Professional Tone Violin

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Frequently Asked Questions...

Questions about violin tone?

Arrange these factors that affect the tone produced from greatest to least.

-the player himself
-violin
-bow
-strings
-rosin

A beginner decides to take up the violin, with constant practice, how long does it take for him to create a beautiful sound? And perfect the vibrato?

After a couple of years, will the sound of the violin change? If yes, for the better or worse? Is it advisable to constantly buy a new violin or just a bow every few years or so?

What brand of strings are most recommended to have those professional-like tone? How about the bow and rosin?

I just want to improve my fiddling.
Also, is it ok to use a 3/4 violin even though your arm is long enough to use the full size? Does this change your playing?


Answer:

1) The player himself
2) Rosin
3) Strings
4) Violin and Bow

It takes years before a player can produce a beautiful sound and a technique strong enough to play music with good intonation and vibrato. It really depends on the person, how early they start, what teacher they have, and how much time and effort they invest into this. I have met people who stopped improving after a while, and if they start sounding worse, the usual excuse is to change the violin.

Really, the violin won't matter so much until you are very very professional. A violin in the range of $3000-5000 will be absolutely fine if you're not going to play for a living. You could play on a $500 violin and still produce a beautiful sound.

For strings, most people recommend Dominant strings because they sound good overall. I use them myself. People also change their E strings to some other company. I like Obligato/Pirastro E strings. Be careful about buying gold plated E strings because they tend to squeak more often than normal E strings.

A full size violin is recommended because it makes your sound larger and well... better. Also if you want to buy a better violin, all of them are full sized.

Good luck with the violin playing!

PS. I forgot about the Rosin. I think most brands are fine. You should try around. One good choice to start with would be Pirastro Gold? Or Gustave Bernadel? It's more about having enough of it (and not too much) that matters, not the brand.

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How to take Care Of Your Violin Bow Or Cello Bow

If you own a violin or a cello, you actually own two instruments: a violin and a violin bow, or a cello and a cello bow. Many people do not realise this, but a well selected and well taken care bow is as important as a violin or a cello. A good, hand made quality bow will appreciate in value over time, very much like a quality hand crafted violin or cello. Here, I will outline the important points you need to be aware of in taking care of your bow.

1. Hold your your bow correctly

There is a correct way to hold your bow when you are not playing it, to ensure that you do not accidentally damage the bow if you do drop it. The safe way of holding your bow is at its pointed end. This way, if you accidentally drop it, it will land on the grip end which is stronger.

If you drop your bow with the pointed end down, the bow end will likely crack or split. This may alter the tone of the instrument. In extreme cases, the value of the bow will depreciate by 90%.

2. Loosen the bow when not in play

After playing, always loosen the bow hair so the tension does not damage the bow. Remember to turn the bow screw left to loosen the bow hair. A bow that is always on tight tension will cause the bow to arch and damage the structure of the bow.

3. Never touch the bow hair with your hands

Our hands and fingers are naturally oily. Never touch the bow hair with your hands as this will stain the bow hair and affect the playability of the instrument.

4. Do not expose your bow to the elements

Like violins or cellos, bows are also made of wood and hence organic. Do not expose your bow to harsh elements like extreme heat or cold. A good temperature gauge is what our body is used to.

5. Do not over rosin your bow

While rosins are required for the bow, do not over rosin your bow as this will cause an excessive build up of white powder on the bow. Too much rosin will also produce a harsh tone. Always wipe your bow clean with a soft cloth after playing.

From time to time, you will also need to engage the services of a professional luthier to rehair your bow.  A good bow if well taken care of will last you a lifetime.

About the Author

Contact Stradivari Strings if you are looking for a qualified luthier to repair or maintain your instrument. Services offered include bow re-hair, tonal adjustments, repair and restoration. To set up an appointment for a free repair quotation, contact Stradivari Strings now.

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