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Violinists over here please .....

(31 Posts)
CushionFiller Fri 03-Feb-17 21:16:37

Just a few quick questions for you.
How easy is it to change the strings on a violin? Is it something I could have a go at myself with a quick youtube video? I have changed ukulele string before - how much harder will it be?

Can you recommend a particular brand of strings for a 3/4 sized beginner?

Is there a particulaly good book for a child beginner to use? (They will be teaching themselves). I have heard 'fiddle time starters' mentioned a few times.
Thanks

Witchend Sat 04-Feb-17 00:40:03

I played the violin, and ds plays. I wasn't very good after showing early promise (did grade 2 in 5 terms, but then only got to grade 5)

Changing a string is easy. Hard part is tuning it accurately. I can tell when it's even a tiniest bit out, but can't always tell if it's sharp or flat (dh has got perfect pitch and has to tell me).
Just make sure you have the bottom screw fully lose and do the majority of the tightening with the peg and only use the screw to do the fine tuning.

Ds started using the fiddle time books. I think they'd be relatively easy to learn on your own. He switched teacher and now have a different variety of books-Wagon Wheels is one I think.

Noteventhebestdrummer Sat 04-Feb-17 07:42:28

Abracadabra Violin has some technique advice in and goes very slowly so you get a LOT of pieces at the same level.

Changing strings is easy, don't do them all at once though, do one at a time.

claraschu Sat 04-Feb-17 07:50:37

Also keep an eye on the bridge to make sure it is completely perpendicular. If you need to adjust the bridge, straighten it with great care, very gently and slowly.

There are lots of different strings out there, and they vary in price. I wouldn't use the cheapest, even for a beginner. Sorry I don't know which would be the best of the cheap-ish strings.

Good luck with violin! It's great that your child is so interested-

penguincrumble Sat 04-Feb-17 08:01:37

I'm guessing dominant are too expensive? Maybe Astrea they're very cheap and they're not the worst.

CushionFiller Sat 04-Feb-17 08:31:49

Fantastic, thanks so much. Will try and order those books. Have seen the abradcadabra one for other instruments and liked it but had forgotten about it.

Oh dear, the house is going to become a little noisier again. May have to invest in a heater for the shed and turn it into a 'squark and screech' room!

onlymusic Sat 04-Feb-17 08:31:58

We use dominant strings, they are about £40 but I like their sound. 3/4 violin is big enough to buy proper strings and making violin sound nicely regardless of grades.

claraschu Sat 04-Feb-17 08:39:01

A violin should sound ok pretty much right away. Not amazing, but not painfully screechy either.

I know she is teaching herself, and I think it is great that she has the enthusiasm and interest- worth more than a teacher.

Having said that, the violin and bow are really hard to hold in a way that makes it possible to make a great sound. At some point, after your child has tried for a while, it would probably be really helpful to have occasional lessons with a good teacher who is open minded and interested in supporting someone like your child who wants to learn in their own way.

CushionFiller Sat 04-Feb-17 08:43:30

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CushionFiller Sat 04-Feb-17 08:44:25

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CushionFiller Sat 04-Feb-17 08:48:13

Good to know that about the strings. At the moment she has lessons for 2 instruments and is teching herself a third. So the violin is a bit of a 'well lets see if you actually take to it' before we invest in it.

CushionFiller Sat 04-Feb-17 08:50:34

Good to know it doesn't necessarily have to sound screechy and horrible as a beginner. That was the reason I swore none of mine would ever learn the strings - how wrong was that thought!

claraschu Sat 04-Feb-17 08:55:57

String instruments are harder to begin with, I have to admit, but the rewards if you go a bit further with them are just amazing. The most wonderful and diverse music! The most wonderful opportunities for playing great music with other people! The classical chamber music for strings is just amazing, and orchestras have 30 or so violins, but just a few of each wind instrument and no piano.

treaclesoda Sat 04-Feb-17 09:01:47

I think it's worth paying for better strings because aside from the fact that they sound nicer, they are much more comfortable on your fingers. Cheap strings can feel like a cheese slicer.

claraschu Sat 04-Feb-17 09:05:24

I completely sympathise with not wanting to pay for and bother with lessons on more than 2 instruments. You are absolutely right about that!

I was just thinking that a couple of lessons from the right teacher after your daughter has been trying on her own for a while would be a good idea, because of the challenges of holding the bow and the violin. I am a teacher, and would love to help a self-motivated student, who really wanted to learn, even if it was just a couple of times a year.

CushionFiller Sat 04-Feb-17 09:09:14

True, I hadn't considered lessons don't have to be every week. Once a month would probably work well. Would have to be out of school though. School insist on weekly lessons. Will wait a month to let her get started then investigate a lesson or two.

MollyHuaCha Sat 04-Feb-17 09:12:08

Strings are easy to change. Expect to tune new strings a lot over the coming week.

I work in a violin shop and my Dd plays. Pirastro tonicas or preludes are good strings for beginners and not too expensive or pirastro chomcor (bit more). They have a brilliant sound but yes they're more.

Obligato or dominants once they're grade 4-5 or if you don't mind forking out extra.

Our shop changes the strings for free, you just pay for the string. And there are some amazing apps for tuning. Dd's app is great but I'd have to go and look to see what it's called on her phone.

My dd has never sounded screechy or terrible, so I hope you'll find the same. They start with finger plucking often anyway before bowing on open strings.

TalkingofMichaelAngel0 Sat 04-Feb-17 10:19:49

My 6yr old has had three violin lessons now and the teacher recommended abracadabra violin.

One of her lessons was a free taster. The teacher sorted the strings out in that lesson. Could you have a free taster to get started then revert to self taught.

claraschu Sat 04-Feb-17 12:47:01

Talking a free taster with no intention of continuing is pretty crappy. If you are honest about what you want, lots of teachers might help for free.

lljkk Sat 04-Feb-17 12:56:03

Electronic tuners are cheap, & they will let you tune multiple instruments.

penguincrumble Sat 04-Feb-17 13:06:26

Pirastro are better than astrea. Get the best you can afford really. Agree with cheese slicer comment. If you get them in music shop they will tell you which are the cheapest ones bearable anyway. You will have to tune them a lot the first few days as they stretch. I have app on my phone Tuner Lite which makes tuning very easy.

Agree with don't only get a free taster! That would be really mean. If a real teacher is too expensive for casual learning maybe a sixth former would teach the basics cheaply. There is a risk of learning the wrong things though.

CushionFiller Sat 04-Feb-17 13:26:58

Ok. Have bought piranito pirastro strings at a shop. Lovely lady fitted them in a few minutes (was very helpful to watch it being done).

onlymusic Sat 04-Feb-17 13:48:36

Re lessons, one of the biggest problems with not having proper violin lessons is left hand fingering. Dd was not taught properly when started and it takes time to sort it out

MollyHuaCha Sat 04-Feb-17 14:17:59

Proper lessons with max one week gaps in between are a must. Otherwise it's too easy to get the posture wrong esp position of leftwrist and right hand bow hold. Having to correct bad habits can be disheartening.

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