Violin - any musicians out there?

(32 Posts)
Moominsarehippos Mon 31-Dec-12 16:02:02

DS got a new violin today - he's moved up a size, so we took the old one to the hire shop and got the next size up. W

hen we got home he tried to play a tune and it sounds like it's 'whispering'. Is this because the violin and bow are a bit bigger or is there a problem with them? Not all notes are very very quiet - some sound ok!

I am very unmusical, so have no idea! Do I need to take it back or should he persevere?

DS says make sure the bow is rosinned well, which it may not be if it is new, and try with a bit more pressure on the bow, and make sure his fingers are properly down on the strings - they might feel different than he is used to.

HTH!

SanityClause Mon 31-Dec-12 16:05:56

Does it sound "scratchy"? Maybe he's not squeezing in the bow enough.

I don't play myself, but have 2 violin playing DC.

Moominsarehippos Mon 31-Dec-12 16:12:04

Not scratchy just very very quiet! He did pop on some rosin though and the bow looks new.

TotallyBS Mon 31-Dec-12 23:31:51

If a violin hasn't been played in a while then the sound won't resonate. I would called it a boxed-in sound but others might call it 'whispering.

It is not beyond the realms of possibily that the instrument has been 'waiting' for a customer for a few months.If that is the case then playing it regularly will warm it up.

Moominsarehippos Mon 31-Dec-12 23:35:01

Oh. How long? He was really hacked off and pronounced it broken! What a shame - he was really getting into his practise too!

OhyouMerryLittleKitten Mon 31-Dec-12 23:44:55

I reckon he needs a lot more rosin on his bow.

TotallyBS Mon 31-Dec-12 23:49:47

It should sound better after about a month.

However, I reread your post and you said that not all the notes are quiet so this may not be the problem. Hire shops are usually quite accomodating. Why not just take it back and ask for their opinion? If you still aren't happy then ask to try some other violins?

flussymummy Tue 01-Jan-13 01:40:52

Rosin, rosin and more rosin. New bows generally don't have any on at all (though a good music shop should have done this for you or at least warned you about it!) I'd suggest that you use the block of rosin from his old violin if you still have it, as it'll probably go on better and you need to press quite hard and go from top to bottom a lot. It should change colour and you should be able to see white dust coming off it. If you don't, try taking a piece of sandpaper to the surface of the rosin block lightly as sometimes they go a bit shiny and don't work properly.

NatashaBee Tue 01-Jan-13 02:02:19

I agree - more rosin. And check whereabouts he's pulling the bow across the strings - it should be midway between the end of the fingerboard and the bridge, he will probably need to concentrate on watching that while he gets used to the new size violin.

MrsShrek3 Tue 01-Jan-13 02:27:48

as the others say look at the bow hair. if it looks very shiny then there's no rosin on it. if applying it in more than normal quantities please don't run the bow over the rosin block too fast and fire it. secondly, i wonder if the slightly larger bow needs a slightly stronger technique. the balance point of the bow will be different (I have three bows and it is totally different on each) and the different bow will need a little more time to get used to. My ds2 also plays and has recently moved from half to three quarter size, his bow technique is very good and he mastered the new instrument quickly but still found that his speed and shoulder/elbow angles took a few days' practice to adjust to get a good tone. all good experience.

Moominsarehippos Tue 01-Jan-13 09:59:33

Thank you so much, night-owls! I'll try with the rosin and see how we get on over the next few days, and go back to the shop if there's no change.

7to25 Tue 01-Jan-13 10:04:31

Is the bow hair tightened enough?
Is the larger size making him play too close to the bridge?

Moominsarehippos Tue 01-Jan-13 10:14:18

I have no idea! I don't play and he's only 8.

The man in the shop didnt seem to be a player (usually when I get it tuned theres a few guys in the store who take their time tuning by ear and checking out the violin). He used an little electronic tuner thing and didnt actually try to play the new violin. I should've checked, shouldn't I?!

OhyouMerryLittleKitten Tue 01-Jan-13 12:07:30

Where did you buy it from? I think with violins it's better to go to a specialist shop (and they won't necessarily charge you a fortune) you need to have the violin set up properly.

OhyouMerryLittleKitten Tue 01-Jan-13 12:08:17

A good violin shop will also let you try it out for a week or two before you commit.

Moominsarehippos Tue 01-Jan-13 12:55:11

We hire from a music shop. They are usually great.

Even though you don't play, you could try it out yourself - just run the bow over the open strings, you don't need to use your left hand to make specific notes. You ought to be able to get a clear consistent note out of each string separately, if you get the bow at the right angle and push the right amount - you won't do it any harm even if you play it more "firmly" than your DS is doing.

Try to get the bow about halfway between the end of the fingerboard and the bridge, and make sure you move the bow across at right-angles to the strings, not sliding diagonally. You'll need to tilt the bow up and down to find the best angle to catch one string cleanly.

That is likely to show if there is anything specifically wrong, but it's more likely that your DS just needs to adjust his technique to get the sound right - even experienced violinists need to adjust how they play with a different instrunent, they just get the hang of doing it so don't have to consciously think about it quite the same!

Moominsarehippos Tue 01-Jan-13 17:34:35

Yippee! I attacked the rosin with sandpaper and rubbed like mad on the strings. We now have music! He'll need to do a bit more practise to get used to the new size but we have success!

Thanks, all!

Moominsarehippos Tue 01-Jan-13 17:38:29

Ummm. Anyone know why it sounds like a clarinet now?? Seriously, it honks rather than 'sings'.

OhyouMerryLittleKitten Tue 01-Jan-13 17:44:26

Too much rosin? grin

Moominsarehippos Tue 01-Jan-13 17:53:53

I'm getting a him a paper amd comb instead!

OhyouMerryLittleKitten Tue 01-Jan-13 18:01:02

Dd says it is probably too much rosin on the bow. She says to keep playing and it should wear off. (Wipe the strings in between)

OhyouMerryLittleKitten Tue 01-Jan-13 18:03:44

You see I am learning from dd grin I can even tell when it's a bit out of tune now!

extracrunchy Tue 01-Jan-13 18:07:30

You know the rosin goes on the bow hair and not on the strings, right?!

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