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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:41 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2012 11:25 am
Posts: 178
Location: The Bluegrass
I started out on classical violin (and some "folk", or course) and then got sucked into the flutes/whistles/pipes addiction. Anyway, from what it sounds like, you will absolutely love the violin. Of course, there will be some rough times, especially when you're learning the basics and such, but once I got beyond that point, I found the violin to be just a breeze. I can just pick it up and play. And plus, it involves almost your entire upper body, so once you really get the techniques and all, and its not awkward, you really feel a connection with the instrument and the music you're playing. It's the only kind of instrument that I've found that can do that, except maybe the pipes. But, its very rewarding and its a ton of fun, so I wish you luck.

A couple months ago, I ran across this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFaCpYRMKB8 and when I saw your situation, I thought of it. I'm not sure of the full value/potential of that violin, as I haven't played it in real life, but from the video, it seems like it should fit your purposes fairly well. But, beware that with instruments that cheap, the guy in the video could have just gotten the lucky violin. However, if you do end up getting it, I personally would look at the "related items" and choose one without paint. Paint can do weird things to the sound of a violin. However, if you have the money, and can try an instrument around you before you buy it, definitely do that before going for something online. Anyway, that's my 2 cents.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:24 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:00 pm
Posts: 93
Location: new jersey
Cheap fiddles can lead to FOAD. fiddle obsessive acquisition disorder... Once I tune a fiddle I like to keep it in that tuning. But in the course of a day I will want to go between aeae..to..adae. then down to ddad and aeac#.... Then there's all the G tunings. You can see how one fiddle like one whistle just won't do... Bob

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 4:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2004 7:06 pm
Posts: 526
Location: upstate NY
You might want to consider a used instrument, if you can find someone with some experience (perhaps your daughter's teacher would have a recommendation) to help you out. Unlike flutes or guitars or whistles, where the forum can point you to reliable makers and choices, there are so many fiddles out there and so little standardization and so many variables--what strings?, what bow?--to the sound, that it really pays to have someone around who can suggest and try out an instrument. But a violin teacher might know of a decent instrument available from a student who has moved on to a better one or just quit, and you'd be spared the mark up of the music store. Whatever you get, having a set up done by a good luthier will be money well spent. (As for rent to buy, I've done it twice. The first time, having rented a not good violin from a school music dealer, I ended up owning a different, but not satisfying instrument from the shop. The second time, working with a private dealer who specialized in better instruments, I ended up buying with the rental credit the one I was renting, and I don't see myself ever switching.)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:49 am 
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Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 10:50 am
Posts: 360
Location: Paris, France
To keep the thread updated:

I ended up ordering my violin from a French luthier who works out of his home. Lots of people were very pleased with his violins, which are imported from China, and they are supposed to be better value than what one finds in the luthiers boutiques in Paris. I say "supposed to" because it's really hard to compare them without having both at the same time and having the skills to do so. I should get it any day and I'll have my daughter's teacher check it out after the Christmas break. I'm really looking forward to learning violin. I ordered Matt Cranitch's book and will find a teacher nearby to take a few lessons to get me going.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:19 pm 
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I bought a Chinese fiddle about 15 years ago for $100. I switched from Irish flute to American fiddle about 5 years ago when our Irish session disappeared. A friend of mine who played Irish fiddle once told me that to play fiddle you must embrace your suckiness. So I've tried to learn with that in mind.

I have no illusions that my instrument is good. A good player can make it sound like a real fiddle so I know the bad sound I hear is mostly me. I've noticed over time that it sounds better than it used to. I don't know if that's the fiddle maturing or me being better at it, but the quality of the sound is better than it used to be.

I had a chance to play a different fiddle last week and I thought it sounded a lot better than my cheap Chinese fiddle but the action was too high and the strings too close together. So I'm happy to put up with the sound of my fiddle to not have to struggle with the strings.

I figure since I'm not playing classical violin and being expected to wrench emotions from my music, my el-cheapo fiddle is okay for now. Probably my most important criteria for a fiddle is that it be easy to tune because we tune the strings differently depending on what key the tune is in.

There is something satisfying about playing the fiddle. It's not easy to learn, but there's something fun about pulling the bow across the strings.

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Flutes: Tipple D and E flutes and a Casey Burns Boxwood Rudall D flute
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:18 am 
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Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 10:50 am
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Location: Paris, France
I have a slightly different belief: If I'm going to invest a lot of my valuable time learning an instrument, I want to have a good instrument. Not great or the best, but good. From what I've heard the Chinese have made huge progress with their violins. So an inexpensive one now is likely to be much better than the inexpensive one 15 years ago.

I thought mine didn't sound great but my teacher proved me wrong. She made it sound awesome. SO I know I don't need a better one, probably ever. But I think having a good instrument can help make us sound better.

I found jigs & reels too hard for me, even when playing excruciatingly slow. So I've been playing a lot of airs. And for that it's important to have a good sound. I went a few months without lessons and when I had the next lesson, my teacher said I had to work on my sound and my bowing. And that's been my focus this past week.

I guess i haven't updated the thread since I started so a quick resume: I've been playing about 20-30 minutes most days of the week and even more on the weekends (usually 1h). I've made a lot of progress and I'm quite happy with my playing. I can play the airs in the "Ireland's best slow airs" book that I was using with the whistle & flute, so that provides great enjoyment. They don't sound as good as they do on the flute/whistle, but that's ok. it'll come. I think the slow airs are great practice for working on intonation, bowing, sound, etc. So I've been spending more time on the airs than I have on my method book. Taking it slow and enjoying it. I'll try to post a few mp3 this weekend.


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