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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: REALLY Undecided


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/56648

Unclelevi - Posted - 05/03/2022:  08:49:30


I was just given a violin. I don't know anything about it. Just that it's black, has never been played and it has a pick-up. I play banjo, some mandolin and a little bit of Dobro. The undecided part is : I don't know whether to give this instrument away or try to learn to play it. I don't have access to an instructor , but I'd like to learn if I can do it. I just don't know where to start and if this instrument is any good. I'm really out of my element here, guys and gals. What's your take ? I can give you any more information I have.


Edited by - Unclelevi on 05/03/2022 08:50:22

BanjoBrad - Posted - 05/03/2022:  10:23:18


The pick-up tells me it is an electric violin, with no sound chamber on the instrument itself - You will need an amp to hear it.

Violin (Fiddle) is not that hard to learn, you can find books, sites, and/or lessons on-line. Do some searching (I've used @FiddleDan's materials for both banjo & fiddle and highly recommend them & him). As I said, I'd start with Dan's (Dan Levenson) stuff - check out his homepage on the FHO to get started.

Oh, yeah, you didn't mention if you received a bow with the instrument - those can be costly - or not.

Good luck, hope to hear more from you here.

doryman - Posted - 05/03/2022:  10:27:04


What do you have to lose? If you play the banjo, mandolin and dobro, I'm betting that you have a friend or acquaintance who plays the fiddle. For starters I would show the instrument to them and ask them if it's even playable. You don't need a luthier for that.

I'm a banjo player who decided to try to play the fiddle when covid started and we were locked down. It's the best musical decision I've ever made. It's a blast. I won't go into the details here and now, but that are SO many internet resources for learning to play.

DougD - Posted - 05/03/2022:  10:36:19


If you can post some photos of the violin here we can give you some ideas about it. If you play mandolin, they are tuned the same and the notes are in the same places. That should get you started, but the playing technique is much different.

The Violin Beautiful - Posted - 05/03/2022:  11:06:18


Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

The violin is a difficult instrument to play, arguably the most difficult of all, and the learning curve can be quite steep at times. However, the rewards of playing are so great that they outweigh the struggles if you take it seriously.

Starting as an adult is a little more challenging, but it can be done. To give yourself the best chance of success, invest in a well-setup instrument from a luthier and a good teacher. Find a practice schedule and stick to it. Remember that the focus of the instruction will be very technical for the first couple years, but a solid foundation in technique will open doors for artistic expression and sensibility later on.

Post some pictures of your violin if you’d like some observations on its quality and setup. If it’s actually painted black, the paint might be there to hide shoddy work and materials. The pickup means it can be used for electric playing, but it could be either a dedicated electric or an acoustic violin with an added pickup.

If you play other instruments already, that helps considerably with music theory and musicality. Paganini learned to play the guitar first.

TuneWeaver - Posted - 05/03/2022:  12:21:50


Mike you are not very far from a major city.. I'd suggest that if you are serious about learning to play that you get some 'hands-on' pointers from a real person. A real live person will answer questions about the instrument that you didn't even know you had..!!. It shouldn't be too hard to find someone in Minneapolis....Best of luck and welcome to the Hangout..



PS.. A search of Hangout Members in Minneapolis shows 35 people.. You only need to find ONE..You could also check in your local area for Old TIme or Bluegrass jams and find a helpful person there..



 


Edited by - TuneWeaver on 05/03/2022 12:24:43

pete_fiddle - Posted - 05/03/2022:  13:15:13


By your description it doesn't sound like a valuable instrument (unless somebody painted a strad black), so i would just leave it hanging around and see if you pick it up, or not....They don't eat much, but beware they are addictive.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 05/03/2022:  13:21:57


Pluck the strings with your fingers. Tune the thing to GDAE, bass to treble. Assuming that the thing came with a bow, look at a picture or video of somebody playing the thing, put it under your chin and give it a go. Fiddle with it. Don't worry if all you can make are ugly, scratchy noises. The pretty noises will come before toooooo long.

alaskafiddler - Posted - 05/03/2022:  17:45:13


quote:

Originally posted by Unclelevi

I was just given a violin. I don't know anything about it. Just that it's black, has never been played and it has a pick-up. I play banjo, some mandolin and a little bit of Dobro. The undecided part is : I don't know whether to give this instrument away or try to learn to play it. I don't have access to an instructor , but I'd like to learn if I can do it. I just don't know where to start and if this instrument is any good. I'm really out of my element here, guys and gals. What's your take ? I can give you any more information I have.






You can try to learn to play it, and decide to give it away if it doesn't work out.



The vast majority of fiddlers I know started as adults. It's not as difficult as often projected. (heck even banjo players have learned)laugh



You have great head start, you already play the music; you play mandolin (same tuning and fingering); and play dobro so likely developed ear for intonation. The bowing is generally the main challenge most have.



There are lots of good resources to suit yor learning style... including for the self-directed DIY oriented... including lots of free videos for beginners. As well, many folks offer virtual lessons, skype lessons and such if need one on one instructor.



One place to start, that works for some DIY inclined, is just start noodlin around. Don't overly worry about making mistakes, doing things wrong...  likely you won't get it perfect; that's what learning is. It causes no danger... nor scar you for life. FHO offers lots place for answering lot's of common and specific questions for DIY folks. Can search the archive, or post question.



The overall quality of the instrument is not overly significant at this point... as long as set-up decently.


Edited by - alaskafiddler on 05/03/2022 17:52:59

alaskafiddler - Posted - 05/03/2022:  18:05:50


quote:

Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

Pluck the strings with your fingers. Tune the thing to GDAE, bass to treble. Assuming that the thing came with a bow, look at a picture or video of somebody playing the thing, put it under your chin and give it a go. Fiddle with it. Don't worry if all you can make are ugly, scratchy noises. The pretty noises will come before toooooo long.






Can separate different aspects.



Pluck the strings is a way many mando players start noodlin... not even worrying about bow... just a bit like playing mando without frets... pluck out a melody you know, or just scales, to find the fingering spots.



Separately, pick up bow, and not worrying so much about notes/melody/scale... just work on creating ugly scratchy noises... and controlling the bow direction, aim, string, straightness.  Then how to make not so as ugly and scratchy... and better control.



When somewhat in control to hit right string and not horrible tone... then put  together with former... and play a tune/scale. Start with something easy.



 


Edited by - alaskafiddler on 05/03/2022 18:08:02

Creole - Posted - 05/03/2022:  18:36:39


I ma a Guitar player and although had a few good hours with a fiddle many years ago. Just started up on sawing away again. Yes Dad L. has some good lessons and you can find books Galore even Fiddlehed on Youtube that yuo can watch to help get you playing while learning the finger positions. Get some Medical Tape and go have fun!

Brian Wood - Posted - 05/03/2022:  20:35:52


Maybe forget it. People responding to your post all have the motivation, and if you don’t have it yourself you’re wasting your time. It’ll take a lot more than hearing what other people think you should do if you really think you want to play the fiddle. Might as well give up now.

NCnotes - Posted - 05/03/2022:  21:51:31


Well, learning a new instrument is a big investment of time and energy, so it's up to you! Totally up to you.



My dad came home one day saying that somebody had given him a "bun-ho" as payment for computer services, and he was giving it to me. I thanked him. (What is a Bun Ho???) When I went upstairs, I found a banjo lying on my bed! After googling the tuning, I managed to tune it, but those metal strings felt hard and sharp, really hurt my fingers (I play classical guitar). Was I supposed to put metal covers on my fingertips, maybe? My banjo journey paused there...



And I found my daughter's dusty tin whistle the other day when cleaning out the storage area. I figured out how to play a scale on it, and I got so dizzy! I remembered that I was always bad at blowing up balloons...maybe wind instruments are not my thing?



Maybe I give it up too easy?!! But each time, I was reminded how much time and effort and dedication it takes to learn to play a new instrument and I haven't got a lot of free time these days. I'm also kind of a perfectionist...If I play an instrument, I want to play it well...I'd rather play one instrument in a musically satisfying way, than a variety of instruments at a mediocre level where I feel frustrated about basic things like how to play the right notes. When I was learning guitar, I pretty much put away my violin/fiddle for a couple of years so I could really focus, that's how I am...



That said - there are people on this forum who play multiple instruments really well!! It can be done!


Edited by - NCnotes on 05/03/2022 21:52:32

Earworm - Posted - 05/04/2022:  01:08:55


You don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself. You have a little curiosity, so follow it. Find a real live person to teach you if you can, but short of that, there are resources. Be patient with yourself. There’s something about these little VSO’s that gives people the idea they must commit their lives to it and become extraordinary. That’s a heavy lift. Just have fun and follow your nose.


Edited by - Earworm on 05/04/2022 01:24:38

Earworm - Posted - 05/04/2022:  01:36:03


I’ll add: I recommend finding a single instructor (online in your case) or at least single educational program to follow at first, and for as long as it’s useful. Just floating around on the wilds of the internet, or even self learning with a stack of books or recordings…there’s just too much noise.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 05/04/2022:  08:40:48


Since you already play some mando and dobro, do you have any picking pals that might know a little fiddle or know somebody else who plays and could give you a few pointers to get you going in the right direction, not that there's necessarily wrong directions if you're playing old time, folkish stuff, old country songs...bluegrass...you might need a little more direction with that. JUst my opinion. Since you do play mando, well it's sorta a fiddle with frets and a pick instead of a bow. So the fiddle might not be too alien to your senses. Bowing is a lot different and maybe the hardest thing to get the feel of...but real humans do it everyday...some with help, some on their own, so it's not any kind of impossible feat.



If you can't find anybody that knows a little bit to get you going, and you're not ready to invest in an instructor...you could probably find some beginner help on youtube for free. If you know what it is you'd like to play on the fiddle, you could look for that sort of instruction on youtube if possible. Anyhow...let us know what happens...sounds like an exciting new avenue in your life, if you choose to go there. And since today is the 4th of May, I will wish you well with this decision and possible endeavor, and say, "May the Fourth be with You!"


Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 05/04/2022 08:42:39

alaskafiddler - Posted - 05/05/2022:  14:40:51


quote:

Originally posted by Earworm

I’ll add: I recommend finding a single instructor (online in your case) or at least single educational program to follow at first, and for as long as it’s useful. Just floating around on the wilds of the internet, or even self learning with a stack of books or recordings…there’s just too much noise.






Different models, suit some learners... pros and cons.



Some are very good at self-directed... part of that is learning how to benefit from utilizing multiple and diverse sources or teachers... distill different input and information to most useful toward their individual (and self defined) goals.



 

Gallaher - Posted - 05/06/2022:  08:43:22


Either dive in or light it on fire in your driveway!
I laugh when I see people say it’s not that hard/difficult.
Yes it is! If it was easy you would know a lot of good fiddlers.
Sure, you can scratch out a few tunes in a year. However, to bring a fiddle to life takes a lot of effort. I always get asked “how long....?” when I’m out playing.
My response is always the same: “about 35 years and you will sound like a beginner for 5 years.” (I’ve been playing about 35 years and it takes five years of dedication to sound good). It’s all different for kids.
Keep in mind you are playing two instruments at once...the bow is the hard one.
With music always do what sparks you regardless of what others say. However, ask yourself if you can dedicate an hour a day to a fiddle for a few years. You may want to dedicate that time to other instruments.....or learn to play the fiddle.

Dick Hauser - Posted - 05/22/2022:  08:40:55


Don't get rid of it in the near future. You don't know what will happen. It isn't like you have money invested in the instrument. I really hated selling instruments, then having to spend more money to reacquire an instrument that was not as good as the one I sold. I am speaking from experience and have made this mistake more than once. But never again.

goatberry_jam - Posted - 05/26/2022:  18:28:55


You don't sound very enthusiastic. You sound obligated.

alaskafiddler - Posted - 05/27/2022:  16:43:03


quote:

Originally posted by Gallaher

Either dive in or light it on fire in your driveway!

I laugh when I see people say it’s not that hard/difficult.

Yes it is! If it was easy you would know a lot of good fiddlers.

Sure, you can scratch out a few tunes in a year. However, to bring a fiddle to life takes a lot of effort. I always get asked “how long....?” when I’m out playing.

My response is always the same: “about 35 years and you will sound like a beginner for 5 years.” (I’ve been playing about 35 years and it takes five years of dedication to sound good). It’s all different for kids.

Keep in mind you are playing two instruments at once...the bow is the hard one.

With music always do what sparks you regardless of what others say. However, ask yourself if you can dedicate an hour a day to a fiddle for a few years. You may want to dedicate that time to other instruments.....or learn to play the fiddle.






I do know a lot of fiddlers (so maybe easier than think?). wink How long will it take, how hard, and how much effort? Individually, can't really be predetermined, certain aspects will be easier, or come more quickly with less effort than others. Those are different for each individual.



Maybe might not be much important questions. (what/how metric defined?)



Reminds me of the quotes of Robert Pirsig...



Is it hard? Not if you have the right attitudes. It's having the right attitudes that's hard.



Every step's an effort both physically and spiritually, because he imagines his goal to be external and distant.



Many (esp with other instrument experience) took another more DIY path; didn't/don't have an "all-in" all/nothing, or any binary dichotomy in terms of pass/failure metrics, nor hard/easy. Not about a vocational/career/income need, nor some distant destination/title end...  to "be a fiddler" "expert" or very defined binary metrics of end completion (what ever those mean); no certification/graduation; thus has obligation, no schedule, deadlines, timeline, metrics.



Simple learning something about how to make and control some sounds come out of this instrument. Play around, have fun, explore... in the moment.; not worry about external and distant end. Maybe learn just enough that has "some" musical quality/use. Can take that and see what more can learn/control make use of. Results do mostly relate to time and effort put in; but can go at own pace, put in as much time as motivates, take as long as want.


Edited by - alaskafiddler on 05/27/2022 16:46:11

KCFiddles - Posted - 05/27/2022:  20:00:56


How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time....

Camie Banjo8 - Posted - 12/14/2022:  06:20:58


Hi Unclelevi , I have the same thing. I play so much banjo, many string instruments, but i hold a fiddle third time in my hands. I would recommend you to start by tuning it, then leanr to play clear single notes, and then usually it goes like rolling. Of course, only if it's your instrument...... .

Old Scratch - Posted - 12/14/2022:  07:54:42


Well, it's been months and months, now - I wonder if we'll ever hear from unclelevi again?

Btw, it looks like we have a new member from Russia - welcome, Camie!

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