Any violin/fiddle players?

Cheap Trills

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I've recently picked it up and, probably similar to a lot of guitar or stringed instrument players, it has come pretty naturally to me. Not that I'm any good, I most definitely am not, but I just have a headstart with the finger coordination and knowing how to see intervals on a board, hearing intonation, etc...

Anyway, I realized that a major issue impeding my progress is that the violin doesn't sit without my fingering hand to support the neck. I know real players have found different ways to sort this out. I've tried a few things already. I tried the shoulder rest thing.... it definitely helps, but I feel like I still am having neck tension to hold it in place and I don't like the idea of having to attach something to the violin everytime I play. I tried a few different chin rests so far. one that goes over the tailpiece, some different sized ones... I tried puffing my chest out so there's more sitting area for the violin but that just causes more tension when I try to hold it in place with my chin.

I'm looking for recommendations on either chin rests to try out or whatever else... tips on positioning, etc. I want to be able to have it in place without feeling any tension in my neck or pain in my chin.
 

Tonetele

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I fiddle occasionally on my son's violin. It's all flamed maple back& sides, Carpathian Spruce top, Ebony fingerboard and tailpiece, also the tuning pegs. Male horse hair bow and rosin on th bow.
I was watching Olaf , an Australian violin maker on Youtube, and the difference between a fiddle and a violin is simply how you play it. Fiddlers tend to play back nearer the bridge , violinists play for differing tones even above the fingerboard even pizzicato using the figer to pinch the string above the fingerboard not using the bow..
The actual instrument is constructed the same way and with the woods mentioned above.
 

CCK1

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I think that to become proficient on the violin/fiddle, one has to negotiate some kind of deal with demon spirits. I tried to learn it long ago, failed miserably. I was telling one of my bluegrass playing buddies about it, and he had an extremely insightful quote... "There's LOTS of wrong notes on a fiddle". He's right!
 

FaithNicole

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the fiddle (violin) should hang comfortably from it's own weight while tucked under the chin - no supporting the violin neck with your hand! . It's about lever points. If you are using chin/neck muscle pressure to hold it then the position is wrong.

There's a reason there is so many different chin rests and shoulder supports. No one has the exact same body set up so all you can do is keep shifting and/or trying different shoulder and chin rests until you find it. There are die-hards that frown on shoulder/chin rests .. ignore them


the first month, typically, of learning to play is not spent playing, it is spent learning how to hold the violin and the bow. If you tend to grip the neck, or support it, it will slow down your note & chord movements limiting how quickly you can change positions.

second learning step is bowing so that you only hit the string that you intend. Then double. I got fairly decent with chords.

now, that all said, depending on age, you'll likely never be a virtuoso or in an orchestra. So the real key is, find a way that's comfortable for you, play the darn thing, and enjoy it.

I picked it up at age 50 and got pretty good. Just as I felt good enough to play in a group in front of people I twisted my right elbow. I couldn't hold the bow much less move it accurately .. that's when I switched to bass.
 

trapdoor2

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Fiddlers/Violinists are no different than guitarists. They all search for "The One"...whether it is toan, fitment, aesthetics, feel, etc.

A proper fit is critical...but also a moving target. The human body adjusts and adapts...and changes.

I could never get a comfy position with a fiddle, so I moved to Cello and ultimately a Viola adapted to vertical playing like a Cello.
 

suthol

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I think that to become proficient on the violin/fiddle, one has to negotiate some kind of deal with demon spirits. I tried to learn it long ago, failed miserably. I was telling one of my bluegrass playing buddies about it, and he had an extremely insightful quote... "There's LOTS of wrong notes on a fiddle". He's right!
I was studying classical violin I an attempt to play bluegrass, I got to the point where I felt I sounded like I was cutting up a cat with a chainsaw and backed away.

The object of my misery will have been in my possession for 50 years next year, maybe I should open the case and give it another chance to offend my ears
 

Telekarster

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Many years ago I went to the local symphony who was going to perform a lot of my classical favorites, for an entire evening. They called in a couple of special, well known, solo violin and solo viola performers to assist. I tell you, those two soloists playing together was nothing short of miraculous. It was so inspiring that I decided that night that I was going to take up the viola. I love the deep, mellow, voice of that instrument. I bought a high-mid grade viola 16" and began to learn. I have to say that I never really got the hang of it. I really need to pick it back up and try again, but haven't had the time.

Saying all this cause it's possible to learn but it is definitely a challenging instrument, and you'll make a lot of really bad sounds for a while until you start getting the hang of it LOL!!! It takes dedication, and I take my hat off to anyone who can play one even 1/2 way well.
 

WingedWords

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I'm a great believer in the benefits of the applied pigheadedness of self tuition. But I had to admit defeat when I tried playing the cello when I was nearly 60. I imagine the violin would have been even worse. I eventually gave in and had lessons with a superb teacher. I might have coped with everything except the bow and posture. As it was I decided I didn't have the time needed to make any real progress, but it was the best time of my musical life.

So I'd suggest taking lessons for a while.
 

fjblair

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Fiddle/violin is the only instrument that I have attempted to learn and gave up. It was a beginner fiddle and I didn't give it much time. Playing instruments has always come pretty naturally to me, but there is nothing natural about the fiddle, lol.

That was 20 years ago, maybe I should give myself another chance to be incredibly frustrated.
 

trapdoor2

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Many years ago I went to the local symphony who was going to perform a lot of my classical favorites, for an entire evening. They called in a couple of special, well known, solo violin and solo viola performers to assist. I tell you, those two soloists playing together was nothing short of miraculous. It was so inspiring that I decided that night that I was going to take up the viola. I love the deep, mellow, voice of that instrument. I bought a high-mid grade viola 16" and began to learn. I have to say that I never really got the hang of it. I really need to pick it back up and try again, but haven't had the time.

Saying all this cause it's possible to learn but it is definitely a challenging instrument, and you'll make a lot of really bad sounds for a while until you start getting the hang of it LOL!!! It takes dedication, and I take my hat off to anyone who can play one even 1/2 way well.
Years and years ago, I saw that our local Symphony Orchestra's educational segment decided that they would start teaching "Adult" classes for strings. These were advertised as being for adults who had never touched an instrument up to people who had previously played as a younger person. It took me 10 yrs to finally decide to join them.

They structured the classes around "Basic" (never played) to "intermediate" (having already passed the "basic" section) to "Advanced" and then "Orchestra". I rented a Cello (having tried the fiddle years previously) and went to the "Basic" class. I'd never played the Cello...but I'd been playing Guitar and Banjo for 40 yrs.

The first night, the instructor gave basic instructions, etc. I played for him and was promoted to intermediate...I was hitting the pitches and keeping time. I spent two semesters in intermediate and two in advanced...but the advanced stuff was making my left-hand hurt. I found a great teacher...who essentially told me my hands were old and unable to make the stretches needed for more complex music. She told me to try the Viola.

So, I rented a Viola, even though I knew I had trouble with the fiddle's shoulder position. My hand won't pronate properly and I can't reach the bass strings. Same thing with the Viola...I just couldn't make my LH work. I gave up.

After a year of research, I discovered the Vertical Viola...bought one and lived happily ever after.

Marc & Vertical Viola.jpg
 

FaithNicole

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Fiddle/violin is the only instrument that I have attempted to learn and gave up. It was a beginner fiddle and I didn't give it much time. Playing instruments has always come pretty naturally to me, but there is nothing natural about the fiddle, lol.

That was 20 years ago, maybe I should give myself another chance to be incredibly frustrated.

buy a decent one. stuff that sells as 'beginner' are terrible and really only designed to help you learn to hold one. You will not get the sound you expect from them. You already have a musical ear so you need one that actually produces musical tones.
 

WingedWords

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Years and years ago, I saw that our local Symphony Orchestra's educational segment decided that they would start teaching "Adult" classes for strings. These were advertised as being for adults who had never touched an instrument up to people who had previously played as a younger person. It took me 10 yrs to finally decide to join them.

They structured the classes around "Basic" (never played) to "intermediate" (having already passed the "basic" section) to "Advanced" and then "Orchestra". I rented a Cello (having tried the fiddle years previously) and went to the "Basic" class. I'd never played the Cello...but I'd been playing Guitar and Banjo for 40 yrs.

The first night, the instructor gave basic instructions, etc. I played for him and was promoted to intermediate...I was hitting the pitches and keeping time. I spent two semesters in intermediate and two in advanced...but the advanced stuff was making my left-hand hurt. I found a great teacher...who essentially told me my hands were old and unable to make the stretches needed for more complex music. She told me to try the Viola.

So, I rented a Viola, even though I knew I had trouble with the fiddle's shoulder position. My hand won't pronate properly and I can't reach the bass strings. Same thing with the Viola...I just couldn't make my LH work. I gave up.

After a year of research, I discovered the Vertical Viola...bought one and lived happily ever after.

View attachment 1016223
I had plans to join the East London Late Starters Orchestra when I was learning the cello but didn't get there. One of life's regrets.

 

Lynxtrap

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why not tune it like a guitar? I leave it in 5ths, but I'm considering tuning it like a guitar

That would be limiting the range of the instrument for no good reason (you still have to practise, and learning the fingering is no big deal if you already play the guitar IMO).
If you tune it EADG, the 1st string would be lower in pitch than the 2nd string on a violin tuned in 5ths.
If you tune it GCFBb, playing standard fiddle tunes will be awkward (they are usually in the keys of D or G) and you wouldn't be able to use open strings.
 

elmoscafeo

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I'm looking for recommendations on either chin rests to try out or whatever else... tips on positioning, etc. I want to be able to have it in place without feeling any tension in my neck or pain in my chin.
Jumping back to the question that the OP asked...

I'm relatively new at learning the violin also, have taking lessons for only 2 years (started when I was 59 years old), and am still struggling with my violin and bow hold. Some people say that when holding the violin, the instrument should be parallel to the floor. I actually prefer the instrument to be angled/tilted toward the floor. Having learned to play multiple instruments throughout my life span (Trumpet, Double French Horn, Guitar and now Violin), one of things that I find most beneficial is that comfort during playing is as equally important as good technique. If it hurts, you're doing it wrong.

Do you have a teacher? Some people prefer the "self taught" approach, but it doesn't hurt to take a least the first lesson from a teacher who will demonstrate how to hold the violin that fits your personal body type. Some violin schools/teachers offer the first lesson free. Aside from that, you can follow the guidance in this YouTube video:



As for shoulder rests, I've tried several and here's the one that I always go back to (YMMV): https://www.everestshoulderrest.com/products

Chin rests are also personal preference (just like boxers, briefs, tighty-whities, sans sous-vêtements). The chin rest should also be suitable to your body type. Do you have a long neck? Long jaw line? My personal preference is a SAS or Kaufman. They're highly versatile and can be positioned in almost any point along the violin (over the tail piece or off to the side). My least favorite, but the most common is the Guarneri chin rest. This style is usually provided with most violins and is designed to be positioned with the cutout centered over the tail piece resulting in having to place the violin to fit your chin, which may not fit your shoulder.

I'm sure that you have already google searched it, but here's some good guidance also: https://www.violinist.com/violin/how-to-hold-a-violin/

That's my opinion (from a two year student novice still trying to break bad habits).
 

MarkieMark

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After a year of research, I discovered the Vertical Viola...bought one and lived happily ever after.

I am really curious about the 'stand up Viola'

But i am not finding much info. Any leads welcome.

Basically, I was thinking one might simply install a Cello stand, but yours looks like it angles back.
 




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