NEW HOMEPAGE LANDING PAGE Forums Chatting On The Porch Two Violins [and two bows] Part Two

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      Nick Wilkins

      Belatedly, here’s part two.

      So my lovely ‘Shepherd’ violin looked great, but sounded awful, and left me quite depressed really. And then some interesting things started happening; none of these will be news to anyone reading this, I’m certain, but I still haven’t quite got to my six months anniversary so they were learnings for me.

      First, my Gliga came with Pirastro Violino strings fitted. They were pretty much in tune from the off, and hold their tune really well – a tiny wind here and there on my fine tuners and they sing. I had asked Hannah to put Dominants on the Shepherd and what I found was that they needed a LOT of tuning [on the pegs often] for the first couple of days until they settled in. Of course, the Shepherd itself had had pretty major surgery, and I think the instrument also needed to settle and to play in [I haven’t played nearly as much as I would have liked in the last couple of weeks, and it’s still improving in tonal quality quite markedly] – and as I’d bought it from eBay, I have no idea how long it had been left unplayed [I’ve read in several places that violins need to be used to keep them sonorous].

      Secondly, because initially it sounded so awful, I tried another bow on it. I had been given a carbon fibre ‘Col Legno Standard’ bow as a gift. I didn’t like this bow at all on my Gliga, but on the Shepherd it worked better than my brazilwood bow.

      So my learnings are these, for what they are worth: it seems to me that a ‘new’ violin has to settle in, and improves with playing; strings vary a lot, and some [like my dominants] also really need to be played in for quite a while; different bows are different [obviously] but may also suit some instruments [or players?] much better than others. And my principal learning? Different violins play differently, and have to be played differently; my Shepherd has to be played with much more bow, much more ‘attack’ on the strings, if that makes sense, and much more pressure on the fingerboard.

      Hannah, of course, knew all this. She said ‘if you’re just beginning, you’ll find these instruments quite different – my advice would be to play just one for a block of time [maybe a couple of weeks] and then, when you change, give it a couple of days to adjust to the other one’.


      So if anyone gets a new violin and it doesn’t sound as nice as their previous one, I’d say ‘persevere’ –

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