strings in Dundee have a good selection of second hand fiddles and may be able to help. They may be worth a ring.

You may also benefit from joining in local music session and there are a few around in Glasgow, Edinburgh and elsewhere in Central Scotland. A bit far for you perhaps but the Blackford Fiddle Group are absolutely excellent at teaching beginners at all ages and are a nice bunch of people to boot. PM me for details of some sessions but I'm sure that there are some local Glasgow 'Catters who can advise you on what's on locally.

All the best,

Zen


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 04 Feb 09 - 08:52 AM

I local - highly rated - fiddler bought a Chinese violin from Ebay for £120 and was very pleased. Not that I would recommend buying a fiddle that way!


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: GUEST,BanjoRay
Date: 04 Feb 09 - 11:33 AM

I would definitely recommend NOT buying a fiddle that way until you're a LOT more experienced.
Ray


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: romany man
Date: 04 Feb 09 - 01:46 PM

my mate bought one from e-bay, a very pretty blue one, dunno why but he bought a blue one, he could not play a note not even a cat screech, took himself to a local shop who not only set it up but asked where he got it as they would like to stock them, now the shop are selling them, he is learning at the shop and can empty a room at fifty paces. However the fiddle has been played by the resident tutor and sounds great. so you can get a bargain on e-bay


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: GUEST,Lilyfestre
Date: 04 Feb 09 - 02:45 PM

I would also recommend taking a few lessons from someone who can teach you the bare bones and THEN refer to books and learn by doing and enjoying!

Michelle


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: Zhenya
Date: 05 Feb 09 - 01:38 AM

Hi Maria,

Here are some things you could look at. This first one is a set of short videos on Youtube, covering the basics and beyond of violin playing. I've looked at these a bit, and thought they were helpful for general technique issues, even though they're not specifically geared towards fiddle playing. The teacher is very detail oriented, and I think you can't have too much detail when you're trying to learn any point of fiddle technique!
You Tube Fiddle Instruction from Todd Ehle



A good source for some instruction books/CDs/videos is Homespun tapes, in upstate New York . I think some of their books/videos are widely available, and you may be able to find these in Scotland as well. On the main page, look at the left hand column and click on Fiddle Lessons. You might want to check out the beginner section and some of the bluegrass items. If you click on an individual item, it takes you to another page, and on those pages it tells you the level of instruction. It looks like you want to stick with Level 1 for now, which is for complete beginners. There are some level I videos in the bluegrass section, but the Cajun videos are all at least level 2. So you have something to aspire to! I don't know these individual videos offhand, but I have other instruction tapes from Homespun that are very good, and they have a good reputation in general.
Homespun Tapes


Just searching around, I also found this interesting site that teaches some fiddle basics:
Fiddle Hub
I didn't have time tonight, but this weekend, I may register and check out the free lessons section to see what I think. From the description, it sounds like it could be really helpful. It uses Old Time and Irish tunes, apparently, but it still may be helpful to learn how to hold the bow, where the basic pitches are, etc.


One last thing I'll mention is that its a good idea is to get used to learning everything by memory right from the beginning. (That is, either learn it by ear, or learn it from the sheet music but then memorize it right away.) It sounds like you've done that with the guitar anyway, and most fiddlers will play their tunes by ear. Also, if you don't have to refer to the sheet music, it frees you up to pay more attention to your fiddle technique.

Zhenya


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: Zhenya
Date: 05 Feb 09 - 01:52 AM

On that last one, fiddle hub, look in the left hand column and click on the link "Video explains how tune lessons work."


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: davyr
Date: 05 Feb 09 - 05:02 AM

Ebay is definitely best avoided for a beginner. But if you *do* decide to buy new, you won't go far wrong with a Gliga "Gems 2" from Elida:

http://www.elidatrading.co.uk/gliga.htm

Ignore stuff you may hear about the set-up being poor on Gligas - this does not refer to instruments supplied to Elida. I've had my Gems for around 18 months and like all new fiddles, it sounds better now than when I first received it (and it sounded good then).

I must admit that my choice was limited, being a left-hander who struggled to play an adapted right-handed instrument for years, but I'm confident that the sound and build quality of the Gliga stands up with anything else (new or old) that you could buy for anything like the price.


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: Megan L
Date: 05 Feb 09 - 05:22 AM

A friend of mine used to go here Violin shop


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: Megan L
Date: 05 Feb 09 - 05:25 AM

I'm getting auld I forgot to mention they are near the kelvinhall


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: bluesbaby 2
Date: 05 Feb 09 - 07:08 AM

Thankyou so much everyone for all your comments tips and advice.I feel more energised than ever to set out on 'the journey':O)..you have all been so helpful,warm and encouraging..Firstly i need to git ma hands on a violin....my birthday is coming around soon..mibbe if i put out a coupla hints..AHEM !! in the direction of family and friends..(Maria's Violin Fund..tis only a wee thought hee)get a few lessons,then who knows
where the road may lead :-))...

mucho appreciation,

Maria BBaby 2


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Subject: RE: absolute beginner violin
From: GUEST,KP
Date: 05 Feb 09 - 03:20 PM

Maria
Check out fiddle classes for absolute beginners and beyond at the Scots Music Group Website. As well as learning to play you'll also learn the tunes played at a lot of sessions in Edinburgh and elsewhere in Scotland.
Scots Music Group
Good Playing
KP


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