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Is a five string (yev 105) advisable for a complete noob

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Jun 18, 2020 - 9:32:49 AM
2 posts since 6/18/2020

Hello there,

Im a fiddler wannabe, which means I never owned a violin or played one.

Due to noise considerations, I decided to buy an electric fiddle and settled on a yamaha yev 104.

Unfortunately they seem to be rare right now and I found a used (like new) yev 105, which is half the price of a yev 104.

Do you think its O.k to buy it as a beginner?

1. Less than half the price of a yev104
2. That Fifth string could be nice up ahead.

1. Added complexity for a beginner, on an already hard instrument to master. (Though my plan was to initially ignore the C string)
2. When switching to an (acoustic) 4 string, might be funky feeling.

What do you think of this issue?
The music style Id like to play on it, is the celtic/irish/ scotish style.

Thanks a bunch

Jun 18, 2020 - 12:21:21 PM
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1794 posts since 8/27/2008

Okay, I'll take a stab at this but it's just an opinion. There's no right or wrong for your question. But I'd say starting with a 5-string wouldn't be your best choice. Getting used to 4 strings and the repertoire of tunes that can be played on that (endless, really) is where I'd recommend a new fiddler start. My own experience with 5-strings is pretty limited. I've only played a couple of them. One of those I made myself with the idea that my musical world would find vast new horizons. Truth is I hardly ever play it, and when I do I am always trying to figure out ways to use the low C string. It ends up being in the way. I've made a viola too, which I also don't play much, although I can see its usefulness (or a 5 string) as a second part instrument below a violin.

If I ever make another 5-string it probably would be a larger body viola with an E rather than violin size with a C. But to me the 4-string violin is the main thing.

Jun 18, 2020 - 1:29:31 PM
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157 posts since 11/28/2018

I agree with Brian, Nathan. Four strings is hard enough to learn --- the fifth will only complicate trying to find the right plane for the 1 or 2 strings you want to play. Just guessing here but I suspect there's a reason so many play 4's rather than 5's (although it could also be just cuz it's more traditional). You mention noise considerations --- not sure what you mean --- if you're worried about being too loud where you are practicing be aware that there are a number of good mutes available for standard non-electric fiddles. And there are plenty of good fiddles at reasonable prices.

Jun 18, 2020 - 1:51:33 PM

2 posts since 6/18/2020

Hi Brian and Woodcutter thanks very much for your replies!

O.k I was suspecting that would be the answer.
Woodcutter, I will try to find a fiddle with a a good muter, but is it possible to silence it to the level that someone in another room will not hear the noise?

In any case Thanks.

Edited by - nathan on 06/18/2020 13:52:18

Jun 18, 2020 - 3:27:52 PM
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182 posts since 6/3/2016

I own both a YEV 104 and and older SV 120. Those are great for practice at home unamplified. You may be able to find something similar on Craigslist (other electric violin). I would not start with a YEV 105.

Jun 19, 2020 - 6:06:36 AM
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2273 posts since 10/1/2008

It seems to me that the primary advantage for a five string violin is in playing harmony to another instrument. That C string adds some fine tones. Also, a quality four string instrument is available at a much lower price. Lastly when five string instruments began to appear someone asked Spade Cooley if he was planning on getting a five string and his reported reply was " Five string , I've bee n lookin' for a three string". Or something to that effect. I have to say four strings are plenty for me. R/

Jun 19, 2020 - 7:09:08 AM
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9767 posts since 12/2/2007

nathan - I think you outlined the pros and cons pretty well. Its up to you to decide. I've never played a five string and barely have seen any, but I don't see why you shouldn't try one for the reasons you outlined. Since you have no experience anyway I don't think it would seem strange. If you don't like it you can always sell it on.

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